Phineas Quimby described himself as a mind-healer. He also has been called a spiritualist, mesmerist and philosopher. His work led to the establishment of the New Thought Movement.
Quimby was mesmerized by Charles Poyen, a French mesmerist who toured America in the 1830s. He felt that he could become a mesmerist himself and followed Poyen until he had learned how to hypnotize.
Partnering with Lucius Burkmar, who was easily hypnotized, the pair set out on a demonstration tour. Quimby was disappointed when mobs formed to chase him from towns because the townspeople thought his show was too much like witchcraft.
Mesmerism was known as a form of faith healing. Quimby was featured as a healer in several scientific papers on the subject. One of his students, Mary Baker Eddy used Quimby’s philosophy that disease was rooted in a mental cause. This thought was instrumental in the founding of Christian Science.
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