Edgar Cayce – New Age Prophet?
Heralded by his supporters as a clairvoyant healer, psychic, medium and prophet, Edgar Cayce was born in 1877 on a farm in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.
According to one story, at the age of nine Edgar found himself unable to spell the word ‘cabin’ which brought a reprimand from the teacher Lucian, his uncle. At home that evening Edgar’s father tried to teach him the basics of spelling, but the boy was unable to learn. Losing all patience his father then lashed out at Edgar knocking him off his chair. Edgar later said that lying on the floor he clearly heard a voice that said ‘If you sleep a little, we can help you.’ He then slept with his spelling book under his head. When he awoke he found that he apparently knew every lesson in the book and could repeat each one word for word.
This amazing ability was apparently to remain with Edgar for the rest of his life; it was claimed that he only had to sleep with a book under his head and he would awake knowing everything it contained.
At sixteen, Edgar was injured by a blow on the head while playing baseball at school. He returned home in a dazed condition, and was put to bed where he suddenly and authoritatively instructed his mother to apply a specific type of poultice to the wound. The next morning Edgar had no memory of the events after being struck by the baseball, and could not explain why he had ordered the poultice. Nevertheless, he was feeling quite normal again.
In 1900 Cayce was working as a salesman for an insurance company when he contracted laryngitis. He was unable to work because of this and the doctors told him he would never completely recover his voice. In desperation he turned to local amateur hypnotist Al Layne for advice. In a trance it is alleged that Edgar was able to describe the conditions which had caused a partial paralysis of his vocal cords, and was also able to prescribe a cure which involved restoring increased circulation to the inoperative muscles and nerves. During the next twenty minutes his upper chest and throat became a fiery red. Edgar instructed Layne to order his circulation to return to normal, and when he came out of the trance a few minutes later, his voice was completely restored.
Without any medical training whatsoever Cayce went on to perfect this psychic healing ability to help others, though it is important to remember that he claimed not to heal, but to diagnose and then offer a course of treatment that might lead to a cure.
Cayce’s diagnoses would involve him going into a self-induced hypnotic trance, after which the patient’s condition would be described to him. A diagnosis expressed in medical terminology would follow and then a recommendation for treatment. From the very beginning Cayce and his associates insisted that the treatments be administered by local doctors with access to the patients.
Many of Cayce’s prescriptions were extremely simple: massage, relaxation, tonics, diet, poultices, exercises, plasters, and home-made teas and tonics. Cayce’s philosophy behind his trance healing work was a holistic one, meaning that he saw the body a ‘system’, an interconnected network of organs and tissue and if one part was not functioning properly then it would affect the rest. In essence, Cayce would treat the cause and not the effect, helping the health of the entire system in order to defeat the disorder, though suggestion must surely have played a part in the successful treatment of patients.
Among those who came to Cayce him for help was Madison B. Wyrick, a plant superintendent for Western Union in Chicago, who suffered from diabetes. The treatment prescribed by Cayce proved helpful to the man’s condition and interestingly enough the tonic he was given contained Jerusalem artichokes, a rich natural source of insulin.Another case involved a young woman who was confined to bed with arthritis. Doctors were giving her standard pain-killers while her condition steadily deteriorated. Cayce prescribed a combination of special diets, massages and exercises, after which there was a noticeable improvement and eventual recovery from the illness.
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