A Key to Physic, and the Occult Sciences

Book/Illustration/Image

Description

English

Published at the turn of the 19th century, A Key to Physic, and the Occult Sciences by Ebenezer Sibly is a product of the century's experimental pursuit of scientific and psychological advancements. Within the text, Sibly provides a guide to animal magnetism and mesmerism: two (scientifically unfounded) theories that soon attracted a popular following among the public. Animal magnetism was a supposed magnetic fluid present in all human beings that could be manipulated via mesmerism (an early form of hypnosis). Many books, such as this, were published that promoted the beneficial effects of animal magnetism and mesmerism.

Charles Dickens and mesmerism

Charles Dickens became caught up in the ‘mesmeric mania’ that swept Britain. He was fascinated by the curious influence that could be exerted over one personality by another through mesmerism and asked his friend Dr Elliotson to teach him the process. At first Dickens practised on family and friends, apparently successfully magnetising his wife on several occasions. In 1849 Dickens’s friend and illustrator John Leech received a head injury after a fall and was unreceptive to any medical treatment. Dickens claimed to have assisted his friend’s recovery through mesmerism.

Full title
A Key to Physic, and the Occult Sciences
Published
estimated 1800 , London
Format
Book / Illustration / Image
Creator
Ebenezer Sibly
Held by
British Library
Usage Terms
Free from known copyright restrictions
Shelfmark
07305.l.8.

Related articles

Ghosts in A Christmas Carol

Article by
John Mullan
Themes: 
The novel 1832 - 1880, The Gothic

The ghosts in A Christmas Carol are by turns comic, grotesque and allegorical. Professor John Mullan reflects on their essential role in developing the novel’s meaning and structure.

The Victorian supernatural

Article by
Roger Luckhurst
Theme: 
The Gothic

Roger Luckhurst challenges the idea of the 19th century as one of secularisation, exploring the popularity of mesmerism, spiritualism and 'true' ghost stories in the period.

Related collection items

Related works

A Christmas Carol

Created by: Charles Dickens

A Christmas book by Charles Dickens (1812 – 1870), published in 1843. Dickens was prompted to write this ...