London 1810

A machine to control the mind

A Welsh tea merchant, James Tilly Matthews, reveals that his mind is being controlled by a gang of “magnetic spies” and their secret machine, the Air Loom.

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The Air Loom is powered by Mesmer’s invisible fluids, which it concentrates and focuses on the minds of its unsuspecting victims. Many of Britain’s leading politicians, including the Prime Minister, are under its influence…

Where will this technology lead?

Matthews was confined in Bedlam as an incurable lunatic, but his delusions captured the disturbing power of the latest discoveries in electricity and chemistry.

Recent experiments on animals and humans had shown that electric currents could animate living tissue and even dead bodies.

The Air Loom posed an important question: will these new technologies one day be able to control the mind as well as the body?

Gallery: Aldini’s electric experiments
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