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Franz Mesmer

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Franz Mesmer

Born Franz Anton Mesmer
23 May 1734
Iznang, Bishopric of Constance (today Moos, Baden-Württemberg, Germany)
Died 5 March 1815 (aged 80)
Meersburg, Baden
Nationality German
Known for Animal magnetism

Franz Anton Mesmer (23 May 1734 – 5 March 1815) was a German physician with an interest in astronomy.

He had a theory that there was a natural transfer of energy between all animated and inanimate objects. He called this animal magnetism, sometimes later referred to as mesmerism.[1] The theory attracted a wide following between about 1780 and 1850, and continued to have some influence until the end of the century.[2] In 1843 the Scottish physician James Braid proposed the term hypnosis for 'animal magnetism'. Today this is the usual term for mesmerism.


  1. Mesmer, Franz 1998. Mesmerism: the discovery of animal magnetism. (transl) Kaufman. ISBN 978-0-913-23288-0 or Holmes. ISBN 978-1-558-18382-7
  2. Crabtree, Adam 1980. Animal magnetism, early hypnotism, and psychical research, 1766–1925: an annotated bibliography. White Plains, NY: Kraus International, Introduction. ISBN 0-527-20006-9