Curative action of animal magnetism.
131. This theory explains a fact well known in mesmerism, but hitherto unexplained, viz., that of the changes effected in the properties of water by the action of the will. The acting spirit, in this case, is that of the mesmeriser, who is frequently assisted by a disincarnate spirit, and who effects a transformation of the water by means of what, for want of a better term, we call the animalised-magnetic fluid, which, as we have said, is the substance that approaches most nearly to the cosmic matter, or universal element. If the mesmeriser can modify the properties of water, he can also effect an analogous modification of the fluids of the human organism ; hence the curative effect of the mesmeric action, when properly directed.
We know the important part that is played by the will in the production of all the phenomena of animal-magnetism; but how are we to explain the action of so subtle an agent on matter? The will is not a being, not a substance; it is not even a property of the most etherealised matter. True ; but will is the essential attribute of the spirit, that is to say, of the thinking being. With the aid of this instrument, a spirit acts on the elements of matter ; and, by the same action, exercised on the elements of the compound bodies formed from that matter, he is able to modify the properties of those bodies.
Will is the attribute of the incarnate spirit, as well as of the disincarnate spirit wandering in space ; hence the power of the mesmeriser, a power which, as we know, is proportioned to his force of will. The incarnate spirit being able to act upon elementary matter, he can also vary its properties within certain limits. We are thus enabled to explain the faculty of healing by the imposition of hands a faculty possessed by many persons in a greater or less degree.