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Cayce, Edgar (1877-1945)

Cayce, Edgar (1877-1945)

Outstanding American psychic and founder of the Association for Research and Enlightenment (ARE). Cayce was born on March 18, 1877, in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, the son of businessman. He grew up in rural Kentucky and received only a limited formal education. He was a member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). As an adult he began a career as a photographer.

Cayce's life took a radically different direction in 1898, after he developed a case of laryngitis. He was hypnotized by a friend and while in the trance state prescribed a cure that worked. Neighbors heard of the event and asked Cayce to do similar "readings" for them. In 1909 he did a reading in which he diagnosed and cured a homeopathic physician, Dr. Wesley Ketchum. Ketchum arranged for periodic sittings in which Cayce, who had learned by this time to go into trance without the assistance of a hypnotist, offered his medical advice for the ill. During the next years Cayce gave occasional sittings, but primarily worked in photography.

Then in 1923 Theosophist Arthur Lammers invited Cayce to Dayton, Ohio, to do a set of private readings. These readings were noteworthy because they involved Cayce's initial exploration of individual past lives and because of the imposition upon his readings of Lammers's theosophical opinions, especially concerning reincarnation. These readings encouraged Cayce to become a professional. He soon closed his photography shop and moved to Dayton, and then in 1925 to Virginia Beach, Virginia. Among his early supporters was businessman Morton Blumenthal, who gave financial backing for Cayce Hospital (1928) and a school, Atlantic University (1930). Unfortunately, Blumenthal was financially destroyed by the Great Depression and both enterprises failed.

In 1932 Cayce organized his following as the Association for Research and Enlightenment. With the resources generated by the association, complete records of all the readings for the next 12 years were made. These formed a huge body of material for future consideration, and more than any other characteristic make Cayce's career stand out above that of his contemporaries. Cayce's readings were later indexed, cross-referenced, and used as the basis of numerous books.

Cayce died in 1945, and his son Hugh Lynn Cayce continued the work of the association and promoted the abilities of his father, though he did not claim to possess any special psychic abilities himself. Cayce's work became known by a large audience outside the psychic community in 1967 through a biographical book by Jess Stern, Edgar Cayce, The Sleeping Prophet.

Cayce continues to fascinate a generation after his passing, and a steady stream of material created from his readings come from the Association for Research and Enlightenment. David Bell, whose doctoral dissertation was on Cayce, has launched an Internet journal of Cayce studies at http://www.cli.edu/cayce, and several new studies of his life and work were published in the 1990s.

Sources:

Bro, Harmon Hartzell. A Seer Out of Season: The Life of Edgar Cayce. New York: New American Library, 1989.

Cayce, Edgar. The Edgar Cayce Reader. 2 vols. New York: Paperback Library, 1969.

Cayce, Hugh Lynn. Venture Inward. New York: Paperback Library, 1966.

Johnson, K. Paul. Edgar Cayce in Context. The Readings: Truth and Fiction. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998.

Millard, Joseph. Edgar Cayce. Greenwich, CT: Fawcett, 1967.

Neimark, Anne E. With This Gift. New York: William Morrow, 1978.

Puryear, Herbert. The Edgar Cayce Primer. New York: Bantam Books, 1982.

. A Prophet in His Own Country. New York: William Morrow, 1974.

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Cayce, Edgar

Edgar Cayce (kās), 1877–1945, American folk healer, b. Hopkinsville, Ky. A popularizer of the idea of reincarnation, he was active as a "psychic diagnostician" between 1901 and 1944, performing thousands of "life readings." He wandered across the United States, spreading his ideas, before settling in Virginia Beach, Va. in 1925, where he established the Cayce Hospital (1928) and the Association for Research and Enlightenment (1931). His works have enjoyed a renewal among adherents of New Age spirituality.

See W. H. Church, Many Happy Returns: The Lives of Edgar Cayce (1984); H. L. Cayce, ed., The Edgar Cayce Collection (1986); H. H. Bro, A Seer Out of Season (1989).

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Cayce, Edgar

Cayce, Edgar (1877–1945). The ‘Sleeping Prophet’, an American psychic healer and clairvoyant. For the last thirty or so years of his life, Cayce gave some 14,000 ‘readings’ throughout the USA. He saw his gifts as spiritual in origin, and used them to aid those ‘who seek to know better their relationship to their Maker’.

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