‘Mesmerise’ – meaning to be in a trance-like state, whether chemically assisted or not, has been used since the early nineteenth century. The word comes from Dr Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815), a leading Austrian physician who caused some controversy when he used hypnotism as a treatment of illness. Mesmer believed ill health was caused by the disruption to the ebb and flow of magnetic fluid circulating around the body. He placed the patient into a trance and hovered a magnet over their body to cure the blockage in the hope of making the patient feel better. Not only did this mark the birth of hypnotism, but it also helped contribute to people trying to contact the paranormal.
[Courtest of 'It's a Wonderful Word' by Albert Jack]