He came to believe that the physician himself is a magnet of a very special kind, capable of channeling the invisible “magnetic fluid” that pervades the universe into the body of the sick person and bringing about the magnetic balance necessary for a cure. and which, by its nature, is capable of receiving, propagating and communicating all impressions of movement; 3) This reciprocal action is governed by mechanical laws as yet unknown. During this period, Mesmer made attempts to get the medical establishment of Paris to approve his theory of animal magnetism, but try as he might, he could not gain a sympathetic hearing.The basic principles of Mesmer’s theory of animal magnetism were articulated in twenty-seven propositions in his 1) There exists a mutual influence between the celestial bodies, the earth and animate bodies; 2) The means of this influence is a fluid that is universally distributed and continuous . On the contrary, the medical faculty at Paris became alarmed at the popularity of Mesmer’s clinics and moved to suppress them.
When one examines the history of animal magnetism and its offshoots, it seems incredible that this once powerful system is now almost completely forgotten. Yet, for approximately seventy-five years from its beginnings in 1779, animal magnetism flourished as a medical and psychological specialty, and for another fifty years it continued to be a system of some influence. Most historical scholars would probably be hard pressed to write more than a brief paragraph about Franz Anton Mesmer (1734–1815) and his discovery.Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.