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Armand-Marie-Jacques de Chastenet, Marquis of Puységur

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Title: Armand-Marie-Jacques de Chastenet, Marquis of Puységur  
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Subject: Animal magnetism, Hypnotists, 1751 births, Stage hypnosis, Hypnotic susceptibility
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Armand-Marie-Jacques de Chastenet, Marquis of Puységur

Marquis de Puységur

Although Amand-Marie-Jacques de Chastenet, Marquis de Puységur (1751–1825) was a French magnetizer aristocrat from one of the most illustrious families of the French nobility, he is now remembered as one of the pre-scientific founders of hypnotism (a branch of animal magnetism, or Mesmerism).[1]

The Marquis de Puységur learned about Mesmerism from his brother Antoine-Hyacinthe, the Count of Chastenet. One of his first and most important patients was Victor Race, a 23-year-old peasant in the employ of the Puységur family. Race was easily "magnetized" by Puységur, but displayed a strange form of sleeping trance not before seen in the early history of Mesmerism.

Puységur noted the similarity between this sleeping trance and natural sleep-walking or somnambulism, and he named it "artificial somnambulism".[1] Today we know similar states by the name "hypnosis", although that term was invented much later by James Braid in 1842. Some characteristics of Puysegur's artificial somnambulism were in any case specific of his method.

Puységur rapidly became a highly successful magnetist, to whom people came from all over France. In 1785, Puységur taught a course in animal magnetism to the local Masonic society, which he concluded with these words:

Puységur's institute for training in Charles Richet rediscovered his writings in 1884, and showed that most of what other people had claimed as their discoveries in the field of magnetism and hypnotherapy were originally due to the Marquis de Puységur.[1]

The Discovery of the Unconscious, pp. 70–74.


  1. ^ a b c d Ellenberger, Henri (1970) Discovery of the Unconscious: The History and Evolution of Dynamic Psychiatry, New York: BasicBooks, pp. 70-74.

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