THE BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY OF PARAPSYCHOLOGY
Clairvoyant, psychic diagnostician. B. March 18, 1877, Hopkinsville, Kentucky; d. January 3, 1945, Virginia Beach, VA. M. 1903, Gertrude Evans: 2 s.
Edgar Cayce, a man with no medical training and little formal education of any kind, performed over a period of forty-three years remarkable and documented acts of accurate diagnosis which have never been satisfactorily explained. From the age of thirteen he showed evidence of clairvoyance, but made no attempt to foster his odd talent. His first so-called "psychic diagnosis" came in 1901 when, working as a book salesman, he lost his voice and consequently his job. No doctor seemed to be able to help him and in desperation he turned to hypnosis. Assisted by AL C. Layne, an oesteopath and hypnotist, Cayce put himself into a trance. He prescribed treatment, which Layne relayed to him; Cayce followed the treatment and his voice was restored.
Nevertheless Cayce had little faith in his power. Although reluctantly he began to diagnose and recommend treatment for neighbors who requested it, he would accept no payment and turned to photography to make his living. It was not until 1911, when his wife was dying of tuberculosis and her physicians pronounced her case hopeless, that Cayce became convinced of his healing powers. In trance, he prescribed for her and her cure followed. His treatment called for a mixture of heroin and other drugs which until then had never been used for tuberculosis therapy; similar prescriptions have since become standard in medical practie. Eventually Cayce gave up his business enterprises and devoted himself to what he began to call "psychic readings."
Cayce's method was to put himself into a light trance in which he would "see the body" of the patient, discuss the nature of the ailment and advise treatment. At first he worked in teh same room with the patient, but later he discovered he could diagnose for people hundreds of miles away. As he gave his readings, an assistant would take down Cayce's recommendations in shorthand. Some 15,000 of Cayce's diagnoses and suggested treatments are thus on file, along with thousands of letters, in many cases accompanied by supporting evidence from doctors, attesting to the effectiveness of Cayce's recommendations.
Over the years Cayce's work was investigated by physicians, psychiatrists and psychologists. Most of them began as skeptics but became convinced of Cayce's ability to diagnose and prescribe, although they remained unalbe to explain it. In 1925, with financial assistance from tow men interested in his work, Cayce established a hospital at Virginia Beach, Va. In 1931, the Association for Research and Enlightenment was founded at Virginia Beach for the purpose of experiment and education in psychic phenomena. Three years after Cayce's death, the Edgar Cayce Foundation was organzied to microfilm and index of the Cayce records. Hugh Lynn Cayce (q.v.), his son, now carries on this work. See the brography There is a River (1943) by Thomas Sugrue.
Taken from Helene Pleasants (1964) Biographical Dictionary of Parapsychology with Directory and Glossary 1946-1996 NY: Garrett Publications