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Mesmer, Franz Anton – Binet and Fere’s report on Mesmer’s methods and healing effects



Type of Spiritual Experience


Dr William Sargant was born in Highgate, London, in 1907 and educated at Leys School and St John's College, Cambridge.  Up to 1972 he was Physician in Charge of the Department of Psychological Medicine at St Thomas's Hospital, London. He was Associate Secretary of the World Psychiatric Association and on the staff of the Maudsley Hospital, London for many years, He was also Registrar of the Royal Medico-Psychological Association, Rockefeller Fellow at Harvard University and Visiting Professor at Duke University. He was also the author of Battle for the Mind, and The Unquiet Mind.

A description of the experience

From The Mind Possessed  - Dr William Sargant

Mesmer and his disciples regarded the convulsions of the crisis as essential to the care, and Deslon, one of Mesmer's principal assistants, believed that it was only by means of the crisis that the magnetizer could effect a cure. Binet and Fere say:

'We are now aware that these crises are real phenomena, of which the cause is generally admitted to be hysterical neurosis. Moreover, a considerable number of facts demonstrate that, under the influence of such crises, certain forms of paralysis, which have persisted for months, and even for years, may suddenly disappear. There was, therefore, a certain truth in the curative virtue of these convulsive phenomena.

The source of the experience

Mesmer, Franz Anton

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps


Music therapy