American Folk Figure. Known as a psychic counselor and healer, he was reputed to have extrasensory perception, giving him an ability ranging from seeing the future, making medical diagnosis, to experiencing a closer relationship with God. Born Edgar Cayce (the last name is pronounced as Casey), the son of a farmer near Beverly, about seven miles south of the town of Hopkinsville, Kentucky. When he was 16, his family moved to Hopkinsville, where young Edgar received an eighth grade education (in those days, this was considered an adequate education for most small town working men). He initially worked at a Dry Goods Store, and later at a bookstore. In early 1900, he joined his father selling Woodmen of the World Insurance. In April 1900, he was struck by severe laryngitis, and unable to speak, he remained at home, unable to work. A stage hypnotist (popular entertainer at that time) attempted to cure him using hypnosis; after many sessions his voice returned. In one key session, Cayce was given orders to diagnose his own condition and state the cure, then perform that cure. Minutes later, he came out of his hypnotic trance and was able to speak normally. After that, he voluntarily began to go into a trance to offer free treatments to other people afflicted by unsolvable medical problems. As his successes grew, his fame spread, and soon many people came to ask for his help. His accuracy in diagnosing medical conditions and providing effective cures soon made him known across the country; it was said that he was equally effective for suggesting cures for people who wrote him requesting his help. Unable to remember anything he said while in a trance, from 1923 until his death, he hired a secretary, Gladys Davis, to record his statements while in a trance. Some 14,000 statements are still available in published form for students to study today, and are said to continue to help people. In 1925, Cayce became a professional psychic with a small staff of employees and volunteers, but did not charge for his services, instead depending upon voluntary contributions. People who made no contributions received the same service as those who did. While most questions he dealt with involved medical questions, he would also be questioned about previous lives, business advice, and world future events. In the next twenty years, he would make a number of predictions; some that seem unusual even today. He predicted that China would become the cradle of Christianity, that US scientists would discover the lost city of Atlantis, and that the earth's continents would shift significantly. Cayce would admit that sometimes he saw things incorrectly, and suggested that listeners should test his suggestions rather than accept them on face value. Cayce often described his themes in terms of Christianity, suggesting that all souls were created at the beginning of the universe, and that reincarnation exists. Many of his statements and readings are challenged, and many conservative Christians dispute his responses on religious themes. Cayce also alleged the existence of Atlantis, describing it as a continent with advanced technology that sank into the ocean in pre-Columbian times. According to Cayce, records from Atlantis can be found beneath the Egyptian Sphinx, and several decades after his death, a small room was detected by ground penetrating radar buried beneath the Sphinx; Egyptian officials currently refuse to allow excavation of the site. During World War II, demand on Cayce's time increased significantly as people wrote him requesting predictions for loved ones in military service. Cayce increased his number of trances to eight or more a day, even though the trances reportedly greatly fatigued him, and in one trance, he even predicted that the trances would kill him. However, he continued having them in order to serve his public. On January 2, 1945, Cayce suffered a heart attack, and died the next day at his home in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson
Gertrude Sulter Evans Cayce