Best-selling author Wendy Moore will talk about her latest book, The Mesmerist: the society doctor who held Victorian London spellbound, which tells the story of John Elliotson, the highly respected Victorian physician who introduced hypnotism to London in 1837. Elliotson's demonstrations on patients at University College Hospital drew hundreds of awed spectators and launched a mesmerism mania which swept the country. Yet the questions raised by these spectacles - and especially about the two Okey sisters who were his prime subjects - would ruin his career.
Elliotson was born and grew up in Borough High Street (where his father had a chemist's shop), baptised in St Saviour's Church (now Southwark Cathedral) and trained to become a doctor at Guy's Hospital nearby.
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