What do Christian Scientists mean by "animal magnetism"?

Whatever would dim the light of Christ is opposed to God. But darkness can never defeat the bright, shining joy of spiritual living.

I Saw an interesting cartoon recently. The scene was a veterinarian's office. Standing on a table between the vet and a pet owner was a dog with metal objects clinging to him—frying pan, wrench, screwdriver, spatula, steel-wool pad, and so forth. The vet's comment was "This is positively the worst case of animal magnetism I've ever seen!"

It may be that—outside of Christian Science literature— cartoons like the one described above are where the term animal magnetism most frequently makes an appearance these days. Synonyms of the phrase, such as mesmerism and hypnotism, are far more familiar members of today's general lexicon. So why do Christian Scientists continue referring to animal magnetism? And just what do they mean by it?

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A heart for community
October 21, 1991
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