Mesmer, Franz Anton – The Marquis de Puysegur tries Mesmer’s healing methods
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
In the same year, 1784, that the Commission's report was issued, the Marquis de Puysegur, a physician living in retirement on his estate, started to magnetize patients after the manner of Mesmer, and he reported another important phenomenon, which we shall see repeated time and again.
A young peasant named Victor, 23 years of age, who had been suffering for four days from inflammation of the lungs, was thrown by magnetism into a peaceful sleep, unaccompanied by convulsions or suffering. He spoke aloud, and was busied about his private affairs. It was easy to change the direction of his thoughts, to inspire him with cheerful sentiments, and he then became happy, and imagined that he was firing at a mark or dancing at a village fete. In his waking state he was simple and foolish, but during the crisis his intelligence was remarkable; there was no need of speaking to him, since he could understand and reply to the thoughts of those present. He himself indicated the treatment necessary in his illness, and he was soon cured.