There is no doubt that hypnotism is a very old subject, though the name was not invented until 1850. In it was wrapped up the mysteries of Isis in Egypt thousands of years ago, and probably it was one of the weapons, if not the chief instrument of operation, of the magi mentioned in the Bible and of the wise men of Babylon and Egypt. Laying on of hands must have been a form of mesmerism, and Greek oracles of Delphi and other places seem to have been delivered by priests or priestesses who went into trances of self-induced hypnotism. Though various scientific men spoke of magnetism, and understood that there was a power of a peculiar kind which one man could exercise over another, it was not until Frederick Anton Mesmer (a doctor of Vienna) appeared in 1775 that the general public gave any special attention to the subject. We have now learned some facts concerning hypnotism; but they leave the subject still a mystery. Other facts, which will be developed in the course of this book, will only deepen the mystery.