In 1778, Franz Anton Mesmer introduced to Paris his theory of 'animal magnetism' and so began a school of thought which gradually spread across Europe and America. This book traces the history of the phenomena, practice and theory of mesmerism, hypnotism and multiple personality disorder. It discusses the ideas and influences of leading figures in the movement and decribes the use of the techniques in medical practice. Case histories and anecdotal accounts are used throughout to provide a fascinating insight into this controversial subject. In his epilogue, Gauld discusses modern approaches to hypnotism and multiple personality disorder, the role of hypnotism in clinical practice, and offers some ideas for understanding these intriguing phenomena. This detailed and scholarly work will be of interest to psychiatrists, psychologists and medical historians, as well as to the interested general reader.