Edgar Cayce (1877-1945), is the most documented ESP researcher and psychic of the twentieth century. Known as the “Sleeping Prophet” and “The Father of Holistic Medicine,” he gave some 14000 psychic readings and diagnosed countless illnesses over 40 years. In the course of his work, he connected seekers with those who lived in the past and foretold events yet to come.
Born on a farm in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, Cayce’s psychic abilities began as early in his childhood. As a boy, he often played with imaginary friends as many small children do. But young Cayce's imaginary were not like those of most children. When asked about his imaginary friends he would say they were spirits in the afterlife.
Another spirit that the young child spoke to frequently was that of his grandfather, Thomas Jefferson Cayce, whom he adored. Cayce's grandfather died when thrown by a horse into a pond and knocked unconscious. Cayce was heart broken, but with encouragement from his mother and grandmother, connected with his grandfather’s spirit and spoke to him often in the barn.
Cayce's precocious psychic ability grew in strength after he was hit from behind by a baseball player at school. The normally quiet Cayce began to act oddly giggling, making faces, and just being a nuisance. Later at home that night Cayce fell into a trance-like state and gave his father instructions for a poultice to apply to the injury. Cayce woke the next morning with no memory of the previous day's events but otherwise felt normal.
Cayce’s uncanny ability to heal himself manifested again a little later. In 1901, at the age of 24, he suffered from acute laryngitis. The distressed young man lost his voice completely and was unable to work for almost a year. A travelling stage hypnotist named Hart, who referred to himself as “The Laugh Man,” came to Cayce’s aid. He had heard about the young man’s condition and abilities. His curiosity piqued, Hart offered to attempt treatment. Cayce’s voice returned briefly during his hypnotic trances but disappeared when he awakened. Hart, who had other commitments, could not continue treating him.
A local hypnotist in Kentucky named Al Layne took up the challenge. He suggested that Cayce describe the illness in the first person plural, using words like “we” and “our”. This attempt to regain Cayce’s voice yielded a cure. According to the reading, his voice loss, attributed to psychological paralysis, could be remedied by increasing the blood flow to the voice box. Cayce’s voice stayed after he awakened. Although relapses occurred, After repeated treatments, Cayce’s voice returned permanently.
Cayce’s cure and the use of the first person plural formed the basis of his future interaction with spirits. Whenever Cayce wanted to show that he had connected with a spirit, he would use the first person plural and say “We have the body.” He also found that he could put himself into hypnotic sleep by lying on a couch, closing his eyes and folding his hands over his stomach.
In 1901, upon Layne’s suggestion, Cayce began offering free treatments to the public. His fame grew at a phenomenal rate. Cayce worked well with patients either present in the room or with their handwritten letters. He diagnosed the physical and mental state of what he named “The Entity” and provided remedies. He was now renowned, with people seeking his medical advice through correspondence. The advice was, apparently, 90 percent accurate and astonished experts. Others discounted him for his lack of formal training.
As his fame grew, opportunistic businessmen sought his help. They persuaded him to give readings about business, but the sessions left him feeling dissatisfied. He found giving psychic medical advice for such purposes unfulfilling. In 1923, a wealthy student of metaphysics, Arthur Lammers, persuaded him to give his readings on philosophical matters. Although he did so, he found that these readings conflicted with his Christian beliefs. This conflict gave Cayce grave doubts about psychic readings to the point he wanted to stop.
At this time, he once again lost his voice. In a reading for himself, he was informed that his life's mission would be complete if he stopped offering himself as a channel. His dialogues with the “we” in his readings convinced him to revolve them around health. He continued with his readings and was a professional psychic by 1925. Nonetheless, as years went by they came to revolve around the occult or mystical themes, despite his intentions.
Cayce, by this time, had moved to Virginia Beach. With help from supporters he formed three organizations that exist to this day. First, the Association for Research and Enlightenment. The purpose of the organization, set up in 1933, was the research of ESP, life after death as well as holistic health. Second, the Atlantic University which offers a Master’s degree program in Transpersonal studies. And third, The Edgar Cayce Foundation to serve as a an archive of Cayce's more than 14000 readings.
Cayce gained national fame after the Coronet magazine published an article titled “Miracle Man of Virginia Beach.” During World War II, he helped countless families seeking loved ones who were missing in action. The increasing frequency of his readings took a toll on his health. The Sleeping Prophet collapsed with exhaustion. He retired to the mountains to rejuvenate himself, but died in 1945, after a stroke, at the age of 67.
Cayce had spent much of his life trying to uncover the mysteries of psychic healing. He was on a constant quest to discover what he did while on a trance. In these trances, he apparently discovered civilizations where people could travel without the pull of gravity. He maintained that the subconscious mind had access to information the conscious mind did not and that anyone could learn to gain access if they had love in their heart and their intentions are pure.