The word fanning was once used to indicate the currents of air that are often felt during séances or during various forms of spiritual experience.
The same currents can also accompany ‘mesmerism’ and hypnotherapy sessions. The current of air may be warm or cool and can cause chilliness or drowsiness.
As it comes in waves, it was likened to the effects of being fanned:
From Matter to Spirit – Sophia de Morgan
Sometimes there is also a tingling like that produced by the wires of a galvanic battery, and during the raps, slight shocks like electricity passing through the arm of the medium
There is a method related to fanning which relies on reverse REM and whose description can be found by following the link, but we think that Lewis Carroll in the following was referring to the experience - he was very vey interested in spiritualism and all its manifestations.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
As she said this she looked down at her hands, and was surprised to see that she had put on one of the Rabbit's little white kid gloves while she was talking. 'How CAN I have done that?' she thought. 'I must be growing small again.' She got up and went to the table to measure herself by it, and found that, as nearly as she could guess, she was now about two feet high, and was going on shrinking rapidly: she soon found out that the cause of this was the fan she was holding, and she dropped it hastily, just in time to avoid shrinking away altogether.
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- Alice in Wonderland - Ch 02 - 2 Know thyself #011105
- Alice in Wonderland - Ch 02 - 3 The Mouse #011106
- Dionysos - Villa of Mysteries Pompei - The Liknon #013514
- Viscount Adare - Experiences in Spiritualism with Mr D D Home - 16 Seance with Mrs. Hamilton, her daughter, Lady Fairfax, and Mrs. Gregory; diagnosing illness #024786
- Viscount Adare - Experiences in Spiritualism with Mr D D Home – 20 Account of Manifestations at Stockton. #024790
- Zosimos of Panopolis - The Mushaf as-suwar - 5th Book of Magnesia picture 2 #015929