Religion Past and Present

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Mesmer, Franz Anton
(360 words)

[German Version]

(May 23, 1734, Iznang on Lake Constance – Mar 5, 1815, Meersburg), physician and natural scientist, and the founder of what is known as “animal magnetism” (Mesmerism). After studying theology in Dillingen and Ingolstadt, Mesmer began to study medicine in Vienna in 1759. In his dissertation of 1766, he outlined his theory of the magnetic fluid which permeates the entire created world. Illness, according to this theory, is a congestion of this cosmic energy, while healing is the res…

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Lauer, Gerhard, “Mesmer, Franz Anton”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 09 December 2023 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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