Franz Anton Mesmer dies in Meersburg, Germany. As a physician in Vienna, Austria, he created the idea of magnétisme animal (animal magnetism), promote belief in spiritual forces, and develop the use of hypnotism (which comes to be known as "mesmerism," from which English gets the word "mesmerize")
Mesmer came to believe that both physical and mental illnesses are caused by imbalances in a fluid he believed could be affected by "animal magnetism," a force or field that allows for energy to be transferred between a living being and their environment. This means that diseases could be cured by restoring the fluid's balance.
He tried to do this by putting people in a trance (through hypnosis, or mesmerism) then manipulate their "vital energies" by passing his hands over the places where the disease is located. Thus hypnosis, mesmerism, and "animal magnetism" are all originally part of a form of faith healing created by Franz Mesmer.
Skeptical French physicians investigated Mesmer's claims and concluded that he was a fraud. American diplomat Benjamin Franklin serve on the commission that oversaw the investigation. Mesmer fled and later died in disgrace, but his followers will continue to use his methods for many of the same purposes.