The Science of the Supernatural
Many assumptions and values separate us from the Victorians, but belief in the supernatural is not one of them, argues Simone Natale.
In 1985 Roy Porter outlined the impact of mesmerism in the late-18th-century with his article Under the Influence: Mesmerism in England. Mesmerism was a theory conceived by the German physician Franz Anton Mesmer. It pointed to the existence of a hidden force, animal magnetism, which binds the universe together and regulates the inner balance within the human body. A historian of medicine, Porter was drawn to this subject by Mesmer and his acolytes’ therapeutic approach.