Medicine: Magnetic Magic

The most controversial new medical treatment in Vienna today is that of Dr. Franz Anton Mesmer, who claims to cure both physical and mental illness through the invisible forces of "animal magnetism." Although many reputable physicians insist that this magnetism does not exist, Mesmer points to the case of Franziska Oesterlin, 28, a friend of his wife's, whom he successfully treated two years ago for hysterical convulsions, pains in the ears, toothache, fainting spells, retention of urine, and delirium. Newspaper reports of that case brought Viennese flocking to his office.

Mesmer, 42, studied...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!