Rather than acting as the emancipators of blacks, abolitionists enslave white citizens by exerting an influence that echoes the relation between master and mesmerist
on the one side and slave and somnambulist on the other by clamoring "to enlist the passions of their followers, exact implicit obedience from them, and rule them with the utmost intolerance and authority" ("Slavery," p.
The analogy with the electric fluid was frequently made by mesmerists in Britain--as, for example, in Samuel Stearns, The Mystery of Animal Magnetism Revealed to the World (London, 1791).
The comparison with the alchemical work of Fludd and Van Helmont was also made by British mesmerists.
Indeed, secularized occultism pervades the modern world in ways we rarely think about, from psychoanalysis (which, as occult historian Peter Washington notes, presents the analyst as a kind of "sensitive" with a sixth sense) to the still-thriving Marxist communications theory (which posits the mass media as powerful mesmerists
with their audience in thrall).
The second chapter (1853-1859) identifies a widening split during the 1850s between therapeutic mesmerists
and spiritualist mesmerists
, the former defending what they considered pure objectivity and mesmerism's medical mission against spiritualism's dangerously emotional subjectivism, and the latter countering that scientific objectivity required openness to such metaphysical possibilities as spirit intervention.
11) The dominant gendering of the mesmeric scene whereby a male mesmerist possesses a passive female patient, represented by William Gregory's paradigmatic Letters to a Candid Inquirer on Animal Magnetism (1851) which was sent by Tennyson to his brother Frederick in December 1852 (Porter, pp.
14) In his The House of the Seven Gables (1851), Nathaniel Hawthorne exploits the association between gender, trance, and the new technology in the male protagonist who, as a daguerreotypist and a mesmerist, has the ability to expose and manipulate his female subjects.