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Edgar Cayce The Sleeping Prophet

Edgar Cayce was born into a farming family on March 18, 1877 near Beverly, seven miles south of Hopkinsville, Kentucky. From the age of 10 he would read the Bible from cover to cover once each year and his stated ambition was to be a preacher and healer.

In December 1893 the family moved to Hopkinsville and occupied 705 West Seventh, on the south-east corner of Seventh and Young Street. Edgarís first jobs 1894 - 1898 were at Richardís Dry Goods Store, then in Hopper's Bookstore both located on Main Street. During this time he became engaged to Gertrude Evans his future wife who he married in 1903.

In 1900 he formed a business partnership with his father to sell Woodmen of the World Insurance but was struck by severe laryngitis in March that resulted in a complete loss of voice on April 18. Unable to work he lived at home with his parents for almost a year. He then decided to take up photography as he hoped this work would make little demand on his voice. He began an apprenticeship in the photograph studio of W. R. Bowles at corner of Ninth and Virginia in Hopkinsville.

A travelling stage hypnotist and entertainer called "Hart-The Laugh Man," was performing at the Hopkinsville Opera House in 1901. He heard about Cayceís condition and offered to attempt a cure. Cayce accepted and the experiment took place on stage in front of an audience. Cayceís voice returned while in a hypnotic trance but disappeared on awakening. Hart tried a post-hypnotic suggestion that the voice would continue to function after the trance but this proved unsuccessful.

Hart moved on to another town but a local amateur hypnotist called Al Layne offered to work with Cayce on the restoration of his voice. Layne had the idea of suggesting that Cayce describe the nature of his condition and its cure while in hypnotic trance. While in a trance Cayce described as though from a detached position and using the pronoun "we" that his voice loss was due to psychological paralysis and could be corrected by increasing the blood flow to the voice box. Layne suggested that the blood flow be increased and Cayce's face became flushed with blood. After 20 minutes Cayce's trance voice declared the treatment over. On awakening the voice remained normal. Relapses occurred but were corrected by Layne in the same way and eventually the cure was permanent.

Layne had read of similar hypnotic cures effected by De Puysegur, a follower of Franz Mesmer, and was keen to explore the limits of the healing knowledge of the trance voice. He asked Cayce to describe Layneís own ailments and cure and found the results both accurate and effective. Layne suggested that Cayce offer his trance healing to the public but Cayce was reluctant and was concerned he may do more harm that good. He finally agreed on the condition no payment was made. He began with Layneís help to offer free treatments to the townspeople with great success and his fame spread. He was soon getting mention in the newspapers and many postal enquiries. Layne and Cayce discovered that they could work just as effectively using a letter from the individual as with having the person present and this began Cayceís large correspondence with people all over the world.

Cayceís work grew in volume as his fame grew. He reluctantly asked for voluntary donations to support himself and his family so that he could practise the healing work full time. He continued to work in a trance state with a hypnotist all his life, the part of Layne was later taken by his wife or eldest son. A secretary, Gladys Davis, took notes.

The trance reading produced a visible strain on Cayceís health, and he attributed the occasional failure to working under too great a pressure to give a clear reading. He was scrupulous in giving refunds to unsatisfied subjects.

He was persuaded to begin giving readings on philosophical subjects in 1923 by a wealthy client, a well to do printer called Arthur Lammers. The trance state answers, which spoke unequivocally of past lives caused Cayce to have a further struggle with his conscience as they conflicted with his avowed Christianity. Lammers and the trance voice itself reassured and argued with Cayce and he was persuaded to continue with these kinds of readings. In 1925 the trance voice instructed him to move to Virginia Beach, Virginia.

In 1929 the Cayce hospital was established in Virginia Beach sponsored by a wealthy beneficiary of the trance readings, Morton Blumenthal.

Cayce gained USA wide prominence in 1943 through a high profile magazine article in the Coronet. He increased the frequency of his readings to 8 per day to try to keep up with the level of interest but this took a strain on his health. Edgar Cayce died on January 3, 1945.

Edgar Cayce is primarily known for the thousands of "readings" that were given in an unconscious guided hypnotic state. He gave over 14,000 readings in a period of 43 years. Gladys Davis, his assistant, recorded the readings and his wife, Gertrude Evans Cayce, guided the readings.

Physical Readings: 9,603 readings given In the beginning his readings were known as "physical readings" (health readings). Their intentions were to increase the quality of the body (the organism). Cayce would put himself under self-hypnosis. A person's name would be given to Cayce, and he was then asked to perform the reading. While asleep he would find the subject, sometimes naming the streets along the way. After the subject was located, he examined the body, describing how the organ, circulatory, and nervous systems were working. Cayce would point out aspects that were not functioning properly and provide reasons for these malfunctions. A personalized message would then be given to the subject that would include anything helpful to relieve the pain and/or cure the ailment. The readings were so specialized that treatments were often altered, or not even given, if the person would not follow his advice. Seekers often sought Cayce's health readings when the established medical community could do nothing more for the patient.

At the time, c. early 1900's, the information provided by Cayce was highly controversial. Cayce was making claims that such things as diet, emotional state, and thought contributed to or even caused illness (holistic health). The idea that emotion or stress could cause an illness seemed absurd. Cayce's treatment was often just as absurd. Certain diets were recommended to cure chronic ailments, plus he would describe how the individual's particular thought pattern lead to their illness. Sometimes Cayce recommended rare medications that doctors had overlooked, or gave instructions on how to formulate and administer unknown medications. Emphasis was placed on a personís mental state assisting their recovery, which sometimes was their only hope for a cure. Cayce also claimed that colours could help people with their physical problems his own form of color therapy. Some people were referred to chiropractors and osteopaths, professions that were fairly new at the time. He also encouraged people to take advantage of massage, stretching, hydrotherapy, colonics, and many other therapies that science knew little or nothing about. Although science has since confirmed many of Cayce's health ideas, their efficacy is often scrutinized by the established medical community or blatantly labeled as ridiculous.

After health readings had been given for a while, Cayce started to give reading on subjects that did not include physical health. Some general categories that the readings could fit into are as follows:

Life Readings:

1,920 readings given When a Life reading was given, it would describe the "past lives" of the individual. Only past experiences that could help the person in the present was given. Often the readings would explain tendencies and inclinations of a person, and how they related to past lives. The reading would often describe the outcome or the effect that the tendencies on a past life. Cayce would leave it up to the person receiving the reading as to if he/she wanted to change the tendency and stop the same experience from happening again. The readings would often describe incarnations where the individual was at its spiritual highest, and of recent incarnations. Cayce suggested that these were the incarnations that would help the person most. Such places as the colonized west, Egypt, Greece, Rome and Atlantis were often given as significant past incarnations.

Business Readings:

747 readings given For those people whose intentions were "pure", Cayce would give business readings. He would also often criticize heavily when intentions were not pure. Cayce would give advice on business partners, the stock market, business models and many other business related topics. Cayce would also guide the A.R.E. (A group Cayce advised to be formed) in just about every move they made.

Dream Readings:

630 readings given Edgar Cayce encouraged everyone to interpret and use his or her own dreams in day-to-day life. In many of the dream readings, Cayce would give an interpretation of a submitted dream. Cayce would often interrupt the person reading the dream and give an interpretation before the dream had been completely read. Cayce would also interrupt information being read to him in subject areas other than dream. Cayce would sometimes fill in parts of dreams that the dreamer had forgotten. Unlike modern dream interpretation, Cayce did not emphasize highly the importance of symbols. He said that every symbol is unique to the individual dreaming, and henceforth, is hard to create an accurate dream interpretation based solely on symbols. Cayce claimed that in dreams people could, receive valuable insight into their own lives, and that the insight was always of use to the dreamer. Besides regular daily insight into ones life, he claimed people could communicate with loved ones (dead or alive), remember past life experiences, see a possible future and experience many other psychic abilities so long as the individual was ready to hear such knowledge and it could be helpful to the individual. Cayce claimed that everyone could experience this.

Mental and Spiritual Readings:

450 readings given These readings were often short and were one of the awake Cayce's favorite readings. They focused on what a individual could do to achieve a better mental/spiritual life.

Other Readings:

954 readings given Other Readings are miscellaneous subject matter that does not fit into an above category. The subject matter differs from missing persons, buried treasure, readings given to a spiritual development group, psychic abilities, auras, prophecy, structure of reality, geology and many other topics.

For many thousands, the readings had a powerful impact on attitudes, beliefs, health practices, outlook on life, matters of faith and many other areas.


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