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Term used to denote mesmerism or animal magnetism by La Roy Sunderland (1804-1885), a minister and prominent public advocate of the magnetist movement in America in the middle of the nineteenth century. Sunderland is a contemporary of James Braid, who is generally credited with secularizing mesmerist practice as hypnotism.

In his book Pathetism (1843), Sunderland wrote:

"I use this term to signify, not only the AGENCY, by which one person by manipulation, is enabled to produce emotion, feeling, passion, or any physical or mental effects, in the system of another but also that SUSCEPTIBILITY of emotion or feeling, of any kind, from manipulation, in the subject operated upon, by the use of which these effects are produced; as also the laws by which this agency is governed. I mean it as a substitute for the terms heretofore in use, in connection with this subject, and I respectfully submit it to all concerned, whether this be not a far better term for the thing signified, than either Magnetism or Mesmerism."

Most magnetists had their own favorite term, such as "etherology" (J. Stanley Grimes), "neurology" (Joseph Rhodes Buchanan ), "electrobiology" (John Bovee Dods), or "electropsychology" (Dr. Fiske), but eventually the term "hypnotism," devised by Braid, was generally adopted.


Sunderland, La Roy. Book of Human Nature. New York: Sterns, 1853.

. Ideology. Boston: J. P. Mendum, 1885-87.

. Pathetism. New York: P. P. Good, 1843.

. Trance and Correlative Phenomena. Chicago: J. Walker, 1868.