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Nevertheless, the stubborn fact remained that hypnosis worked, and the 19th Century is characterised by individuals seeking to understand and apply its effects.
Surgeons and physicians like John Elliotson and James Esdaille pioneered its use in the medical field, risking their reputation to do so, whilst researchers like James Braid began to peel away the obscuring layers of mesmerism, revealing the physical and biological truths at the heart of the phenomenon.
These conversations are sometimes awkward, sometimes self-esteem destroying, but they evoke way more real feelings of unguarded, eager, and frightened human interaction. Mesmer was also the first to develop a consistent method for hypnosis, which was passed on to and developed by his followers. Mesmer himself, for instance, liked to perform mass inductions by having his patients linked together by a rope, along which his “animal magnetism” could pass.He was also fond of dressing up in a cloak and playing ethereal music on the glass harmonica whilst this was happening. On the one hand, a history of hypnosis is a bit like a history of breathing.Like breathing, hypnosis is an inherent and universal trait, shared and experienced by all human beings since the dawn of time.