Thus, in mesmerism the active will power of the mesmerist
is the crucial factor; while in mediumism what is essential is the degree of passiveness that the will can attain--the higher the degree, the better the results.
Also like Whitman in the 1842 editorial, this writer makes his case in part by distancing himself from the practitioners and promoters of mesmerism: they are "the Mesmerists
," not he.
Robert Darnton notes that "postrevolutionary mesmerists
developed their own version of the ideas that characterized spiritualism in general," including pantheism.
We learn about the actual techniques of a mesmerist
from a journalist's description of the trials and successes of one of the first foreign mesmerists
to -- as Winter puts it -- get off the ferry in 1837.
The esoteric rhetoric of this occult public sphere is politically charged with the crisis of the here-and-now: mesmerists
, mediums, and ghosts speak repeatedly of souls freed of the physical body, of a postmortem identity emancipated from terrestrial existence.
New-style therapists -- mesmerists
and spiritists -- worked on the image of the individual seen as a unity of closely interconnected body and spirit, in a way the Church had always looked upon with suspicion.
Franklin and his band of enlightened men stoically sat through sessions conducted by accomplished mesmerists
In Winter's account, mesmerism was one of the last major spectacles involving the putative manipulation of hidden forces in which virtually the entire public could participate (as actor, spectator, or critic) without there being a consensus that some group (scientists, skilled mesmerists
, or the like) had authoritative knowledge of the causes (whether real or feigned) of the phenomena.
Of the sexual baggage mesmerists
carried, Benjamin Franklin's 1784 commission on Mesmer found that "women are always magnetized by men" (qtd.
Acting Naturally began, Knoper says, as a study of the relationship between Twain's literary works and the popular performances - minstrels, mesmerists
, music-hall shows - whose traditions he absorbed and transformed.
Rival groups with secular outlooks challenged the church and won followers to their ideas, which the author discusses under the rubrics of spiritualism, positivism, and spiritism (the latter comprising socialists, Swedenborgians, mesmerists
, and such other-world theorists as Allan Kardec).
Gough warned against the terrors of intemperance, mesmerists
and phrenologists inducted listeners solemnly into these sciences, Anna Dickinson championed reforms, Henry Ward Beecher delivered his eloquent sermons, J.