Mesmer and Mesmerism

Rosetta Iannini


The arrival of a Viennese doctor in Paris during the second half of the XVIII century aroused a morbid excitement: Mesmeromania, which derived form the name of its protagonist Mesmer. Initially, with the aim of healing mental illnesses, Mesmer tried to use the magnet's power in order to restore the harmonious circulation of the fluid which he believed to run through our nervous system. Holding that he had found, by chance, the same properties in the human body as in the magnet, Mesmer began to execute direct magnetization experiments, and thus gave rise to interest from sick and curious people belonging to every social class. The fashion for mesmerism, and consequently an unbridled mesmeromania, rapidly pervaded Parisian society. 


Key words: Animal magnetism - Mesmer - Mesmerism - Magnetic fluid 

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