In 1836, Charles Poyen St. Sauveur, a French disciple of Franz Anton Mesmer gave a public demonstration of mesmerism (an early form of hypnotism) in Belfast Maine which captured the attention of Phineas Parker Quimby. While experimenting with two of his friends, Quimby discovered he too, could mesmerize.
Two brothers, Henry and Lucius Burkmar were particularly receptive to Quimby's mesmeric influence. His greatest success was with Lucius and together they traveled throughout Maine and New Brunswick giving their own public demonstrations in the early to middle 1840's.
These early experiments with Lucius Burkmar provided Quimby with an open window to the mind.
From 1847 until his passing in 1866, Phineas Parkhurst Quimby devoted his life to healing the sick. In the Fall of 1859 he opened an office at the International House Hotel in the city of Portland, Maine. His youngest son George Albert Quimby worked as his office clerk. Additional secretarial services were supplied by two of his new patients, the sisters Emma and Sarah Ware.
Dr. Quimby, as he was now known, treated over 12,000+ patients during those years. Most notable were Warren Felt Evans, a practitioner and author of mental healing; Julius and Annetta (Seabury) Dresser, early organizers of New Thought; and Mary M. Patterson (Mary Baker Eddy), of the Christian Science movement.
Suffering from overwork and exhaustion, Quimby closed the Portland practice in the late Spring of 1865 and retired to his home in Belfast.
He made his transition on January 16, 1866.