'Animal Magnetism', French engraving 1784

'Animal Magnetism', French engraving 1784

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Caption: "Animal Magnetism" after a French engraving of 1784. The subtitle refers to "An important discovery by Mr. Mesmer, doctor of Medcine at the Faculty of Vienna in Austria." Franz Mesmer (1734- 1815) obtained a degree in medicine in 1766, and began investigating the effect of magnetism on sick patients. 'Cures' were effected by passing magnets over the patient, Mesmer later discovering that the same results could be achieved by the simple passing of hands, a phenomenon he called 'animal magnetism'. He was all the rage in Paris from 1778 to 1785, after which time he was discredited. Today it is clear that Mesmer was simply curing psychosomatic symptoms.

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Keywords: animal magnetism, historical image, history, illustration, magnetic therapy, medical charlatanism, mesmer, people person persons, psychosomatics, quack treatment, quackery

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