Jules du Potet de Sennevoy

Magnetism Opposed to Medicine

Magnetism at Metz
(20 October 1839)

Magnetism is the plow which will labor the intelligences.

As soon as I had ceased my experiments at the Atheneum, I left for Metz, where one of my students, M. Azeronde, had written me a very pressing letter, in order to engage me to go to his city to continue the treatment of patients that he had known to be rendered sensitive to magnetism and that his prompt departure was going to deprive of his cares. I knew from this friend that magnetism had obtained some favor, even by physicians, and that it had to suffice now some new efforts so that henceforth our science had at Metz dedicated defenders. These assertions determined me to undertake this journey.

Scarcely arrived, I learned that since the departure of M. Azeronde, the minds which were the first shown flaming with a beautiful zeal were fallen back to zero, and the opinion of the mass, habitually worked by the unbelieving physicians, had also ceased to be favorable to the progress of our ideas; it was necessary then to begin again the work of the first apostles and to preach anew our doctrine; it is what I promised myself to do without respite.

Very curious facts had already been produced in this city. A physician, M. Defer, had consigned some in a brochure published recently; these phenomena are so remarkable, they are in addition so well attested that I can not refuse to transcribe them here. Messieurs of the Academy of Medicine, who have been so unjust, so disloyal even toward M. Pigeaire, will know that the fact of vision without the aid of the eyes that they have not wanted to recognize perfectly, is observed, that it is destined to be reproduced and by consequence to cover them with shame, because they have not been only partial judges, but also calumniators.

The brochure whence I extracted the passage below has for title: Experiments on Magnetism by J.R.E. Defer, doctor in medicine. It is at its second edition, and is found at the house of P. Arquel, bookseller, Napoleon Place, No. 6, at Metz.

“The person on whom we have made the following experiments had never heard about magnetism; we did not know her; lone chance conducted into the house where she was found, ignorant that she would be magnetized. What was our astonishment and that of the assistants, when, after eight minutes, we obtained a beginning of somnolence, which was going to pass as far as the most profound sleep! Then the eyes were totally covered by the eyelids; if one tried to open them, one only succeeded with a certain difficulty; the globe of the eye was convulsed. There supervened also convulsive movements of the limbs. This time, the general sensitivity was intact. We questioned her on her state; she responded that she experienced a violent headache, that she was ill in the heart and wanted to vomit; one awakened her.

“With such results, we could not rest there; some days later, the same person wanted to lend herself to a second experiment; We obtained in some minutes the phenomena of the preceding seance, that is to say the somnolence, the occlusion of the eyes, the reversal of the globe of the eye, the convulsive movements, but with more insensibility and the loss of hearing for the persons who were not in rapport with her.

“The second experiment, a little more conclusive than the preceding, engaged us to go further; she was magnetized anew. The phenomenon of insensibility was renewed: one could prick her, push a feather into her nostrils, pinch her strongly without her appearing to suffer. She heard not at all the persons who addressed her by word without being in rapport with her. One made with this subject a long series of experiments which did not allow any one doubt on this remarkable phenomenon. Muscular contractions took place as customary, but they were much more violent than previously. As for vision without the aid of the eyes, we could not positively observe it, because she made us on this subject very precise responses, but, on the other side, poor responses.

“At the fourth seance, she experienced very violent convulsive movements in all the limbs; these movements appeared to diminish in intensity by the means of some passes over the epigastrium. This observations conducted us to question her on the subject; she responded that these passes provided her a great relief. One renewed the experiments on insensibility, which was observed again. But this time the vision without aid of the eyes was more developed. She could say how many persons there were behind and beside her; one presented her successively, on one side of the head, a snuffbox, a book, some engravings, a ring, a watch, a vase; she was deceived not at all, neither on the names of the objects, nor on their colors. However, as some persons, desirous of prolonging the pleasure that they experienced, continued to address questions to her, she ended by being impatient and no longer responding in a manner so satisfactory.

“In these four seances, we have seen developing little by little the phenomena of somnambulism, the passage from the start of waking to the one of sleeping, and the one from sleep into magnetic somnambulism. Thus, in the first seance, we only obtained a deep sleep and involuntary contractions; in the second, sensibility and loss of hearing for persons not in rapport with the one magnetized. On this subject we will say that one is put in rapport in touching for an instant the hands joined with the active and the passive person, or as well in forming the chain. At the third, sight without aid of the eyes began to be established, and at the fourth it was more developed. Each time she began to cry and to laugh nearly at the same time in the act of awakening; but what especially struck us, it was the contrast there was between the state of waking and the one of sleep, in the expression of her physiognomy, her poise, and her conversation.

“At the fifth experiment, she slept with a great ease and presented all the phenomena observed in the course of the first seances. One of the assistants put two lit candles under the eyes, to be assured that they were perfectly closed; the eyelids did not make the least movement. Another person wanted to open the eyelids, but she succeeded there with difficulty: they were as glued together; the globe of the eye was convulsed. One placed diverse objects before here, and even below the visual axis; she named them without being mistaken. One then covered her eyes with a bandage made in many folds, and one presented her diverse objects, that she named without missing. Someone, who was not convinced, wanted to know if it was not possible to see with this bandage. After having tried it, he avowed that he could see nothing, that he distinguished no object. One then put on this same bandage in a manner to allow daylight on the sides of the nose; he only saw under a very sharp angle, and not in front of him as the magnetized person. As she experienced very violent contractions in all the limbs, and especially in the muscles of the face, one awakened her.

“The phenomena of the following seance were much more curious still. One put a slip of cotton on each eye, and over it, a bandage made with many folds. One often made her change place, in disposing of the obstacles on her way; she avoided them always so well that she could have done it in the state of waking. While she was seated on a couch, one changed the place of the armchair on which she was at first, and that without her hearing anything; on the invitation which was made to her to go retake her chair, she rendered herself without hesitating and without searching to go there where she first was. One made her then play dominoes and cards, the bandage always on her eyes: she lent herself with bad grace; but, either at dominoes or at cards, she was not mistaken and she perceived very well when one deceived her. Suddenly she had very strong convulsions, that one only succeeded to calm with much trouble. This state was followed with a great subsidence during which one awakened her. Returned from her sleep, she complained of a great headache, of a sense of fatigue and of a crushing in all the limbs.

“At the seventh experiment, she was put to sleep in some minutes. One placed a half-mask on her face, and the phenomena of sight manifested itself as usual. One addressed her then with very simple questions to which she did not wish to respond; her pride appeared wounded by the great simplicity of these questions. When one asked her the name of an object placed in front of her or on the sides of her head, she responded: “You know it better than I, I therefore have no need to tell it to you.” One then placed her in a corner of the room where reigned a darkness nearly complete, and one presented her a great number of engravings, on which she gave details which were accurate. She recognized many persons who were found in front of her; she was not mistaken more on the number of persons presented, even as many would have withdrawn to render the experiment more conclusive.

“In the eighth seance, she named many letters placed before her forehead; but to be well assured that she could not see, one put a bandage over her eyes with all the possible precautions; she named again other letters that one presented her. One made her go from one chamber to another, cross a corridor and a courtyard; she did all this path without touching the wall at all. As she was in the street, she wanted to be going; one caused her then to remark that she had forgotten her shawl, and she returned to find it with the some facility. An instant later, several caps were burst at her ears; no movement in her was observed. One made her walk again, always with a bandage on her eyes; one said to her many times to go sit down in such and such a place, to retake her armchair; she executed all these orders as well as in the waking state, she avoided even small obstacles. One made then a great number of experiments on paralysis of hearing, clairvoyance and insensibility, which were all satisfactory.

“In the following seance, one put on her, as usual, a bandage over the eyes, and ever with the same precautions, then one made her play dominoes. One of her dominoes had been turned over, that is to say that the side where are marked the points was against the table cover; it was necessary to play the four or the white, she took her domino without turning it over and placed it as needed, the four against the four. One repeated the experiments on hearing, by means of a gun; she remained immobile. One made her play cards; the person who played with her threw on the mat the knave of hearts, she took it with the king, and one contested the levy, she responded with assurance: “You have played the knave, I have played the king, the levy is mine.” In vain many persons with whom she was not in rapport shouted at her ears, made at her side all possible noise, she remained mute. One put under her nose a flask of cologne water and a flask of ammonia, she remained insensible; one asked her if she sensed some thing, she responded that one was mocking her, that there was water in the flasks. Someone who desired to play with her proposed to play only one part of dominoes and to interest her the other part; she consented then and played with as much facility as during waking; she was not mistaken a single time. One remarked that she was obliged to try in the remaining dominoes, what one vulgarly calls poker, she took then the domino that was necessary and placed it as it should be, without turning it over. She could also sew in the darkness.

“We come to see, in the five latter experiments, remarkable examples of the vision without the aid of the eyes, of paralysis of hearing and of that of smell; we would have then occasion to observe these phenomena in the experiments which followed. To have an entire conviction on the reality of vision without aid of the eyes, some persons imagined to used a bandage made with sticking plaster, in order to prevent all luminous rays from penetrating as far as the eye. One made two other bandages on the skin, and they were banded with the sticking plaster. Each was tried; it was recognized that not only that one could not distinguish any object, but then that one could not perceive the presence or the absence of light.

“One made a tenth experiment. She was magnetized in some minutes. One placed an iron magnet on different parts of the body; she soon experienced convulsive movements. One placed then a glass tray at the epigastrium, and by means of some passes made before this tray, she was prey to very violent convulsions. As one has noticed, in the preceding seances, as the passes before the epigastrium and the length of the limbs calmed her right away, one tried and obtained the same result. She then fell into a great subsidence; all the muscles were in a great release. We let her rest an instant before continuing the experiments. One used then a metal tray, and the passes were in vain, nothing manifested. On repeated the experiment with the glass tray, and the convulsions soon reappeared. One put under her nose the flask of ammonia, and one asked her if she sensed some thing; she responded that one mocked her, that there was only water in the flask. Someone asked her if she liked music; she responded that she liked it very much and that one would give her the greatest pleasure in playing an instrument. One of the assistants plucked the guitar, but as she appeared to hear nothing, one asked her how she found the air that one played; she responded that one did not play, that one mocked her. Someone who was found in rapport with her played then the same instrument, and soon she accompanied him with her voice. One renewed the same experiment, and suddenly she stopped in saying: “Ah well! one plays no longer.” In fact the person who played then was not in rapport with her. It was easy to perceive that she like music; also one profited from this means to place on her, without her perceiving it, the bandage of which we have spoken. One made her see a magic lantern; she distinguished perfectly all the subjects and gave on each of them very minute details. Many person played dominoes and the cards with her; she acquitted herself as one can do no better. The respiration was very embarrassed and the pulse marked constantly at 104 to 110 pulsations.

“The following seance was no less curious. One repeated all the preceding experiments with a full success. The tray of glass occasioned convulsion, and the metallic tray produced no effect. A metallic point, presented to the epigastrium, was borne equally with convulsive movements, while a point of glass remained without effect like the metallic tray. The hand presented toward the same region caused to reappear the very strong convulsive movements, that one could scarcely contain the magnetized person; her force was considerably augmented. Some passes before the epigastrium soon stopped this state of agitation which was replaced by a great abatement. During these experiments, the pulse showed as much as one hundred twenty-four pulsations to the minutes, and the respiration became so difficult that one had to believe a suffocation imminent, if this state had not already been presented in the preceding seances.

“As one had remarked that music produced on her the most happy effects, one begged someone of the society to play the guitar. One asked her if she liked the air that one played; she responded that she heard nothing, that one played no instrument. One said to her then to listen well, and she still heard nothing. Someone however plucked the guitar, but probably without being put in rapport with her; the rapport established, she accompanied soon the instrument with a crazy gaiety. One profited putting on this bandage of plaster, then we had her play again dominoes and cards; she acquitted herself as usual. While one awakened her, she experienced then violent convulsions; she felt, she said, strong shaking in the region of the heart, and tingling in the limbs.

“At the twelfth seance, she was plunged into magnetic sleep in less than three minutes. One put the bandage on her eyes, and vision continued to take place; one presented her successively with many objects that she soon named. The experiment of the trays and the points was renewed with the same results. One made on her several electric discharges as strong as possible, she remained insensible; once only she perceived the spark, and she said that one wished to burn her. One formed the chain to be assured that the discharges were strong enough; the person magnetized remained insensible, the others could not prevent themselves from breaking the chain. A person in rapport with her left the room in bidding her goodnight; but returning by the window without the least noise, the magnetized said that she saw this person returning, and indicated the place that she occupied.

“The experiments by the means of the electric machine and jar of Leyden were renewed in the thirteenth seance with the same success. One put the bandage over her eyes, then extinguished the lights without her perceiving it. She distinguished a Rose of Provins in the middle of many other roses; she named as well many dominoes and many other objects in the dark. That day she was in an extraordinary gaiety; she recounted many stories with a unique naivete. Someone who was in rapport with her played the guitar, and soon she left aside her narration to accompany the instrument. One sang a new air to her which was certainly unknown to her; she sang as if she had known the romance and the air; she very often finished a verse begun. While she was singing, one made at her ears all possible noise, one produced the most discordant sounds, she continued to sing. A person placed by her, without saying what it was, a pistol behind the head; suddenly she appeared anxious, then she was put to tears, in saying that one wanted to kill her with a pistol.

“At the last seance, one made her play cards with the bandage on the eyes; while she was occupied to do her part, one caused to disappear the candles which lightened the salon, and she continued to play without making errors. The party terminated, she raised herself, discarded the chairs which were found in her passage, and was going to sit at a distance. One returned the candles to be assured that she had played well, and one was astonished to no longer see her at her place; she was not deceived. Someone asked her then why she had then left the play, she responded that she was fatigued. One of the assistants tried many times to put her in error by changing the cards, this was always useless. One put then before her a see-through, on which was written these words: Fire works, that she read very well. To this transparent one succeeded many others representing diverse subjects that she not only detailed well, but of which she appreciated then the most delicate nuances. She told constantly the number of the dominoes that each took between his two hands, and was not mistaken on the value of each domino in the dark; then, one presented to her one without having seen it; she said that it was the double-four; one went to carry the lamp to verify that she was not mistaken: it was in fact the double-four. One raised her eyelid and one saw, as in many preceding seances, the globe turned convulsively upward. One of the assistants threw many times a cry of fear at her ears, she made no movement. An instant later, as one approached her with a metallic spindle, she experienced convulsive movements, and, either one had put, or one had not put a bandage on her eyes, the movements were renewed in the parts toward which the metallic spindle was directed. We directed the hand toward the epigastrium; at its approach the somnambulist agitated all limbs. The approach of the hand toward a part was always followed with convulsions; one suspended these experiments to verify if the convulsive movements did not take place without the approach of the hands; nothing manifested. Finally one wanted to know if she was sensitive to the sufferings of others; for this one gave flicks to someone who touched her by the hand and who was found in rapport with her, and soon there manifested the contractions in this hand. This experiment was renewed many times with the same results.

“The last experiments showed to us clairvoyance at the highest degree, insensibility to electric shocks, acceleration of the respiration and the circulation, and a contractile faculty put in play when one approached the fingers with a metallic spindle or a tray of glass. A spindle of glass or a metallic tray remained, to the contrary, without effect. The somnambulist appeared to us then sensitive to the pains of persons in rapport with her. At her awakening, she always appeared to be ignorant of the circumstances of her sleep; we could not have, in this regard, another guarantee than her declaration and those of the persons who frequented her every day.

“The person on which we experimented has always been accompanied by her sister and sometimes other relatives. Each seance has lasted from eight hours at night to one hour in the morning; we have pursued our researches and multiplied our observations, in redoubling our cares, attention and suspicion. The distinguished persons who have attended our experiments, have then acted themselves, in order to better observe; we have all been forced to render ourselves to the evidence.

“Among these persons we cite MM. [Twenty-one names and occupations follow.] Which persons have signed with us the minutes of the present memorandum, deposited at the archives of the Royal Academy of Metz.”

The facts so extraordinary and so positive only produced the conviction in those who had been the witnesses. The story of these phenomena found the unbelievers much more obstinate, that having wished to reproduce these same effects before them, the magnetizers did not succeed. And would the men who doubted be impressed, soon at my arrival, to summon me to prove to them the existence of vision without the aid of the eyes, without knowing if I myself adopted this phenomenon, without even being instructed of what I wanted to establish; the publicity was going to carry the knowledge of all my rejections or my approvals of the challenge that one proposed to me. I did not respond to this provocation which appeared singular to me, because not traveling with a shipment of somnambulists, the time had to be left to try to find one in the country, while the physicians wanted at any force, not to know if magnetism healed, what is however interesting enough for them, but to be assured only of a fact which, a thousand times justified and observed, can not advance with one step the art of healing. I occupied myself on my first steps; I pronounced the discourse on magnetism that I had announced, and three hundred persons, gathered in the great hall of the hotel of the city of Metz, could know my ideas on magnetism and the goal that I proposed to attain. I opened immediately a list of subscription for persons who wished to be instructed in magnetism, and I saw hastening to my house the estimable men of whom the names follow: [list of 66 names and titles.]

My course opened, I explained at first the principles of magnetism, and made known the works of the men of merit who had outdistanced me in the career, I announced that I would produce under the eyes of my students a part of the phenomena that had analytically explained.

Here I must let speak one of my auditors, M. Grellois, who, by love for the truth, submitted himself to my experiments, and wanted to render account, in The Independent of the Moselle, from which he had experienced and seen manifesting on other persons. It is his narrative that you will read, and my reflections or my additions will come at the end of his latter article.

Article I.
Metz, 1 November.

Today as one of the most eloquent apostles of Mesmer spreads over Metz the seeds of his science, there reigns an almost giddy magnetic; all the mouths pronounce the word somnambulist; all the ears retain the word magnetism. Then some days ecstasy and we  can without doubt divide our city into two camps, of one part the magnetizers, the somnambulists of the other.

We have then thought to make a pious work in delivering to public domain the practical results of the lessons of the professor. What will these results be? Will they shepherd facts proper to monopolize all convictions? I do not know it and desire it. We will see and we will judge.

But to read with fruit a rendered account of magnetic experiments, we have thought that it was necessary to possess some general notions on magnetism. Call then to those who have interest in the subject! That they follow me, and I will conduct them to the doors of this sanctuary in which I have not yet penetrated myself.

I enter into the matter; here I am. To define magnetism is not an easy thing; the elements of a good definition fails us. We say only that this word expresses “a reciprocal influence which is operated sometimes between two individuals, in virtue of certain rapports, by the concourse of the will and of the physical sensitivity.”

That is a definition which could itself have need of being defined, but I bequeath it as I conceive it and so that it wishes, and for what it is worth, in attaching there only very minimal importance.

Mesmer, a German physician, who was at Paris in 1778, is the first of the moderns who recognized magnetic phenomena, whence comes the name of mesmerism on which one has for some time designated them; one did not then accord in regarding him the inventor of animal magnetism. But the investigative minds were found ill at ease in a sphere which scarcely caused them to circulate it for a half century, and as all their good will could not make them recover as far as the flood, they have been constrained to stop at the sons of Jacob, and explain in consequence, by magnetism, many of the miracles of Joseph. – Well advised who dared to make a denial!

Ask for other examples as M. Doctor Foissac; he will teach you that Moses was a great magnetizer, since he won by the imposition of the hands the battle Joshua against the Amalekites; it is so true that when his weary hands bent, the chance of the combat turned, and the victory was only won because Aaron and Hur supported his hands from each side, until the action was decided. – Quick for the first war a battalion of magnetizers!

He will say to you then that Jesus Christ was the ultimate magnetizer of his time, while he chased the demons and healed the sick by imposition of the hands. The apostles, instructed by their divine master, acquired, one said, in the same science, a very remarkable talent.

Their predecessors, the prophets were only near to them as magnetizers of a secondary order.

But it is profane antiquity which offers us especially a fecund mine to exploit. What was then the demon of Socrates? Was this sage who rested one day in ecstasy, according to Xenophon and Plato, not in a somnambulistic crisis? Socrates, otherwise, was recognized a genie of presentiment.

Is not all the history of divination the imprint of the magnetic seal? The sybils, the pythons, the hierophants, the divines, the augurs, the secrets of the dens of Trophonius, Aesculapius, Amphilocus, etc.

We cite then the tremblers of the Cevennes and the convulsionaries of Saint- Medard.

Let us go through the books of Paracelsus, Van Helmont, Robert Fludd and still others, and one could convince himself that Mesmer did not possess any right to the title of the inventor of the theory of magnetism.

All the time, Mesmer studied, learned and reassembled the works of his predecessors; he made at the same time a deep study of the nervous system and the numerous modifications that can receive its action.

By the aid of these diverse elements, he imagined that the universe is enveloped by a fluid of excessive subtlety, which impregnates all bodies; it circulates through the nervous system, penetrates each molecule, and determines in this whole system the varied effects which are manifested under the influence of certain conditions. The fluid is accumulated in the magnetic baquet, in the instruments of music, piano-forte, harmonica, and in the organs of the magnetizer; it is transmitted by the communication established between the individuals that one magnetizes.

Here is the apparatus of Mesmer, described by M. Calmeil: the subjects to magnetize are joined in a room where a religious silence reigns, around a baquet of wood of which the cover gives passage to the spindles of curved iron that one has need to put in contact with a certain number of patients. All communicate between themselves by aid of the hands and of a cord which makes the chain after having circled the body; the songs, the sounds of the piano, the master, armed with the iron wand, directs the point from one side to the other; often he imposes his hands on the hypochondrium, the belly, or he even walks his fingers near nape of the neck, in fixing the patient with his regard.

A certain number of persons seated around the mesmerian baquet feel nothing in particular; others are delivered to stretching, yawning, showing unease, vague pains, sense of heat; others fall into a sort of slumber, into hysterical convulsions extraordinary by their duration, the violence of the episodes. These convulsions almost never attack the men; once they burst on a woman, the greater of the others are affected in a short time. There reigns around the baquet calm, ennui, dejection, inexpressible sympathetic impulse; the patients, as if they were mastered by the power and the will of the magnetizer, obey his voice, his gestures, and his regard, at the least of his signs: an hour, two hours, suffice to obtain all these effects.

Magnetism, from its appearance, submitted to the fate of the most beautiful discoveries; it was a veritable stumbling block against which came to agitate the smallest passions of the greats of science.

Stupid believers on one part, on the word of the master, threw themselves headlong into the magnetic faith; they braved the fearful traits of sarcasm which combatted them; many would have braved martyrdom; so robust was their faith. On the other part, reinforced pyrrhonists, armed only with systematic skepticism, denied, obstinately denied, but without seeking to see or to convince themselves; what their reason did not conceive, their mind could not admit.

Such are the two classes of men who would overthrow the magnetic edifice before its foundations even were cast. All believing or all denying in the sciences, are two extremes equally prejudicial to their progress.

But that is not all: there as Mesmer had cast the gauntlet to an illustrious company; he employed the agent that he had discovered against a crowd of maladies, and demanded the sanction of the Academy of Sciences; a commission was named, and it report launched against this poor magnetism a thundering anathema. Only one of its members, M. de Jussieu, declared, in an individual writing, that this means could be useful, and that the effects produced by magnetism could be real.

It was thus done from the cradle of our science, that some isolated voices were from time to time raised in its favor. The fervent adepts, those especially who had seen, seen with their own eyes, continued their experiments in silence, and no longer occupied the attention of the savant world as in 1821 [1825], time at which a new commission sent from the bosom of the Academy of Medicine to submit to a rigorous examination the works of several magnetizers, among others M. Du Potet, who experimented at the Hotel Dieu and at Bicetre, under the eyes of MM. Recamier and Husson.

Here the question was no longer posed in the same terms as in 1784; it no longer acted with baquets, with wands, with pictures, with music, with numerous assemblies of magnetizers and magnetized, with chains, with convulsions, etc. A new phenomenon, somnambulism, observed since this era, had to attract the attention of the commission.

But the report written fifty-three [forty-seven] years before dictated the declarations of that one. The commissioners were not in bad faith, but they arrived with preconceived ideas, examined badly or did not examine, and magnetism, supported by it somnambulists, received a new check.

Since then the Academy of Medicine has often been occupied with this question; several commissioners, designated by it, and composed of scholarly and conscientious men, have tried to penetrate the secrets of the phenomenon, but in no report have they been favorable to magnetism. Exclude the imagination, it is then that they politely considered those who have not dared to blemish openly it adepts with the title of jugglers or charlatans.

From another side, the experiments have continued to be multiplied, and France has covered itself in some way with a magnetic network; all over, apart from learned societies, magnetic wonders have struck all eyes. Some voices have even cried miracle!

There is the state of the question; there is the point of view to which we must place ourselves to judge practical experiments. We are then, readers, you and I, cast as judges in the middle of this scientific anachronism, with the relentless fight which will only end  in the death of one of the adverse parties. We have no preconceived opinion, we will vote then with an entire liberty of conscience; and soon, thanks to M. Du Potet, we can gird a triumphal crown to the forehead of the magnetizers! I hope it, I believe it.

Article II.
Metz, 4 November.

At the point where we take the science and where we want to study it, a strange question arises at first. – Does magnetism exist?

We will respond in transmitting only our personal opinion. If one wishes to consider magnetism as the expression of an isolated state of the nervous system, can it be manifested by certain phenomena of which the analogs are encountered in some unhealthy state, such as hysteria, catalepsy, one can not refuse to admit it. If one wishes that it had for effects the exaggeration of the interior sensations, perspective and reflective faculties, a special action of the organs of sense, we are then forced to recognize that it exists as fact in the natural order.

But if one wants to transform the magnetizers into new thaumaturges, prophets, divines, if one thinks to transpose the organs of the somnambulist, to make him see at the neck or the belly, to taste with the fingers, etc., we avow our extreme incredulity; but we avow all the more readily the writings of many able and conscientious magnetizers not mentioning these astonishing prodigies. – In reinforcing the limits of reason, magnetism finds still enough power to strike with astonishment and cause belief in the existence of an agent of which the essence is not yet known.

Always, show us the facts, and we will be rendered to the evidence. The adversaries of magnetism have attributed its phenomena to diverse causes which will tender nothing to reverse it.

Then, some have assumed imitation. – This hypothesis could have some value if one only fell into somnambulism after having been already witness to magnetic experiments, and if the somnambulists only reproduced then the actions that they would have observed. But it is far from being so: one magnetizes subjects who had never suspected the existence of this science; and when one operates on individuals who could have been witness before being actors, the actions sometimes are completely different, because there exists between somnambulists the same diversity of effects as between the character and the physiognomy of men. One magnetizes with success the negro slaves, peasants who know neither to read nor to write, children of low age; where could there be the seeds of imitation?

Those who have attributed magnetism to imagination have not been more pleased. – Magnetizers exercise their action on subjects of whom they are separated by a door, a wall, and when those do not even suspect their presence: what role could imagination play here? And how would this cause explain then magnetism in idiots, the insane, children? Imagination is without contradiction richer, more brilliant in the southerners than in the Russians and the Swedes, and moreover at Rome or at Santo Domingo the magnetic effects are no more glaring that at Saint Petersburg or at Stockholm.

To the contrary, it has been recognized that persons with the most vital imagination are less apt than others to magnetic ecstasy. Others have explained the phenomena by the action of animal heat of the magnetizer on the magnetized. But this explanation falls of itself when the passes are made without immediate contact, and it is the most ordinary.

Shall we adopt the idea of sympathy between the two beings who are put into rapport? – But this sentiment can not exist between two individuals unknown to each other; this spontaneous action, which carries us toward a person of preference to another, is a rare fact, and one can only admit a sympathetic link unites at first view the magnetizer with the number of individuals who are submitted to his action. Otherwise, what will we say when magnetism is applied to inanimate objects?

In reality, we believe however that an impression of disgust, of horror, a mundane repulsion between two individuals, would be an obstacle perhaps invincible to the manifestation of phenomena.

Finally, what has been said of trickery, of complicity? If some knaves had sometimes usurped the title of magnetizers, one can not revoke in doubt an immense number of experiments offering all desirable authenticity.

Magnetizers are seen then forced to admit the existence of a particular fluid, which establishes a communication between the operator and the operated; a fluid to which one will impose if it is wished to denominate it magnetic, nervous fluid, vital principle, which would perhaps be the soul of Stahl, the archeus of Van Helmont, etc. – Little matter, the words only being the material expression of ideas, will always represent, in a confused manner, an idea which is not neatly engraved in mind.

Without researching, ourselves, the nature of this cause, we believe it nonetheless identical to the one of these great nervous aberrations which produce effects so remarkable and so widespread sometimes on a whole population in a manner of some epidemic kind. (Fear of demons, tremblers, convulsionaries, etc.)

The conditions necessary to obtain magnetic phenomena are very simple; it is not necessary, as one has so much repeated, that the magnetized subject believe, that a sympathetic link united him to his magnetizer, that he concentrate all his mind on the operation to which he is going to submit; every day unbelievers are magnetized, men are put into rapport without probably knowing, and those who stiffen their will against the magnetizer are no slower in feeling the effects.

However, all are not proper to communicate or to receive the fluid; in those subjects weak, nervous, sensitive, irritable, attacked with chronic affections, in children, aged, hypochondriacs, melancholics, hysterical girls, it penetrates ordinarily with ease; plethoric individuals, padded with fat, are to the contrary rebellious to its influence. It is false to say that women become better somnambulists than men. – An individual gifted with moral energy, with a great force of will, will make, all things otherwise equal, a magnetizer more powerful than the one who is found in opposing conditions. Men are, by this reason, more proper than women to exercise magnetism. However a woman can act on another of an age or of an inferior conditions to hers; a mother on her daughter, for example. That directs me to remark that a magnetizer must avoid operating on persons in regard to whom he may feel shame or constraint.

Although magnetism can operate in the middle of a numerous gathering, it is however more advantageous to act in solitude, or at least around a circle less numerous, which permits the magnetizer to concentrate all his attention on his subject.

In order to operate magnetism, it is necessary to have “an active will toward the good, a firm belief in its power, an entire confidence in employing it.”

Stormy times are contrary to magnetization; atmospheric humidity prevents it almost completely. Does this not establish a striking analogy between magnetic and electrical fluids?

When the magnetizer has emitted a great amount of fluid, it often becomes impossible to continue his experiments; his machine is discharged. He experiences a veritable fatigue, which only is dissipated when a sufficient quantity of fluid is reconstituted in his person. It is the state of the torpedo and other electric fish.

The magnetized subject finds around him a magnetic atmosphere, which he can communicate to individuals who surround him; one often sees irritable persons fall into somnambulism without any direct action having been exercised on them. This phenomenon appears to us as an amplification of the atmosphere of sensitivity of which some physiologist, among others Autenrieth, supposed that the nerves are enveloped; it offers a second and striking analogy between magnetism and the state of electric fish.

Many modes of magnetization are used: a patient can be magnetized in his bed, in an armchair, in a chair, or even standing. The magnetizer places himself ordinarily before him, sometimes at his side. He directs to him a penetrating look and tries to operate a kind of fascination; sometimes the operator joins his knees and his feet to those of the operated, presses his hands or his head, and tries to establish between them a level of temperature. Then he lightly walks his hands from the head to the end of the fingers, to the epigastrium, over the belly, the knees to the end of the toes, and repeats each of these maneuvers during a greater or lesser time. Some magnetizers content themselves with a simple touching; others abstain from all contact, and walk one or both hands at a small distance from the brow, the arms, the chest, the belly and the inferior limbs; when a beginning of action is manifested, what they recognize as certain spasmodic movements of the eyelids, orbits, face or limbs, they distance themselves more, such that soon they are separated from the subject by the whole extension of the room. – This method is the one of M. Du Potet. At the middle of this mimic, the magnetizer mentally ordains, with all the energy of his will, for the magnetized one to sleep, if his aim is to obtain somnambulism.

The time necessary to reach the desired result varies between some seconds and several hours; but five or ten minutes suffice ordinarily to provoke sleep. In general, the more a subject submits to magnetic sessions, the more his susceptibility is pronounced, the more the phenomena become remarkable. One will say that the internal senses have need to receive the education necessary to the perception of the new sensations which are developing in them.

But in all those subjects one does not try and one cannot obtain somnambulism; there only results from the magnetic action a convulsive movement of the muscles of the extremities, of the back and of the chest; a trembling analogous to the one that causes the chill, and a comparable sensation to the one which causes the erection of nervous papillae of the skin, vulgarly called goosebumps. All that is accompanied with anxiety of the organs of respiration; the voice becomes quavering, jerky, while the sensitivity and the functions of the brain do not feel the slightest trouble. You maintain yourself with an entire liberty of spirit with those who surround you, often you stiffen against the trembling which agitates you, but the will has no more power. When the passes of the magnetizer have taken place at the level of the hands and of the feet, one experiences the sensation of a very subtle fluid which falls in abundance on these parts, from there to flow to the center of the neighboring bones.

There are the most elementary of magnetic phenomena, but the only ones sometimes inevitable to obtain. We believe then, because we have felt them ourselves.  But alas! all that we will add would only be on faith to others.

When the magnetized subject must fall into the state of somnambulism, his eyelids move at first with a light convulsive movement; the ocular globe, that one notices crossing, shows the immobile pupil, and is itself often convulsed. Soon the movements of the eyelids become more pronounced; they open and close alternately, then finally close for the last time; these phenomena are accompanied by a fairly sharp prickling near these parts. At the same time stretching occurs, sometimes febrile shivers.

In this state, somnambulism is declared. It is then that the most curious phenomena manifest themselves, the most incomprehensible of magnetism. The external senses lose the faculty of perception; the strongest explosions do not reach the auditory nerves; the sense of touch is no longer exercised, and the skin, organ of touch, falls into such an insensibility that the sharpest pains remain unperceived. MM. Recamier and Husson have pinched somnambulists to the point of producing bruises; they have applied moxa on diverse points of the body, and have burnt cylinders of agaric [mushroom] in the nasal fossa, without causing any perception of pain. M. Oudet has been able to extract a dental molar of an extremely impressionable lady, without her perceiving it, and M. Cloquet has profited by magnetic sleep to do one of the most painful operations of surgery, the amputation of the breast, and the only sensation acknowledged by the patient was a simple tickling while one placed on the wound the sponge used to absorb the blood which drained. But by compensation, if the external organs are abolished in their manifestation, the internal senses have acquired an unheard-of development. The patient can fathom the recesses of his organization, and through his viscera he recognizes his ills and indicates the remedy. His memory is suddenly developed to the point of recalling to him the events of his extreme youth, the most insignificant actions of his life; but his mind is not immersed only in the past, because the mysteries of the future appear no less distinct to him; he predicts with a mathematical certainty events which must afflict him or fill him with joy. He sees without the aid of the eyes, because he distinguishes objects placed on his neck or on his epigastrium; finally he hears without the aid of the ears, while he responds to his magnetizer who speaks mentally to him.

For the somnambulist, the whole world is nothing; his universe, it is the man with whom he is in rapport; they have one intelligence, one will within two corporeal bodies. By aid of the somnambulist, there no is secret in the soul, no sick fiber in the body that this one can not discover.

All this memory, this science, this prevision, a mental order of the magnetizer can overthrow them. With a gesture, the automaton is returned into the class of men, his thought becomes again his own.

What effects could magnetism produce on the sublime idiot of Besancon, who presided, 16 October 1793, at four hours in the evening, at the moment a royal head fell on the scaffold!

Shall I extend for a long time the marvels of somnambulism? But I have said enough to make it felt how much such a state is foreign to known laws of nature. Otherwise, as each amplifies and paraphrases my text, he will invent nothing that one has not written, and will remain perhaps far then from the exaggerations of certain enthusiasts.

Magnetism is communicated between inanimate beings. Who does not know the powers of the elm at Buzancy, that a gesture of the Marquis de Puységur magnetized? But as the physical or chemical agents have no hold on magnetism, there is the marvel! A red iron plunged into water does not lose its magnetic virtue. A cylinder of marble was plunged into nitric acid as far as the dissolution of half its volume, and put between the hands of the somnambulist he manifested brilliant phenomena.

With magnetism we have finally found the universal panacea: the more infirm, the more lame! But leaving aside all exaggeration, it is to make one rich if we can apply to it this word of Urbain Coste on medicine: “Its power extends between irritation and disorganization.”

But it is a very long time to echo the facts which call for the sanction of experiment, and as one must only believe after its proper authority. – I arrive to practical facts.

Article III.

We will divide the experiments of which we have to render account into two series: in the first will be ranked those which have for an object to produce magnetic phenomena, independent of all curative action, and which constitute in some manner magnetic physiology; the second will comprise the magnetic processes directed against certain affections in the aim of carrying remedy to them. These experiments will form the complement of the former and will be real attempts at magnetic therapy.

The experiments of the first series will occupy us alone today. 1) Francois, waiter at the Hotel of the North, is magnetized 28 October; he is asleep after five minutes of passes, but his sleep presents no particular phenomena; he slides down his chair, and when one interrogates him he responds with a heavy and languishing voice: “But leave me then to sleep.” One awakens him after a quarter hour.

On the 29th, submitted again to magnetism, he sleeps with same ease and his sleep is no more lucid; his response to interrogation is the same. One awakens him after twenty-five minutes. – Although he had been magnetized near a fire, he complains of a great chill, and only succeeded to be rewarmed after two hours. The moderately contracted pupils are immobile; the pulse beats at 115 pulsations. He acknowledges a sufficiently great malaise, and says that he allow no longer be magnetized. – One could hope to make him a somnambulist.

2) M. de R..., student of the school of application, has been magnetized outside our presence on the 29th; on the 30th, it is in a public seance. M. de R..., is aged around twenty-two years, dark, of a nervous temperament. – He is asleep after ten minutes of passes. M. Du Potet asks him many times if he is asleep, and obtains no response. But another phenomenon calls our attention: each time that the magnetizer directs his passes toward the left hand, one sees it moving with a light convulsive trembling, at the same time that one observes jerks of the muscles of the arms. When the operator distances himself, but still in making the passes at the level of the hands, the same arm, half-flexed and in a state of complete rigidity, makes efforts to follow the magnetizer; these effects move the hand in an extension of three to four inches. After a quarter hour of passes, the movement is communicated to the leg of the same side; after twenty minutes, the right side participates in the same phenomena. From time to time the eyelids open, and one recognizes that the eyeball is reversed upward and backward. – M. de R... is awakened after a sleep of twenty-five minutes.

Departing the magnetic crisis, he spoke with a jerky, throbbing voice; he is cold and feels the sensation of a person who gets out of the water. During his sleep, the voice which spoke to him did not reach his ear, but he heard a very strong sound, confused, and similar to the one of numerous feet moving on a carpet. He felt distinctly a fluid circulating from high to low in his body and the length of his limbs. The experiments continued the following days with analogous results; somnambulism could not be obtained.

On 2 November, M. de R... is magnetized standing, supported against the chimney. M. Du Potet is placed in front of him, at a distance of ten to twelve feet. After five minutes of passes, the inferior limbs act with convulsive trembling; the arms soon follow this movement, and energetic contractions of the face show that the whole machine participates in these astonishing effects. However the intelligence suffers no attack; the magnetized one comprehends enough of his state to say to the assistants that he feels an enormous tendency to walk forward. – The magnetizer says to us in fact that the aim of his passes is to attract him. – M. de R.... employs all his energy to resist this action, to which he would invincibly cede, if he had not considerably augmented his force of resistance in buttressing himself in some way against the chimney, of the kind that his feet are found on the floor in front of the rest of the body. – He remained nearly a quarter hour in this state.

Returned to the normal state, he says to us that he had for an instant his ideas obscured, and had seen himself at the point of sleeping; that during the action it seemed to him that a current of fluid coursed through his whole body, and that without support that the chimney furnished him he would not have been able to resist the action which the magnetizer exercised on him. – There remained in the arms a confused pain, and the legs felt fatigue then for some instants.

3) M. D..., captain of engineers, has been magnetized several times. At the second experiment, he went to sleep shortly, but gave no sign of somnambulistic lucidity. On the 1st of November, his eyes convulsing, he felt spider webs spread over his visage; but the action of the magnetizer having diminished the intensity, these effects disappeared almost instantly. The troubles exercised on the locomotor organs were perfectly analogous to those observed in the presence of numerous witnesses.

Submitted myself many times to the experiments, I am going to try to translate, in the most sensible and truest manner, the interesting phenomena which were developed in me. I am standing, at short distance from the chimney. The magnetizer is distant from me around ten feet. After three or four minutes of passes practiced at this distance, my lower limbs become the seat of a slight prickling at first, but which soon becomes very vibrant, and is communicated to the superior extremities with the rapidity of thought. At the same time, a sense of constriction is manifested around the knees; it seems to me that the kneecaps are submitted to the actions of a vice slowly and gradually: it is thence the point of departure of the phenomena. The muscles of the thigh enter into spasmodic contraction which is directed in an appreciable manner at their inferior insertion to the rest of their extension; similar movements, from high to low, are produced at the leg; soon the muscles of the foot participate in this state of contraction, the toes are in a forced flexion, of which the first effect is to diminish the sustenance. This state of the muscular system brings a trembling which, at first weak, acquires progressively a remarkable intensity; I sense sometimes an extreme tendency to move forward; at other times it is a veritable repulsion which solicits me, but always a great difficulty to preserve the right station. But soon the convulsions no longer have the inferior limbs for the exclusive seat; this nearly tetanic state is communicated to the muscles of the shoulders, arms, hands; my arms are twisted, my fingers are tensed involuntarily. It seems to me that the deltoid muscles come to meet each other, so much I sense diminishing the fullness of my chest; it is in this moment that the muscles which serve respiration have participated in the general crisis; also the air leaves loudly from my chest, by means of violent expirations. Speech is painful, interspersed, panting, and the sense of constriction that I experience at the throat renders me reason sufficient for this effect. Finally, the face is not foreign to this general commotion; my lips are torn in various directions, and the contractions of the masseter muscles are translated much by the grinding of my teeth; I would infallibly injure the tongue, if I had not taken the precaution of withdrawing it. During all this, the currents of fluid seem to cross my being in different directions and at irregular intervals. – These effects augment and diminish in measure as the magnetizer augments and diminishes his action. At the last experiment, the fatigue that I experienced became such that M. Du Potet had to stop his influence after a quarter of an hour of magnetization.

In the middle of such a great trouble, the brain preserves the integrity of its functions, permit me to analyze the phenomena of which I am the subject and the witness. Is the sensation developed in these circumstances agreeable or painful? In truth, I do not know how to answer. It is an isolated sensation, which does not offer terms of comparison: it is a confused mixture of cold, shivers of fever, fatigue, water poured on the skin, the galvanic pile, but it is all, yet still other things. – This arcanum constitutes precisely the essence of magnetism.

Although these experience have not yet presented satisfactory facts on somnambulism, they offer however a high degree of interest, since they demonstrate the influence of the force of will of a man on another man. They are interesting especially, because today one only considers in the world magnetism as the act generating somnambulism, and will lead no doubt to researches on this order of phenomena, which may give birth to more beautiful practical results.

IV Article.

Metz, 15 November.

It is a strange and painful spectacle that of a hospice of incurables! It is necessary to have, once in his life, crossed the floor of these refuges from pain, to feel what terrible emotions agitate you and the sight of this collection of unfortunate humans who have only a hope ... death. The mind would represent itself with difficulty in the variety of forms that clothe the forerunners of the tomb. Here, it is a blind one that guides a deaf mute to whom he loans the aid of his speech; there, a paralytic who is consumed in efforts to extract from an attack of epilepsy his neighbor, his friend. Further are seen diverse groups of men whose infirmities are evident, others which are hidden, under the appearances of health, the most horrible maladies. In general, one observes the rapprochement of individuals complementary to each other; at each step you encounter two beings who only form one complete organization.

Ah well! Should we be enraged by the thought that in our city a considerable number of these vegetating unfortunates have been dispersed among the population? Every physician knows some, because there is not one who has exhausted all the resources of the art; but all remain unknown to the masses.

So that all these great pains are spread in broad daylight, to be rallied toward a common center and rolled together in the long chapter of their ills, it would be necessary here for the influence of a faculty which promises to all relief and healing, which could cast a salutary remedy there where medicine only found to bring sterile consolations; this faculty has been developed, and magnetism has shown its power!

Every day, at ten o’clock, the Hotel of the North is a little Bicetre: twenty unfortunates show up there to bare their afflictions; all arrive under the influence of despair, and none has left without bearing a sensible well-being, with a hope of progress.

Not being able to render account of all the patients treated and relieved for fifteen days by magnetic processes, before a number of persons who have been able to see the truth of this assertion, I will cite at random some typical effects, from which one can bring all others together.

1) Pierre ...., age of fifteen years, was struck with apoplexy four years ago; he remains incompletely paralyzed in the right limbs; the leg is moved with difficulty, and the patient is obliged to suspend his arm in a sling; the left limbs are much less weakened. Here is the state of speech: after a series of efforts in which the tongue, the lips, and the back of the mouth were involved, he expressed in a manner sometimes obscure, sometimes loud, the words Pierre and oui, that he repeats many times in a manner of some convulsive kind, and that he accompanies with jerky emission of inarticulate sounds which resemble much the barking of a dog. His gaiety is not denied, but it is at the expense of the intellect, of which the diminution probably leaves him no consciousness of his state.

He has submitted to several magnetizations, and went to sleep with enough ease; but his somnambulism betrayed itself by the expression of his usual phrase. – We had been warned by M. Du Potet that his affection offered little from the resources of magnetism. – After six sessions, his gait is very assured, his legs have regained some vigor. But to confirm this result, it would be necessary for a long treatment; the time is lacking.

2) Evrard, aged fourteen years, is attacked with a rare and curious affection; as the result of an apoplexy, he has preserved the integrity of his intelligence, but he has completely lost the faculty to articulate names. He begins a phrase very well, but as soon as he is presented a noun, he searches, but does not find it. He does not recall even more his name nor that of his city of Metz, where he lives. – His gait is unsteady, he advances the right leg with effort. – he has been magnetized with Pierre; the curative results have been analogous; the stance and walk have become more assured and easier.

3) Legris, from Nauroy, is aged twenty years; he presents a fine type of scrofula, and carries, at the time when he confides himself to magnetism, five glandular tumors on the surface of his body. – He goes to sleep with ease, but does not fall into somnambulism; at each operation he acknowledges a strong prickling sensible in his glands, and this sensation is continued, but lighter, in the interval of the seances. After the fourth, the gland which he carries at the neck has diminished in volume in an appreciable manner; at the seventh, he announces that the one in the chest has totally disappeared, that we find true. He feels in himself a marked amelioration, finds himself stronger and more alert. – He continues his treatment.

4) Jeanne Bellot, aged eighteen years, (Street of Petit-Paris), 15) is suffering with an incomplete deafness, and only hears when one speaks loudly close to his ear; she also experiences an excessive difficulty in the articulation of words, and can be considered as mute, as much as the sound that she emits leaves her mouth feeble and confused. This sad state is the result of convulsions which followed her birth. – Under the influence of magnetism, she falls into a somnolence which often only precedes sleep, but without any trace of somnambulism. At the second seance, her mother says to us that all night she groaned in complaining of great pains in the ears, which she had never experienced. This young girl, herself, make us a sign which confirms what her mother advances. The pains continue after all the following seances. The next day from the fourth, her mother says to us amazed that during the night her daughter raised herself on her seat in saying with force: “I will go no longer, he is a liar; he said he would heal me and he does not heal me.” – The following days, her mother tells us that with her, and with her friends, she speaks with a facility unknown to her until then, and emotion alone prevents her from showing us all her know-how. Some persons who know this family add their testimony to that of the lady Bellot. The young person, on her side, appears gay and full of confidence, in spite of the pains and the gushing which does not cease in her ears. We are otherwise so happy to obtain some words of response to questions that we pose to her. The hearing appears also less hard. – Her treatment continues under favorable auspices.

5) N..., aged forty-three years, attacked with violent asthma. Each operation produces episodes; each seance lasts around a quarter hour. A few minutes after the passes are commenced, one hears in the chest a rattle which, at first feeble, becomes soon strong enough to be heard in all parts of the apartment; at the end, it is a veritable rumble, and the violent coughing fits are obliged to clear the bronchi of the obstacle which opposes the respiration. After this episode, he returns into calm. Interrogated each day on his state, he responds that he finds himself better. – The nature of his occupations permit him to only attend five sessions.

6) Catherine Lhuillier, aged around sixty years, former guardian patient, suffering for several years with a paralysis of the left limbs. – She can only walk with support of crutches, thus she assures; however a very commendable physician, who knows her for a long time, affirms that she has been seen to walk in an apartment without external aid. We observe that the movements of the affected arm are extremely limited, and that it is only susceptible at a space of six inches from the body; she can not carry it in the pocket of her apron without the help of her other hand; finally, the digits are in a forced flexion, which form with the axis of the open hand an angle of some degrees less open than the right angle. – After the third seance, the walk is easier, and she moves more easily with her crutches; we all observe that she raises her arm to the level of the axilla; and that the digits are almost all used in the hand. This woman offers no doubt little resources for healing, but the half-success obtained is already quite worthy of attention. – She has submitted to a dozen seances and continues her treatment.

7) Mme Nicolas, aged fifty years, lodges at Thermes Street. – Struck with apoplexy nine years ago. – There exists a considerable contracture of the fingers of the left hand, with reversal of this hand backward, on the forearm. – At the second experiment, simple movements occur in the sick fingers; as the result of magnetic action, she can, with the other hand, open them more than she did previously. – However, as there exists the ankylosis, she is considers as incurable.

8) Marianne Vandemont, aged eighteen years. – Since childhood, her right arm is much less strong and less voluminous than the left; the movements are simple and difficult. – Submitted to magnetism, she sleeps with ease, but without appearance of somnambulism; she tells of feeling during the action something which runs her arm. After four or five seances, she feels more strength there, and executes more extensive movements.

9) M. Hesse, founder, experiences for a long time in the right leg pains so sharp during the night, that it impossible for him to remain in bed; they do not permit him to taste a moment of rest. Although magnetism does not produce any apparent phenomenon, it has sufficed in four or five seances to uproot almost entirely these horrible pains. He only feels today some vestiges which interrupt his sleep not at all.

10) Icard, carpenter, aged forty years, is prey for three months to pains at the bottom of the feet; they are a result of humidity in which he has worked, and of the rheumatic nature. Their violence is such that during their invasion he cannot stand up, and can only be transported to the magnetic seance by means of the little cart in which one drags him. – The immediate effects of magnetism are weak, but he feels a tingling in his ailing members. – He has been magnetized only three times and experiences already a notable relief; he can raise himself and walk; his pains are nil compared to those he felt.

11) Finally, some young hysterical girls and an epileptic appear delivered from their episodes, but I think it prudent to not pronounce yet on such healings.

My role as historian forbids me to make long reflections on the observations that I just reviewed. – Will all these reliefs be durable? Time alone can tell. – Can one, in all those in whom a better being is manifested, hope for a radical cure? I look back then to the testimony of time. – I will observe only that a treatment capable of producing some days of relief to the unfortunates in which all the remedies of medicine would be impotent, is ever an immense benefit. – Magnetism has already given us much from its cradle; we would be in the right to ask more then when it will have acquired the adult age.

Would one try to assign all these effects to the imagination of the patients? I admit it for an instant:  we thank then the folly of logic, as Saint Therese poetically called it, for the good which it alone has succeeded in procuring felicity to be the cleverest of the physicians.

But we are however obliged to refuse it our homage, for we have seen to treat children who imagine nothing, and certain idiots who imagine no more. Otherwise, I believe that it would be difficult for a man lying on brambles and nettles to imagine himself on a bed of roses. We recognize then that there exists another thing than the imagination.

The last phrase returns in memory to an anecdote of which I can guarantee the authenticity, although I avow not having been witness. Thus is it: M. de Segur was one of the partisans of magnetism, and the queen (Marie-Antoinette) was pleased one day to  recount to him all the barbs, all the puns which rained on the devotees of Mesmer. Vainly he wished to discuss it; she did not allow it and said to him only: How do you wish that one listen to your follies, when seven commissioners of the Academy of Sciences have declared that magnetism is only the product of the exalted imagination? – Madame, responded M. de Segur in a little pique, I respect this learned judgment; but the veterinarians have magnetized horses and have produced on them effects which they attest, I would like to be enlightened, to know if it is the horses which have too much imagination, or if it is the savants who have lacked it.


My experiments have so exalted the heads especially that one magnetizes: physicians, lawyers, magistrates, deputies, officers and soldiers, it is to whom, my students, will provoke phenomena of attraction and of repulsion; but the most able of all those who have come to my house is no doubt M. Weylandt, physician, who, enthusiastic through sight of the new phenomena, has wanted to reproduce them publicly before five hundred persons. We give here the report of this seance by the same impartial critic, and our readers will no doubt be grateful for our frankness, since we make known even what we do not entirely approve: Magnetism before the public and offered in spectacle!


Metz, 29 November 1839.

A magnetic soiree! Does this expression form in its path the most shocking idea against the sense? A mundane recreation, a display of luxury, a ball, a concert, there is the ideal representation of the word soiree; scientific mysteries, abyss of thought, theme for profound meditations, that is what forms for the mind the adjective magnetic. Illegitimate marriage of dissipation and of study, a magnetic soiree must only produce a monstrosity. The truths announced, proclaimed but not being thrown in the face! A truth does not want a trestle, it needs neither the red habit nor the trumpet, its force of expansion suffices; we do not know who has not been able to make a name for himself in the world, as soon as it has been vivified; – The man of science must not present his face to the man of the world, for that one will cover it with a stigma of opprobrium and of ridicule; those men only know to launch anathema against what passes their reason, as if their reason marked the limits of the possible.

“My intention was not to carry forward public attention on the soiree of M. Weylandt; I had hoped that it would pass unnoticed, but shocking words arrived to me; injurious doubts have been proclaimed; in the same seance, an inconsequential voice pronounced the word of jugglery. Inconsequential! because nothing in this circumstance authorized a similar disapprobation; when one raises doubts on the probity of a man, one does not come to listen to him, one flees him; but when this man comes to pose before you to make a good work, when the fruit of his emotions is designed to the budget of the poor, is it generous to compare him to the mountebank, to whom one imposes the first condition to please the public?

“M. W... treats each day around two hundred patients by magnetism, people of all conditions, of all ages, of all sexes; and he obtains in them the greatest number of phenomena similar to those that he presented Monday, at the Hotel-de-Ville. But these phenomena are not latent, no passing in secret committee or behind closed doors; they are spread in the light of day, all is public. For, can one suppose trickery in a mass of individuals so imposing? Two conditions would be necessary to engage this number of patients to pretend phenomena which do not exist in them; it would be necessary to pay them money, because one of the great movers of the people is money; then to set them up to make their education, to exercise their limbs to be convulsed, to make unnatural movements. But who would not refute such hypotheses? A considerable fortune would scarcely suffice to satisfy the first, and the second would exaggerate the native dispositions, joined to the use of a considerable time; however the public seances of M. W.... are extended without interruption from five hours in the morning to ten hours at night. Finally, a reason no less strong is presented: it would be necessary to be assured of an entire discretion on the part of the one who would associate in these culpable maneuvers; and who could count on a secret shared between a hundred individuals? Whoever has taken the trouble to follow with attention the magnetic seances of M. W.... will not hesitate to share my opinion; and the one who has not done so, does he not have bad grace to deny only because he does not know?

“The preceding observations have perhaps some value; if, one recognizes that I hold outside myself from a wholly personal question; I do not see here a doctrine, not a man. – I only have the honor of knowing M. W...  in a very imperfect manner, since our relations date scarcely at a month, and as I have never seen him outside public seances; I would not then have any motive of making myself his champion, a role which he would not otherwise, I suppose, have need to trust to anyone. – But there is the duty to all men of heart to stand up to an injustice toward magnetism in the desire to dispossess it of its prerogatives, in covering it with a borrowed prestige.

“There it is for those who have attended the magnetic soiree! If now some persons were not at the Hotel-de-Ville on Monday, and desire however to know the experiments which have caused so much emotion; I am going to satisfy them.

“At seven o’clock in the evening, a considerable flow of spectators crowded the great hall. – What divergent ideas worked in these four hundred brains collected for a common spectacle. Many, no doubt, have left without regret the sparkling hearth to go attend at an extraordinary representation of men and of women acting on the boards [theater]; others have the broken heart in thinking that they are going to see some sad specimens of thousands of human infirmities; some come to study one of the most astonishing phenomena of our organization; many, finally, are only there to spread their skepticism, to abnegate their senses, and to deny rather than seek to understand.

“Toward one end of the hall rise trestles, on these trestles are some planks, and on these planks a dozen persons who go around to fix the eyes of the crowd of spectators. – This dozen personages, have only brought their body there; but the mind, the will, no. These are automata who are going to act at the will of the master. The signal is given, – a woman opens the scene; some passes to the feet at a distance have sufficed, she sleeps a magnetic sleep. From one end of the platform to the other, a fascinating look is fixed on her; she resists, contracts, denies her will is confounded with that of her magnetizer. He mentally orders that she come to him, and the forces doubled of this woman do not arrest his impulsion.

“In a scrofulous man, M. W.... produces very remarkable effects of attraction and of repulsion, under the influence of his will and passes practiced at the distance of several feet. One engages a person to hold the magnetizer in order to oppose his progression; a student of the school of application is presented, hangs on to the living automaton, but the vigorous efforts of the young officer are soon impotent.

“A young epileptic is put to sleep with the greatest ease; some passes are practiced behind the back, and his head is bent violently on the trunk, carrying in this rotation all the superior part of the back, which forms with the inferior more than a quarter of the circumference; he follows the movements of the magnetizer, moves away with him, pauses with him, runs with him, as far as a fall; due to his position of unstable equilibrium, comes to bring him back to his individual existence. This young man offers a phenomenon more remarkable still: it is a convulsive moment of all the members, jumps, frolics, violent agitation of the arms, of which the intensity augments or diminishes according to the magnetizer agitating his hand more or less actively.

“Later, comes a woman with whom magnetic phenomena have for character disordered movements of the arms, which are agitated in all senses with an incredible agility, without power to encounter an obstacle that one interposes between them.

“These effects are very remarkable, but we would like that M. W... not come to show them in placing his own head in the middle of punches with this woman; we have all admired with what instinctive address she knew to divert and strike them aside; but he gave an arm to the ridicule, in imitating those jugglers who make a parade of carrying on their bosom or on their head ferocious animals who respect them and do not kill them. M. W... probably had not thought of this relation.

“The following scenes are filled by other phenomena of attraction, of repulsion, of convulsions; an artilleryman of the 7th regiment, who does not walk for fifteen months, is attracted to the extent of fifteen to twenty feet, and returns to his chair under the influence of the same attraction.

“Finally, here is the bouquet! Two hysterical women present, under the empire of magnetism, the singular phenomenon of balancing the body from front to rear, so pronounced, especially in one of them, that her head comes nearly to touch her feet, in order to stand upright quickly and bend backward. These two women, in the presence of each other, make the most grotesque salutations, sometimes face to face, sometimes back to back. What is most remarkable, is that these women do not sleep and cannot be prevented from laughing in this extraordinary movement that they execute invincibly. I have seen at the house of M. W.... one of them remaining more than two hours in this state without one being able to withdraw them.

“This scene provokes noisy outbursts of laughter. – It will not suggest to me any reflection, because M. W... himself has said to me that it would not have taken place if he had foreseen the effect that it had to produce.

“In summary, one can address to M. W... three principal reproaches on his soiree. – The first has relation to the soiree itself: one should not put on magnetism in a public spectacle. – But the intention which has guided him must serve him sufficient excuse. The second is addressed to his head, for being mistaken in the middle of the punches of his good woman. The third, finally, would be merited by his scene of closure, if he himself only recognized that it was displaced in a gathering of which the aim was scientific.

“But if one wants to attack the good faith of M. W..., if one supposes that all the subjects that he has shown are tricksters and accomplices. Oh! Then I will provoke a levy of shields in his favor; I will make appeal to all those who have seen him, and no one, I am sure, will not refuse justice to an honorable man, injuriously calumniated.” E.G.


Incredulity no longer exists at Metz, magnetism has made a revolution in the minds, and it could not be otherwise, because for some time a hundred persons are magnetized each day and obtain the most real and most inconceivable phenomena. It is no longer myself alone that one could accuse of the lie, but the most distinguished and most honorable men; who then would dare? My joy is great, I avow it, because this success ends my mission in this country. The truth that I teach would not have numerous and enlightened defenders, and the unfortunate patients an unexpected resource.

Many physicians practice magnetism with zeal; their example would no doubt follow all those that a foolish stubbornness or a vile egoism does not blind. Here is what one of the physicians of the city wrote to me: M. de Resimont. This letter honors its author as much as me.

“Monsieur, To aid man in his miseries is a very noble mission, and our city owes you an eternal gratitude for the zeal and the devotion that you have given by coming to teach us a sure and facile means to heal the ills until now reputed as incurable. Yes, reputed incurable! For, I ask, how does ordinary medicine combat nervous affections, deafness, paralysis, certain blindnesses? Nil, absolutely nil; if it counts some healings, certainly they are rare, very rare, and purchased at the price of many sufferings, and many tortures. Magnetism, more happily, heals these ills like an enchantment, in recalling life into the organs where it was was nearly extinct, in establishing everywhere the equilibrium: It is to a poor worker that it renders some days the use of the legs paralyzed for several months; it is an unfortunate young girl that it renders hearing of which she was deprived for a number of years. There, monsieur, are some of the marvels of which you have rendered us witnesses, and I like to believe that all your students attach there the greatest prize, that such facts are for them of the highest importance.

“It will then no longer be in vain as poor patients will come to implore the assistance of the physician, and he will no longer be forced, in his impotence, to have recourse to the cold and ridiculous banalities; he will be able to counsel them on something of the better, of the more efficacious than the fine season, the air of the country and the travels. (As patients died in waiting for the good season to heal them, or in traveling to recover the health!) Yes, he will be able to do for them some thing most useful; to these condemned unfortunates he could say: “hope;” and if he does not heal all, at least he will alleviate the weight of their cruel sufferings. Yes, there will then be the physician initiated into magnetism; but my heart tightens in thinking of the blind obstinacy which still pushes certain men to reject, without examination, a truth so useful, so beneficent, to refuse to see in magnetism another means of opposing the miseries which they are called to relieve.

“It will be necessary, as you say, to still knock long times at the door of science before it deigns to open; but this time will come, yes, it will come, soon without doubt! because it will no more be in vain that will have said to man: Know yourself.... and you will have powerfully contributed! Accept, I beg you, monsieur, the new assurance of my most distinguished sentiments. Ch. De Resimont.”    Metz, 2 December 1839.

When I assured that there were no more unbelievers at Metz, I deceived myself; here is an epistle which appeared; the newspapers not having wanted to insert it in their pages,  its author took the part of printing it, and today, 3 December, one distributes it in public places. MM. Bouillaud, Velpeau, Cornac, Dubois d’Amiens, Double, Virey, etc., will be enchanted to learn that they have at Metz an echo and representative; but it is disagreeable no doubt for them that their very bad cause is defended by a bad advocate.

I am pained for the author that his style is not more clear, but I think I am obliged to reprint his small pamphlet in all its naive simplicity. The reader will judge of its impact.

MOM Introduction

People Medicine