Alternatively called Mesmerism.
An alleged organic magnetism equivalent to physical magnetism, a vital force that can be transmitted from one person to another and produce healing; a presumed intangible or mysterious force that is said to influence human beings and is alleged to reside in the bodies of all animate beings, humans and animals alike.
The notion was advanced in the late 18th century by the Austrian doctor Franz Anton Mesmer who developed various therapeutic techniques based on the concept.
Mesmer chose the term animal magnetism to clearly distinguish his variant of magnetic force from those which were referred to, at that time, as mineral magnetism, cosmic magnetism and planetary magnetisms.
Mesmeric theory was based upon two ideas that had been in circulation for centuries.
The first was that there were invisible, naturally occurring forces, such as the force of gravity that keeps planets in their orbits, that can also be held responsible for the animation of living bodies, such as animals and humans.
The other idea was that the application of magnets could prove beneficial in the treatment of disease. In the case of mesmerism, what was new was the explanation put forth for the relationship between the forces of magnetism and the forces of life and by extension, disease.
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See Aura, Altered State of Consciousness, ESP, Seance, Asport, Rappings, Automatic Writing, Findhorn, Glastonbury Scripts, Theosophy, Psychic Archaeology, British Society for Psychical Research, Parapsychology, Poltergeist, Spiritualism, An Introduction to the Study of Animal Magnetism, Animal Magnetism, Animal Magnetism: At Home with Celebrities and Their Animal Companions, Animal Magnetism for Musicians, Exposition, or a New Theory of Animal Magnetism, From Mesmer to Freud: Magnetic Sleep and the Roots of Psychological Healing, Mesmer and Animal Magnetism: A Chapter in the History of Medicine, Mesmerism: The Discovery of Animal Magnetism (1779); A New Translation, Progress of Animal Magnetism in New England, Three Famous Occultists: Dr John Dee, Franz Anton Mesmer, Thomas Lake Harris, , Mystic Gifts and Charms - New Age Gift Shop & Wicca and Pagan Supplies, Love Spells -- Use these powerful love spells to help you find and keep your true love, The Tarot Store, Divination & Scrying Tools and Supplies, Unique Amulets, Talismans, Good Luck Charms, and Love Tokens, Powerful Witch Doctor Spell Kits, Powerful Spells - Cast by Andreika the Witch, Webmasters Make $$$, AzureGreen - Celebrating All Paths to the Divine, ISIS - Tools for Your Soul's Journey, and The Pyramid Collection - Myth, Magick, Fantasy and Romance.
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Sources: (1) Dictionary of the Occult, Caxton Publishing; (2) The Encyclopaedia Britannica Eleventh Edition Handy Volume Edition, Oxford University Press; (3) Gochenour P., Mesmerism: a Theory of the Soul, Gale Group; (4) Spence, Lewis, An Encyclopedia of Occultism, Carol Publishing Group; (5) Steiger, Brad and Sherry H., The Gale Encyclopedia of the Unusual and Unexplained, Thomson Gale.
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