LOOK AT FAMOUS OCCULTISTS By The Notorious Doctor Zoom Zoom
DR. FRANZ ANTON MESMER (1734-1815)
Falsely credited with creating hypnotism (he didn't, actually). He was
a quack doctor who promoted the belief magnets could induce healing
powers, called "animal magnetism"...the forerunner of quack magnetic
healing practices of today. Mesmer believed in astrology, and thought
the planets moved about in an ether, which caused tides. Disease was
caused by blockage of these tides. Mesmer thought magnets were magic
(as do superstitions people today) and could cure these “astral
Mesmer was somewhat of a gold
digger, and married an older woman who had been one of his patients,
and moved into her palace outside of Vienna. There he set up shop. He
took special interest in some patients whom he allowed to live in his
estate so he could heal them...all of them pretty young women, oddly
enough. He also began to neglect his elderly wife about this time,
focusing all his attention on his "special" patients.
Local authorities became suspicious of Mesmer, because his treatments
involved massaging the thighs and breasts of his young female patients
while they wore only a loose smock.. Maria Paradies, a blind 16 y.o.
girl live-in patient that Mesmer claimed he was curing, was examined by
a real Doctor and discovered to be in fact still blind. However, not
wanting to miss out on the really neat “treatments” he was giving her,
she refused to leave when her parents tried to retrieve her.
Eventually the police intervened, and Mesmer left Vienna for France to
avoid being arrested.
Mesmer set up
shop in Paris, and became a big hit. Patients would swoon and shudder
during some of Mesmer’s dramatic magnet treatments, and the phenomenon
soon was called "Mesmerism". Mesmer’s healing sessions were
theatrical, not therapeutic. The healing sessions often dealt with men
and women sitting next to each other in a darkened room pressing their
hands against the inner thighs of the person next to them. It’s
certainly not hard to imagine ulterior motives for people participating
in the “healing” rituals!
A cocky Mesmer approached King Louis the XVI of France for an endowment
of 250,000 francs. The King agreed, but only if Mesmer would allow his
methods to be examined by a committee first (French Physicians had been
requesting the King do this for some time). Furious at the King’s
requirements, Mesmer refused and left France, knowing he’d be exposed
as a fake under such an examination. Rich clients of Mesmer’s
began to pledge money to him, and soon the totals reached 350,000
Francs, much more than he initially asked the King for, in the first
place. Mesmer returned to France, and now it was the King’s turn to be
furious. The King ordered a commission to investigate Mesmer, who was
now compelled to comply.
In 1784 by the
French Academy of Sciences, including the company of U.S.
ambassador Benjamin Franklin, drew the conclusion that Mesmer’s
miraculous “cures” were merely due to suggestion (or probably due to
what Psychologists would now call “the Placebo Effect”). A
Physician pretending to be ill went to Mesmer who treated him. The
Physician later revealed Mesmer could not correctly diagnose illness
with magnets as he claimed. About this same time, news of the Maria
Paradise incident surfaced in Paris, and he became a laughing stock.
Mesmer lost his fortune after being exposed as a fraud, subsequently
planned a comeback in Vienna, but was turned away at the border by
authorities. He lived out a modest retirement, never achieving his
previous success. .
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