JEAN-LOUP CHARMET / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JEAN-LOUP CHARMET / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Franz Anton Mesmer. Portrait of Franz Friedrich Anton Mesmer (1734-1815), Austrian physician and founder of "mesmerism" or hypnotism. Born in Germany, he was educated at Vienna University. In 1772 he proposed the existence of a power, similar to magnetism, that exercises a strong influence on the human body. Mesmer claimed to send his patients into a trance by his consciously exerted "animal magnetism", their willpower being entirely subordinated to his. In spite of several successes his work drew scorn from orthodox doctors and he was expelled from Vienna, then ridiculed in Paris, France. Hypnotism is today widely recognized and used medically. Portrait from 1810.
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