The Life and Travels of French Mesmerist Baron Jules Du Potet de Sennevoy

Du Potet de Sennevoy also known as Baron Jules was born in the year 1796. He is a descendant of the Dukes of Burgundy. Du Potet, a native of France, would soon become one of the most important figures in mesmerism. Over the years his popularity grew, and he was known around the world as one of the most trusted mesmerists. He was so trusted that it is rumored that a man was convicted of murder based solely on Du Potet’s visions.

It is unclear what, if any, formal training Du Potet had. However, it appears that he was self-taught when it came to mesmerism. Surely, he studied the many Spiritualist who came before him and it is thought that he developed many of his own practices from that movement.

In later years, the term mesmerism was renamed hypnotism and is still very popular today. In fact, hypnotism is used for many different things including recalling memories and stopping bad habits such as smoking or substance abuse.

The First Experiments and Publishings

In the year 1821, Du Potet began experimenting with many different paranormal phenomena. These phenomena that he worked with are rooted in what is referred to as Spiritualism. The first known practice of Spiritualism was in 1796, and Du Potet was likely inspired by the movement. It is interesting to note that Du Potet was born the same year that spiritualism was first founded.

In a journal published in 1845, Du Potet claimed to have witnessed levitation, resistance to fire, remote influence, and even spirit communication. He referred his findings as animal magnetism. These findings were later published in his book the Study of Animal Magnetism which was released in 1838.

In later years between 1845 to 1861, Du Potet would publish a journal dedicated to magnetism which many people followed. This journal was very popular in France and other parts of the world.

Nobility and Giving

As you have already learned, Du Potet de Sennevoy was a baron and was often referred to as simply Baron du Potet. Being a noble Du Potet had a regular salary which meant that he did not have to hold a job. This freed Du Potet and allowed him to travel whenever and wherever he chose. He traveled around most of France and parts of the United Kingdom treating people for various ailments. However, it is widely known that he never charged for these treatments. This helped set him apart from other mesmerists that did charge for their healing services. People trusted Du Potet and his acts of kindness through the healing powers of mesmerism was well-known.

Bringing Physicians to The Fold

Du Potet was not afraid to challenge the medical system in his home country of France. While at first, many physicians in the area thought that his practice of mesmerism was just for show. They did not believe in his talents. But in due time, that would change, and Du Potet would bring many physicians to the fold. Having traditional medical doctors back his practices would give Du Potet even more credibility.

Giving Nature Credit

When it came to claiming his talents, Du Potet was very modest and always gave credit to nature. He wanted people to see him not as this brilliant magician with secret talents, but rather as a vessel for the power of nature. He felt that nature was his greatest teacher, and all of his wisdom was through the study of animal magnetism.

School of Magnetism in Paris

One of Du Potet’s greatest contributions to the world of animal magnetism and mesmerism, in general, was his free school of magnetism in Pairs. There he spent many years experimenting and developing his own practices. The school which he started in 1826 lasted for many years and many people came to experience magnetism for themselves.

He spent the most of his time at his school in Paris but later traveled around to different areas of Europe. During his travels, he met interesting people and helped others learn the practice of magnetism.

His Travels to The United Kingdom

During his travels, Du Potet went to many different places, one being the United Kingdom. On his visit to the UK, he met a man by the name of Dr. John Elliotson. Du Potet introduced the doctor to animal magnetism. Dr. Elliotson was very interested in experimenting with paranormal phenomena and soon became the first person to practice new form of Spiritualism.

Du Potet feel in love with the United Kingdom and decided to start magnetic healing school in the city of London. He used the school to do many great things including successfully treating girls who suffered from epilepsy. This surprised many and gave Du Potet even more credibility and fame.

Worldwide Reach

Du Potet was not only popular in France and the United Kingdom but also worldwide. He developed a global outreach campaign, and he was in contact with mesmerists from many different countries. This allowed him to grow the movement and get more people interested in it. He also helped keep the movement strong in his home country of France. Some called this campaign a revolution for the mesmerism movement.

Because Du Potet reached out to so many people, the mesmerism movement is still strong today. While its practices have changed and they now call it hypnotism, it is still alive and well. It is unknown if the world would have forgotten about mesmerism, but it is clear he helped get the word out.

Vice-President of the Theosophical Society

In the year of his death, Du Potet was appointed Vice-President of the Theosophical Society. This was a top honor that Du Potet proudly accepted. While he was only Vice-President for less than a year, but his impact on the group was memorable.


Not much is said about the manner or cause of the death of Du Potet. He was reported to have died in the city of Paris in the year 1881. At the time of his death, he was 85 years old. Du Potet spent much of his life practicing and spreading the word about mesmerism.