Psychic Phenomena

The hypnotist Walford Bodie claimed he could hypnotize animals as well as humans, and tells of an demonstration at the Dundee, Oregon zoo where he supposedly hypnotized wolves and hyenas. While the incident did make it into the local paper, many regarded him as a charlatan. Image: The Bodie Book, 1905, Wellcome Library


After witnessing a mesmerist induce a trance, Edgar Allan Poe included it in his story The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar. In the tale, a dying man is put into a trance and able to speak and move his “swollen black tongue” after death. The tale was written like a medical case study.

At the time, Poe was a journalist and the story was taken as a news report, never being explicitly presented as fiction. It was even reprinted in London’s Sunday Times with the headline: Mesmerism in America: Astounding and Horrifying Narrative, helping legitimize and popularize mesmerism.

Source is Occult America by Mitch Horowitz. It’s a fantastic read, and highly recommended!