animal magnetism


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

an·i·mal mag·ne·tism

a putative psychic force akin to the property of mutual attraction or repulsion possessed by metal magnets and formerly believed to be the principal factor in hypnosis, which thus was called animal magnetism. See: hypnosis, mesmerism.
A method of hypnosis that allegedly placed patients in a trance-like state deep enough to allow major surgery without pain, or awareness of the operation, named for Austrian physician Franz Anton Mesmer, who developed it

animal magnetism,

n theory advanced and practiced by Dr. Franz Anton Mesmer in the late 18th century as a healing technique, according to which a natural fluid exists throughout the universe, in and between all people and earthly and heavenly bodies. An imbalance of this fluid in the human body is believed to cause disease, but the fluid can be made to flow from one person to another, as from doctor to patient, to restore equilibrium and thereby cure illness.
References in periodicals archive ?
Like Whitman in the Sunday Times, this editorial voice offers fervent support of the "truth" of animal magnetism.
Soon he was doing without the magnets, using his fingers to send animal magnetism streaming from his body to the sufferers.
Franz Anton Mesmer presented 27 propositions about animal magnetism in his Memoire sur Ia Decouverte du Magnetisme Animal, published in 1779.
The fact is, that in the middle of the nineteenth century animal magnetism was considered by the elite as an important challenge in relation to which science should define itself.
Anyone who has thumbed through popular nineteenth-century German cultural magazines will likely have stumbled across daunting feature stories on animal magnetism, the mechanical properties of protoplasm, or other arcane scientific topics interspersed among the more accessible fare of general-interest monthlies.
They also articulated beliefs about patterns of energy of a spiritualizing sort -- the very refined forms of matter called "tides" in Franz Anton Mesmer's animal magnetism, the "vital force" in homeopathy, the "Innate" running down the spine in chiropractic, the divine Supply permeating, like a fountain flow, the human world for New Thought people, the subtle energy of the aura for contemporary metaphysical or psychic healers.
In the popular, faddish activities of animal magnetism, spirit-rapping, trance mediumship, and seances that make up an occult public sphere, antislavery men and women discovered confirmation of liberal tactics that privileged psychological analysis over systemic critique and preferred equalization to equality by universalizing bondage as symptomatic of white interiority.
PARIS, December 1785--Imagination and wonder, those bewitching sirens of superstition, received official condemnation with the release of an investigation of animal magnetism by a French Royal Academy of Sciences commission.
Animal Magnetism compares the species separation between humans and animals to the socio-cultural (and eco-technological) gap between the First and Third Worlds.
Malicious Animal Magnetism was also a rich arena for the movement's sexual undercurrents, disavowed by Eddy but acted out to her dismay by many of her erstwhile followers.
Eddy was undeterred; Gilbert Eddy had died from the effect of negative mesmeric forces--later Christian Scientists called it malicious animal magnetism or "MAM"--directed at him by the movement's enemies.
Beryl Gray has demonstrated that George Eliot shared the Victorian fascination with animal magnetism, or mesmerism, and that the clairvoyant abilities of Latimer, the hero, parallel those described in the contemporary literature on the subject.