November 18, 2004
by lyle e davis
by lyle e davis
Daily for over forty
years of his adult life, he would lie down on a couch with his hands folded over
his stomach and allow himself to enter a self-induced sleep state. Then,
provided with the name and location of an individual anywhere in the world he
would speak in a normal voice and give answers to any questions about that
person that he was asked. Questions as diverse as, "What are the secrets of the
universe?" to "How can I remove a wart?" His responses to these questions came
to be called "readings" and contain insights so valuable that even to this day
individuals rely upon them as what they see as practical help for everything
from maintaining a well-balanced diet and improving human relationships to
overcoming life-threatening illnesses. These "readings" were written down by a
stenographer, who kept one copy on file and sent another to the person who had
requested the information.
The man’s name was Edgar
So far as is known, Edgar
Cayce never wrote a book. But many books were written about him. Though Cayce
died more than half a century ago, the timeliness of the material in the
readings is evidenced by approximately one dozen biographies and more than 300
titles that discuss various aspects of this man's life and work. Further details
about his life and work are explored in such classic works as There Is a
River (1942) by Thomas Sugrue, The Sleeping Prophet (1967) by Jess
Stearn, Many Mansions (1950) by Gina Cerminara, and Edgar Cayce-An
American Prophet (2000) by Sidney Kirkpatrick.
Words that are fairly
common in today’s lexicon, such as ‘meditation,’ ‘auras,’ ‘soul mates,’ and
‘holism’ derive from Edgar Cayce and his readings.
I remember having read a
great deal about Cayce thirty five years ago. I probably read three or four
different books about him and incorporated parts of his readings into my
personal philosphy, and either rejected, or did not accept others.
Cayce was a fascinating
man. He was born on March 18, 1877, and reared in the small community of
Hopkinsville, Kentucky. He quit school after eight years to work on the family
farm. Eventually Cayce took up photography as his trade.
In addition to being a
devout member of the local Disciples of Christ Church, Cayce faithfully taught
Sunday School and held to all the basic tenets of orthodox Christianity. He even
entertained the thought of becoming a minister, but his lack of education and
finances forced him to turn in another direction.
Indeed, in the early
years of his ‘readings’ he found himself concerned about possible conflicts
between his religious beliefs, the teachings of his church, and the phenomenon
that he was experiencing. In time, he came to feel that his ‘gift’ was a
manifestation of God’s will and reinforced, rather than ruptured, his religious
beliefs. Because of this acceptance, he continued with his readings. Called
‘life readings,’ he would give over 14,000 readings. during his adult lifetime.
Under the influence of a
self-induced hypnotic trance, Cayce would diagnose illnesses and prescribe
proper medical treatments for ailing individuals.
During a trance he would
often use long medical terms which were normally used only by physicians. Upon
awakening, he could hardly pronounce the words much less understand their
Edgar Cayce's first
spiritualistic encounter occurred when he was only a toddler. He often spoke of
"invisible playmates" who would visit him, (Thomas Sugrue, There Is A River, p.
37). He also claimed to have a visitation from a "shining lady" who said he
could have anything he desired. He responded that he would like to help people,
especially children (Ibid, p. 23).
On one occasion, when he
was having trouble studying his school lessons, this "shining lady" told him to
lay his head on the textbook and rest. He obeyed and quickly fell asleep. After
a few minutes he returned to consciousness and knew the entire content of the
volume, (Ibid, p. 19).
At the age of 20, Cayce
mysteriously lost his voice. He consulted several doctors, took numerous
prescriptions and finally resorted to home remedies. Nothing worked.
A travelling hypnotist
attempted to cure the malady, but failed.
A friend, Al Layne,
suggested that Edgar undertake an effort of self-hypnosis, whereby he could
diagnose his own illness and prescribe a cure. The experiment was successful!
(Ibid, pp. 121-122)
Cayce lost his voice on
several other occasions. Each time he would slip into a trace and get a
"reading" on himself and cure the problem.
Layne was ecstatic. He
encouraged his friend to go into business as a trance medium.
Convinced that he could
help others with so-called incurable ailments, Cayce began scheduling several
readings per day. Believing that he was rendering a "Christian" service, he
refused to accept payment.
Edgar Cayce's fame
spread. In the October 9, 1910, issue of the New York Times the headlined
declared, Illiterate Man Becomes a Doctor When Hypnotized. Strange Power
Shown By Edgar Cayce Puzzles Physicians.
The article piqued the
interest of its readers and within weeks thousands of letters poured into
Hopkinsville from people seeking medical help.
twenty years the "sleeping prophet" offered help to those in need. The use of
his extra-sensory powers would soon be altered.
Mr. Art Lammers, a
wealthy printer and student of metaphysics, approached Cayce for a reading.
Lammers was not concerned about health, however; he wanted to know about the
future. He wanted a life reading!
Lammers drilled the
unconscious medium about the end of the world, creation, the lost continent of
Atlantis, the path of salvation and a host of other religious-type subjects,
(Ibid, p. 234).
Cayce responded. He
proclaimed the world to be a pantheistic manifestation of God, announced that
reincarnation was the secret of ultimate reconciliation of man to God and that
Jesus became the first perfected man by being reincarnated some thirty times.
‘revelations’ flew against the teachings of his church, Edgar Cayce accepted the
discourse as truth.
Others sought Life
readings. Some wanted to make contact with the spirits of soldiers who had been
killed during World War I. The spirits manifested themselves through Cayce's
vocal cords. They brought messages of hope and assurance that Heaven awaits all
His ‘life readings’ not
only looked into the past but into the future. In history, for example, the
Cayce readings gave insights into Judaism that were verified a decade after his
death. In world affairs, he saw the collapse of communism nearly fifty years
before it happened. Even in the field of physics, a professor and fellow of the
American Physical Society theorized a connection between the elementary-particle
theory and the way in which Edgar Cayce received his information. Repeatedly,
science and history have validated concepts and ideas explored in Cayce's
“Reading the Past”
For example, more than
eleven years before the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947, Edgar Cayce
provided a great deal of information on a Jewish sect called the Essenes. Cayce
claimed that in the Essene society men and women lived and worked together.
Scholars, however, believed that the Essenes were a monastic society composed
exclusively of men. It was not until archaeological excavations occurred after
Cayce’s death that his psychic information was verified.
Cayce startled the world
of academia when one of his readings suggested the Nile River had at one time
emptied into the Atlantic Ocean!
Edgar Cayce: ... In
those periods when the first change had come in the position of the land, when
(or Nole, then) emptied into what is now the Atlantic Ocean, on the Congo end of
the country. What is now as the Sahara was a fertile land...
As if to confirm some of
the above, an article published in Science (August 1986), reported that the
Shuttle Imaging Radar from the Space Shuttle had discovered previously unknown
river valleys beneath the driest part of the Sahara. Through satellite imaging
and on-site archaeological investigations, it appeared as though the present day
Nile had changed its course, once flowing across the Sahara, through Africa, and
into the Atlantic Ocean! Only time will tell how many more of the readings
historical claims regarding such places as Atlantis, ancient Egypt, and ancient
Persia, will eventually be verified.
Since 1901 the
information in the Cayce readings has been explored by individuals from every
imaginable background and discipline. In addition to individuals from all walks
and stations of life, this vast scope of materials has come to the attention of
educators, historians, theologians, medical professionals, and scientists. No
doubt, part of the attraction has been that regardless of the field of study,
Cayce has continually proven himself years ahead of his time. Decades ago, he
was emphasizing the importance of diet, attitudes, emotions, exercise, and the
patient's role - physically, mentally, and spiritually - in the treatment of
illness. As a result, he has been called "the father of holistic medicine" and
has been recognized for describing the workings of the human body and foreseeing
the direction of health care.
In the field of
psychology, he has often been compared to Carl Jung. In the realm of education,
he stands with Rudlolf Steiner. Dr. Richard H. Drummond, one of the world's most
renowned theological scholars, called the Cayce information on spirituality "the
finest devotional material of the 20th century."
In 1979, the Journal of
the American Medical Association credited Cayce with initiating the American
holistic health movement. JAMA 1979:241(11):1156.
healthcare in the United States did not recognize any connections between a
person’ spirit, mind, and body.
investigations are showing dramatically improved results when holistic
(integrated spirit-mind-body) approaches to healthcare are applied. This
information is increasing the understanding of the interactions between these
three complex systems. These results are confirming what some practitioners and
individuals already believed and practiced.
In terms of personal
spirituality, the readings never offered a set of beliefs that had to be
embraced, but instead focused on the fact that each individual should test in
his or her own life the information Cayce presented. Though Cayce himself was a
Christian and read the Bible from cover to cover every year of his life, his
work is deeply ecumenical and stressed the importance of oneness and comparative
study among belief systems all over the world. The underlying principles of the
Cayce readings are the oneness of all life, a tolerance for all people, and a
compassion and understanding for every major religion.
The Association for Research and Enlightenment
1931, the Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.) was founded by
Cayce to be a depository for his readings. Each reading was categorized and
filed for future reference.
With headquarters in Virginia Beach, Virginia, the A.R.E. operates a 50,000
volume library of metaphysics, houses an extensive research center for
parapsychology and is building a $1.5 million holistic health center. Lectures
are offered on a daily basis at the Atlantis University. Visitors are welcome.
The A.R.E. employs 160 people and operates on a $5 million annual budget.
A.R.E. keeps the memory and "ministry" of Edgar Cayce alive. Copies of more than
14,000 of Edgar Cayce's readings are available to the public and have been filed
along with any follow-up reports received from the individuals who had asked for
the readings. This material represents the most massive collection of psychic
information ever obtained from a single source.
Many of the requests for readings had to do with health issues. Some of Cayce’s
responses to specific as well as general health issues:
"Do not drink water with meals. Take the water between the [meal] periods..."
"As indicated, if an alkalinity is maintained in the system - especially with
lettuce, carrots and celery, these in the blood supply will maintain such a
condition as to immunize a person."
other words, if you are concerned about maintaining virus protection, eat a
fresh vegetable salad each day with lettuce, carrots, and celery as the main
"Can I do anything to prevent catching so many colds?"
Cayce’s answer: "Keep the body alkaline, as will be indicated from the
manipulations to produce the general flow and the drainages set up in the
system; and this will overcome these conditions. In the diets, keep away from
heavy red meats and fried foods of any kind. Make at least one meal a day of
only raw fresh vegetables, and we will keep away from colds!" (751-1)
several readings, Edgar Cayce recommended colon hydrotherapy as an adjunct
therapy in the treatment of diabetes. The idea is to keep the lower intestines
cleansed and thereby improve the functioning of the whole alimentary canal. In
certain cases, problems in the colon were cited as causative factors in diabetes
as noted in reading 4023-1:
“Also from these disturbances in the colon there are diabetic tendencies, or
there is the inability of the body to control the activities of sugars taken
into the body.”
From READING 1206-13 Given on November 23, 1941
ye would take each day, through thy experience, two almonds, ye will never have
skin blemishes, ye will never be tempted even in body toward cancer nor towards
those things that make blemishes in the body-forces themselves."
FROM THE EDGAR CAYCE READINGS
"Do not combine acid-reacting fruits (citrus--orange, grapefruit, lemon) with
starches (corn, potatoes, rice, spaghetti) other than whole wheat bread.
"And do not have cereals, which contain a greater quantity of starch than most,
at the same meal with citrus fruits."
"Keep away from red meats, ham, or rare steak or roasts."
"No FRIED foods, ..but baked, broiled or roasted."
ending every reading by saying, "We are through".
"The adherence to the use of Carrots, Lettuce and Celery every day at a meal, or
portion of a meal, will insure against contagious infectious forces with which
the body may be in contact."
"Use at least three vegetables that grow above the ground to one that grows
Many doubt Cayce's claims, noting times when his predictions proved inaccurate.
He predicted that 1933 would be a good year, when in fact it was the very year
that the Great Depression got under way in earnest, and that China would convert
to Christianity by 1968.
What the skeptics fail to note: The sleeping prophet, as Cayce has been
nicknamed, predicted the beginning and end of both the First and
Second World Wars, and
the lifting of the Depression in 1933. In the 1920s, he first warned of
coming racial strife in the United States, and in 1939 he predicted the deaths
of two presidents in office; "Ye are to have turmoils -- ye are to have strife
capital and labor. Ye are to have a division in thy own land, before ye have the
second of the Presidents that next will not live through his office... a mob
Franklin D. Roosevelt
died in office in April 1945. In November 1963, President John F. Kennedy was
assassinated in Dallas, Texas, when racial tensions in the United States were at
In October 1935, Cayce spoke of the coming holocaust in Europe. The Austrians
and Germans, he said, and later the Japanese, would take sides. "Thus an unseen
force, gradually growing, must result in an almost direct opposition to the
Nazi, or Aryan theme. This will gradually produce a growth of animosities. And
unless there is interference by what many call supernatural forces and
influences -- which are active in the affairs of nations and peoples -- the
whole world as it were... will be set on fire by militaristic groups and people
who are for power expansion."
of Cayce's major predictions concerned the futures of China and the Soviet
Union, the world's great Communist giants. In 1944, he prophesied that China
would one day be "the cradle of Christianity as applied in the lives of men."
Through Russia, he said "comes the hope of the world. Not in respect to
what is sometimes termed Communism or Bolshevism -- no! But freedom -- freedom!
That each man will live for his fellow man. The principle has been born there.
It will take years for it to be crystallized; yet out of
Russia comes again the
hope of the world." Russia, he said, would be guided by friendship with the
United States. Its attempt to rule "not only the economic, but the mental and
spiritual life" of its people was doomed to failure.
Cayce also predicted the possibility of a third world war. He spoke of strifes
arising "near the Davis Straits," and "in
Libya, and in Egypt, in
Ankara, and in Syria; through the straits around those areas above Australia, in
the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf."
and a dowser once went searching for buried treasure on the seashore, finding
nothing. Psychic believers defended him, saying treasure had been buried there
before and dug up, or it would be buried there in the future. (The question then
became. . . “why would a psychic not know that?”)
Cayce's monumental failure to help locate the kidnapped son of aviator Charles
Lindbergh was never publicized by the metaphysical or New Age communities, but
it was well known to police investigators. Many of his healing recipes included
ingredients that didn't exist. Others were folk remedies, some well known to
today's herbalists and naturopaths, but many others based on superstition rather
than nutrient value. For example, "oil of smoke" turns out to be an old-time
name for beechwood creosote, a popular remedy for psoriasis, but "the raw side
of a freshly skinned rabbit, still warm with blood, fur side out, placed on the
breast for cancer of that area" is not only gross but totally ineffective.
failed to heal his own wife and infant son; both died.
Totally inaccurate and unfair criticism. Yes, they died, but subsequent
to Cayce’s death. Mrs. Gertrude Evans Cayce, of Virginia Beach; two sons, Hugh
Lynn Cayce, USA, and Capt. Edgar Evans Cayce, USA, survived him, and was so
noted in his obituary. Cayce’s wife did recover from tuberculosis and one son
recovered from blindness. The above critic did not do his homework.)
Another failed prophecy of Cayce was his catastrophic readings regarding massive
earthquakes, flood-ins and other calamitious natural phenomena which were to
affect eastern US and Japan in particular. By the year 2000, Cayce predicted,
the ocean would invade North America as far as Idaho and Kansas, leaving a trail
of islands to the west. He also said US scientists would discover a death ray
from Atlantis in 1958. George Pal's 1961 film Atlantis, the Lost Continent seems
to be at least partly based on Cayce's story of how Atlantis fell through misuse
of "The Great Crystal."
Skeptics also cite the supposed vagueness in his language while using his
psychic abilities. Martin Gardner cites an example of a Cayce reading from when
Cayce's wife had tuberculosis:
“ ... from the head, pains along through the body from the second, fifth and
sixth dorsals, and from the first and second lumbar...tie-ups here, floating
lesions, or lateral lesions, in the muscular and nerve fibers which supply the
lower end of the lung and the diaphragm...in conjunction with the sympathetic
nerve of the solar plexus, coming in conjunction with the solar plexus at the
end of the stomach....”
Cayce used the word lung, and this his followers take as a correct diagnosis;
i.e., a psychic "hit."
Cayce was also one of the firsts to recommend laetrile as a cure for cancer.
Laetrile contains highly toxic cyanide and has been proven ineffective as a
fairness to Cayce, he was likely not a conscious fraud such as Uri Geller is
alleged to be.
Even skeptics, it seems recognize that the subject matter of many Cayce readings
would later become commonly known practices of some elements of the New Age
There have been many thousands of people who have found Cayce's predictions,
prognostications, and experiences as valid in their lives. Skeptics consider him
Edgar Cayce's last reading on 17 September 1944, was for himself. He was now
receiving thousands of requests for assistance. His own readings had repeatedly
warned him that he should not try to undertake more than two sessions a day. But
many of the letters he received were from mothers worried about their sons on
the battlefields, and Cayce felt he could not refuse them his aid. His last
reading told him that the time had come for him to stop working and rest. On New
Year's Day, 1945, he announced that he would be buried on the fifth of January.
He was right.
A Skeptic Once,
Now a Believer
Edgar Cayce: An American
by Sidney D. Kirkpatrick
Edgar Cayce--The Father of the Holistic Health Movement
"In a trance so deep that he was twice declared clinically dead, Cayce
prescribed treatments combining innovative technology with holistic medicine
that resulted in full cures more than 90 percent of the time. "
When New York Times best-selling author and investigative journalist Sidney D.
Kirkpatrick was first introduced by Nancy Thurlbeck to Edgar Cayce and his
phenomenal psychic abilities, Kirkpatrick thought Cayce was a fraud.
Then Kirkpatrick and Thurlbeck paid a visit to the Association of Research and
Enlightenment in Virginia Beach. It was Kirkpatrick's intention to prove that
Edgar Cayce did not do what he was claimed to do. Thurlbeck gave him "just
enough rope to hang himself." Now, the rest is history--as they say.
Kirkpatrick was bowled over by the huge quantities of evidence to support the
truth of Cayce’s abilities. The question became--not did Cayce do it--but how
and why did he do what he did. Kirkpatrick learned first hand what a bizarre and
amazing life that Edgar Cayce and his family and loved ones led. Now he, with
the help of Nancy Thurlbeck, tells this incredible story in a book that has been
described as "superb" and "the most enlightening book ever written about the
years before he died Cayce had written a brief account of his work. In it he
said, "The life of a person endowed with such powers is not easy. For more
than forty years now I have been giving readings to those who came seeking help.
Thirty-five years ago the jeers, scorn and laughter were even louder than today.
I have faced the laughter of ignorant crowds, the withering scorn of tabloid
headlines, and the cold smirk of self-satisfied intellectuals. But I have also
known the wordless happiness of little children who have been helped, the
gratitude of fathers and mothers and friends... I believe that the attitude of
the scientific world is gradually changing towards these subjects."
Many of Cayce’s readings revolved around basic recommendations, spinal
adjustments (by chiropractor or osteopath), colon cleansing, and a nutritious
diet, of which he would often give examples of what to eat and what not to eat.
also pointed out the need for a spiritual cleansing of the body but promoted no
particular faith, leaving that to those receiving his hearings.
The Association for Research and Enlightenment,
Region Coordinator: Dorothea Smothermon
Region Address: PO Box 422
Fallbrook, CA 92088-0422
Region Phone: 760-723-9080
those with computers, we recommend you use “Google” or a similar search engine
and type in the key words “edgar cayce.” There are many, many reference works
about Cayce, both supporters and skeptics.