MAY 1915.

Copyright, 1915, by H. W. PERCIVAL.


Are animal magnetism, mesmerism, and hypnotism related, and if so, how are they related?

Animal magnetism is a force related to the magnetism which is apparent in inanimate bodies, such as the lodestones and iron magnets. The same force is raised to a higher power in animal bodies. Animal magnetism is the operation of the force through animal bodies which are of a certain structural nature, relating to polarization, so that the structure can induce and then serve as a channel conducting the magnetic force to other physical bodies.

Mesmerism is a name given to an application of animal magnetism, after Mesmer (1733-1815), who rediscovered and then taught and wrote about the force here called animal magnetism.

Mesmer, at times, used animal magnetism naturally; at times he used his mind in connection with the magnetism. His method is called mesmerism. He directed the magnetism as a fluidic force through the tips of his fingers into the body of the patient, thereby causing sometimes sleep, called after him mesmeric sleep, and often effected a subsequent cure. He often put the patient, when the patient was under mesmeric influence, into different states, to which states Mesmer gave different names. His methods and variations are mentioned by numerous writers on that subject.

Hypnotism is, as the name indicates, the causing of a kind of sleep. Self-hypnotism is the causing of sleep through the action of one’s own mind when one wholly or partly switches his conscious principle off from the connection with the conscious center in his brain. Hypnotism generally is the operation of one mind upon another, with or without the aid of animal magnetism, so that a sleep of the hypnotic subject is caused by the action of the operator when he interferes wholly or partly with the connection of the conscious principle and center through which it acts consciously in the brain of the subject. The hypnotic sleep, resulting from the interference with the connection of the conscious principle and the center through which it acts consciously, differs from normal sleep.

In normal sleep the intelligence or conscious principle moves away from the conscious center in the brain, so that nature may repair the body and restore the equilibrium between the cells. The conscious principle may hover around the centers of the sense nerves in the brain, or it may recede beyond these centers. When the conscious principle remains around one or more of the centers connecting with seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, then the sleeper dreams, and his dreams are of sensuous perceptions, either of the physical or of an inner world connected with the physical. In dreamless sleep the conscious principle remains conscious, but inasmuch as it is removed from the senses, man does not know how to interpret what it is conscious of.

Producing hypnotic sleep is an interference with the conscious principle of another, who cannot or will not resist the interference. When the conscious principle of the subject is driven away from its conscious center, with which it is connected during waking, the subject falls into the hypnotic sleep, which is a partially or wholly unconscious sleep, according to the greater or lesser distance to which the hypnotizer has succeeded in driving the conscious principle of the subject. During the hypnotic sleep the hypnotist may cause the subject to see or hear or taste or smell or feel any sensations which can be experienced in waking, or he may cause the subject to do or say what the hypnotizer wants him to do or say, with the single exception, however, that he cannot force a subject to do an immoral act which would be repugnant to the moral sense of the subject in the waking state.

The operator’s mind takes the place of the conscious principle of his subject, and the subject will respond to and obey the thought and direction of the hypnotizer, according to the clarity and power of thought of the hypnotizer and the degree to which he is in touch with the brain organism of the subject.

The answer to the question as to the relations of animal magnetism, mesmerism, and hypnotism is that animal magnetism, being a natural force operating from body to body, has to do with human bodies; mesmerism is a method of applying animal magnetism; hypnosis is the result of the use of the power of one mind exerted over another mind. It is possible for a mind to produce magnetic effects by directing the flow of animal magnetism. A hypnotist can predispose a subject to the hypnotic subjection by first working with animal magnetism on the subject; but in their nature magnetism and the hypnotic force are distinct from each other.


How can animal magnetism be activated, and to what use can it be put?

Animal magnetism of a man can be cultivated by making his body a good magnet and a center to which the universal life force, operating as magnetism is attracted. A man can make his body a good magnet for the universal life by causing the organs in his body to perform their functions naturally and normally and by preventing excesses in eating, drinking, sleeping, and by control of the sensual nature. These excesses result in a breaking down of the storage battery, which the invisible form of the physical body, sometimes called the astral body, is. Absence of excesses allows the form body to become strong and causes that gradual polarization and adjustment of the molecules which has been before mentioned. When so built up the form body becomes a reservoir of magnetic force.

Some of the uses to which animal magnetism can be put are to build up a personal magnetism, to make the body physically strong and healthy to cure disease in others, to produce magnetic sleep—which is not to be mistaken for hypnotic sleep—and thereby clairaudience and clairvoyance, and prophetic utterances, and to produce magical effects, such as charging talismans and amulets with magnetic powers. One of the most important of the uses to which animal magnetism can be put is to continue the strengthening and polarization of the invisible form body so that it will be rebuilt and regenerated and possibly immortalized.

H. W. Percival