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When 'The Usual' Won't Do

Animal Magnetism, Mesmerism and Hypnotism

Techniques that embody what we now call [hypnotism][1] have been around for centuries, appearing in various forms in spiritual and religious rites and alternative medical practice.

While we look back at the activities of these practitioners and judge them as quacks, much of what they did was normal practice for their times, when the practice of medicine was also ad hoc, unscientific and steeped in mythology and strange beliefs.

One of the strangest beliefs that came out of early hypnosis was the concept of animal magnetism. This term still arises today in description of a person who has seemingly super strong innate attractiveness (usually to members of the opposite sex). However originally it was used by practitioners of mesmerism or hypnosis as we now call it.

The term mesmerism is derived from the name of Anton Mesmer, an 18th century practitioner and pioneer.

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