By Atom Bergstrom
Mesmerism has much in common with the “pseudoscience” of Applied Kinesiology (AK).
If AK is really “pseudoscience,” why do law enforcement agencies and armed forces all over the world use it to disable and apprehend suspects?
What say you, Wikipedia, you biased online piece of medical propaganda?
James Esdaile (Mesmerism in India, and Its Practical Application in Surgery and Medicine, 1903) wrote …
“But I beg leave to warn all who have not yet a practical knowledge of the subject, that to produce the phenomena of Mesmerism is by no means a thing so light and easy as some imagine. In singularly sensitive persons the extreme degree of coma, so intense as to permit the performance of surgical operations, without awaking the patient, may sometimes be obtained in a few minutes; but, in general, it takes an hour or two, and the process often does not succeed till the second, or even fourteenth time. In this, as in everything else, nature will not ‘unsought be won,’ and only yields her secret treasures to those who court her with earnestness, sincerity, and resolution. ‘Labore et sudore’ [work and sweat] ought to be the Mesmerist’s motto, until he has produced the desired results by his personal efforts, and thereby given confidence to himself and others. After this, all is easy, for any number of proper assistants may be taught to act under our superintendence; and this is the only way in which a physician can practice Mesmerism to any extent.
“But I would venture to suggest, that it will not be enough to set people to mesmerise for us by the book. It is exacting too much of human nature to expect people to sweat for hours pawing the air, &c., for our incomprehensible objects. But let them look on and see the wonderful effects produced by the labours of their superiors; and a host of willing and efficient Mesmerisers will spring up, to execute the will of the directing mind, and relieve it from the drudgery of the needful bodily exertion. Much has been written about the physical and moral qualities necessary in a Mesmeriser, and such a picture of a ‘perfect monster’ has been drawn, that it is enough to deter one from making the attempt. If asked to select a natural Mesmeriser, I should be disposed to choose a person of a high organisation, in whom the nervous and circulating systems were equally active, with determined will, a resolution to do the thing if possible, and a love of truth and humanity, that would induce him to ‘do for love what gold could never buy.’ But, when the way has been shown, far less energy of mind and body is quite sufficient for all practical purposes. Healthy young persons, who are tractable and patient, and who will give the necessary degree of attention, can be made to work out our intentions in the most efficient manner; and I hope to make it appear that the mesmeric power is a far more general gift of nature than has hitherto been supposed. Finding it impossible, after the first month, to prosecute the subject in my own person, owing to the great bodily and mental fatigue it caused, — for I spared neither, — I set to work my hospital attendants, young Hindoos and Mahomedans; and such has been my success, that every one I have taught has become a skilful Mesmeriser. Now I do not need to mesmerise at all, having a dozen assistants to execute my wishes, whether it be in mesmeric treatment of medical cases, or for procuring coma in surgical operations.”