Statue of Abbe Faria - Atlas Obscura

Statue of Abbe Faria

In the heart of Panaji, a monument to the pioneer of modern hypnotism. 


Along the riverside promenade in Panaji, one can find a number of fascinating buildings and structures from the Portuguese era. At the square next to the Old Secretariat, there is a towering statue of a man with his hands and fingers outstretched, hypnotizing a woman.

On the pedestal is an inscription plaque reading “Jose Custodio Faria (Abade Faria) Fundador da doutrina e metodo da hipnose pela sugestao,” which translates to “Founder of the doctrine and method of hypnosis through suggestion.”

This is Jose Custodio de Faria (1756-1819), also known as Abbe Faria. Born in Candolim, Goa, he went to Lisbon at a young age and later to Rome. During a sermon, a phrase from his father encouraged him to preach fluently and this incident influenced the course of his life. He was struck by the power of suggestion and how it could alter one’s state of mind.

Abbe Faria believed that hypnosis was the result of auto-suggestion or self-suggestion. He changed the terminology of “mesmerism” to “somnambulism” or “lucid sleep.” He introduced oriental hypnosis to Paris where he held public sessions and demonstrated his techniques.

In his later years, he served as a chaplain in a convent. During that time, he wrote his seminal work titled: Da Causa do Sono Lúcido no Estudo da Natureza do Homem (On the Cause of Lucid Sleep in the Study of the Nature of Man). Later, in popular culture, Alexander Dumas modeled one of the characters in The Count of Monte Cristo on Abbe Faria.

Know Before You Go

The statue stands west of the Old Secretariat building next to two old cannons.

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