Jules Bernard Luys was a highly industrious and dedicated French investigator who made important contributions to the fields of neuroanatomy and neuropsychiatry in the second half of the 19th century. His name is still eponymically attached to the subthalamic nucleus and the centre médian nucleus, two structures that are at the center of our current thinking about the functional organization of the basal ganglia and the pathophysiology of Parkinson’s disease. While developing a highly original view of the anatomical and functional organization of the human brain, Luys contributed significantly to our knowledge of the neuropathological and clinical aspects of mental illnesses. Luys devoted the last part of his career to hysteria and hypnosis, engaging himself in experiments as extravagant as the action of medication at distance. In doing so, he became perhaps the most highly caricatured example of the fascination that hysteria exerted upon various renowned neurologists at the end of the 19th century. This paper briefly summarizes the contribution of this remarkable figure of the history of neurology.