Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Edgar Cayce.

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Edgar Cayce

Circa October 1910
BornEdgar Cayce
(1877-03-18)March 18, 1877
Hopkinsville, Kentucky
DiedJanuary 3, 1945(1945-01-03) (aged 67)
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Resting placeRiverside Cemetery, Hopkinsville, Kentucky
Known forFounder of Association for Research and Enlightenment
ReligionDisciples of Christ
ChildrenHugh Lynn (b. 1907)
Milton Porter (b. 1911)
Edgar Evans (b. 1918)
ParentsLeslie B. Cayce
Carrie Cayce
Edgar Cayce (/ˈks/; March 18, 1877 – January 3, 1945) was an American psychic who allegedly had the ability to give answers to questions on subjects such as healing, wars, and even had visions of the world's end.[citation needed] He also gave a reading about Atlantis while in a hypnotic trance. Though Cayce himself was a devout Christian and lived before the emergence of the New Age Movement, some believe he was the founder of the movement and influenced its teachings.[1]
Cayce became a celebrity toward the end of his life and the publicity given to his prophecies has overshadowed what to him were usually considered the more important parts of his work, such as healing (the vast majority of his readings were given for people who were sick) and theology (Cayce was a lifelong, devout member of the Disciples of Christ). Skeptics[2] challenge the statement that Cayce demonstrated psychic abilities, and traditional Christians also question his unorthodox answers on religious matters (such as reincarnation and Akashic records, although others accept his abilities as "God-given").
Cayce founded a nonprofit organization, the Association for Research and Enlightenment.[3]



[edit] Biography

[edit] Early life

Edgar Cayce was born on March 18, 1877, near Beverly, Hopkinsville, Kentucky, one of the six children of farmers Leslie B. Cayce and Carrie Cayce.[4]

[edit] Marriage and family

Cayce was engaged on March 14, 1897 and married on June 17, 1903 to Gertrude Evans. They had three children: Hugh Lynn Cayce (March 16, 1907-July 4, 1982), Milton Porter Cayce (March 28, 1911-May 17, 1911), and Edgar Evans Cayce (February 9, 1918-).[4]

[edit] 1877 to 1920: Kentucky period

In December 1893, the Cayce family moved to Hopkinsville, Kentucky, and occupied 705 West Seventh, on the south-east corner of Seventh and Young Street. During this time Cayce received an eighth-grade education, discovered his spiritual vocation and[5] left the family farm to pursue various forms of employment (at Richard's Dry Goods Store and then in Hopper's Bookstore, both located on Main Street).
Cayce's education stopped in the ninth grade because his family could not afford the costs involved.[6] A ninth-grade education was often considered more than sufficient for working-class children. Much of the remainder of Cayce's younger years would be characterized by a search for both employment and money.
Throughout his life, Cayce was drawn to church as a member of the Disciples of Christ. He read the Bible once for every year of his life, taught at Sunday school,[7] and recruited missionaries. He is said[by whom?] to have agonized over the issue of whether his psychic abilities, and the teachings which resulted, were spiritually legitimate.
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 speech.[6] Unable to work, he lived at home with his parents for almost a year. He then decided to take up the trade of photography, an occupation that would exert less strain on his voice. He began an apprenticeship at the photography studio of W.R. Bowles in Hopkinsville.
A traveling stage hypnotist and entertainer named Hart, who billed himself as "The Laugh Man," was performing at the Hopkinsville Opera House in 1901. He heard about Cayce's condition and offered to attempt a cure. Cayce accepted, and the experiment took place on stage in front of an audience. Remarkably, Cayce's voice apparently returned while in a hypnotic trance but allegedly disappeared on awakening. Hart tried a posthypnotic suggestion that the voice would continue to function after the trance, but this proved unsuccessful.[8]
Since Hart had appointments at other cities, he could not continue his hypnotic treatment of Cayce. However, a local hypnotist, Al Layne, offered to help Cayce in restoring his voice. Layne suggested that Cayce describe the nature of his condition and cure while in a hypnotic trance.[8] Cayce described his own ailment from a first person plural point of view ("we") instead of the singular ("I").[8] In subsequent readings he would generally start off with "We have the body." According to the reading, 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 supposedly became flushed with blood and his chest area and the throat turned bright red.[8] After 20 minutes Cayce, still in trance, declared the treatment over. On awakening, his voice was alleged to have remained normal. Relapses were said to have occurred but were said to have been corrected by Layne in the same way, and eventually the cure was said to be permanent.
Layne had read of similar hypnotic cures effected by the Marquis de Puységur, a follower of Franz Mesmer, and was keen to explore the limits of the healing knowledge of the trance voice.[9] He asked Cayce to describe Layne's own ailments and suggest cures and reportedly found the results both accurate and effective. Layne suggested that Cayce offer his trance healing to the public, but Cayce was reluctant. He finally agreed on the condition that readings would be free. He began with Layne's help to offer free treatments to the townspeople. Reports of Cayce's work appeared in the newspapers, inspiring many postal inquiries.[9] Cayce was able to work just as effectively using a letter from the individual as with having the person present. Given the person's name and location, he said he could diagnose the physical and/or mental conditions and provide a remedy. He became popular and soon people from around the world sought his advice through correspondence.
Cayce's work grew in volume as his fame grew. He asked for voluntary donations to support himself and his family so that he could practice full-time. To help raise money, he invented the card game 'Pit', based on the commodities trading at the Chicago Board of Trade. The game is still sold. He continued to work in an apparent trance state with a hypnotist all his life. His wife and eldest son later replaced Layne in this role. A secretary, Gladys Davis, recorded his readings in shorthand.[9]

[edit] 1920 to 1923: Texas period

Historic marker in downtown Selma, Alabama, in front of the building in which Cayce lived and worked.
The growing fame of Cayce coupled with the popularity he received from newspapers attracted several eager commercially-minded men who wanted to seek a fortune by using Cayce's clairvoyant abilities. Even though Cayce was reluctant to help them, he was persuaded to give the readings, which left him dissatisfied with himself and unsuccessful. A cotton merchant offered Cayce a hundred dollars a day for his readings about the daily outcomes in the cotton market. However, despite his poor finances, Cayce refused the merchant's offer.[10] Others wanted to know where to hunt for treasures, while some wanted to know the outcome of horse races.[11] Several times he was persuaded to give the readings as an experiment. However, he was not successful when he used his ability for such purposes, doing no better than chance alone would dictate. These experiments allegedly left him depleted of energy, distraught, and unsatisfied with himself. Finally, he came to the conclusion that he would use his gift only to help the distressed and sick.[9]
He was persuaded to give readings on philosophical subjects in 1923 by Arthur Lammers, a wealthy printer who, by his own admission, had been "studying metaphysics for years".[12] Cayce was told by Lammers that, while in his supposed trance state, he spoke of Lammers' past lives and of reincarnation, something Lammers believed in. Reincarnation was a popular subject of the day but not an accepted part of Christian doctrine. Cayce questioned his stenographer as to what he had said in his trance state and remained unconvinced. Cayce himself challenged Lammers's charge that he had validated astrology and reincarnation in the following dialogue:
Cayce: "I said all that?...I couldn't have said all that in one reading."
"No," Lammers said, "but you confirmed it. You see, I have been studying metaphysics for years, and I was able by a few questions, by the facts you gave, to check what is right and what is wrong with a whole lot of the stuff I've been reading. The important thing is that the basic system which runs through all the mystery religions, whether they come from Tibet or the pyramids of Egypt, is backed up by you. It's actually the right system." [13]
Cayce's stenographer recorded the following:
"In this we see the plan of development of those individuals set upon this plane, meaning the ability to enter again into the presence of the Creator and become a full part of that creation.
Insofar as this entity is concerned, this is the third appearance on this plane, and before this one, as the monk. We see glimpses in the life of the entity now as were shown in the monk, in this mode of living.
The body is only the vehicle ever of that spirit and soul that waft through all times and ever remain the same."
Cayce was quite unconvinced that he had been referring to and, as such, had validated the doctrine of reincarnation, and the best Lammers could offer was that the reading "opens up the door" and went on to share his beliefs and knowledge of the "truth" with Cayce.[14] It appeared Cayce's instincts were telling him this was no ordinary reading. This client who came for a reading came with quite a bit of information of his own to share with Cayce and seemed intent upon convincing Cayce, now that he felt the reading had confirmed his strongly-held beliefs.[15] It should be noted, however, that 12 years earlier Cayce had briefly alluded to reincarnation. In reading 4841-1, given April 22, 1911, Cayce referred to the soul being "transmigrated". Because nobody systematically recorded Cayce’s readings up until 1923, it is possible that he may have mentioned reincarnation in other earlier readings.
Cayce reported that his conscience bothered him severely over this conflict. Lammers overwhelmed, manipulated, confused, reassured and argued with Cayce. Ultimately his "trance voice", the "we" of the readings, also supposedly dialogued with Cayce and finally persuaded him to continue with these kinds of readings.[16] In 1925 Cayce reported that his "voice" had instructed him to move to Virginia Beach, Virginia.[17]

[edit] 1925 to 1945: Virginia Beach period

The Cayce Hospital 2006
Cayce's mature period, in which he created the several institutions which would survive him in some form, can be considered to have started in 1925. By this time he was a professional psychic with a small staff of employees and volunteers.[18] The "readings" increasingly came to involve occult or esoteric themes.[19]
In 1929, the Cayce hospital was established in Virginia Beach, sponsored by a wealthy recipient of the trance readings, Morton Blumenthal.
Cayce gained national prominence in 1943 through a high-profile article in Coronet titled "Miracle Man of Virginia Beach".[18] He said he couldn't refuse people who felt they needed his help, and he increased the frequency of his readings to eight per day to try to make an impression on the ever-growing pile of requests. He said this took a toll on his health as it was emotionally draining and often fatigued him. He even went so far as to say that the readings themselves scolded him for attempting too much and that he should limit his workload to just two readings a day or else they would kill him.[20]
Edgar Cayce suffered a stroke and died on January 3, 1945.[21] He is buried in Riverside Cemetery[22] in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.

[edit] Purported psychic abilities

Cayce has variously been referred to as a "prophet" (cf. Jess Stearn's book, The Sleeping Prophet), a "mystic", a "seer". While giving a reading for a seeker he at times referred to consulting the Akashic Record (the etheric imprint) of that soul's experience.
Cayce's methods involved lying down and entering into a sleep state, usually at the request of a subject who was seeking help with health or other personal problems (subjects were not usually present). The subject's questions would then be given to Cayce, and Cayce would proceed with a reading. At first these readings dealt primarily with the physical health of the individual (physical readings); later, readings on past lives, business advice, dream interpretation, and mental or spiritual health were also given.
Until September 1923, his readings were not systematically preserved. However, an October 10, 1922, Birmingham Post-Herald article quotes Cayce as saying that he had given 8,056 readings as of that date, and it is known that he gave approximately 13,000-14,000 readings after that date. Today, only about 14,000 are available at Cayce headquarters and online. Thus, it appears that about 7,000-8,000 Cayce readings are missing.
When out of the trance he entered to perform a reading, Cayce said he generally did not remember what he had said during the reading. The unconscious mind, according to Cayce, has access to information which the conscious mind does not — a common assumption about hypnosis in Cayce's time. After Gladys Davis became Cayce's secretary on September 10, 1923, all readings were preserved and his wife Gertrude Evans Cayce generally conducted (guided) the readings.
Cayce said that his trance statements should be taken into account only to the extent that they led to a better life for the recipient. Moreover, he invited his audience to test his suggestions rather than accept them on faith.
Other abilities that have been attributed to Cayce include astral projection, prophesying, mediumship, viewing the Akashic Records or "Book of Life", and seeing auras. Cayce said he became interested in learning more about these subjects after he was informed about the content of his readings, which he reported that he never actually heard himself.[23]

[edit] Supporters

Cayce's clients included a number of famous people such as Woodrow Wilson, Thomas Edison, Irving Berlin, and George Gershwin.[24]
Gina Cerminara published books such as Many Mansions and The World Within. Brian Weiss published a bestseller regarding clinical recollection of past lives, Many Lives, Many Masters. These books provide broad support for spiritualism and reincarnation. Many Mansions elaborates on Cayce's works and supports his stated abilities with real life examples.
One such example from Gina Cerminara's works:[25]
"Cayce once gave a reading on a blind man, a musician by profession, who regained part of his vision in one eye through following the physical suggestions given by Cayce. This man happened to have a passion for railroads and a tremendous interest in the Civil War. In the life reading which Cayce gave, he said that the man had been a soldier in the South, in the army of Lee, and that he had been a railroad man by profession in that incarnation. Then he proceeded to tell him that his name in that life was Barnett Seay, and that the records of Seay could still be found in the state of Virginia. The man took the trouble to hunt for the records and found them in the state capitol at Richmond: that is to say he found the record of one Barnett Seay, standard-bearer in Lee's army who had entered and been discharged from the service in such and such a year."
The Dictionary of American Religious Biography writes about Cayce,[7]
As a humble individual full of self-doubts, Cayce never profited from his mystic gift. He read the Bible every day, taught Sunday School, and helped others only when asked. Many did ask, and over the years he produced readings that diagnosed health problems, prescribed dietary regimens, dealt with psychic disorders, and predicted future events such as wars, earthquakes, and changes in governments. He spoke, moreover, of reincarnations, the early history of Israel, and the lost civilization of Atlantis. Enough of his diagnoses and predictions proved true to silence many skeptics and to develop a wide following.

[edit] Controversy and criticism

Cayce had advocated some controversial and eccentric ideas from his trance readings. In many of Cayce's trance sessions he had reinterpreted the history of life on earth. One of Cayce's controversial claims was that of polygenism. According to Cayce five human races (white, black, red, brown and yellow) had been created separately but simultaneously on different parts of the earth. Cayce also accepted the existence of Atlantis and had claimed that "the red race developed in Atlantis and its development was rapid". Another claim by Cayce was that "soul-entities" on earth had intercourse with animals to produce giants which were as much as twelve feet tall.[26][27]
Olav Hammer wrote that many of Cayce's readings discussed race and skin colour and that the explanation for this is that Cayce was not a racist but was influenced by the occult ideas of Madame Blavatsky.[28] Robert Todd Carroll in his book The Skeptic's Dictionary wrote that "Cayce is one of the main people responsible for some of the sillier notions about Atlantis." Carroll mentioned some of Cayce's notions which included his belief in a giant crystal ball used to power energy on Atlantis and his prediction that in 1958 the United States would discover a death ray which had been used on Atlantis.[29]

[edit] Criticism

Skeptics of Cayce say that the evidence for his powers comes from contemporaneous newspaper articles, affidavits, anecdotes, testimonials, and books. Martin Gardner for example wrote that the trances of Cayce did happen, but the information from his trances occurred because Cayce had been reading other books from authors such as Carl Jung, Ouspensky and Blavatsky. Gardner's hypothesis was that the trance readings of Cayce contain "little bits of information gleaned from here and there in the occult literature, spiced with occasional novelties from Cayce's unconscious."[30]
They are also critical of Cayce's support for various forms of alternative medicine, which they regard as quackery.[31] Michael Shermer writes in Why People Believe Weird Things, "Uneducated beyond the ninth grade, Cayce acquired his broad knowledge through voracious reading and from this he wove elaborate tales."[32] Shermer wrote that, "Cayce was fantasy-prone from his youth, often talking with angels and receiving visions of his dead grandfather." Shermer further cites James Randi as saying "Cayce was fond of expressions like 'I feel that' and 'perhaps' -- qualifying words used to avoid positive declarations."

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ York, Michael (1995). The Emerging Network: A Sociology of the New Age and Neo-Pagan Movements. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 60. ISBN 0-8476-8001-0.
  2. ^ Gardner, Martin (1957). Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science. Dover Publications. pp. 216–219. ISBN 0-486-20394-8.
  3. ^ "About A.R.E. and Our Mission". Association for Research and Enlightenment. Retrieved 2011-12-18.
  4. ^ a b "Chronology". Association for Research and Enlightenment. Retrieved 2011-12-18.
  5. ^ "About Edgar Cayce". Association for Research and Enlightenment. Retrieved 2011-12-19.
  6. ^ a b Cerminara, Dr.Gina (1999). "The Medical Clairvoyance of Edgar Cayce". Many Mansions. p. 13.
  7. ^ a b Bowden, Henry Warner (1993). Dictionary of American Religious Biography (Second Edition, Revised and Enlarged ed.). Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 106. ISBN 978-0-313-27825-9.
  8. ^ a b c d Cerminara, Gina (1999). "The Medical Clairvoyance of Edgar Cayce". Many Mansions. p. 14.
  9. ^ a b c d Cerminara, Dr.Gina (1999). "The Medical Clairvoyance of Edgar Cayce". Many Mansions. p. 15.
  10. ^ Smith, A. Robert. My Life as a Seer: The Lost Memoirs. p. 403.
  11. ^ Cayce, Hugh Lynn (2004). The Outer Limits of Edgar Cayce's Power. p. 71.
  12. ^ Sugrue, "There Is a River" p. 238
  13. ^ Sugrue, "There Is a River" pp. 237-238
  14. ^ Sugrue, "There Is a River" p. 240
  15. ^ Sugrue, "There Is a River" p. 241
  16. ^ Cerminara, Dr.Gina (1999). "An answer to the Riddles of Life". Many Mansions. pp. 25–28.
  17. ^ Auken, John Van (2005). Edgar Cayce on the Revelation. "Eventually Edgar Cayce, following advice from his own readings, moved to Virginia Beach, Virginia, and set up a hospital,"
  18. ^ a b Miller, Timothy (1995). America's Alternative Religions. SUNY Press. p. 354.
  19. ^ Sugrue, T. There Is a River Ch. 20 '
  20. ^ Callahan, Kathy L. (2004). In The Image Of God And The Shadow Of Demons: A Metaphysical Study Of Good And Evil. Trafford Publishing. p. 162.
  21. ^ Browne, Sylvia; Lindsay Harrison. Prophecy: What the Future Holds for You. p. 67.
  22. ^ "Grave of Famous Prophet Edgar Cayce". Retrieved 2010-06-30.
  23. ^ Bro, Harmon Hartzell. "Edgar Cayce: A Seer out of Season", Aquarian Press, London, 1990.
  24. ^ Edgar Cayce: an American prophet, Sidney Kirkpatrick, 2000
  25. ^ Cerminara, Gina. "Many Lives, Many Loves", Chapter 2 - Clear Seeing People, William Sloane Associates, 1963
  26. ^ Charles E. Orser Race and practice in archaeological interpretation 2004, p. 68
  27. ^ The Edgar Cayce Readings, Readings Extract - The Races of Man at the Time
  28. ^ Olav Hammer Claiming knowledge: strategies of epistemology from theosophy to the new age 2001, see p.114 and the footnote at the bottom of the page
  29. ^ Robert Todd CarrollThe skeptic's dictionary 2003, p. 69
  30. ^ K. Paul Johnson Edgar Cayce in context: the Readings, truth and fiction 1998, p. 23
  31. ^ article on Edgar Cayce.
  32. ^ Michael Shermer. "Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time", 2002, ISBN 0-8050-7089-3

[edit] Further reading

  • Cayce, Edgar Evans. Edgar Cayce on Atlantis, New York: Hawthorn, 1968, ISBN 0-312-96153-7
  • Cerminara, Gina. Many Mansions: The Edgar Cayce Story on Reincarnation. orig. 1950, Signet Book, reissue edition 1990, ISBN 0-451-16817-8
  • Kirkpatrick, Sidney D. An American Prophet, Riverhead Books, 2000, ISBN 1-57322-139-2
  • Kittler, Glenn D. Edgar Cayce on the Dead Sea Scrolls, Warner Books, 1970, ISBN 0-446-90035-4
  • Puryear, Herbert B. The Edgar Cayce Primer: Discovering The Path to Self-Transformation, Bantam Books, New York, Toronto, Copyright © September 1982 by Association for Research and Enlightenment, Inc. ISBN 0-553-25278-X
  • Stearn, Jess. The Sleeping Prophet, Bantam Books, 1967, ISBN 0-553-26085-5
  • Sugrue, Thomas. There Is a River, A.R.E. Press, 1997, ISBN 0-87604-375-9
  • Todeschi, Kevin, Edgar Cayce on the Akashic Records, 1998, ISBN 978-0-87604-401-8

[edit] External links

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