Kerner, Justinus (Andreas) (Christian)
(1786–1862)
Noted German poet and physician, born on September 18,
1786, at Ludwigsburg, Würtemberg. Kerner studied medicine
at Tübingen and practiced as a physician at Wildbad. In addition
to books of poetry, he was the author of a remarkable record
of supernormal phenomena and experiments in animal
magnetism therapeutics Die Seherin von Prevorst, Eröffnungen
über das innere Leben des Menschen und über das Hereinragen einer
Geisterwelt in die Unsere (1845). It is the story of Frederica Hauffe,
‘‘the Seeress of Prevorst,’’ who arrived in Weinsberg in November
1826 and became Kerner’s patient.
Hauffe was the picture of death, exhibited many frightful
symptoms, and fell into trance every evening at seven o’clock.
For a while Kerner ignored her somnambulant condition and
declared that he was not going to take any notice of what she
said in her sleep. He began treating her by homeopathic remedies.
The medicine was ineffective, and Hauffe was fast approaching
death. In trance she prescribed for herself a gentle course
of animal magnetism. Kerner at first wanted nothing to do with
the treatment, but he finally became convinced of the extraordinary
character of the case and began to study it in earnest.
His book, published in 1829, passed through three enlarged
editions (1832, 1838, and 1846). Translated by Catherine
Crowe, it was published in English in 1845 under the title The
Seeress of Prevorst; or, Openings-up into the Inner Life of Man, and
Mergings of a Spirit World into the World of Matter. In Germany
the book caused a great sensation. Among those who inquired
into the case of the Seeress of Prevorst were Kant, Schubert, Eschenmayer,
Görres, Werner, and David Strauss.
A school of philosophy was built on the revelations of the
seeress, and in 1831 Kerner established a periodical, Blätter aus
Prevorst; Originalien und Lesefrüchte für Freunde des innern Lebens
(Leaves from Prevorst; or, Original Literary Fruits for Lovers
of the Inner Life). Its chief contributors were Eschenmayer,
Frederik von Mayer of Frankfort, Gotthelf, Heinrich von Schubert,
Guido Görres, and Franz von Baader. Twelve volumes
were published; then in 1839 the periodical was superseded by
Magikon; Archive für Beobachtungen aus dem Gebiete der
Geisterkunde und des magnetischen und magischen Lebens
(Magikon; or, Archives for Observations Concerning the
Realms of the Spirit World and of Magnetic Life). It was published
until 1853.
King Ludwig of Bavaria and the king of Württemberg bestowed
pensions upon Kerner, while King Frederick William IV
of Prussia expressed his admiration in 1848 by sending him the
gold medal of art and science. King Ludwig made him the first
knight of the newly instituted Maximilian Order of Science and
Art.
Besides the Seeress of Prevorst, Kerner wrote a variety of additional
volumes, including Geschichte Zweier Somnambulen, nebst
einiger andern Denkwürdigkieten aus dem Gebiete der Magischen
Heilkunde und Psychologie (The History of Two Somnambules,
Together with Certain Notable Things from the Realms of
Magical Cure and Psychology; 1824); Geschichten Besessener
neurer Zeit (History of Modern Possession; 1834); Nachricht von
dem Vorkommen des Besesseins eines dämonisch-magnetischen Leidens
und seiner schon im Alterthum bekannten Heilung durch magischmagnetisches
Einwirken (News of the Appearance of Possession,
Demoniacal-Magnetic Suffering and its Cure through Magnetic
Treatment; 1836); Eine Erscheinung aus dem Nachtgebiete der
Natur, durch eine Reihe von Zeugen gerichtlich bestätigt (An Appearance
from the Night Realms of Nature, Proved Legally by
a Series of Witnesses; 1836); Die somnambülen Tische; Zur Geschichte
und Erklärung dieser Erscheinung (Somnambulic Tables; or,
Kepler, Johann Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
856
the History and Explanation of That Phenomenon; 1853); and
F. A. Mesmer aus Schwaben, Entdecker des thierischen Magnetimus
(F. A. Mesmer, the Discoverer of Animal Magnetism; 1856).
Kerner died February 21, 1862.
Sources
Howitt-Watts, A. M. The Pioneers of Spiritual Reformation.
London, 1883.
Reinhard, Aime. Justinus Kerner und das Kernerhaus zu Weinsberg.
Tübingen, Germany, 1862.

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