Case studies are reports of real people or places and situations documented over a period of time to illustrate a scientific or medical thesis. They were of great importance to mesmerists and other scientists in the nineteenth century as they provided evidence for their theories. These records were necessary to validate ideas of magnetism in lieu of more quantifiable evidence such as replicated test results. Mesmerists such as Elliotson thus presented case studies as part of their papers to show their findings. These were a type of empirical evidence in that they provided evidence of experience and offered witnesses to the experiments conducted.
Examples of these can be seen in the Zoist in which Elliotson published several of his findings when treating patients using mesmerism. His report of one female patient who was being treated for epilepsy titled ‘A Case of Epilepsy Treated by Mesmerism’ is a typical case study published. This study used a patient who was said to be sceptical of mesmerism but could not deny its ability to treat her illness. This was hence a respectable case as it convinced the reader that she was treated without being biased towards the methods used to help her. These studies appealed to rationality by presenting something that people could evaluate for themselves.