Metals (in Animal Magnetism)
It was claimed by the practitioners of animal magnetism
that various metals exercised a characteristic influence on their
patients. Physical sensations of heat and cold, numbness,
drowsiness, and so on were experienced by the somnambules
on contact with metals, or even when metals were secretly introduced
into the room. John Elliotson, especially, gave much
prominence to the alleged power of metal to transmit the hypothesized
magnetic fluid.
Gold, silver, platinum, and nickel were said to be good conductors,
although the magnetism conveyed by the latter was of
a highly dangerous character. Copper, tin, pewter, and zinc
were poor conductors. Elliotson found that a magnetized sovereign
(British gold coin) would throw into trance his sensitives,
the O’Key sisters, and that although iron would neutralize the
magnetic properties of the sovereign, no other metal would do
When Baron Karl von Reichenbach propounded his theory
of odic force, his sensitives claimed to see a luminous emanation
proceed from metals—silver and gold shone white; lead,
blue; and nickel, red. Opponents of Reichenbach’s theories ascribed
such phenomena to suggestion.
Elliotson, John. Human Physiology. London, 1840.
Reichenbach, Karl von. Letters on Od and Magnetism. London
Hutchinson, 1926. Reprinted as The Odic Force. New Hyde
Park, N.Y. University Books, 1968.
Metaphysical Digest (Journal) See
Neometaphysical Digest (Journal)