The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Mesmer, Friedrich Anton

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MESMER, Friedrich Anton, a German physician, the first promoter of animal magnetism, or “mesmerism,” born at or near Meersburg, Baden, on the lake of Constance, in 1733 or 1734, died there, March 5, 1815. He studied medicine in Vienna, and took his degree of M. D. there in 1766, presenting on that occasion a thesis De Planetarum Influxu in Corpus Humanum, in which he held that the universe is pervaded by a subtle element exercising an extraordinary influence on the human body, and identical with the magnetic element. The means by which he brought his theory into notice, and the leading features of his life, are given under the head of Animal Magnetism.