In 1862 the Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris became the epicenter of the study of hysteria, the mysterious illness then thought to affect half of all women. There, prominent neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot's contentious methods caused furore within the church and divided the medical community. Treatments included hypnosis, piercing and the evocation of demons and, despite the controversy they caused, the experiments became a fascinating and fashionable public spectacle. Medical Muses tells the stories of the women institutionalised in the Salpêtrière. Theirs is a tale of science and ideology, medicine and the occult, of hypnotism, sadism, love and theatre. Combining hospital records, municipal archives, memoirs and letters, Medical Muses sheds new light on a crucial moment in psychiatric history.