German doctor Franz Mesmer always pretended that what he was doing was mesmerizing people. Nevertheless, when the word “hypnosis” was invented, it was discovered that what Mesmer actually was doing was hypnotizing people. But why had Mesmer been hiding it until then? And why did he persist in denying the evidence? Maybe hypnotists’ rates weren’t enough for him? A hypnotist charged ten groschen per session, a mesmerizer twenty groschen. However, a magnetizer charged thirty three groschen an hour and he took tips. If it had been a matter of money, Mesmer would have declared himself a magnetizer. So, it seems that we must look elsewhere for answers: perhaps in Mesmer’s everyday life. According to his housekeeper, Dr. Mesmer was fond of squeezing oranges. But when asked what he was doing, he replied: “Don’t you see? I mesmerize oranges!” Likewise, when he hacked melons (another of his hobbies) he said that he was “mesmerizing melons”. Dr. Mesmer gave his own name to whatever he did with passion. It kind of gets you thinking, doesn’t it?

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