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Related to mesmerism: animal magnetism


see hypnotismhypnotism
[Gr.,=putting to sleep], to induce an altered state of consciousness characterized by deep relaxation and heightened suggestibility. The term was originally coined by James Braid in 1842 to describe a phenomenon previously known as animal magnetism or mesmerism (see
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an antiscientific medical system promoted by the Austrian physician (of Swiss origin) F. Mesmer (1734–1815) and based on the notion of animal magnetism, widespread at the end of the 18th century in France and Germany. Mesmer believed that the planets affect man through a special magnetic force and that a person in command of this force can emit it to others to favorably influence the course of all diseases. The untenability of the theory was demonstrated in 1774 by a special commission that included A. L. Lavoisier.


Hypnotism induced by animal magnetism, a supposed force passing from operator to subject.
References in periodicals archive ?
The central idea explored here by Brownson, having devastating possible consequences for the religious and scientific establishment, was the following: if science--that is mesmerism or animal magnetism (having affinities with Baron Reichenbach's concept of the "od," or the doctrine regarding the "spirit of the world," very close to the Transcendentalist notion of the Oversoul, itself derived from Hinduism's idea of Atman or Mahatman / "Soul of the World," "Great Soul": Sanskr.
Sleep, Dickens proposes, will be taught by experts in "hypnology"--his facetious term for the art of inducing sleep without recourse to mesmerism or narcotics--based at a central "school of Snoring for the Million" that will operate six days per week (with Sunday as a rest day) to impart sleeping skills to everyone from establishment grandees to the affluent middle classes to impoverished laborers and artisans.
Nayder supplies a fascinating account of normative Victorian experiences of family size, of women's experience of pregnancy and childbirth, of anaesthesia, mesmerism, birth control, and childrearing.
The third chapter, "Identities and Powers in Flux," investigates the late Victorian anxiety over the boundary between the supernatural and the scientific by considering psychical researchers' attempts to draw a clear distinction between mesmerism, an occult phenomenon, and hypnotism, a scientific one.
As for Terry herself, in August 1895 she is studying Volumnia in Coriolanus, "& don't care for it", and (warning Craig against overacting as Charles Surface) she remarks that in The Merchant of Venice her first Portia scene "(on the sofa--with Nerissa) is charming comedy, & when I force it, it goes for nothing but when one is very quiet and subtly enjoys it oneself it goes with mesmerism between Actress & Audience" (Letter 592).
Mesmerism evolved into hypnotism when it was realized that the same effects could be achieved without the magnets Mesmer used.
Jour printer, by trade; do a little in patent medicines; theatre-actor--tragedy, you know; take a turn at mesmerism and phrenology when there's a chance; teach singing-geography school for a change; sling a lecture sometimes--oh, I do lots of things--most anything that comes handy, so it ain't work.
With its origins in Mesmerism, and later associations with mysticism, quackery, literary fiction and stage entertainment, it is understandable that formal research involving hypnosis was not always been valued or believed by mainstream science.
He also referred constantly to "the Phantom" that beset her, as Oates does with Maggs [Kaplan, Mesmerism 85; Dickens 184; Johnson 541-42].
In a convincing chapter on the importance of mesmerism to nineteenth-century feminism, Beam shows how Fuller thought trance states might enable access to a feminine essence liberated from historical conditions but able to work back upon them.
It was, rather, a popular and diverse field of inquiry, composed of investigations in a number of different fields, including craniology, ethnology, physiology, mesmerism, and phrenology.