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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 ?
His suspicions are confirmed when, later on, he sees Westervelt in full Oriental tegalia on the stage of a lecture-hall giving a performance as a mesmerist.
In this regard, Brownson's hero is somewhat an anticipation of Kubin's Patera as a tyrant figure who, like Brownson's hero mesmerist, uses mental powers to subjugate people (for details on this topic, see Stroe 2007).
In such acts, the mysterious, charismatic mesmerist would showcase his powers by inducing trances in audience members and displaying his control of their every action onstage.
Tatar, Winter, and Pick all argue for a static method of reading mesmerism within Trilby, in which the wicked mesmerist Svengali controls absolutely the passive Trilby.
In Le Pantheon, his 1848 collection of articles on Paul Chenavard's mural paintings for the Pantheon, Gautier characterizes God as an omnipresent "fluid," an image dovetailing with the mesmerist notion of universal fluid:
Of interest here, from a biographical point of view, is the fact that one of Marie Duplessis's doctors was the famous German mesmerist Dr.
That comparison suggests not only the power over the subject inherent in the Mesmerist metaphor but also a less obvious, double dispossession: the subject "speaks" for herself but only through the medium of the hypnotist, while the hypnotist, apparently in control, is also subject to what the hypnotized subject reveals of her inner vision.
31) George du Maurier's Trilby with its sinister figure of the mesmerist, Svengali, was published in 1894.
Not only that: the Indians had evolved practices like hypnotism and mesmerism through which they could induce individuals to do whatever the hypnotist or mesmerist said
11) In the usual ritual of a mesmeric demonstration involving a male mesmerist and a female subject, Buchanan probably served as the mesmerist to Anna Quincy Thaxter Parsons, an active member of religious and reform groups in Boston, who, after being put under "Mesmeric influence," examined a series of letters written by famous people and interpreted them.
The relationship of the mesmerist to the mesmeric subject raised issues of power and control between individuals, classes, and (since most mesmerists were men and most subjects women) the sexes.
Because little noises keep him awake at night he builds a soundproof cellar and hires a mesmerist to put him to sleep.