19th century is usually recalled as a time of science and technology. Referring to my article ‘Spanish Steampunk 2012 AD’:
’19th century gave birth to the professional scientist (the word scientist was first used in 1833 by William Whewell) and it was an era of invention and discovery, with radical developments in the fields of biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics, among others. We cannot obviate three intellectual factors that destabilized the European society: Darwinism (the biological description of human nature), the Freudian theory (that pinned human action on primordial drives) and Einstein’s theory of the physical world (that challenged the Newtonian world order)’.
Scientists and inventors like Charles Darwin or Samuel Morse changed the world forever, it is undeniable. Scientists like Nikola Tesla, Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace’s are among the most acknowledged by the Steampunk community. Yet in a century seemingly built on reason arose a profound interest in the supernatural. An in-depth analysis is beyond the purpose of this blog post, but let’s have a look to some concrete fields.
3.1.- Magnétisme Animal: Mesmerism
Franz Anton Mesmer (May 23, 1734 – March 5, 1815) was a German physician with an interest in Astronomy, who theorised that there was a natural energetic transference that occurred between all animated and inanimate objects that he called magnétisme animal (animal magnetism) and other spiritual forces often grouped together as Mesmerism.