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Encyclopedia > Franz Mesmer
Franz Anton Mesmer
Franz Anton Mesmer
His Grave
His Grave

Franz Anton Mesmer (May 23, 1734March 5, 1815) discovered what he called animal magnetism and others often called mesmerism. The evolution of Mesmer's ideas and practices led James Braid (1795-1860) to develop hypnosis in 1842. Download high resolution version (1000x1335, 89 KB) This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... Download high resolution version (1000x1335, 89 KB) This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1849x1770, 708 KB) Details (en) Description: The Grave of Franz Anton Mesmer on the Graveyard in Meersburg, Germany Place of Photograph: Meersburg Source: photographed by myself Photographer: Stefan-Xp Date: 14:49, 20 January 2006 (UTC) Details (de) Beschreibung: Das Grab... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1849x1770, 708 KB) Details (en) Description: The Grave of Franz Anton Mesmer on the Graveyard in Meersburg, Germany Place of Photograph: Meersburg Source: photographed by myself Photographer: Stefan-Xp Date: 14:49, 20 January 2006 (UTC) Details (de) Beschreibung: Das Grab... May 23 is the 143rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (144th in leap years). ... Events January 8 - Premiere of George Frideric Handels opera Ariodante at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. ... March 5 is the 64th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (65th in leap years). ... The Battle of New Orleans 1815 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... Animal magnetism is both a synonym for mesmerism as well as the 18th century term for the supposed ethereal medium postulated by Franz Mesmer as a therapeutic agent. ... There have been at least two notable people called James Braid: For the Scottish golfer see James Braid (golfer) For the Scottish physician who coined the term hypnotism see James Braid (physician). ... 1795 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... 1860 is the leap year starting on Sunday. ... Hypnotic Seance, by Richard Bergh Hypnosis is understood to be a psychological condition in which an individual may be induced to exhibit apparent changes in behavior and thought. ... 1842 was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ...

Contents


Early life

Mesmer was born in the village of Iznang, Swabia. After studying at the Jesuit universities of Dillingen and Ingolstadt, he took up the study of medicine at the University of Vienna in 1759. In 1766 he published a doctoral dissertation with the Latin title De planetarum influxu in corpus humanum, which discussed the influence of the Moon and the planets on the human body and on disease (medical astrology). Evidence assembled by Frank A. Pattie suggests that Mesmer plagiarized his dissertation from a work by Richard Mead (1673-1754). This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... It has been suggested that Brothers of the Society of Jesus be merged into this article or section. ... There are two towns named Dillingen in Germany Dillingen, Bavaria, capital of the district Dillingen Dillingen, Saarland This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Ingolstadt is a city in the Federal State of Bavaria, Germany. ... University of Vienna, main building, seen from Beethovens apartment The University of Vienna (German: Universität Wien) in Austria was founded in 1365 by Rudolph IV and hence named Alma mater Rudolphina. ... 1759 was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... 1766 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... This article is about the thesis in dialectics and academia. ... Latin is an ancient Indo-European language originally spoken in the region around Rome called Latium. ... Bulk composition of the moons mantle and crust estimated, weight percent Oxygen 42. ... A planet (from the Greek πλανήτης, planetes or wanderers) is a body of considerable mass that orbits a star and that produces very little or no energy through nuclear fusion. ... This old parchment shows the anciently-held link between the 12 signs of the Zodiac and the various parts of the body Medical astrology is an ancient medical system that associates various parts of the body, diseases, and drugs as under the influence of the Sun, Moon, and planets, along... Richard Mead (11 August 1673 - 16 February 1754) was an English physician. ... Events January 22 - Impostor Mary Carleton is hanged in Newgate prison in England for multiple thefts and returning from penal transportation March 18 - John Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley of Stratton sells his part of New Jersey to the Quakers. ... 1754 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ...


Soon after receiving his degree, Mesmer married a wealthy widow and established himself as a physician in Vienna. He lived on a splendid estate and patronised the arts. When court intrigue prevented the performance of Bastien und Bastienne, the first opera composed by the twelve-year-old musical prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Mesmer offered his own gardens for the production. Mozart later immortalized his former patron by including a joking reference to Mesmer in his opera Cosi fan tutte. Vienna (German: Wien [viːn]; Slovenian: Dunaj, Croatian and Serbian: Beč Romanian: Viena, Hungarian: Bécs, Czech: Vídeň, Slovak: Viedeň, Romany Vidnya;) Vienna is the capital of Austria, and also one of the nine States of Austria. ... Bastien und Bastienne (Bastien and Bastienne) is a one-act singspiel opera with libretto by Friedrich Wilhelm Weiskern and music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. ... Mozart drawing by Doris Stock, 1789 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (baptised as Joannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart; January 27, 1756 – December 5, 1791) is among the most significant and enduringly popular composers of European classical music. ... Così fan tutte is an opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. ...


The advent of animal magnetism

In 1774 to produce an "artificial tide" in a patient. Mesmer had her swallow a preparation containing iron, and then attached magnets to various parts of her body. She reported feeling streams of a mysterious fluid running through her body and was relieved of her symptoms for several hours. Mesmer did not believe that the magnets had achieved the cure on their own. He felt that he had contributed animal magnetism, which had accumulated in his own body, to her. He soon stopped using magnets as a part of his treatment. Animal magnetism is both a synonym for mesmerism as well as the 18th century term for the supposed ethereal medium postulated by Franz Mesmer as a therapeutic agent. ...


In 1775 Mesmer was invited to give his opinion before the Munich Academy of Sciences on the exorcisms carried out by Johann Joseph Gassner (1727-1779), a priest and healer. Mesmer said that while Gassner was sincere in his beliefs, his cures were due to the fact that he possessed a high degree of animal magnetism. This confrontation between Mesmer's secular ideas and Gassner's religious beliefs marked the end of Gassner's career as well as, according to Henri Ellenberger, the emergence of dynamic psychiatry. 1775 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... Johann Joseph Gassner Johann Joseph Gassner (1727-1779) was a noted exorcist, born at Bludenz, in Tyrol. ... Events June 11 - George, Prince of Wales becomes King George II of Great Britain. ... 1779 was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ...


The scandal which followed Mesmer's unsuccessful attempt to treat the blindness of an 18-year-old musician, Maria Theresa Paradis, led him to leave Vienna in 1777. The following year Mesmer moved to Paris, rented an apartment in a part of the city preferred by the wealthy and powerful and established a medical practice. Paris soon divided into those who thought he was a charlatan, who had been forced to flee from Vienna, and those who thought he had made a great discovery. Vienna (German: Wien [viːn]; Slovenian: Dunaj, Croatian and Serbian: Beč Romanian: Viena, Hungarian: Bécs, Czech: Vídeň, Slovak: Viedeň, Romany Vidnya;) Vienna is the capital of Austria, and also one of the nine States of Austria. ... 1777 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... The Eiffel Tower has become a symbol of Paris throughout the world. ...


In his first years in Paris, Mesmer tried and failed to get either the Royal Academy of Sciences or the Royal Society of Medicine to provide official approval for his doctrines. He found only one physician of high professional and social standing, Charles d'Eslon, to become a disciple. In 1779, with d'Eslon's encouragement, Mesmer wrote an 88-page book Mémoire sur la découverte du magnétisme animal, to which he appended his famous 27 Propositions. These propositions outlined his theory at that time. 1779 was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ...


According to d'Eslon, Mesmer understood health as the free flow of the process of life through thousands of channels in our bodies. Illness was caused by obstacles to this flow. Overcoming these obstacles and restoring flow produced crises, which restored health. When Nature failed to do this spontaneously, contact with a conductor of animal magnetism was a necessary and sufficient remedy. Mesmer aimed to aid or provoke the efforts of Nature. To cure an insane person, for example, involved causing a fit of madness. The advantage of magnetism involved accelerating such crises without danger. The deepest visible-light image of the universe, the Hubble Ultra Deep Field. ...


Mesmer treated patients both individually and in groups. With individuals he would sit in front of his patient with his knees touching the patient's knees, pressing the patient's thumbs in his hands, looking fixedly into the patient's eyes. Mesmer made "passes", moving his hands from patients' shoulders down along their arms. He then pressed his fingers on the patient's hypochondriac region (the area below the diaphragm), sometimes holding his hands there for hours. Many patients felt peculiar sensations or had convulsions that were regarded as crises and supposed to bring about the cure. Hypochondria (sometimes hypochondriasis) is a somatoform disorder in which one has the unfounded belief that he or she is suffering from a serious illness. ... Under surface of the human diaphragm. ...


By 1780 Mesmer had more patients than he could treat individually and he established a collective treatment known as the baquet. An English physician, who observed Mesmer, described the treatment as follows: 1780 was a leap year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ...

In the middle of the room is placed a vessel of about a foot and a half high which is called here a "baquet". It is so large that twenty people can easily sit round it; near the edge of the lid which covers it, there are holes pierced corresponding to the number of persons who are to surround it; into these holes are introduced iron rods, bent at right angles outwards, and of different heights, so as to answer to the part of the body to which they are to be applied. Besides these rods, there is a rope which communicates between the baquet and one of the patients, and from him is carried to another, and so on the whole round. The most sensible effects are produced on the approach of Mesmer, who is said to convey the fluid by certain motions of his hands or eyes, without touching the person. I have talked with several who have witnessed these effects, who have convulsions occasioned and removed by a movement of the hand...

In 1784, without Mesmer requesting it, King Louis XVI appointed four members of the Faculty of Medicine as commissioners to investigate animal magnetism as practiced by d'Eslon. At the request of these commissioners the King appointed five additional commissioners from the Royal Academy of Sciences. These included the chemist Lavoisier, the physician Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, the astronomer Jean Sylvain Bailly and the American ambassador Benjamin Franklin. 1784 was a leap year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... Louis XVI Louis XVI (August 23, 1754 - January 21, 1793), was King of France and Navarre from 1774 until 1791, and then King of the French in 1791-1792. ... Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier (August 26, 1743 - May 8, 1794) was a French nobleman prominent in the histories of chemistry, finance, biology, and economics. ... Portrait of Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin (May 28, 1738 - March 26, 1814) did not invent the guillotine, but on October 10, 1789 proposed the use of a mechanical device to carry out death penalties in France. ... Jean Sylvain Bailly Jean-Sylvain Bailly (September 15, 1736 – November 12, 1793), French astronomer and orator, was one of the leaders of the early part of the French Revolution. ... Benjamin Franklin by Jean-Baptiste Greuze 1777 Benjamin Franklin (January 17 [O.S. January 6] 1706 – April 17, 1790) was one of the most prominent of the Founders and early political figures and statesmen of the United States. ...


The commission conducted a series of experiments aimed, not at determining whether Mesmer's treatment worked, but whether he had discovered a new physical fluid. The commission concluded that there was no evidence for such a fluid. Whatever benefit the treatment produced was attributed to "imagination." In 1785 Mesmer left Paris. His activities over the next twenty years are largely unknown. Imagination is, in general, the power or process of producing mental images and ideas. ...


Trivia

  • Among Mesmer's followers was Armand-Marc-Jacques Chastenet, Marquis de Puységur (1751-1825), who discovered induced or artificial somnambulism.

Events Adam Smith is appointed professor of logic at the University of Glasgow March 25 - For the last time, New Years Day is legally on March 25 in England and Wales. ... 1825 was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... To be mesmerized literally means to undergo the treatment of Franz Mesmer, to be magnetized. This idiomatic word is however more widely used and means to be thoroughly moved or changed by something, obsessed by something or similar things. ... A computer game is a game composed of a computer-controlled virtual universe that players interact with in order to achieve a defined goal or set of goals. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards and make it easier to understand, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Kiyoshi Kurosawa (黒沢 清 Kurosawa Kiyoshi) is a Japanese filmmaker. ...

Works by Franz Mesmer

  • "De planetarum influxu in corpus humanum" ("Über den Einfluss der Gestirne auf den menschlichen Körper") (1766)
  • "Sendschreiben an einen auswärtigen Arzt über die Magnetkur" (1775)
  • "Mesmerismus oder System der Wechsel-beziehungen. Theorie und Andwendungen des tierischen Magnetismus" (1814)

References

  • Henri Ellenberger, The Discovery of the Unconscious, (Basic Books, 1970).
  • Frank A. Pattie, Mesmer and Animal Magnetism: A Chapter in the History of Medicine, (Edmonston Publishing, Inc, 1994).
  • Darnton, Robert, Mesmerism and the End of the Enlightenment in France, (Schocken Books 1970, and Harvard University Press 1968).
  • Gould, Stephen Jay, "The Chain of Reason versus the Chain of Thumbs" in Bully for Brontosaurus (Penguin, 1991)
  • "Report of the Commissioners charged by the King in the examination of Animal Magnetism" (originally published 1784), English translation in Skeptic magazine of the Skeptic society, vol 4 no 3 1996.

External links

  • Mesmer's 27 Propositions (Via archive.org)
  • Pictorial web-exhibit based on a handful of works from the Bakken’s extensive collection of books, pamphlets, manuscripts, and journals documenting the mesmerist movement.
  • Memoires de Mesmer digitalized copy of Mesmer's memories written by himself (original version - in french)

  Results from FactBites:
 
Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine | Hypnotherapy (2561 words)
Mesmer's technique appeared to be quite successful in the treatment of his patients, but he was the subject of scorn and ridicule from the medical profession.
Franz Mesmer was born on May 23, 1734, in the village of Itznang, Switzerland.
Mesmer's methods were frowned upon by the medical establishment in Vienna, so in 1778 he moved to Paris, hoping for a better reception for his ideas.
Anton-Mesmer.com (543 words)
Franz Anton Mesmer was born in 1734 at lake Boden in Germany.
What really happened is uncertain; Mesmer himself asserts that he managed to cure her, but that her parents, who recived a pension that would be revoked if the girl was to regain her eyesight, withdrew her from Mesmers care, and she relapsed into blindness.
Mesmer's opponents claim that he only managed to make the girl "see" images by suggestion, and that the parents withdrew the girl when they found out that Mesmer had seduced her.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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