Amand-Marie-Jacques de Chastenet, Marquis de Puységur (1751–1825) was a French magnetizer, primarily known as one of the core founders of hypnotism.
Career and Theories
Puysegur initially entered the field of mesmerism under the guidance of his brother. He began conducting experiments himself; magnetizing young men and women with the goal of establishing the core differences between somnambulism (natural sleep-walking) and the magnetic trance (which he termed artificial somnambulism) that was induced through mesmerism. He discovered that this artificial-somnambulism was very different to the often violent and hysteric trance which other had magnetisers previously noted. Instead, artificial somnambulism was characterized by a peaceful and composed slumber – a discovery of a new state of trance which later became known as hypnotism.
Puysegur established the ‘Société Harmonique des Amis Réunis’, the institute at which he taught a world-renowned course in animal magnetism. The society was closed down during the French Revolution and Puysegur was placed in prison. Upon Napoleon’s demise in 1815, Puysegur’s theories on what is now known as hypnotic induction, became increasingly popular despite contradicting the methods of mesmerism’s founding father, Franz Anton Mesmer. However, Puysegur was not too interested in theory, and argued that any man could display the electric fluid/influence if they believed and had the will power. If someone believed they had the capability, successful magnetizing was possible.