Convulsionists a term applied to persons who were the subjects of fits, of which they were said to be cured by visiting the tomb of the abbe Paris, a celebrated zealot among the Jansenists. The name was afterwards given, in France, to those whose fanaticism or imposture caused them to work themselves up into the strongest agitations or convulsions, during which they received wonderful revelations, and abandoned themselves to the most extravagant antics that were ever exhibited. They threw themselves into the most violent contortions of body, rolled about on the ground, imitated birds and beasts; and, when they had completely exhausted themselves, went off in a swoon. Pinault, an advocate, who belonged to the Convulsionists, maintained that God had sent him a peculiar kind of fits to humble his pride. SEE JANSENISM.

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