Animal magnetism was the name given by the German doctor Franz Mesmer in the 18th century to what he believed to be an invisible natural force exerted by animals. He believed that the force could have physical effects, including healing. He tried persistently but without success to achieve scientific recognition of his theories.
The theory attracted numerous followers in Europe and the United States and was popular into the nineteenth century. For about seventy-five years from its beginnings in 1779 it was an important speciality in medicine, and continued to have some influence for about another fifty years. Hundreds of books were written on the subject between 1766 and 1925. Today it is almost entirely forgotten.
Animal magnetism is still practiced as a form of alternative medicine in some countries. Magnetic practices are not recognized as part of medical science.
- 1 Definitions
- 2 Practice
- 3 Nomenclature
- 4 Royal Commission
- 5 Mesmerism and hypnosis
- 6 Vital fluid and practice
- 7 Cultural impact
- 8 In England
- 9 The Society of Harmony
- 10 Mesmerism and British Romanticism
- 11 In Germany
- 12 In Russia
- 13 In the Caribbean and Haiti
- 14 In North America
- 14.1 1784–1833 – Early mesmerists: Marquis de Lafayette, Dr. Benjamin Rush
- 14.2 1836 – Charles Poyen and the spread of mesmerism in America
- 14.3 Phineas Quimby's healings and the origins of New Thought
- 14.4 Robert Collyer, Theodore Léger and the ideology of American mesmerism
- 14.5 Fahnstock and mesmeric pain relief for obstetrics
- 14.6 Mesmerism and "electrical psychology"
- 14.7 From "electro-biology" to "hypnotism"
- 14.8 Mesmerism and spiritualism
- 14.9 Mesmerism and the Theosophical Society
- 14.10 1900 William James, animal magnetism and psychical research
- 15 Contemporary development
- 16 See also
- 17 Notes
- 18 References
- 19 Further reading
There are naturally many variations for the use of the terms animal magnetism and mesmerism. According to various researchers, the term animal magnetism has at least four different levels of meaning: a general universal principle, a specific method of vitalistic cure, a specific state of being and of consciousness (the somnambulism) and a cultural aspect.
- First, animal magnetism as a general vital universal principle: animal magnetism is for Mesmer a principle that touches both man and the universe at all levels: psychological, human and cosmological. For Mesmer, animal magnetism is mainly a theory to describe the entanglement between man and universe. Mesmer's theory is based on the concept of something through which everything in the universe is interconnected. It is something before matter. Lacking other terms, he called it a "universal fluid". For him this subtle fluid or energy, source of life and health, fills the cosmos and moves in it. This fluid is also the basis of the cosmos as it is the basis of which matter is constituted. This fluid is also a sort of energy or life force. When this fluid circulates, living beings are healthy. When it is blocked we experience sickness. This theory is largely inspired by ancient doctrines and Renaissance concepts. Scholars such as Meheust say that it would be interesting to compare it with the Chinese concept of ch'i, or "vital energy".
- Secondly, animal magnetism as a system of cure: Animal magnetism is defined by Mesmer in an even more restricted sense. For him, it is the capability present in all men, (but mostly developed in those working as magnetists), to use the vital fluid or life force for therapeutical purposes. According to this theory, the magnetizer is able to direct his vital fluid toward the sick person, and heal him. This second definition was often adopted even by those magnetists who did not accept the preceding larger theory. For example baron DuPotet says:
the fluid is not a substance that can be weighted, measured, condensed, it is a vital force (Du Potet)
- There is also a variation of this second complementary definition with a subjective meaning: Animal magnetism as a subjective sensitivity. Mesmer says that as the fluid (or life force) can only be perceived by the senses in a subjective way, animal magnetism is also this sensibility, that he calls "a sixth sense". He says:
Magnetism can be compared to a sixth sense. The senses are neither defined nor described. They are rather felt. One cannot explain to a blind man what colours are. One would need for him to be able to “feel”, them, that is, to see them. The same holds true for magnetism. It must be mainly transmitted through inward feeling. It is only feeling that can make the theory of it understandable (Mesmer).
This subjective approach is also used by Deleuze: Mr. Mesmer showed in us something that we didn't suppose: let's try to use this faculty to help other people without worrying about the system.
- Thirdly, after 1784, and following the workings of Puysegur, who developed "magnetic somnambulism", the words "animal magnetism" were also being used for the concepts relating to the phenomena of "somnambulism" that de Puysegur firstly described; in this case in English the expression is even more misleading, in that "mesmeric state" or "mesmeric sleep" is used to define the state of somnambulic consciousness developed through the help of the magnetizer. In this case the term mesmerism, even if validated by use, contains an anachronism. In fact, even if Mesmer acknowledged the state as somnambulism, it was not he who produced it, and moreover he has never claimed to have discovered it. He simply considered it as one of the many manifestations (crises) in which animal magnetism could manifest itself but did not consider it as a specific state. And it is a paradox, but the term animal magnetism and even more so "mesmerism" found in English literature, are instead more frequently used to indicate techniques utilized neither by Mesmer nor his theory, but for indicating this kind of somnambulism and this specific somnambular state.
- Finally, the expression animal magnetism is used for defining all cultural phenomena that originated from Mesmer and the reflections about somnambulism.
Some "magnetizers" attempted to channel what they thought was a "magnetic fluid", sometimes by "laying on of hands". Reported effects included various feelings: intense heat, trembling, trances, and seizures.
The term Mesmérisme, mesmerism, for animal magnetism was first used in France, as is confirmed by Mesmer himself, and soon spread. Wolfart used the name Mesmerismus for his book on Mesmer's system. The principal meaning of mesmerise is now hypnotise.
Théodore Léger (1799–1853) considered the label "mesmerism" to be "most improper" and proposed instead the name psychodunamy or "power of the soul". He dismissed other terms such as “animal electricity” (Petetin), “mesmerism,” “pathetism” (Sunderland), and “etherology” (Grimes). Carl Reichenbach proposed the term Od. In France, Baréty coined the name "neuric force". Émile Boirac proposed the name "biactinism" for any phenomena in which a radiating influence is apparently exerted at a distance over other animate beings.
The description of "bioplasma" proposed in Russia in the twentieth century corresponds to the concepts attributed to "animal magnetism".
In 1784 a French Royal Commission appointed by Louis XVI studied Mesmer's magnetic fluid to try to establish it by scientific evidence. The Commission included Majault, Benjamin Franklin, Jean Sylvain Bailly, J. B. Le Roy, Sallin, Jean Darcet, de Borey, Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, Antoine Lavoisier, Poissonnier, Caille, Mauduyt de la Varenne, Andry, and de Jussieu.
Whilst the Commission agreed that the cures claimed by Mesmer were indeed cures, the commission also concluded there was no evidence of the existence of his magnetic fluid, and that its effects derived from either the imaginations of its subjects or through charlatanry.. Due to the fact that some of the phenomena produced were so strong de Jussieu refused to sign the report, notwithstanding the solicitations of his colleagues, and the threats of the Minister. He authored a dissenting report, in which he enumerated the facts that had been omitted or distorted by the commission. Instead, therefore, of these commissioners settling the disputed point as to the existence or nonexistence of animal magnetism, their reports only gave the subject an additional interest and the cause of magnetism was embraced by a sizeable number of new supporters and interest in animal magnetism was sustained in France during the ensuing decades. After a few years, due to the fact that the ruling passed by the first commission was subject of heated discussions, and magnetism was actually accepted in other important European nations like Germany, in its specific case, too, as a result of the examination carried out by a commission (which displayed however a positive attitude) a second commission was set up. The second commission, headed by Husson, worked for six years, and in 1831 it conceded the veracity of most of the phenomena which the magnetists spoke of, in addition, of course, to the reality of the very phenomenon of induction in conformity with magnetic practices. It thereby gave rise to a lively debate. As the academic Institution was dissatisfied with the result produced by the second commission, a third commission, chaired by Dubois d'Amiens, was established. This commission worked for a few months only, since no agreement on the protocols governing the relevant experimental trials could be struck. Such third commission passed a partially unfavourable judgment on the few experiments it conducted including anesthesia that it found to be partial. It ought to be noted that this commission has thus only been in operation for a few months and with a single experimenter (dr. Berna), whereas the previous, Husson-led commission, has examined the facts for six consecutive years.
Mesmerism and hypnosis
Abbé Faria was one of the disciples of Mesmer who continued with Mesmer’s work following the conclusions of the Royal Commission. In the early 19th century, Abbé Faria introduced oriental hypnosis to Paris. Faria conducted experiments to prove that “no special force was necessary for the production of the mesmeric phenomena such as the trance, but that the determining cause lay within the subject himself;” in other words, that it worked purely by the power of suggestion.
Hypnosis originates from the practice of Mesmerism, being an attempt at what the surgeon James Braid described as "rational mesmerism". Braid based his methods of hypnotism directly on the practice of Mesmerism, but applied a more rational explanation for how the process worked. The term “hypnotism” was coined and introduced by Braid.
Hypnosis did not replace mesmerism at the end of the nineteenth century, but still existed alongside it. In fact, magnetism, and its variants, continued to be defended by serious students during the late nineteenth and into the twentieth century. Ideas, similar to the concept of animal magnetism, are still with us in many guises.
Vital fluid and practice
A 1791 London publication explains the Mesmer’s theory of the vital fluid :
“Modern philosophy has admitted a plenum or universal principle of fluid matter, which occupies all space; and that as all bodies moving in the world, abound with pores, this fluid matter introduces itself through the interstices and returns backwards and forwards, flowing through one body by the currents which issue therefrom to another, as in a magnet, which produces that phenomenon which we call Animal Magnetism. This fluid consists of fire, air and spirit, and like all other fluids tends to an equilibrium, therefore it is easy to conceive how the efforts which the bodies make towards each other produce animal electricity, which in fact is no more than the effect produced between two bodies, one of which has more motion than the other; a phenomenon serving to prove that the body which has most motion communicates it to the other, until the medium of motion becomes an equilibrium between the two bodies, and then this equality of motion produces animal electricity.”
In Mesmer’s view, illness has to do with blockages in the natural flow of this universal vital energy throughout the human body. Harmony could be restored by various techniques and some of them are employed even today by practitioners of energetic techniques. One was the laying on of hands on specific points called "poles", another was making passes over the patient’s body. In Mesmer's original approach, patients typically went through the "crisis" as part of the healing process.
According to an anonymous writer of a series of letters published by the editor John Pearson in 1790, animal magnetism can cause a wide range of effects ranging from vomiting to what is classically termed the “crisis.” According to Deleuze: "“Magnetizers have given the name of crises to the remarkable changes which the action of magnetism produces upon those who are subjected to it, or to that state which is different from the natural one, into which they are thrown by its influence”
Mesmer's original approach and the modified magnetic method of Puysegur
In Mesmer’s view, the purpose of the treatment (the crisis) was to create a convulsion that he called "crisis" in order to remove obstructions in the circulatory system that were causing sicknesses. Mesmer derived the concept of crises from Gassner's practice. Gassner believed the crisis to be the evidence of possession as well as the first step in the procedure of exorcism. For Mesmer, the crisis was the artificially procured evidence of the disease and the means to its cure. Crises, he said, were specific: in an asthmatic it would be an attack of asthma and in an epileptic it would be an epileptic fit. When the patient was repeatedly provoked, these crises became less and less severe. Eventually they disappeared, and this meant recovery. This process was deemed to be completely natural, with regards to this Mesmer said: "If Art forsakes us, we still have Nature." Mesmer also said: "An illness cannot be cured without a crisis; a crisis is an effort of nature against an illness, consisting in an increase of motion of the force, attention, and action of the magnetic fluid, to disperse the obstacles which oppose the circulation, ... and to reestablish the harmony and equilibrium of all the parts of the body.”
One of Mesmer's first followers, the marquis de Puysegur, developed a new technique through which the patient fell into a particular trance without convulsions. This trance, even if defined equally "crisis" by Mesmer himself become known as artificial somnambulism.
Furthermore, the anonymous supporter of animal magnetism purported that the crisis created two effects: a particular state in which the patient could be “possessed of his senses, yet cease to be an accountable creature,” and an “unobstructed vision” to see through objects. A patient under crisis was believed to be able to see through the body and find the cause of illness in themselves or in other patients.
Puysegur's discovery of "artificial somnambulism"
In the same year in which the first Royal Commission of 1784 gave its verdict, one of Mesmer's disciples discovered new phenomena which was even more mysterious and brought new increased attention on animal magnetism. In April 1784, Armand Marie Jacques Chastenet, Marquis of Puysegur, a nobleman of one of the most important noble families of France discovered what was until then an unknown state of consciousness. This discovery was able to give a new course to the evolution of magnetism. In the opinion of certain historians, this discovery equals or even exceeds the importance of Mesmer's own work. Nobel laureate Charles Richet has said "the name of Puysegur must be put on the same rank as that of Mesmer.... Mesmer is no doubt the initiator of magnetism, but not its true founder."
In fact, it is probable that the discovery of Puysegur was what was most helpful in popularizing the knowledge of magnetism and to transform it into a diffused cultural phenomenon that touched in the following years all classes of society
The Marques of Puységur’s miraculous healing of a young man named Victor in 1784 was the first case of this new revolutionary type of "crisis". The Marques was able to magnetize Victor and was waiting for a classical crisis, but, to the astonishment of Puysegur, Victor was said to have been able to speak articulately and to diagnose his own sickness.
Puysegur was able to reproduce this state with regularity even with other patients and he observed that in this state they were equally capable of predicting the development of their illness, to apparently understand what the magnetizer wanted to say before even he had said it, and other even stranger feats. This phenomenon was called both "artificial somnambulism", after the natural state of somnambulism known from antiquity, and "magnetic sleep". One of the characteristics of this state was the so-called "magnetic lucidity". This name indicated a state of enhanced awareness.
The following year, the Marques publicized his observations, both in Paris and in London, and these memoirs gave rise to an explosion. Everywhere people replicated his results. Some claimed several new and more incredible results (for example, Dr. Petetin asserted the possibility of perceiving things which were not perceivable through the eyes). A vast discussion arose that would continue throughout the whole century. It touched the most acculturated people as animal magnetism showed two different new elements. 1) the emergence of a self in the person which seemed more enlarged and important than the normal self of the person 2) Very strange phenomena happening in this state.
Origin of "magnetic lucidity"
Researchers have observed a difference between what would be later called "a spiritualistic medium" and the phenomena of "magnetic lucidity" as developed by Puysegur and early French magnetists. Spiritualistic mediums are normally deemed to lose consciousness. Lucid somnambulists instead were deemed by early magnetists to be even more awake and present to themselves during the trance, and to perform their lucidity with enhanced awareness. From here came the name "lucidity" which expressed ideas of light and presence.
After 1784 and Puysegur’s experiences on somnambulism, Magnetism was intended in all countries where it was practiced not only as a method for cure, but was also considered a method for developing inner sensitivities in the subject for access to what was called "a higher level of man". According to the descriptions of these ancient magnetists, at the highest level of this state the subject is completely autonomous, more free from the constrictions and habits of thought than in his normal state, in touch with a wider self and with higher faculties of "magnetic lucidity". Physicians and researchers of fame also followed this stream. Thus Dr. James Esdaile, even in practising healing magnetism wrote the book "Natural and Mesmeric Clairvoyance with the Practical Application of Mesmerism in Surgery and Medicine". This explains why later some branches of Animal Magnetism in England, United States and other countries merged with Spiritualism and parapsychological research. Puysegur's original method was neither spiritualistic nor mechanicistic, and the magnetic first states of automatic reactions were intended as a gateway to achieve these higher dimensions and higher sensitivities, and to access the true inner self of the subject. It is to note that verbal suggestions were always avoided by earlier operators, in order to allow the inner self of the subject to act more freely.
Later developments in France
In 1800, in France, animal magnetism was split into three separate schools of magnetism: 1st: the original school of Mesmer. This prevailed principally in Paris. Its disciples believed in the existence of the universal fluid, and conducted the operation physically,—that is, by passing the hands immediately over, or at a short distance from, the body of the patient. 2nd: the school of the Chevalier de Barbarin. This was founded at Lyons, and, although it had many partisans in France, prevailed principally in Sweden and Germany. Its principles remind us of the Platonic philosophy; its disciples maintained that the magnetic operation depended entirely upon a pure "effort of the soul," and was to be conducted only upon psychical principles. They were therefore termed spiritualists. 3rd: Third and lastly, the school of the Marquis de Puysegur, founded at Strasburg, the disciples of which, professing to be guided only by observation, called themselves experimentalists. The characteristic feature of this school is that it combines the physical treatment of the school of Mesmer with the psychical treatment of that of Barbarin. Notwithstanding the magnetisers divided themselves into these different groups, they all maintained the same fundamental principles: they differed in theory, but each school agreed in producing the same practical results.
Mesmerism and sensitivity
For Mesmer Animal Magnetism is first and foremost a theory of sensoriality. A very important aspect of magnetism is therefore its reliance on developing a specific "sensitivity" in the operator. This sensitivity is natural, and animals normally are said to have it. As this sensitivity is only subjective we cite verbatim the words of the different authors. Mesmer speaks of Magnetism as a "sixth sense" intending with this word the concept of "intuition". Sixth sense was for him also synonymous of magnetism. Deleuze says: "the change which occurs inside us when we act magnetically and the feeling which persuades us we are in communication...are things impossible to describe". The chevalier de Lausanne, an early writer, is more precise on some aspects and says: " While drawing your hands slowly before your patient at the distance of three or four inches, and holding your fingers slightly bent, you will feel, either at the ends of the fingers, or at the palm of the hand, different sensations as they pass" and "You may experience a feeling ...in the internal organs of your body". Many other authors use similar expressions. The fact that Magnetism posed such an importance on inner aspects of the experience explains its later impact on art and philosophy. As opposed to relying on external signs, it stands out as a method where inner sensations and inner intuition are seen as guides.
The various further developments of “mesmerism” and somnambulism have been recently documented extensively, and there is no longer any doubt about its key importance for the magnetic movement with regards to a whole series of extremely inﬂuential, and closely interrelated, developments in nineteenth-and twentieth-century culture.
Animal Magnetism and its so- called "higher" phenomena has been in fact extremely appealing both to the crowds and to many men of science. It posed in fact a threat to the rational logic attitude, and at a certain point it became a very popular practice that spread throughout almost all levels.
The key point is that in mesmerism knowledge is extracted from "intuition". Taking one of Mesmer’s examples: in a similar way as intuition guides birds toward the right path, reconnnecting to Nature and its inner perceived "flow" can bring both health, and hence the magnetic cures. This reconnection also allows the gaining of higher truths as human development lies inside man.
A not exclusive list of the mesmeric developments would mention its influence on German Romantic culture, on Naturphilosophie and the philosophies of Schelling and Schopenauer that developed the concepts of "indeterminism". In France philosophy magnetism and its later development influenced the works of Maine de Biran and Bergson The further development of some aspects of magnetism into the streams of spiritualism and occultism brought in the twentieth century not only the continuation of this stream but also the offspring of parapsychological researches both in America (William James) as in Russia. Another direct derivation is the American New Thought movement and its many offshoots up to the present day, the theosophical movement that still holds Mesmer as one of its spiritual master, and in the psychological field, the “discovery of the unconscious” and namely of the idea of accessing to untapped potentials typical of somnambulistic séances leading to modern concepts in psychology and psychiatry. Modern hypnotism also represents clearly a stream born from animal magnetism. In Sociology some researchers have argued that the theory of the "social bound" of Durckheim could be reconducted to the influence of the contemporary researches in magnetism and on the evolution of the concept of "magnetic rapport". In the artistic field, various artists such as Kandinsky cite many magnetic authors in their books’ references with regards to their aptitude in tapping unconscious resources. On the literary side Animal Magnetism influenced and/or inspired Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Mary Shelley, John Keats, Edgar Allan Poe and many others.
A number of treatises on Mesmerism were published in England between 1840 and 1860, and others were translated from French and German; Ashburner, Barth, Townshend, Colquhoun, William Gregory, Sandby, and some others, wrote works on Mesmerism. Townshend was a former skeptic who became very passionate about animal magnetism. Colquhon wrote “Isis Revelata”, a book that was translated in many languages. Isis Revelata was one the few only treatises written in English which attempted to give a far-reaching exposition of the historical and philosophical context of animal magnetism. As such it furnished a strong impetus to the establishment in England of animal magnetism as a subject worthy of serious consideration.
The Society of Harmony
The study of animal magnetism spurred the creation of the Societies of Harmony in France, where members pay to join and learn the practice of magnetism. Dr John Bell was a member of the Philosophical Harmonic Society of Paris and was certified by the society to lecture and teach animal magnetism in England. The existence of the societies transformed animal magnetism into a secretive art. Practitioners and lecturers did not reveal the techniques of the practice based on the society members having paid for instruction, and the idea that it was unfair to reveal the practice to others for free. Although the heightened secrecy of the practice contributed to the skepticism about it, many supporters and practitioners of animal magnetism touted the ease and possibility for everyone to acquire the skills to perform its techniques.
Mesmerism and British Romanticism
The science of mesmerism emerged roughly at the end of the Age of Enlightenment and the very early beginnings of Romanticism. Originally introduced by Franz Anton Mesmer, the emergence of mesmerism during this time significantly influenced British social, political, and cultural thought. This influence is reflected in literature and lectures produced by writers, philosophers, and politicians during this time. The excitement created by this early influence of mesmerism eventually led to a deeper Victorian era fascination with the ideas of mesmerism. Mesmerism also fueled practices such as magnetism and hypnosis.
Mesmerism was introduced and practiced in France before it made its way over the English Channel. The negative reception by a part of the French elite and discrediting of Mesmer by a committee created by the King in France led to a shaky, uncertain reception in Britain. However, its continued practice and development by others such as Marques of Puysegur into hypnotism and somnambulistic states of being caused mesmerism to receive as much criticism as well as popularity in Britain. It is to note that Puysegur published his Memoirs in London at the same time as in Paris. This mixed reception in Britain can be attributed by the changes and concerns of the time period including the conflict between factual science and mesmerism as a study of pseudo-science and well as the rise of consumerism.
Socially and culturally, mesmerism was first received, popularized and debated among elite, intellectual circles. Ironically, the practice of mesmerism was also often deemed a theatrical falsity or “quackery” by elitists and the upper class. Why mesmerism was given so much attention can probably be attributed to the questions and concerns that it raised. Intellectuals wondered about the implications of mesmerism and how it could impact philosophical, political and social thought. Mesmerism and hypnosis were practices that involved unseen powers but were a popularized by the belief that they worked and were seen to have worked. What made mesmerism such a widely spread topic was because although it was a direct challenge to science and tangible objects, it was also fueled by its relation to the growing science of electricity and magnetism.
A clear example of this mixed reception is a 1790 publication, where an editor presented a series of letters written by an avid supporter of animal magnetism and included his own thoughts in an appendix stating: "No fanatics ever divulged notions more wild and extravagant; no impudent empiric ever retailed promises more preposterous, or histories of cures more devoid of reality, than the tribe of Magnetisers."
The novelist and playwright Elizabeth Inchbald wrote the farce Animal Magnetism in the late 1780s. The plot revolved around multiple love triangles and the absurdity of animal magnetism. The following passage mocks the medical prowess of those qualified only as Mesmerists:
Doctor: They have refused to grant me a diploma—forbid me to practice as a physician, and all because I don't know a parcel of insignificant words; but exercise my profession according to the rules of reason and nature; Is it not natural to die, then if a dozen or two of my patients have died under my hands, is not that natural? …
Although the Doctor's obsession with the use of animal magnetism, not merely to cure but to force his ward to fall in love with him, made for a humorous storyline, Inchbald’s light-hearted play commented on what society perceived as threats posed by the practice.
This initial aptitude changed over time in England. There has been a marked increase in the practice of mesmerism by an upon very respectable persons during the period from 1843 to the early 1850s. The most potent factor was the steadily rising number of surgical operations conducted upon mesmeric anesthesia.
Dickens and his interest in mesmerism
The mesmeric trance came later to be associated with higher vision, insight and inspiration among Romantic thinkers. Dickens was personally drawn into the practice of mesmerism in the 1840s.
Dickens argued for a serious view of "animal magnetism" (or mesmerism) as "a power that can heal the sick, and give the sleepless rest". Dickens was part of a circle of prominent professionals, physicians as Dr. John Elliotson (famous mesmerist) and actor William Charles Macready, who also dabbled in mesmerism. It was Charles Dickens who brought a copy of Scribe's mesmeric farce Irene. Dickens got up even an amateur production of Inchbald's Animal Magnetism in the same year.
For Dickens, animal magnetism afforded a crucial means of investigating clairvoyant powers and sympathetic bonds between individuals. Elliotson described the clairvoyant trance as a manifestation of the "highly magnetised" state. Dickens experimented with a certain Mme Augusta de La Rue. During his treatment, Dickens claimed to have experienced sympathetic impressions and was himself affected from Augusta's mind. In the victorian era mesmerism was seen as the research on an entanglement between minds much more than a matter of influence. Dickens's life and fiction reveal other connections between theatre and Mesmerism. For instance, he wrote a play called The Frozen Deep which included a character who became clairvoyant in a trance state.
Political influence in 1790
Politically, mesmerism was used as an explanation for a confusing time frame involving not only a resistance to enlightened thought but also a period fraught with war and conflict, including the French Revolution. The French revolution created a lot of internal political friction in Britain among those who supported the revolution and those who opposed it. James Tilly Matthews was among one of many Britons who strongly believed that mesmerism would be the cause of the government’s eventual downfall. Jailed by the Jacobins in 1793, he was released in 1796 and returned to Britain where he believed Britain had been invaded by “magnetic spies.” These spies included Prime Minister Pitt, who Matthews believed were responsible for mesmerizing the people into passive citizens into puppets. Likewise, political individuals and those in government positions who faced the daunting task of maintaining a stable country in the midst of warfare and political strife, also used mesmerism as an explanation for the behavior of political dissenters and radicals like Matthews. From their point of view, radicals and political dissenters were attempting to mesmerize those around them to become politically disruptive in a state that was trying to respond to all the occurring changes. Mesmerism thus became a politically threatening tool because it was believed that it could be used to bend the will of individuals.
The French revolution catalyzed existing internal political friction in Britain in the 1790s; a few political radicals used animal magnetism as more than just a moral threat but also a political threat. Among many lectures warning society against government oppression, Samuel Taylor Coleridge also wrote:
“William Pitt, the great political Animal Magnetist,…has most foully worked on the diseased fancy of Englishmen …thrown the nation into a feverish slumber, and is now bringing it to a crisis which may convulse mortality!”
Major politicians and people in power were accused by radicals to be practicing animal magnetism on the general population.
In his article “Under the Influence: Mesmerism in England”, Roy Porter notes that James Tilly Matthews suggested that the French were infiltrating England via animal magnetism. Matthews believed that “magnetic spies” would invade England and bring it under subjection by transmitting waves of animal magnetism to subdue the government and people. Such an invasion from foreign influences was perceived as a radical threat.
Mesmerism and spiritual healing in England
Mesmerism also produced enthusiasm as well as inspired horror in the spiritual and religious context. Though discredited by a part of the physicians as a credible medical practice, mesmerism nonetheless created a venue for spiritual healing. Some animal magnetists and hypnotists advertised their practices by stressing the “spiritual rather than the physical benefits to be gained from animal magnetism” and were able to gather a good clientele from among the spiritually inspired population. The Marques of Pursegur’s miraculous act of hypnotism in 1784 brought about questions and wonders involving the human soul. The Marques of Pursegur was able to hypnotize a sick young man named Victor and while hypnotized, Victor was said to have been able to speak articulately, and diagnose his own sickness. This “magnetic sleep revealed the potential dwelling in everyone but realized only by a few.”
Mesmerism as a medical practice was popularized among the lower classes precisely because they had access to a form of healing that was not controlled by authorities. Potential sexual exploitation of women by men who performed mesmeric healing also contributed to the criticism. Part of this criticism stem from the fact that mesmerism became so theatre-like. It was also hard to distinguish between doctors who had attended medical school and were fully knowledgeable and those who just bought their degrees.
Mesmerism and literature during the romantic era
Within the literary world, mesmerism, animal magnetism, hypnosis and the somnambulistic state were all aspects of the straddle between the reasoned enlightenment age and the romantic era. Mesmerism became a huge impact on many romantic writers, one of the most notable being Samuel Tayler Coleridge. His poems often dealt with topics relating to mesmerism and dreams. A few of these poems include Kubla Khan and Rime of the Ancient Mariner. In the note that comes before the poem Kubla Khan, Coleridge writes about an experience in which he compose hundreds of lines by memory but loses all memory of those lines upon interruption by a visitor. Although there are many disputed explanations including drug use by Coleridge to explain this strange experience; mesmerism, as it was a fascination and a devoted area of study by Coleridge, is arguably a likely explanation of his experience. In the poem the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, mesmerism can arguably be applied to the fate of both the mariner and the wedding guest. The mariner and his fellow sailors become mesmerized after he shoots the albatross. Once saved, the mariner must tell his story to whoever will listen and he is able to get the wedding guest to listen to his story by mesmerizing him. Mesmerism also brought about questions about the horrors of scientific advancement. Mesmer’s animal magnetism and the studies of electric current through which life can be controlled may be contributors to the writing so of Mary Shelley (Frankenstein) and John Keats.
In Germany, almost all the university towns, public lectures on the subject of mesmerism were given and in this country, mesmerism was fully accepted and practiced. For example, in 1785, Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland, a medical practitioner living in Weimar – where he became part of Goethe’s intellectual circle – concerns himself with Mesmer und sein Mesmerismus; a quarter of a century later, while he is the medical head at Berlin’s Charité and chief physician of Frederick William III, Hufeland writes about the existence of a Sympathie which, in nature, has "the effect of connecting everything together, in so doing going on to also explain the most unique relationship which holds together magnetizing therapist and magnetized patient. This relationship is portrayed as being so intimate as to turn the pair of such individuals into a single person".
Early in the nineteenth century, Gotthilf Heinrich Schubert integrated mesmerism into his course of academic lectures. Prof. Ennemoser, one of the main practitioners stated: "Mesmerism is based on experiences that everybody can have. These experiences are solidly grounded in the field of Knowledge." Mesmer's original theory was of the existence of a universal medium or “fluid”. The free and regular circulation of it through a human being produced health, while any obstruction, or impediment to that free circulation, caused disease. Germany naturally adopted the practices or methods of Mesmer's School, namely, the touchings, pressures and pointings, and the baquets, and chains. Ferdinand Koreff and Christian Wolfart, two mesmerists, were inaugurated as professors to the Medicine department of Berlin University. A good friend of Koreff, A. Hoffmann wrote "Der Magnetiseur" (1813) and thereby joined authors like Novalis and Kleist in introducing mesmerisms into German literature. The Science Academy of Berlin, offered a prize consisting of 3,300 francs—for the best explanatory thesis on the science.
It is a curious fact that Mesmer, though German-speaking, is mentioned only somewhat rarely in the early German mesmeric literature until 1809. It seems to have widely assumed that he was dead. However, though he had kept out of the public eye for over twenty years, Mesmer was still alive and tolerably robust. In 1812, the Prussian Academy of Science decided to invite Mesmer to lecture in Berlin. It was Wolfart who went to see Mesmer, and although his attempt to persuade him to visit Berlin was unsuccessful he brought back with him a long manuscript of Mesmer's, which Wolfart edited and published in 1814. In 1817, a public hospital was established in Berlin, in which no medicines were used. Only Mesmerism was adopted. The eminent Hufeland, originally an unbeliever, was the principal physician of this hospital; Hufeland was the most eminent practical physician of his time in Germany and fifteen volumes containing the clinical details and statistics of the cases treated magnetically were published.
Writing in 1816, Koreff noted that it was not especially in nervous illnesses that Wolfart obtained most beneficial results. He succeeded with ailments ranging from scrofula, ankylosis, and eye problems to haemorroids and bleeding in the womb. In some cases ordinary remedies had failed and no result was anticipated
Relation to magnetic sleep and German literature
In the German Romantic literature on somnambulism, the theory of magnetic sleep was developed into a countermetaphysics directed wholesale against Enlightenment rationalism. In the paradigmatic formulations of Justinus Kerner, the shallow daylight" world of the rationalist, whose hard glass skull (tabula vitrea)" keeps him isolated from intuitions of a higher world, stands against the profoundly meaningful nocturnal" world of the somnambules, who know from direct experience that behind the brutal realities of social and material existence there is a much larger, all-encompassing, and deeply meaningful life. Hence there are two complementary worlds, or levels of reality each with its own specific mode of experience and expression: while the Enlightenment reduces everything to cold logic and discursive prose, its alternative expresses itself through profound symbols and poetic language. When our bodily senses shut down temporarily, and we descend into dream or somnambulic trance, our soul "wakes up" to the larger world whence it has come and where it really belongs. The rationalist, in contrast, is spiritually asleep. He lives in a state of artificial isolation from his own soul and its powers of perception, incapable of understanding the language of symbols and poetry. He naively believes that his brain and his senses show him all there is, never realizing that they are obstacles rather than reliable instruments for discovering the deeper "secrets of nature."
Mesmerism and the "knowledge of the hearth"
German Romantic intellectuals were defending the scientific superiority of a humanistic worldview with the inner nature and sensitivity of man at its center. This worldview was based on paracelsian and theosophical foundations, the same original basis of Mesmer's doctrine. They saw the "daylight" rational and cerebral knowledge as powerless to grasp the deeper "nightside" and inner truths and intuitions of the soul. These deeper truths were deemed now accessible using the non verbal techniques of animal magnetism and "artificial somnambulism" of Puysegur. Specific techniques (essentially "magnetic passes") were used to activate the "ganglionic system" (centered at the solar plexus, and corresponding to the automous nervous system) presented as the organ of the unconscious soul.(These developments of mesmerism were based upon a medical theory proposed in 1807 be the respected physician Johann Christian Reil and were adopted by Carl Alexander Ferdinand Kluge in an influential textbook of animal magnetism published in 1811).
In the practice, the so called "hearth cavity" was one of the first physical points were passes (movements of the hands near the body accompanied by intention of the operator) were directed. The goal was to awaken a reenergize it. This physical point was in fact in the hypochondrium (the upper region of the abdomen, marked by the lower ribs), now usually linked to the solar plexus but known in nineteenth-century Germany as die "Herzgrube": the heart cavity.
For Paracelsus and Johannes Baptista von Helmont this was the seat of the archaeus or "life spirit," and it assumed a crucial importance in the practice of German mesmerism as well. An earlier mesmerist, Tardy de Montravel, pointed to this point as the physical location of activation of the "interior sense". And in fact, this zone was constantly highlighted as one the main organ of clairvoyant perception in somnambulist. However, it was only in the artificial state of somnambulistic sleep, or trance, that the ganglionic system was seen as revealing its full potential. Countless observers described how patients in such a condition displayed what was perceived by contemporaries as psychic abilities, including intuitions in general, hypersensitivity, precognition, clairvoyance and supposed mystical visions of higher worlds and divine realities, and a vast literature ensued. In other words: against the cold rational knowledge of the brain associated with the cerebral system the German mesmerists highlighted the superior spiritual "knowledge of the heart" associated with the ganglionic counterpart and in general with the involuntary system, activated by the use of "magnetic" techniques. This "knowledge of the hearth" included what was considered as "paranormal" or clairvoyant perception, but went far beyond it to embrace metaphysical realms (the most famous of all these somnambulistic patients was Friederick Hauffe, known as "the seeress of Prevorst" whose case was described in detail by the poet and physician Justinus Kerner). Ultimately, then, this 'knowledge of the hearth' was understood as a gnosis about divine things coming from the soul, infinitely superior to the merely rational knowledge of the upper brain, and the testimonies of the exterior senses.
Carl Gustav Jung as a successor of some mesmerists' ideologies
The dutch researcher Hanegraaf notes how one century later, very similar concepts of "knowledge of the hearth" would be formulated in all simplicity by one of "their most influential modern successors, Carl Gustav Jung." He says: "my soul cannot be the object of my judgement and knowledge – rather, my judgement ad knowledge are objects of my soul"
In German philosophy
Mesmerism was also very developed in Germany under a philosophical point of view. The German mesmerists showed the romanticist attraction to seeking universal truths. They perceived in Mesmer's magnetic fluid the justification for the notion that the Universe was a living organism. Mesmers’ idea of a sixth sense which endowed humans in trance with prophetic abilities and getting in touch with the whole universe, moved them to search how this technique would enable the human mind to communicate with the “World Soul”. Among the most prominent personalities of that age, Schelling detects in the magnetic fluid a tool, placed at man's disposal, which enables him to communicate with the cosmic soul; Fichte, after he attended some sessions of induced somnambulism, reflects upon the extent to which the individuality of the self is relative and modifiable. Arthur Schopenhauer says
"Considered...[from] the philosophical point of view, animal magnetism is the most pregnant of all discoveries that have ever been made, although for the time being it propounds rather than solves riddles. It is really practical metaphysics..[A] time will come when philosophy, animal magnetism, and natural science...will shed so bright a light on one another that truths will be discovered at which we could not otherwise hope to arrive"(Schopenhauer).
The country in which the German version of animal Magnetism caught on most extensively was Russia.
The early period
In 1816, the emperor of Russia appointed a committee for the purpose of making an examination of Animal Magnetism. This committee declared from its experiments that magnetism is a very important agent which should be entrusted only to the hands of well-informed physicians ; "It was ordered that those physicians who would occupy themselves with the magnetic practice, should give an account every three months of their operations, and that the committee itself should, every three months, present a report to the emperor.
In 1817 the Tzar sent one of his family’s physicians, Stoffregen, to visit Wolfart , a former student of Mesmer. Other important researchers of German origin were dr. Loewental, who did researches on somnambulism and thought transference, and dr. Reuss. In 1818, Kluge's book Animal Magnetism Presented in its Historical, Practical and Theoretical Content was published in a Russian translation by Vellanskiy . Soon after there came interest of the native Russians. In 1818, Count N.P. Panin, (1770–1837) a former Russian ambassador to Prussia, published a case report. Then in the same year the first russian book on the subject was written, D. Velianski's Zhivotniy Magnetizm. Veliansky was professor of physiology and pathology at the Imperial Academy of St. Petersburg.
In Russia a few magnetizers were active in the period between 1830 and 1850. The practice of animal magnetism by non-medical persons was banned and a leading magnetizer of the time, Andrey Ivanovitch Pashkov, was sentenced to a long term imprisonment.
Mix with Spiritualism
After 1875, Russian Spiritualism and animal magnetism were dominated by Aleksandr Nikolaevich Aksakov (1823–1903), the nephew of the writer Sergei Timofeevich Aksakov. Encountering difficulties in publishing material on spiritualism and animal magnetism in Russia, he founded the respected journal "Psychische Studien" in Leipzig in the year 1874. In it he published both original and translated material on spiritualism and animal magnetism.
Following the censorship reforms which came about after 1905, many journals were published with the intent of keeping interested Russian readers informed on animal magnetism, somnambulism, and Naturphilosophie. A series of books of the "Library of Magnetism was published in Kiev . Continuing with Mesmer’s idea of magnetism as a "sixth sense", an inner sensation, the discovery and measurement of sensations was a topic of mainstream medical research. Vladimir Bekterev came to the idea of thought transference by way of neurology.
At the imperial Court
In any case interest in magnetism was always present at the highest level as is proved by the visit of dr. Encausse, a physician practising magnetism who, along with Hector Durville, directed the most important French school of magnetism. Encausse’s first contact with the royal family occurred during their visit to Paris in 1896. Encausse visited Russia three times, in 1901, 1905, and 1906, serving Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra both as a physician and occult consultant. The Tsar's sister-in-law, the Grand Duchess Militsa, was an enthusiastic seeker of 'occult' truth, and she introduced him at court. Although Encausse seems to have served the Tzar and Tsarina in what was essentially his magnetic capacity, he was later curiously concerned about their heavy reliance on occultism to assist them in deciding questions of government. During their later correspondence, he warned them a number of times against the influence of Rasputin. Encausse presented Dr. Philippe (Philippe Nizier-Anthèlme Vachod, also Maitre Philippe de Lyon), to the court of Nicholas II. Maitre Philippe was a very successful healer and directed the school of magnetism of Lyon. When Nizier arrived in 1902, he had a powerful effect on the Romanovs. This led to the Lyons’ Mesmerist being given a state office. While at the Russian court, the Tzar became very attached to Master Philippe and is known to have sought out his opinion in all types of matters. On September 21, 1901, Nizier was at the Imperial Court, and announced the birth of a son in 1904, which would later be followed by a military defeat… and a Revolution. Indeed, since Rasputin arrived much later than Master Philippe, one could argue that the Tzar missed having a man like Master Philippe around, and therefore Rasputin could be seen as his successor.
Pre-war and post-war experiments
The studies of animal magnetism began and became part of the Russian parapsychological research. In the 1920s and 1930s, Leonid Vasiliev recognized a comprehensive series of experiments by reproducing Puysegur’s experiences. The complete account of these experiments was not published until 1962. (Vasiliev, 1962). This book was translated into English, under the aegis of C. C. L. Gregory and Anita Kohsen (Gregory), and published in 1963 under the title, "Experiments in Mental Suggestion". A revised edition appeared in 1976 as "Experiments in Distant Influence". There is also a long series of experiments tending to investigate the effects of magnetism in healing. They have been well reviewed by Solfvin (1984) and by Benor (1984, 1985, 1988). Both selected and unselected participants attempted to mentally influence the growth or viability of bacteria, fungus colonies, yeast, and plants or to influence the movements of protozoa, larvae woodlice, ants, chicks, mice, rats, gerbils, and cats. A few experiments involved attempts to influence cellular preparations (blood cells, neurons, cancer cells) or enzyme activity. A term proposed in these last researches which describes many of the same properties which are attributed to animal magnetism was “bioplasma”.
In the Caribbean and Haiti
It seems that New Orleans was the hub through which Mesmerism made its way to Haiti. The banker Kornmann received 2,400 livres from Saint Domingue which means there were at least ten members of the society in Haiti prior to the revolution. But the key connection is a figure called the Armand-Marie-Jacques de Chastenet, Marquis of Puységur. Armand-Marie-Jacques de Chastenet, Marquis of Puységur was the eldest of three aristocratic French brothers who were trained in the arts of mesmerism. Jacques Maxime de Chastenet, the Viscount de Puysegur (1755-1848), the youngest brother, was a military officer, who used magnetism to treat his soldiers. Antoine Hyacinthe, the Count de Chastenet (1752-1809), the middle brother, was a naval officer who brought mesmerism lo the French colony of Saint Domingue later called Haiti. There magnetism became popular among slaveholders, as well as the enslaved, each having their own benefits. Puysegur at the inaugural discourse of the Harmony Society of Haiti pronounced a discourse where he said: "Humanity! What for a word that now sounds in the New World! Spirits of the americans, stand out! Africans put high your chains! And you, white man, oppressor, self imbued European ... listen! America offer the most striking contrast. In the North of America, native americans are free as Nature is; in the Southern side men are sold as cows; ...We don't want these atrocities; they are the product of a politic that loose its principles, and not the crime of a single man...Slavery is a fight between the master and the slave... The brother of the Marquis developed a technique whereby a tree is magnetised and the peasants on the estate hold the branches of the tree as the magnetic power was passed through them. One of the biographers of Mesmer claimed that "it was during one of these sessions that a group of Negro slaves confused Mesmerism with witchcraft ..., and the authorities banned the practice". Mesmerism supposedly fueled the mix of voodoo and other African spiritual practices that agitated the slave population into rebellion. It was because of this that Mesmer himself boasted that his science was responsible for the Haitian Revolution. In Saint Domingue (pre-Revolutionary Haiti) Magnetism and the ideas of freedom diffused by Puysegur become as a psychic epidemic amongst the Negro slaves, increasing their self esteem and desire to be free, and the French domination ended in a bloodbath. Later Mesmer boasted that the new Republic, now called Haiti, owed its independence to him and his science was responsible for the Haitian Revolution. Mesmerist practices became so widespread among the Black slaves that were incorporated into their original Voodoo cult. The connection between magnetism and voudo is shown by the fact that the voudo priests are called even now "Maitiseurs" a contraction of the frenche word "Magnétiseur".
In North America
1784–1833 – Early mesmerists: Marquis de Lafayette, Dr. Benjamin Rush
In America mesmerism split into its component parts and evolved into the different streams of hypnotism, spiritism, New Thought and the so-called mental healing.
As early at 1784, mesmerism was a topic which was introduced into the highest levels of American society by the Marquis de Lafayette in a letter he wrote to George Washington. Lafayette was a member of Mesmer's Societé de l'Harmonie and sought permission from its founder to communicate its teachings. Mesmer himself wrote to Washington on June 16, 1784, confirming that Lafayette could speak on his behalf, which he did before the American Philosophical society and elsewhere. American Founding Father Benjamin Rush, the most famous American physician of his time, and father of American Psychiatry, integrated animal magnetism in his practice and in 1789 referred briefly to animal magnetism in his "Duties of a Physician". There has been magnetic society in New Orleans as early as 1833.
Three public lectures on Animal Magnetism were delivered at the Owenite "Hall of Science" in New York in 1829 by Joseph Du Common, an instructor in French at West Point Military Academy, and subsequently published. This pamphlet was the basis for experiments conducted in Cleveland, Ohio, by Dr. Samuel Underhill, who published the first journal on the subject in the United States. The Annals of Animal Magnetism was published in Cleveland from September to November, 1838.
1836 – Charles Poyen and the spread of mesmerism in America
When mesmerism really crossed the ocean and touched the masses it was instead with a frenchman, Charles Poyen, who made himself known as the "Professor of Animal Magnetism”. In 1836 M. Poyen, a pupil of Puysegur, went to New York from Paris and aroused great interest by the practice and exposition of the principles of mesmerism. He also translated the favourable French report on animal magnetism produced in 1831 by a Commission guided by Husson Bringing volunteers from the audience to the stage, Poyen produced interesting somnambulic trances. His meetings had the character of religious revivals and, coupled with his talent as a presenter, he could appeal to utopian yearnings and confidentially prophesy that this new teaching was destined to make America "the most perfect nation in the world”. Poyen demonstrated remarkable healings of both physical and mental ailment. And, he trained new magnetizers who formed a lasting core of practitioners in the United States. In Providence alone, it was said that over 100 people were "magnetizing" by the end of 1837. One of Poyen’s students was the reverend Laroy Sunderland. Sunderland went to him for instruction, but soon he found that his own ability was quite equal to the Frenchman's. "When," declared Sunderland, "a” magnetic “relation is once established between an operator and his patient..., corresponding changes may be induced in the nervous system of the latter (awake or entranced) by mere volition, and by suggestions addressed to either of the external senses.” Sunderland published the revue “The Magnet”.
Phineas Quimby's healings and the origins of New Thought
Another student of Poyen was the young Phineas Parkhurst Quimby (1802–1866), whose own interpretation of mesmerism was to create the foundation of the New Thought movement. Impressed by Poyen, Quimby established himself as a mesmeric healer. Quimby simplified mesmerism. He still held that the source of health was the magnetic fluid or force, but he added that beliefs functioned as a sort of "control valves or floodgates" which were able to interrupt the flow. Among his patients, however, were several willing and eager to carry on the work he had begun—if, perhaps, to continue and extend it along lines undreamed of by him. One of these patients, Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy, became the founder of Christian Science. The launching of The New Thought movement came about thanks to two others disciples of Quimby: Warren F. Evans and Julian A. Dresser. Quimby was a tireless healer. In 1865 he treated 12000 people through a combination of techniques. Mary Baker Eddy was an invalid when she came to Quimby suffering from chronic and painful ailments. He healed her of her symptoms and inspired her to begin her own career in mental healing. When the Dressers accused Eddy of distorting Quimby's teachings, Eddy claimed Quimby's having healed her was only temporary, as her true healing was accomplished through Jesus and the intervention of the Bible. Eddy took a very hard line against mesmerism, not denying its apparent reality or power, but emphasizing its malicious possibilities. A chapter of the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, is entitled "Animal Magnetism Unmasked". In it, the book's author, Mary Baker Eddy, says about "the workings of animal magnetism" that "its effects upon those who practise [sic] it, and upon their subjects who do not resist it, lead to moral and to physical death.". Christian Science later rejected the new theories of hypnosis in the same way.
Robert Collyer, Theodore Léger and the ideology of American mesmerism
The same year Poyen left for Europe an Englishman, Robert Collyer, arrived in America and began a lecture tour spreading mesmerism along the Atlantic coast. Collyer’s idea of mesmerism was based on the brain’s power to visualize thought and transform ideas into pictures. His visual theory of mesmerism and his “embodiment of thought” reemerged in the works of Poe, Bulwyer-Litten and Dickens. (Collyer knew Poe and Dickens. He had corresponded with Poe and Dickens and had even visited them on his trip to America). Lectures on the subject of mesmerism were equally delivered in New York in 1829, by Du Commun, a pupil of Mesmer, and by Dr. Underhill in various places from 1834 to 1838.
Another innovator was Dr. Theodore Léger, the "Psychodunamist". He, however, was a magnetiser from De Puysegur's school, for he was Deleuze's pupil and intimate friend. (Deleuze died, a very old man, in 1833). Dr. Leger lectured and practiced in the United States in 1844, accompanied by a medical clairvoyant who was remarkably successful. Although he was practically a simple magnetiser, he had some influence upon the march of events, especially in the United States, by the doubts he cast upon some of the theories of the magnetisers through his own metaphysical doctrines, and through his substitution of the name “Psychodunamy” (from Psyche soul, and Dunamis power) for "Animal Magnetism.”
The influence of Poyen and Collyer generated a widespread interest in mesmerism, but, in contrast to Europe, where it was first born in the aristocracy and attracted the upper class, mesmerism was to have its impact in America on the lives of a large middle class. In America mesmerism was first and foremost an ideology of personal inner liberation. It emphasized the inherent goodness of the inner self and led to the development of practices that were designed to expand, revitalize, and finally liberate the spirituality. Patients exhibited spiritual gifts while in trance, and after contact with the source of spiritual energy patients felt invigorated, renewed, transformed. The phenomena of the trance condition appealed very strongly to the popular imagination, but scarcely to most men of science of the ninetieth century. It was generally believed that, even granting their genuineness, no useful purpose would be served by investigating them. As opposed to Europe, despite its use by a few medical practitioners during the decade 1840–1850, no school of mesmerism was established in America. In America mesmerism was an open field: each researcher developed a different aspect of its potentialities and tried to explain it in a different way. Thus J. S. Grimes, a Professor of Medical Jurisprudence and a dabbler in phrenology, suggested that it was due to the action of a general force which he called etherium. Dr. J. R. Buchanan, another phrenologist, preferred the hypothesis of a subtle emanation. Buchanan in fact was the proposer of a technique he called “psychometry” that he explained in a similar way.
Fahnstock and mesmeric pain relief for obstetrics
Along with Buchanan, one of the most remarkable of this group of American mesmeric innovators was Dr. William B. Fahnstock, a physician residing and practicing in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, whose "Statuvolism" created considerable interest in the U.S., although little known in Europe. Fahnestock executed the First Cases of Mesmeric Pain Relief for Obstetrics in America. The name of his own form of mesmerism (statusvolism) is derived from status (state) and volo (I will), and signifies a state, or peculiar condition, produced by the will. In his book, "Statuvolism, or Artificial Somnambulism" (1866, though long before that time he had published pamphlets on the subject), Dr. Fahnstock says that he therein presents the result of thirty years of research and experience; and this gives him a few years' priority over Braid. His system, however, is the very antithesis of that of Braid, for he makes use of a purely psychological method, without fixation of the eyes, or nervous or arterial changes; and also without the passes or contact with the magnetisers. Nevertheless, Fahnstock recognised a great difference between the statuvolic and the mesmeric conditions, although both are states of artificial somnambulism-the difference being that the subject in the former state feels free, while the one in the latter a “creature” of his magnetiser. Of the statuvolic state he says: "The operator has no power to produce this condition, and, … has nothing to do with it. His health, temperament, age, etc., as a matter of course, are also immaterial, so that his intelligence, mental character, and knowledge, are of such a nature as to be worthy of the trust placed in him; his skill in managing persons and curing diseases, etc., will depend entirely upon his knowledge of the state, his acquaintance with the nature of diseases, and his intelligence and tact in fixing and properly directing the minds of his patients.."
Mesmerism and "electrical psychology"
Another peculiar element of many American mesmerists is religion. “The preoccupation of American mesmerists with religion rather than medicine provides a striking contrast to the theories and practices of mesmerism originating in Europe. The context in which one was magnetized was less clinical and more like a religious revival.” In fact, a significant number of mesmerists were themselves former revivalists, and even when they weren't, they still were likely to follow the New England revival circuit. Dods was typical of this group of men. He had been a Universalist minister in Provincetown, Massachusetts before becoming a mesmerist. Rev. J. B. Dods, sought to explain animal magnetism on an electrical basis and founded the so called electro-biology. “Dr. Dods's 'Electrical Psychology' is nothing less than a system of nature, resembling in some ways Mesmer's Animal Magnetism. Dr. Dods himself, however, had studied Mesmer's theories, and had published a commentary on them”. Dods makes this distinction-"Electrical Psychology is the doctrine of impressions (i.e. it is more mental), Mesmerism is the doctrine of sympathy." (i.e. magnetism is more physical). In regard to mind, Dods seems to have anticipated "Mental Science": "Mind or spirit is of itself embodied and living form. It is spiritual organism in absolute perfection, and from mind itself all form and beauty emanate. The body of man is but an outshoot or manifestation of his mind. .. " Dods, Grimes and other electrobiologists worked with large crowds of people and produced in their subjects the symptoms and behaviours that would later become the main spectacles of stage hypnosis: catalepsy, insensitivity to pain, amnesia and apparently involuntary actions out of character for the individuals who produced them. Dods felt that mesmerism would provide scientific proof for key aspects of religious faith. Dods considered animal magnetism to be "the grand agent employed by the creator to move and govern the universe”.
From "electro-biology" to "hypnotism"
Electro-biology is the same as Dods's Electrical Psychology, but those who practiced it were entertainers rather than instructors of the public, as Dr. Dods endeavoured, at least, to be. The ideas and the methods they employed are worthy of much more attention than is generally accorded to them. They underlie the theory and practice of modern hypnotism. The most interesting accounts on these electrobiologists’ methods are given by William Gregory in his "Letters on Animal Magnetism" of the methods and the results obtained by Darling and Lewis, two electro-biologists that went on tour to England. In 1850 Darling came from America to England, where he exhibited the phenomena of electro-biology; their identity with those of Braid’s hypnotism was soon recognized. Even Durand de Gros[disambiguation needed], a French doctor who had lived in America, returned in 1853 to Europe, and exhibited the phenomena of electrobiology in several countries, but aroused little interest. Under the psudonyme of dr. Phillips wrote the book “Braidism”. Even if it is probable that electrobiologists antecede Braid in the conception of their system it is probably after this European period of some of these electro-biologists that the name “Hypnotism” began to be used by electro-biologists as more pregnant as the old name of electro-biology. The system of electro-biology (named progressively hypnotism) slowly began to characterize itself as a method with different characteristics from traditional animal magnetism.
Many important mesmerists complained that electrobiology was different from mainstream mesmerism as the base of results was concentration by the subject combined with verbal suggestion by the operator, rather than procedures distinctively mesmeric and based on concentration and self development of the operator. John Elliotson, one of the most important practicing English mesmerists, said that the phenomena "resulted from imagination, excited by suggestion in a slight degree of mesmerism" and coined the word "submesmerism". An anonymous article in the 1849 Cincinnati “Journal of Man” of expressed regret at the demise of the practice of non verbal hand passes and so on. Modern mesmerists, it complained, simply ordered their subjects to sleep. With hindsight, we can see how the electro-biologists’ practice was closer to what we would now recognize as hypnotism, but at the time it seemed to some as though they were ignoring the welfare of their subjects, by failing to recharge their bodies with the vital magnetic ﬂuid. William Gregory said that the electrobiological phenomena was "auto-magnetism". Traditional medical magnetic inductions were mainly non-verbal. Another difference was that in electrobiology words were often used, and the subjects were divided in “susceptibles” and “not susceptibles” (in Mesmer’s view the action of magnetism ceases when a person is healthy, but for most of his magnetic successors everybody will in some way respond and there are not unresponsive subjects). Technique apart, an unexpected consequence of electobiologists’ demonstrations, and perhaps of audience expectations, was that they established many of the criteria by which even today hypnotists test for susceptibility and recognize that their subjects are in a trance state. Of course, they were building on the work of their predecessors in Europe, but unwittingly they established much of the vocabulary for later academic discussion. In fact it is to note that both Clark Hull as many of the successive academic researchers on hypnotism used lay hypnotists (former electro-biologists) to conduct experiments and it is probable that this had an effect on these early researches. One of the main differences of electro-biologists from their European predecessors was that they held these phenomena to be mainly a result of the state in which their subjects fell, whereas in Europe some of them, at any rate, were held to be mainly the product or of the action of the mesmerist's will on his subject (Du Potet), or of an universal fluid or energy present also in man (Mesmer theory). These travelling stage mesmerists were the forerunners of the stage hypnotists. Early stage performers didn’t detach too much from the idea of a fluid, and they said that they were influencing their subjects by means of telepathy and magnetism even though in the electrobiological form they knew and affirmed that much was due to imagination. They performed their shows and often times healed people afterwards. In the United States, for example, in the 1890s, there was a small group of highly skilled stage hypnotists, all of whom were managed by Thomas F. Adkin, who toured country-wide, playing to packed houses. Adkin's group included Sylvain A. Lee, Mr. and Mrs. Herbert L. Flint, and Professor Xenophon LaMotte Sage (E. Virgil Neal). This latter, even when the group spread apart, continued to publish books even when the original group was no longer present. Classical Magnetic cures were in any case still well alive in 1910 and one of the books Adkin wrote was a book called “vitaopathy” based on the principles of traditional magnetism. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, despite adopting the term "hypnotism", stage hypnotists also continued to make constant reference to animal magnetism. Ormond McGill, e.g., in his Encyclopedia of the subject wrote in 1996 that: Some have called this powerful transmission of thought from one person to another “thought projection”. The mental energy used appears to be of two types: magnetic energy […] generated within the body and telepathic energy generated within the mind. […] The two work together as a unit in applying Power Hypnosis. The operation of the two energies in combination is what Mesmer referred to as “animal magnetism”. Ormond McGill himself, as did every ancient performer, pointed out there was a difference between hypnotism and mesmerism and said in his books that the former was better for shows and the latter for psychic experiments. But slowly, after 1920, new procedures were adopted which were based more on the increase of the use of suggestive verbal techniques and less on nonverbal communication. Many stage hypnotists also became “hypnotherapists” as they progressively defined themselves. For example the famous hypnotherapist Dave Elman was himself originally a stage hypnotist as he mentions at the beginning of his book. The same goes for Gil Boyne (one of whose mentors was Ormond McGill) as well as many other successful hypnotists in America. Dave Elman, who was contemporary of Milton Erickson, stretches the attention to “semantics” in giving suggestions. It is to note that old mesmerists refrained from giving verbal suggestions, recommending in all books a silent environment.
Mesmerism and spiritualism
Besides hypnotism, another of the important distinct branches that derived from mesmerism was spiritualism. As the spread of mesmerism increased, the idea of magnetism reached a popular audience, and some Mesmerist disciples fell into believing that what had been discovered amounted to a new revelation. Individuals in magnetic trance had shown peculiar abilities and some had even claimed to be in touch with other personalities and worlds while in this state. Itinerant magnetizers wandered the countryside with professional somnambulists at their sides, stopping in the local towns to give medical clairvoyant readings. The somnambulist would diagnose an illness and prescribe remedies. This situation provided all the necessary ingredients for the making of another important movement known as spiritualism, and at a certain point the histories of both mesmerism and spiritualism overlapped and influenced one another. What was once Mesmer's bacquet with subjects sitting with joined hands has now become the closed circle of spiritualistic seances. Andrew Jackson Davis (1826–1910) began his career as such an itinerant somnambulist and eventually became an author of great popularity, using the magnetic trance to dictate his spiritual treatises. Davis grew to the most important man in the early Spiritualist Church. Davis had many followers, among them Edgar Allan Poe who wrote many short stories that addressed mesmerism, as "Mesmeric Revelation". In “Mesmeric Revelation” Edgar Allan Poe transmitted ideas found in the book “Facts in Mesmerism” Townshend. When, after Andrew Jackson Davis published his trance revelations from the "spirit world," and the Fox sisters began their spectacular career as "spirit rappers," clairvoyance became a leading feature of spiritistic stances, and mesmerism and spiritism were often confounded. But the discussion about the existence of a fluid still persisted; and for the first few years the question of Fluids versus Spirits as an explanation of the marvellous doings at dark stances was hotly debated in the American Spiritualist journals. Gradually, however, the Spiritualist view prevailed, the theory of a magnetic fluid or magnetic influence suffered euthanasia, and the clairvoyants were left in possession of the field. Many mesmeric clairvoyants became Spiritualist mediums, and many writers and lecturers on mesmerism turned their attention to the phenomena and philosophy of Spiritualism.
Mesmerism and the Theosophical Society
Helena Blavatsky, who was a successful medium of this same Spiritualist Church for several years, later founded the Theosophical Society. She linked her doctrine of a mental fluidum deliberately to Mesmer's and encouraged her followers to praise him. Even today, Mesmer is still celebrated as the Theosophist's spiritual ancestor.
1900 William James, animal magnetism and psychical research
Psychical research was the direct result of all these developments arising from animal magnetism. In the research field, an important academic name that we find in America that uses purposely the name “animal magnetism” is William James (1842–1910) often referred to as “the father of American psychology”. Under his influence, the American academic researches on animal magnetism became part of the general parapsychological research of the beginning of the twentieth century.
Sporadic research into animal magnetism was conducted in the 20th century, and the results published; for example, B. Grad wrote three papers related to the subject between 1961 and 1976.
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- Adam Crabtree Animal Magnetism, Early Hypnotism, and Psychical Research, 1766–1925 – An Annotated Bibliography ISBN 0-527-20006-9
- Meheust "Balzac et le magnétisme animal: Louis lambert, Ursule Mirouet, Seraphita", in Traces du mesmerisme dans les littératures européennes du XIX° siècle,"
- Mesmer, Franz Anton. Mémoire sur la découverte du magnétisme animal. Geneva and Paris: Didot le jeune, 1779, vi + 85 pp. English: “Dissertation on the Discovery of Animal Magnetism,” in Mesmerism. Translated and edited by George Bloch. Los Altos, California: William Kaufmann, 1980
- Philip John Tyson; Dai Jones; Jonathan Elcock (9 September 2011). Psychology in Social Context: Issues and Debates. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 179–. ISBN 978-1-4443-9623-2. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
- (Le fluide n'est point une substance qui puisse être pesée, mesurée, condensée. C'est une force vitale.) in Jules DuPotet de Sennevoy – Manuel de l'étudiant magnétiseur
- Cited in Amadou “Le Magnétisme animal”, at p. 103
- M. Mesmer nous a fait reconnaitre en nou une faculté dont nous ignorions l'existence: employons cette faculté à faire du bien à nos semblables, sans nopus occuper de son système. – histoire critique du magnétisme animal p. 18
- Connor C. (2005). A People's History of Science, Nation Books, pp. 404–5 ISBN 1-56025-748-2
- A.M. Macdonald (ed.) (1972). Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary. London: Chambers. ISBN 055010206X. p. 822.
- Leger, p. 14.
- Leger, Theodore. Animal Magnetism; or Psychodunamy. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1846, (7) + 8–402 pp.
- Baréty, 1887; Baréty, 1888
- Boirac, 1917/ n.d., p. 158; in Alvarado "Modern Magnetism", p. 8
- Robin Waterfield (6 August 2003). Hidden depths: the story of hypnosis. Psychology Press. p. 423. ISBN 978-0-415-94791-6. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
- Bivins, Roberta (2007), Alternative Medicine? A History, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 9780199218875
- David Howes, “The Sixth Sense Reader”
- Rapport de l'un des Commissaires (M. de Jussieu). Paris, 1784
- DuPotet Introduction to the study of animal magnetism
- Eric T. Carlson – Charles Poyen Brings Mesmerism to America – 1960
- Hull, Clark L (1929). "Hypnotism in Scientific Perspective". The Scientific Monthly 29 (2): 156.
- Gilles de la Tourette (1888). "The Wonders of Animal Magnetism". The North American Review 146 (375): 131–132. JSTOR 25101417.
- (Nelson & Schwartz, 2005); Movaffaghi & Farsi, 2009 Carlos Alvarago – University of Virginia in Australian Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis – Vol. 37, No. 2, 2009, 75–89
- Wonders, pp. 11–12
- Wouter J. Hanegraaff Esotericism and the Academy: Rejected Knowledge in Western Culture, University of Amsterdam. ISBN 978-0-521-19621-5
- Pearson, p. 12
- Ellenberg – The Discovery of the Unconscious: The History and Evolution of Dynamic Psychiatry
- Amadou – Le magnétisme animal
- Franz Anton Mesmer, Wolfart – Mesmerismus
- Pearson, pp. 13–15
- Richard Harte – Hypnotism and the doctors
- Meheust – 100 mots pour comprendre la voyance
- Mémoires pour servir à l'histoire et à l'établissement du magnétisme animal, 1784 (ISBN 2911416805), (rééd. en 1809)
- Petetin, Jacques Henri Desire.Mémoire sur la découverte des phénomènes que présentent la catalepsie et le somnambulisme, symptômes de l’affection hystérique essentielle, avec des recherches sur la cause physique des ces phénomènes. Première partie. Mémoire sur la découverte des phénomènes de l’affection hystérique essentielle, et sur la méthode curative de cette maladie. Second partie. (Lyon?): n.p., 1787
- Bertrand Méheust, Le Défi du magnétisme, Les Empêcheurs de penser en rond, 1999
- Meheust -op. cit
- Mesmerism in India, and Its Practical Application in Surgery and Medicine. London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1846, xxxi + (1) + 287 pp
- James Esdaile – Natural and Mesmeric Clairvoyance with the Practical Application of Mesmerism in Surgery and Medicine. London: Hyppolyte Baillière, 1852, xix + (1) + 272 pp.
- Richard Harte – Hypnotism and the Doctors 2 vols. London: L. N. Fowler & Co., 1902
- Bertrand Méheust, Sommnambulisme et Médiumnité, 1999
- Jules Dupotet (1838) Introduction to the study of Animal Magnetism
- Richard Harte – Hypnotism and the doctors – London: L. N. Fowler & Co., 1902
- Deleuze, p. 224
- Deleuze, p. 226
- Wouter J. Hanegraaff Esotericism and the Academy: Rejected Knowledge in Western Culture, p. 266
- Franz Anton Mesmer, Karl Christian Wolfart – Mesmerismus Oder System der Wechselwirkungen, Theorie und. Anwendung des thierischen Magnetismus als die allgemeine Heilkunde / zut Erhaltung des Menschen von Dr. Friedrich Anton Mesmer. Herausgegeben vo« Dr. Karl Christian Wolfart. – 1814
- Bell – The German tradition of psychology in literature and thought, 1700–1840, p. 176
- Bergson was also president of the Society for Parapsychological Research).
- Méheust, Somnambulisme et médiumnité Ed. Synthélabo – ISBN 2-84324-068-9
- Gauld – History of Hypnotism
- George Barth (1 January 1998). The Mesmerist's Manual of Phenomena and Practice. Health Research Books. ISBN 978-0-7873-0075-3. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
- Chauncy Hare Townshend (1840). Facts in Mesmerism, with reasons for a dispassionate inquiry into it. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
- Colquhoun, John Campbell. Isis Revelata; an Inquiry into the Origin, Progress & Present State of Animal Magnetism. (1836)
- Bell, John, Professor of Animal Magnetism. The general and particular principles of animal electricity and magnetism, &c. in which are found Dr. Bell's secrets and practice, AS Delivered To His Pupils In Paris, London, Dublin, Bristol, Glocester, Worcester, Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Shrewsbury, Chester, Liverpool, Manchester, &c. &c. Shewing how to Magnetise and Cure different Diseases; to produce Crises, as well as Somnambulism, or Sleep-Walking; and in that State of Sleep to make a Person eat, drink, walk, sing and play upon any Instruments they are used to, &c. to make Apparatus and other Accessaries to produce Magnetical Facts; also to Magnetise Rivers, Rooms, Trees, and other Bodies, animate and inanimate; to raise the Arms, Legs of a Person awake, and to make him rise from his Chair; to raise the Arm of a Person absent from one Room to another; also to treat him at a Distance. All the New Experiments and Phenomena are explained by Monsieur le Docteur Bell, Professor of that Science, And Member of the Philosophical Harmonic Society at Paris, Fellow Correspondent of M. Le Court de Geblin's Museum; and the only Person authorised by Patent from the First Noblemen in France, to teach and practise that Science in England, Ireland, &c. Price Five Shillings. Eighteenth Century Collections Online. [London] (1792): p.2
- Pearson, p. 6
- Wonders, p. 16
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- Puységur, Armand Marie Jacques de Chastenet, marquis de. Suite des mémoires pour servir à l’histoire et à l’établissement du magnétisme animal. Paris and London: n.p., 1785, 256 pp
- Fara, Patricia (1995). "An Attractive Therapy: Animal Magnetism in Eighteenth-Century England". History of Science 33 (100 pt 2): 127–177. Bibcode:1995HisSc..33..127F. PMID 11639679.
- Mancini, Silvia; Vale, J. (2000). "Animal Magnetism and Psychic Sciences, 1784–1935: The Rediscovery of a Lost Continent". Diogenes 48 (2): 94. doi:10.1177/039219210004819008.
- Pearson, p. 37
- Inchbald, Elizabeth. Animal Magnetism. p. 9
- Gauld - History of Hypnotism
- Rosemarie Bodenheimer – Knowing Dickens
- Amy Lehman Victorian Women and the Theatre of Trance
- Nicola Bown, Carolyn Burdett – The Victorian Supernatural
- Fulford, Tim (2004). "Conducting and Vital Fluid: The Politics and Poetics of Mesmerism in the 1790s". Studies in Romanticism 43 (1): 57–78. JSTOR 25601659.
- Porter, Roy (1985). "Under the Influence' Mesmerism in England". History Today 35 (9): 22–29. PMID 11617143.
- Ford, Jennifer (1999). "Samuel Taylor Coleridge and the Pains of Sleep". History Workshop Journal 48 (48): 169–186. PMID 21387847.
- Gigante, Denise (2002). "The Monster in the Rainbow: Keats and the Science of Life". PMLA 117 (3): 433–448. doi:10.1632/003081202X60396.
- This course of lectures was published as "Ansichten von der Nachtseite der Naturwissenschaft" (Dresden, 1808)
- van Schlun
- Novalis – Die Lehrlinge zu Sais (1802), Heinrich von Ofterdingen (1802); Heinrich von Kleis: Das Kaethchen von Heilbronn (1807–1808)
- Gauld, p. 87
- Margaret Goldsmith Franz Anton Mesmer: The history of an Idea and The notebooks of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Vol. 5 Notes – 6346
- Jahrbuecher fuer den Lebens-Magnetismus oder neues Asklapieion (1818–1823)
- Gauld, p. 90
- Kluge, Carl Alexander Ferdinand. Versuch einer Darstellung des animalischen Magnetismus, als Heilmittel. Berlin: C. Salfeld, 1811
- Bombay, Procédés du magnétisme animal. (Paris?): n.p., 1784 and the book of Joseph Ennemoser Anleitung zur mesmerischen Praxis. Stuttgart and Tübingen: J. G. Cotta, 1852. This book outlines the technique in detail
- on the intellectual origins of Romantic Naturphilosophie in what researchers called the "alchemical" paradigm, dominated by paracelsian and Boehmian theosophy see, for example, Faivre and Zimmermann, Epochen der Naturmystik and Faivre, Philosophe de la Nature
- Tardy de Montravel, A. A. Essai sur la théorie du somnambulisme magnétique. London: n.p., 1785
- Fridericke Hauffe Hanegraaff and works of Swedenborg, Oetinger, Kant, 51–55
- Kerner, Justinus Andreas Christian. Die Seherin von Prevorst; Eröffnungen über das innere Leben des Menschen und über das Hereinragen einer Geisterwelt in die unsere. 2 vols. Stuttgart and Tübingen: J. G. Cotta, 1829. English: Seeress of Prevorst. Being Revelations Concerning the Inner-Life of Man, and the Inter-Diffusion of a World of Spirits in the One We Inhabit. Translated by Catherine Crowe. London: J. C. Moore, 1845.
- Hanegraaff, "Magnetic Gnosis"
- Jung, The Red Book, Liber Primus, vol II cap.i.
- F. X. Charet (1 January 1993). Spiritualism and the foundations of C.G. Jung's psychology. SUNY Press. ISBN 978-0-7914-1093-6. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
- Arthur Schopenhauer (1974). Parerga and Paralipomena: short philosophical essays. Oxford University Press. pp. 268–. ISBN 978-0-19-924220-7. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
- Cited in "Poyen Progress of animal magnetism in New England" and other authors – The necessity for physisiancs of the account to the committee is confirmed by Gauld – History of Hypnotism
- Gauld – History of hypnotism
- Khachatur Sedrakovich Koshtoi – Essays on the history of physiology in Russia
- Gauld – history of hypnotism
- Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal – The occult in Russian and Soviet culture – 1997 – ISBN 978-0-8014-8331-8
- Peter Young , Harry Pitt -The Marshall Cavendish illustrated encyclopedia of World War I ISBN 978-0-86307-181-2
- Gary Lachman – Politics and the Occult: The Left, the Right, and the Radically Unseen – ISBN 978-0-8356-0857-2
- Most biographers of Rasputin cite also Maitre Philippe
- These researches are mentioned by Wiliam Braud in "On the Use of Living Target Systems in Distant Mental Influence Research"
- Robin Waterfield (6 August 2003). Hidden depths: the story of hypnosis. Psychology Press. ISBN 978-0-415-94791-6. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
- Extraits du discours inaugural du comte Chastenet de Puységur, lors de la fondation de la Societé magnétique du Cap-Français (Haiti) en 1784 - published in L'Hermès. Journal du magnétisme animal, 1828 and cited also in "L'hypnose" of Patrick Bellet
- cited by Walmsley
- Pintar - Hypnosis: a brief history - Page 23
- Ellenberg The discovery of the unconscious
- Vodou, Possession and the Revolutionary Unconscious
- Thaddeus E. Weckowicz, Helen P. Liebel-Weckowicz - A history of great ideas in abnormal psychology - Page 115
- cited in La transe Par Abdelhafid Chlyeh page 93
- Mémoires, Correspondance et Manuscrits du général Lafayette publiés par sa famille, Londres, 1837
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- Augustine Matthias Bellwald Christian science and the Catholic faith, Macmillan, 1922
- Underhill, Samuel (1868). Underhill on Mesmermism. Chicago: Religio-Philosophical Publishing Association. p. 21.
- Crabtree, Adam (1988). Animal Magnetism, Early Hypnotism, and Psychical Research, 1766 – 1925: An Annotated Bibliography. White Plains, NY: KRAUS INTERNATIONAL PUBLICATIONS. p. 390.
- Carlson, Eric T. (1960). "Charles Poyen Brings Mesmerism to America". Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences (2): 121. doi:10.1093/jhmas/XV.2.121.
- Charles Poyen (1837). Progress of animal magnetism in New England: Being a collection of experiments, reports and certificates, from the most respectable sources. Preceded by a dissertation on the proofs of animal magnetism. Weeks, Jordan & co. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
- Report on the Magnetical Experiments Made by the Commission of the Royal Academy of Medicine, of Paris, Read in the Meetings of June 21 and 28, 1831. by Mr. Husson, the Reporter, Translated from the French, and Preceded with an Introduction, by Charles Poyen St. Sauveur. Boston: D. K. Hitchcock, 1836
- Cited in American Unitarian Association – 1905
- Sunderland – Pathetism: with Practical Instructions: Demonstrating the Falsity of the Hitherto Prevalent Assumptions in Regard to What has been Called “Mesmerism” and “Neurology,” and Illustrating Those Laws which Induce Somnambulism, Second Sight, Sleep, Dreaming, Trance, and Clairvoyance, with Numerous Facts Tending to Show the Pathology of Monomania, Insanity, Witchcraft, and Various Other Mental or Nervous Phenomena. New York: P. P. Good, 1843
- Alfred Emanuel Smith – New outlook, Volume 92
- The Magnet. Continued as: New York Magnet
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- Eddy. Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (1875): p. 101. "Animal magnetism has no scientific foundation," she asserts on the following page.
- Collyer had been magnetized the first time by dr. Cleveland. He reports his experiences in Robert Hanham Collyer (January 2010). Mysteries of the Vital Element in Connexion with Dreams, Somnambulism, Trance. BiblioBazaar. ISBN 978-1-141-54945-0. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
- The Mesmeric Magazine or Journal of Animal Magnetism – 1845 – Published in Boston and edited by R. H. Collyer.
- Robert Hanham Collyer (March 2011). Lights and Shadows of American Life. BiblioBazaar. ISBN 978-1-241-34914-1. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
- Phillip Cushman Constructing the self, constructing America: a cultural history of psychotherapy Da Capo Press, 1996, ISBN 0-201-44192-6
- Grimes – Etherology; or the Philosophy of Mesmerism and Phrenology: Including a New Philosophy of Sleep and Consciousness, with a Review of the Pretensions of Neurology and Phreno-magnetism. Boston and New York: Saxton Peirce & Co., and Saxton and Miles, 1845, xvi + (17)–350 pp.
- Buchanan’s Journal of Man. Vols. 1–6; 1849–1856. Vols. 1–3; 1887–1890 (new series)
- Fahnestock induced mesmeric trance on his patient, Mrs. Susan Herr of Lampeter township in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, for painless delivery of a male baby on March 5, 1846: Patrick P. Sim 'To Give Birth Without Pain!' The First Cases of Mesmeric Pain Relief for Obstetrics; ASA Newsletter. Volume 61 Number 9. September 1997 mirror.
- William Baker Fahnestock (February 2003). Statuvolism Or Artificial Somnambulism. Kessinger Publishing. pp. 75–80. ISBN 978-0-7661-3004-3. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
- Pintar, p. 60
- van Schlun, vol 4. p. 40
- Pintar, p. 59
- Mesmerism in India, and Its Practical Application in Surgery and Medicine. London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1846
- Author of Hypnotism as It Is: a Book for Everybody (1897).
- Adkin – Vitaopathy – La Motte Sage
- Ormond McGill Encyclopedia of genuine stage hypnotism ISBN 1-57898-871-3
- Dave Elman Hypnotherapy Westwood Pub., 1984 ISBN 0-930298-04-7
- J. S. Brown, B. Mars (1857). The Magic Staff; an Autobiography of Andrew Jackson Davis. New York and Boston. New York and Boston.
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New Thought Beliefs
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- Deleuze Practical Instruction in Animal Magnetism (1843)
- Leger, T. [sic], Animal Magnetism; or, Psycodunamy, D. Appleton, (New York), 1846 [N.B. author is Théodore Léger (1799–1853)].
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- Wonders and mysteries of animal magnetism displayed; or the history, art, practice, and progress of that useful science, from its first rise in the city of Paris, to the present time. With several Curious Cases and new Anecdotes of the Principal Professors. Eighteenth Century Collections Online. London (1791)
|Wikisource has the text of the 1879 American Cyclopædia article Animal Magnetism.|
- Anton Mesmer, "Propositions Concerning Animal Magnetism" (1779), from: Binet, A. & Féré, C. Animal Magnetism, New York: Appleton and Co., 1888; web archive
- The Baron Dupotet de Sennevoy. An Introduction to the Study of Animal Magnetism. London: Saunders & Otley, 1838; full text
- William Gregory. Letters to a Candid Inquirer on Animal Magnetism. Philadelphia: Blanchard and Lea, 1851; full text
- Charles Poyen. Animal magnetism. Boston: Weeks, Jordan & co., 1837; full text