Here’s an interesting quote from William Walker Atkinson:
“Although the true scientific principles underlying the subject of Mental Influence have been but recently recognized and taught to the general public, still the knowledge is far from being new. The occultists of the old civilizations undoubtedly understood the underlying principles and used them in practice, thus gaining an ascendancy over the masses.
And more than this, the masses themselves had a more or less comprehensive knowledge of the working principles of the subject, for we find among all peoples, in all times, records of the use of this power. Under one name or another—under one form or another—Mental Influence has been operated and used from the earliest times. And to-day, even in the most remote portions of the globe, and among the most savage and barbarous races we find instances of the employment of this force.
The forms of the manifestation of Mental Influence are many and varied. In some cases it manifests under the form of a fascinating, attracting power exerted by some people, which causes such persons to draw or attract other persons to them. Persons are allured or “charmed” by others possessing this power, and their affections are taken captive by this mysterious force. Some persons are spoken of as “fascinating,” “possessing powers of charming,” having “winning ways,” having “great personal magnetism,” etc. Others exert another form of the power in the driving of and compelling others to do their bidding, and people speak of them as having “a compelling will,” being able “to work their will” on those around them, possessing “dominating powers,” etc. Then we witness the varied phenomena of Hypnotism, Mesmerism, Psychologism, etc. We are also brought face to face with the wonderful effects of “Mental Science” under one form or another, under this name or that term, with the many forms of “treatments” followed by the different schools and cults. Then we read in the pages of history about the mysterious powers recorded under the name of Witchcraft, Hexism, Voodism, Black Magic, including the Hawaiian “Kahuna” work. And turning back the pages of history to Ancient Rome, Greece, Persia and Egypt, not to speak of India, ancient and modern, we find innumerable instances of the employment of, and knowledge of, Mental Influence in some of its forms.
And although many will seek to deny the fact, scientific investigators and students realize that there is but one real underlying principle under and back of all of the various forms of manifestation. The good results, and the evil results, all arise from the employment of the same force, strange it may appear at first thought. The secret lies in the fact that this Mental Influence is a great natural force, just as is electricity or any other natural force or energy. And, like these other natural forces, it may be, and is, used for both good and evil purposes. The electricity which runs our machines, lights our houses and performs countless other beneficent tasks in the service of man is also used to electrocute criminals, and the unfortunate person who touches a “live wire” may be struck with instant death.
In short, every natural force or power is capable of producing either beneficent or baleful effects to man, according to the circumstances of the case. We recognize these things, and accept them as a law of nature. And yet some would deny the identity of the power of Mental Influence as manifested in its good and bad uses.”
Magnetism itself is a natural force… how you choose to use, it depends on you.