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Inevitably, these magical trappings led to Mesmer’s downfall, and for a long time, hypnotism was a dangerous interest to have for anybody looking for a mainstream career.
The work of Franz Mesmer, amongst others, can be seen as both the last flourish of “occult” hypnosis and the first flourish of the “scientific” viewpoint.
Mesmer was the first to propose a rational basis for the effects of hypnosis.
He was also fond of dressing up in a cloak and playing ethereal music on the glass harmonica whilst this was happening.
The popular image of the hypnotist as a charismatic and mystical figure can be firmly dated to this time.
Recorded history is full of tantalising glimpses of rituals and practices that look very much like hypnosis from a modern perspective, from the “healing passes” of the Hindu Vedas to magical texts from ancient Egypt.