Physician, Astrologist. Born Freiderich Anton Mesmer, he was the German physician, who invented and believed in the healing powers of an unknown physical property he called animal magnetism. Born Freiderich Anton Mesmer, his name is the root of the English verb "Mesmerize" and his ideas and practices led Scottish surgeon James Baird to develop hypnosis in 1842. He enjoyed a popular following and claimed to be able to channel magnetic powers in order to cure a variety of ailments, which he did for public display. Pressured by the medical establishment to leave Vienna, he found favor in Paris at the end of the 1770s. Eventually his practices came under scrutiny and a panel of scientists, including Ben Franklin, concluded in 1784 that there was no scientific basis for his theories. Discredited, he left France in 1791 and eventually settled in Switzerland, where he died mysteriously.