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...

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