A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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v                     THE EVOLUTION OF PSYCHOTHERAPY                 193
and south pole. He also discovered that when he rubbed a polished surface like glass, electric sparks were induced, and Gray in 1729 was able to conduct this spark away from where it was produced through a damp ' conductor \ A few years later a Frenchman, Du Fay, came upon the fact that electricity was of two kinds, positive and negative; and Benjamin Franklin, in his historic experiment with a kite, showed that lightning itself was a gigantic electric spark discharging itself against the earth. All these discoveries were of a theoretical nature, but they paved the way for advances in practical science. Thus Galvani, the professor of anatomy at Bologna, and Volta, late in the eighteenth century, developed the rudimentary storage battery ; while the ingenious Leyden jar, an electrical condenser devised by Musschenbraek of Leyden (1746), attracted great interest in the wonders of electricity among the public.
Although the public showed appreciation of Mesmer's new methods, however, medical Vienna was displeased. As his success continued, their displeasure that a well-trained physician should believe seriously in magnetism turned to indignation. The Faculty of Medicine of Vienna appointed a commission to investigate his experiments, but their minds were made up beforehand. They examined his patients, and concluded that his cures were based on imagination. He was expelled from the Medical Faculty of Vienna. He turned to France, the land of enlightenment. There, surely, he would be free to pursue his experiments.
Louis XV, hearing of him, called him to Paris. The atmosphere there was heartening; everyone was interested. After a short time the work of Mesmer and his baquet was invested with some of the circus spirit. Time and again Mesmer, who was in deadly