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Hypnotism

Hypnotism

N820/0023

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Credit

SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

The Hypnotist. Historical etching of a hypnotist inducing a trance state in a woman by waving his hands in front of her face. Hypnotism was first discovered by the Austrian physician Friedrich Anton Mesmer (1734-1815). He claimed to send his subjects into a trance by his consciously exerted "animal magnetism", their willpower being entirely subordinated to his. Mesmer was denounced as a charlatan in 1785, but his discovery continues to attract interest to this day. Claims that it can uncover buried memories, relieve anxiety or cure addiction remain unproven by science. Etching by Daumier, date unknown.

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