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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 ?
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.