1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Odylic Force

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ODYLIC FORCE, a term once in vogue to explain the phenomenon of hypnotism (q.v.). In 1845 considerable attention was drawn to the announcement by Baron von Reichenbach of a so-called new “imponderable” or “influence” developed by certain crystals, magnets, the human body, associated with heat, chemical action, or electricity, and existing throughout the universe, to which he gave the name of odyl. Persons sensitive to odyl saw luminous phenomena near the poles of magnets, or even around the hands or heads of certain persons in whose bodies the force was supposed to be concentrated. In Britain an impetus was given to this view of the subject by the translation in 1850 of Reichenbach’s Researches on Magnetism, &c., in relation to Vital Force, by Dr Gregory, professor of chemistry in the university of Edinburgh. These Researches show many of the phenomena to be of the same nature as those described previously by F. A. Mesmer, and even long before Mesmer’s time by Swedenborg.