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Moore also records Hawthorne's reservations about mesmerism when it came to the treatment of his future wife Sophia's headaches.

Moore also records Hawthorne's reservations about mesmerism when it came to the treatment of his future wife Sophia's headaches.

It had been agreed between Nathaniel and Sophia that she must be able physically to marry. Her crippling headaches would make it impossible otherwise. Taylor Stoehr believes that Dr. Jospeh Fiske (1811-1882) treated Sophia almost daily with mesmerism until 1840 when the Peabodys moved again to Boston. There Sophia found Cornelia Park, an old friend, who also practiced mesmerism. When she mentioned this to Hawthorne (she had kept her treatment by Dr. Fiske from him), Hawthorne replied with horror: I am unwilling that a power should be exercised on thee, of which we
know neither the origin nor consequence, and the phenomena of
which seem rather calculated to bewilder us, than to teach us any truths
about the present or the future state of being. (246)

(courtesy of University of Missouri Press)



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