Franz Mesmer

German physician

Franz Anton Mesmer (23 May 1734 – 5 March 1815) was a German physician with an interest in astronomy.

Franz Mesmer
Franz Anton Mesmer.jpg
Franz Anton Mesmer

23 May 1734
Died5 March 1815 (aged 80)
Known forAnimal magnetism

He had a theory that there was a natural transfer of energy between all animated and inanimate objects. He called this animal magnetism, sometimes later referred to as mesmerism.[1] The theory attracted a wide following between about 1780 and 1850, and continued to have some influence until the end of the century.[2] In 1843 the Scottish physician James Braid proposed the term hypnosis for 'animal magnetism'. Today this is the usual term for mesmerism.


  1. Mesmer, Franz 1998. Mesmerism: the discovery of animal magnetism. (transl) Kaufman. ISBN 978-0-913-23288-0 or Holmes. ISBN 978-1-558-18382-7
  2. Crabtree, Adam 1980. Animal magnetism, early hypnotism, and psychical research, 1766–1925: an annotated bibliography. White Plains, NY: Kraus International, Introduction. ISBN 0-527-20006-9