Buchanan’s Journal of Man (Cincinnati), November 1851

The Magnetic Society of New Orleans, 1846-1851

Many of the members of this society of mesmerists became stalwarts of the local spiritualist movement.  Joseph Barthet, for example, edited the New-Orleans-based journal, Le Spiritualiste, in the 1850s.  Similarly, many of the members of other Magnetic or Mesmeric Societies in the mid- and late 1840s in other parts of the United States also transferred their interest to spiritualism.  John Bovee Dods, for example, trained thousands of men and women in mesmerism.  From among them, a “Psychological Association” was formed, with members mostly from New England.  I do not know of a membership list for this association, but Dods himself became a leading light among the spiritualists of New York City .—JB

The object of the magnetizers of New Orleans, when they first formed themselves into a Society, upwards of five years ago was to spread the knowledge so widely, that the use of this beneficial agent might become general; they caused public lectures to be given, in order that their proceedings might be better understood, and the discovery of practitioners was made known and appreciated, in the hope that mesmerism would thus be used in families, and would become a work of philanthropy, encouraged always by the concurrence of those approving Physicians who might have watched over the practice of the science.  Besides, several of the members have long practiced gratuitously, expecting to find imitators; but the human mind is apt to follow in the beaten track, and progresses but slowly.  Moreover, the practice of mesmerism is irksome, laborious, and even difficult: it demands at least, some preparatory study, acquired experience and undivided attention, and the greater part of mankind are too indifferent and careless to apply themselves to the study of the science before entering upon a requisite practice, in the circle of their relations or friends.  Finally, there are people who hesitate to ask gratuitous advice, but who would eagerly seek those very magnetizers, if they were permitted to offer them remuneration, while others who value an article only by its cost, disdain to use what is offered to them for nothing.  To hasten, therefore, the application of this extraordinary and beneficial agent, and in order to satisfy the public mind, it is essential that some parties should make magnetism their public profession.  Anxious to advocate such a cause, and to further such views, the undersigned, Members of the Magnetic Society of New Orleans, offer their services to the public.

Application can be made to the Office of the Society, Exchange Passage, No. 26; or to either of the undersigned.

Joseph Barthet, Conti Street, No. 109
James Gardette, Burgundy Street, No. 114
N[euville] Durel, Bourbon Street, No. 368
F[rancois] Jastram, Frenchman Street, No. 224
A[lexandre] Thiennette, Bayou Road, No. 224, or at
Mr. [Ignace Phillipe] Lelievre’s, corner Royal and Orleans Streets.


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