Mesmer and the magnetizer
After reading books and rubbing shoulders with researchers on magnetism, he tried to perform the demanding manual magnetic passes, to no avail. He then turned to hypnosis and suggestion with group sessions around the "tub," with the aim of provoking collective hysteria falsely called magnetic crisis. I will spare you the crisp details. The result: to bring magnétiseurs back to disgrace disgrace and confuse magnetism with hypnosis and with its servant suggestion. The hypnosis was immediately resumed by the neurologist Charcot at La Salpêtrière. And there begins another story.
In 1846: sermon by Jean-Baptiste-Henri Lacordaire (Father Henri Dominique Lacordaire 1802 - 1861) in Notre-Dame cathedral “you therefore invoke magnetic forces. : well I believe in it sincerely, firmly ... God wanted there to be irregular forces in nature, irreducible to precise formulas, almost unstable by scientific processes ... Magnetism is a broken piece of a great palace, it is the last ray of academic power destined to confuse human reason and to humiliate it before God… ”
Many were the prelates who devoted themselves to magnetism.
The emissaries of the Holy See used the practice of magnetism to justify the scenes of perversity which they faithfully reported to the Vatican. Once again the magnetism was corrupted.
In 1856: encyclical letter of the holy Roman and universal inquisition to all the bishops against the deviations of magnetism, to suppress its abuses. (Text below)
The Holy Office does not condemn magnetism in itself, it condemns abuses. He approves of the use of magnetism for science, but he rejects the use of magnetism in order to obtain perverse phenomena.
It was necessary to disentangle magnetism and the phenomena of hypnotism or animal magnetism.
“Wednesday, July 30, 1856”.
"In the general meeting of the Holy Universal Roman Inquisition held at the Convent of St. Mary of Minerva, the cardinals general inquisitors against heresy throughout the Christian world, after having carefully considered all that has been reported to them from various sides by men worthy of faith, touching the practice of magnetism, have resolved to address the present encyclical to all bishops in order to repress abuses.
For it is well established that a new kind of superstition has arisen from the magnetic phenomena to which we are attached today, not to shed light on the physical sciences, as it should be done, but to seduce men, in the persuasion of to discover things hidden or distant or future, by means and by the prestige of magnetism, and especially by the intermediary of certain forces which are only under the dependence of the magnetizer ”.
Already several times the Holy See, consulted on particular cases, has given answers which condemn as illegal any experiments carried out to obtain an effect outside the natural order or the rules of morality, and without using the permitted means: it was thus that, in similar cases, it was decided, on Wednesday, April 21, 1841, that the use of magnetism as stated by the demand was not [p. 706] permit. Likewise, the holy congregation deemed it appropriate to forbid the reading of certain books which systematically spread error in this matter. But as in addition to particular cases, it was necessary to pronounce on the practice of magnetism in general, it was established as a rule to be followed, Wednesday July 28, 1847: "By setting aside any error, any spell, any implicit or explicit invocation of the demon, the use of magnetism, that is to say the simple act of using physical means not prohibited elsewhere, is not morally defended, provided that it is not for an illicit or bad purpose in any way. As for the application of purely physical principles and means intended for truly supernatural things or effects, so much so that they are too complicated to be explained physically, it is only a completely reprehensible illusion and a heretical practice ".
"Although this general decree sufficiently explains what is lawful or forbidden in the use or abuse of magnetism, human perversity has been brought to such a point that the regular study of science has been abandoned. Men, doomed to find what can satisfy curiosity, to the great detriment of the salvation of souls and even to the detriment of civil society, boast of having found a way to predict and guess.
From there, these weak-tempered women, who, thrown by gesticulations where modesty is often offended in the transports of somnambulism and clairvoyance, claim to see the invisible world in the open. These women arrogate to themselves, in their reckless daring, the ability to speak about religion, to evoke the souls of the dead, to receive answers, to discover things unknown or far away. They also arrogate to themselves to practice other superstitions of the same kind in order to make considerable gains for themselves and their masters through their gift of divination ".
"Whatever art or Illusion may enter among these acts as one employs physical means to obtain facts which are not natural, there is completely condemnable, heretical deceit, and scandal against the purity of manners. Also, to effectively repress such a great evil, sovereignly fatal to religion and to civil society, one cannot too much excite the pastoral solicitude, the vigilance and the zeal of all the bishops ”.
"So as far as they can, with the help of divine grace, the ordinary people of the place employ sometimes the warnings of their fatherly charity, sometimes the severity of the reproaches, sometimes finally all the legal remedies, as they wish; will deem it useful before the Lord, taking into account the circumstances of time, place and person; that they take all their care to remove these abuses of magnetism and to put an end to them, so that the flock of the Lord is defended against the attacks of the enemy man, that the deposit of the faith be kept safe and intact, and that the faithful entrusted to their care be preserved from the corruption of morals ”.
Given in Rome, in the chancellery of the Holy Office of the Vatican, August 4, 1856. Cardinal Vincenzo Macchi (1832 - 1907)