Originally Mesmer’s theory of animal magnetism. Mesmer deluded himself into believing that he possessed occult healing powerss. At first he used to stroke his patients with magnets, but later he used only his hands, believing that he possessed an «animal magnetism». His system of therapeutics, mesmerism, is a forerunner of modern practices using hypnotism; it contributed to create a foundation for the scientific study of psychopathology. The term now refers to therapy using hypnosis or hypniotic suggestion.
- F. A. Mesmer:
Mémoire sur la découverte du magnétisme animal.
Pamphlet. Geneva and Paris, 1779.
German translation, Karlsruhe, 1781; also published in French in Karlsruhe.
This book launched a seemingly unstoppable avalance of parapsychological quackery.