Gender was unquestionably a factor in the reports on medical cataleptics and ecstatics which were published in the vernacular (and thus directed at the general public as well as specialists).
He did not prescribe any systematic therapeutic program for treating the disease, but he did express reservations about the harsh "cures" which some doctors administered to cataleptics, like emetics, purgatives, bleedings, cauterization, the application of ammonia salts to the eyes, needle pricks, electrical jolts, and so on.
The Vesoul story captures several key aspects of the symptoms that were commonly attributed to cataleptics in eighteenth-century accounts.
One factor in the linking of catalepsy with female hysteria was skepticism over the claims made by magnetizers like the Lyon doctor Henri-Desire Petetin, author of Memoire sur la decouverte des phenomenes que presentent la catalepsie et le somnabulisme (1787), which recounted cases of female cataleptics whose symptoms included heightened intelligence and the ability to see and even smell through their internal organs.
56) The perceived theatricality of female cataleptics may also have been shaped by the aesthetic instrumentalization of the mesmerized female in works like Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann (1851).
There remained, however, a connection between the poetic ecstatics and hysterical cataleptics of the post-Enlightenment: plunged in different ways in the "darkness of the self," both embodied for their spectators a disconcerting but highly compelling mixture of exaltation and alienation.