When searching for short gothic fiction to read while on bed rest, I found recommendations for The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar by Edgar Allan Poe and The Mummy’s Foot by Theophile Gautier. I also read Two Doctors by M.R. James, although I learned later that it is more antiquarian than gothic. But I’ll talk about it just the same.
The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar tells of the process by the narrator in mesmerizing a patient who is very near the end of his life. Mesmerism, I just learned, is a form of hypnotic induction theorized by German physician Franz Friedrich Anton Mesmer.
“The aim of mesmerism was to rediscover that central point so that the individual might recover the total of his or her psychic energy and the unknown riches within.” (Source: www.mesmerism.com/mesmerism/)
Poe himself was considered among the creative geniuses who practiced mesmerism, alongside Charles Dickens and Alexandre Dumas.