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Mesmer, Franz Anton
Franz Anton Mesmer, engraving
Mesmer, Franz Anton, b. Iznang/Lake Constance (Germany), May 23, 1734, d. Meersburg/Lake Constance (Germany), March 5, 1815, physician. Had his own practice in Vienna between 1765-1777, later in Paris, where he founded the theory of "animal magnetism" ("mesmerism"). His basic idea of the existence of a power in the human organism which may be transferred directly or through objects (as the centre of radiation activity) was not understood by his contemporaries, nevertheless became fashionable and was exploited by charlatans.
Publications: De planetarum influxu in corpus humanum, 1766; Schreiben über die Magnetkur, 1776; Mémoire sur la découverte du Magnétisme animal, 1779 (German 1781); Geschichte des tierischen Magnetismus, 1783.
Literature: N. Tischner, F. M., 1928; S. Zweig, Heilung durch den Geist, 1931; R. Schneider, F. M., 1969; E. Florey, Ars magnetica, 1995; NDB.