German Physician Franz Mesmer Publishes Thesis on Magnetism

German Physician Franz Mesmer Publishes Thesis on Magnetism

Franz Anton Mesmer
Source: Wikipedia

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History of Science

Franz Anton Mesmer publishes his thesis exploring the relationship between the magnetic forces of the planets and the human nervous system.

Mesmer is a physician who has been developing an idea which he calls magnétisme animal (animal magnetism), a force or field which allows energy to be transferred between a living being and their environment.

When a fluid affected by this force gets out of balance, this leads to physical and mental illnesses. Thus diseases can be cured by restoring the fluid's balance. Mesmer tries to produce such cures by putting people in a trance (through hypnosis, or mesmerism) then manipulating their"vital energies" by passing his hands over the places where the disease is located.

In France, skeptical physicians will investigate Mesmer's claims and find that he is a fraud. Mesmer will have to flee and ends up dying in disgrace. Many of his followers will continue to to use his methods, however, usually for the same purposes.



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