Sylvia Sky, astrologer, Tarot reader, and gemstone enthusiast, is a widely published author of books and articles about spiritual matters.
Portrait of the Psychic as a Young Man
Angels and Demons Warred For His Mind
Born on a Kentucky farm in 1877, Edgar Cayce a boy had visions of angels and “little people.” These, and reading the Bible, distracted him from his schoolwork. When his father nagged him to study more, Cayce found that by laying his head on his unopened textbooks he could see and recall exactly what was was in them. He then excelled at school.
Cayce began developing and displaying psychic powers, but was nearly 50 when he became a professional psychic. His readings are known worldwide, thanks in part to a best-selling 1942 biography called There Is a River, and promotion by one of his two sons, who made a business of his father’s legacy.
Here are ten facts about Edgar Cayce:
1. Edgar Cayce did not want to become a professional psychic. He was strongly Christian, a lifelong member of the Disciples of Christ, taught Sunday school, and recruited Christian missionaries. From boyhood, he read through the entire Bible each year of his life. In his early teens he wondered anxiously if his psychic and healing powers aligned with his Christian ethics and the Bible, or if their origins were demonic. An angelic vision he had at age 12 told him he was destined to help people. Still he suffered from doubts for many years.
2. Cayce did his readings lying on a couch, eyes closed, arms crossed on his chest, with his shoes unlaced, and in a trance state. Cayce in his earlier years relied on a hypnotist to prime his entry into this trance. His wife Gertrude later took this role. When awakened, Cayce did not remember anything he had said while in his trance.
3. A journalist nicknamed Cayce “The Sleeping Prophet,” a name he is still known by, and his son promoted. But Cayce was not a prophet. Psychics, even those who predict the future, are not prophets. A prophet, divinely inspired, speaks for God. Cayce said he drew his readings not from God but his own higher mind.
Cayce was therefore a "channeler." Clairvoyant, he could describe the illnesses or traits of strangers he never met, or the future of a piece of property. He correctly predicted in 1925 and 1929 that a devastating world financial event was coming. In the 1930s he predicted a world at war. He also made incorrect predictions, which God-inspired prophets do not do.
Those Who Tried to Exploit Him
4. Edgar Cayce did 14,300 readings that were preserved by a stenographer, word-for-word. These readings were later sorted and numbered for reference purposes. Thousands of readings, done before he was famous, were not preserved. Although there are scores of books about Cayce and his readings, he was not a writer.
5. It is not true that Cayce “never” accepted money for his readings. But from his earliest readings until he was close to age 50, he refused to charge the people who came to his door or wrote him asking for help or advice.
To support his wife and children, Cayce kept a day job, first as an insurance salesman, then as a professional studio photographer. He declined to partner with several entrepreneurs who hoped to exploit Cayce’s psychic ability. One very wealthy man said he’d pay any amount to have Cayce predict the outcome of horse races. Cayce would not do this. He did agree, however, with a man who suggested that Cayce use half of his photography studio for readings. Cayce thought he should do two readings per day at most. Near the end of his life he was doing six or more per day, and overwork contributed to his death in 1945 at age 67.
Charged With Being a Fortuneteller
6. Fans and followers who declare Cayce is the “only proven prophet" are using the word “prophet” incorrectly. Most of the time, Cayce "channeled" his readings. He never claimed that his messages, or his medical remedies, were divinely directed or inspired. Unlike divinely inspired prophets, he said many things that are, frankly, ridiculous: about the “lost continent” of Atlantis existing 100 million years ago, and its people who flew in airplanes; and that Stonehenge was built by the Israelites. But some people take all he said quite seriously, and because of this Cayce has strongly influenced New Age beliefs.
7. Edgar Cayce and his wife and secretary were arrested in New York City for fortunetelling in November 1931. He disagreed that he was a fortuneteller, calling himself a “psychic-diagnostician.” They were released. In Detroit in 1935, Cayce was arrested for, and convicted of, practicing medicine without a license. He was sentenced to probation. After that, he gave fewer medical readings, and those only to members of the organization he founded in 1931, the Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.). His later readings are mostly about philosophy, astrology, Jesus, ancient civilizations, and past lives. Compared to the medical readings, many of these are very vague.
Edgar Cayce, 1943
8. In 1925, Cayce’s “inner voice” prompted him to move his family from Dayton, Ohio, to Virginia Beach, Virginia, to a house on the waterfront. It is about this time that Cayce began charging $20 for readings, but no one was turned away for lack of money. A sponsor helped Cayce build a hospital on the site, the Hospital of Enlightenment, completed in 1928. During the Great Depression both Cayce’s hospital and an allied university, built alongside of it, failed. Virginia Beach locals consulted Cayce about investing in area real estate. His answers paid off handsomely for the investors (Cayce was not among them). The former hospital is now an A.R.E.-operated holistic-health spa with a library and meditation garden.
9. Cayce’s diagnostic readings spread the belief that the human body accumulates “toxins” that must be purged or neutralized to restore health. They are also the the reason many people believe a handful of almonds is an exceptionally healthy snack, that the pineal and pituitary glands are linked by a silver thread, and that healing starts from within.
10. The vibrating “violet ray” electrotherapy machine, once popular, that Cayce prescribed in 900 of his medical readings was designated in the 1930s as quackery and banned from the United States in the 1950s.
When people asked Cayce how they could become psychic like he was, he said, "Become more spiritual."
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Sylvia Sky