# Introduction

Recently, F. A. Mesmer has reported evidence of a profound influence of magnets on a variety of aspects of human and animal physiology (Mesmer 1762). Numerous authors have claimed to reproduce certain of the phenomena reported by Mesmer (Cenzo 1771, Muller 1774), but there is little understanding of the precise mode of action of the magnetic influence. In this article, I will present evidence that mesmeric influence can disrupt the lethal action of sodium cyanide (NaCN) when modulated by a sequence of high-pitched tones. After a description of the phenomenon, I will comment on the implications for the nature of the magnetic coupling.

# Observations

My observations began when I was called on an emergency basis to aid two Albanian noblemen, Guglielmo B. and Ferrando di N., who had ingested the poison in an apparent attempt to commit suicide. (The facts of the case were rather mysterious, since these young men had been seen in the harbor earlier in the day, affecting a carefree attitude. However, this need not concern us here.) The standard remedy would have been to induce vomiting; however, this would have offended the sensibilities of two noble ladies present, the daughters of the duke in whose household this unfortunate incident took place. Thus, I thought it wise to begin by administering magneto-therapy using the devices that I had at hand.

\label{fig:magnet} Enter the caption for your figure here.

The source of magnetic influence used in this therapy was the simple iron pole magnet shown in Figure \ref{fig:magnet}. The device, roughly the size of human palm, was held three fingers’ length away from each of the patients, while the blood cyanide level was monitored. As this operator proceeded in silence, only a very small effect on the poison was observed. In a moment, however, the sisters began to weep and ululate in the most painful manner. Under this blanket of sound, the effects of the cyanide reaction were observed to be completely reversed. Indeed, even before the end of a single session of treatment, the Albanians were seen to wake from their comas and offer thanks for their rescue. Some sample blood cyanide levels are reported in Table \ref{tab:blood}.

Blood cyanide levels for the two patients.
Patient Initial level($$\mu$$g/cc) w. Magnet w. Magnet and Sound
Guglielmo B. 0.12 0.10 0.001
Ferrando di N. 0.15 0.11 $$< 0.0005$$

\label{tab:blood}

# Interpretation

A description of these observations, obviously based on second-hand reports, has already been reported by L. da Ponte (Ponte 1795). In his paper, da Ponte attributes the mode of action of the magnetic force to direct magnetic attraction. This would be implausible with the relatively small magnet used in this study; thus da Ponte was forced to propose an absurdly large size for the magnetic device. His theory does not account for the acoustic influence, which is known not to be present in magnetic action on inanimate objects. A second hypothesis would state that the acoustic fields perturb the chemistry of the cyanide reactions, allowing the reagents to couple magnetically. As with the first hypothesis, we are skeptical, since again this phenomenon has no inorganic counterpart. Thus, we are forced to conclude, with Mesmer, that magnetism couples directly to the life force, which, as is well known, can be modulated by musical influences.

In conclusion, we note that the unusual mode of action of magnetism is only one of many which have been reported in the literature. It is likely that there are further unusual magnetic phenomena to be discovered. All studies to date have involved male patients. But it is likely that the prevailing belief that ‘women are all the same’ would be overturned in a similar investigation.

I am grateful to Don Alfonso d’Alba for certain services essential to this investigation.