A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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Scientific Hypnosis and the Occult
As might have been noticed from the account given of him in Chapter V, Mesmer did not hypnotize his subjects, although some of them appear to have undergone spontaneous hysterical convulsions while at the tub. The sleeping trance, which is a familiar part of hypnotism to-day, seems to have been discovered accidentally in 1784 by a follower of Mesmer, the Marquis de Puysegur. One day he attempted to apply Mesmer's magnetizing methods to a young shepherd, Victor, who, instead of showing the usual hysterical symptoms, fell into a quiet sleep-like trance. From this condition he did not fully awake for some time, but went about his duties in a somnambulant state and when he finally awoke he was unable to recall anything that had happened in the meanwhile. The sleeping or trance condition, with its subsequent amnesia, was quite naturally regarded as an artificially induced somnambulism, and it at once attracted a great deal of attention, partly, no doubt, because of the supposed clairvoyant powers of subjects while in that state. About the same time Petetin, a physician at Lyons, described the phenomenon of hypnotic catalepsy or muscular immobility. The name ' catalepsy ' has so established itself that it can hardly be altered now, although the hypnotic muscular rigidity is probably not the same as the pathological one.
The discovery of the remaining major hypnotic phenomena followed rapidly ; and by 1825 hypnotically