I have been doing a little reading about the history of mesmerism. Some of the people involved were the intelligent, highly qualified and high functioning people of their day. Mesmer himself was a doctor and was influenced by Paracelsus. Paracelsus was the Professor of Medicine at Basle, not some spotty kid dreaming up the next 'law of attraction' tosh in his parent's spare room.
Then of course, there is the delightfully named Father Max Hell! He was a Professor of Anatomy at Vienna University. Over in the UK, Braid's arch enemy, John Elliotson, was Professor of the Practice of Medicine at the University of London (he pioneered the use of the stethoscope and was one of the first to experiment with acupuncture - although this last is from Wikipedia, so not totally reliable).
These were not shabby people making stuff up, they were on the ball for their time and context and totally engaged in trying stuff out and seeing what worked.
I don't really have a conclusion, I just find this kind of history interesting!