PSYCHOTHERAPY SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS

A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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192         PSYCHOTHERAPY : SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS chap.
spent the rest of his life trying to fit the facts within the limits of his theory. He magnetized everything about him to see how he could handle his heaven-sent fluidum. He made his patients drink magnetized water, eat from magnetized plates and even magnetized the clothes they wore. His patients lived in a ' magnetic atmosphere \ His technique at that time was to have a patient hold a rope, one end of which was submerged in a bowl of magnetized water. Later he used an iron rod. He transmitted this magnetic property to as many objects as he could. To his surprise, everything worked. A magnetized tree cured as easily as the original magnets did. One of his spectacular pieces of equipment was the baquet, a large wooden tub filled with bottles in and around which was magnetized water. Patients sat around it while Mesmer gravely touched each with his previously magnetized iron wand. Soon signs of restlessness appeared ; the patients would twitch and tremble violently while convulsive movements of the hands and body muscles increased in tempo, until, palpitating and convulsed, they achieved the grand crisis, which represented the passage of magnetism through the body. When the patient's nervous system had been brought into the state of crisis, he felt the treatment was successful. Without a crisis there could be no cure. These seances became tremendously popular, while the group baquet treatments, carried out in the doctor's lovely Viennese garden, were successful beyond his dreams.
To understand ' animal magnetism ' and the generation of Mesmer, it is important to recognize something about the state of science at the time. Hartmann, born in 1489, had discovered that the magnetic needle always moved to the north. Sir William Gilbert, in 1600, found that the earth itself was a magnet with a north