Franz Friedrich Anton Mesmer (/ˈmɛzmər/; German: [ˈmɛsmɐ]; 23 May 1734 – 5 March 1815) was a German doctor with an interest in astronomy who theorised that there was a natural energy transference that occurred between all animated and inanimate objects that he called animal magnetism, sometimes later referred to as mesmerism. A similar idea has been revived by New Age spiritualists in modern times. Mesmer's theory attracted a wide following between about 1780 and 1850, and continued to have some influence until the end of the century. In 1843 the Scottish doctor James Braid proposed the term hypnosis for a technique derived from animal magnetism; today this is the usual meaning of mesmerism.
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