Edgar Cayce was born the son of a Kentucky farmer on March 18, 1877. He studied at grammer school and planned to follow a carreer in photography. As a child he had visions and was able to prescribe remedies for illnesses. Cayce was able to place himself in a mild trance where he could also diagnose illnesses.

In 1903 he married Gertrude Evans. Cayce met with much opposition from the medical profession. Because of his success in healing Cayce established an organization to help with his healing. The Associatiobn for Research and Enlightment was created to keep records of Cayces work. Cayce worked for free for the poor and offset this by charging the rich.

In 43 years of healing he amassed records of over 14,000 cases. He was able to recall past lives of both himself and his patients. He had the ability to percieve the aura and had clairvoyant abilities. He died in 1945 after dedicating his life to healing the sick.

Edgar Cayce was well known as the "Sleeping Prophet". Edgar Cayce (March 18, 1877 - January 3, 1945) was an American reputed to have had psychic abilities. Edgar Cayce is claimed to have demonstrated an ability to channel answers to questions on subjects such as health, and Atlantis while in a self-induced trance. Though Cayce considered himself a devout Christian and lived before the emergence of the New Age movement, some believe he is the founder and was influential on its teachings.

Edgar Cayce became an American celebrity towards the end of his life and the publicity given to his prophecies has overshadowed what to him were usually considered the more important parts of his work such as healing (the vast majority of his readings were given for people who were sick) and theology (Cayce being a lifelong, devout member of the Disciples of Christ). Skeptics challenge the claim that Edgar Cayce demonstrated psychic abilities and conventional Christians also question his unorthodox answers on religious matters (such as reincarnation and Akashic records). Today there are tens of thousands of Cayce students. Most are located in the United States and Canada, but Edgar Cayce Centers are now found in 25 other countries. The Association for Research and Enlightenment (ARE), headquartered in Virginia Beach, is the major organization promoting interest in Cayce.

Edgar Cayce was born into a farming family on March 18, 1877 near Beverly, seven miles (11 km) south of Hopkinsville, Kentucky.

In December 1893 the Cayce family moved to Hopkinsville, Kentucky and occupied 705 West Seventh, on the south-east corner of Seventh and Young Street. During this time Edgar Cayce received an eighth-grade education; discovered his spiritual vocation; left the family farm to pursue various forms of employment. Cayce's education stopped with the eighth grade because his family could not afford the costs involved. An eighth-grade education was often considered more than sufficient for working-class children. Much of the remainder of Cayce's younger years would be characterized by a search for employment and/or money. Throughout his life Cayce was drawn to church as a member of the Disciples of Christ. Edgar Cayce read the Bible once for every year of his life, taught at Sunday school, recruited missionaries, and is said to have agonized over the issue of whether his supposed psychic abilities--and the teachings which resulted--were spiritually legitimate. In 1900 Edgar Cayce formed a business partnership with his father to sell Woodmen of the World Insurance but was struck by severe laryngitis in March that resulted in a complete loss of speech on April 18. Unable to work, Edgar Cayce lived at home with his parents for almost a year. Edgar Cayce then decided to take up the trade of photography, an occupation that would exert less strain on his voice. Edgar Cayce began an apprenticeship at the photography studio of W. R. Bowles in Hopkinsville. A travelling stage hypnotist and entertainer called "Hart - The Laugh Man" was performing at the Hopkinsville Opera House in 1901. He heard about Cayce's condition and offered to attempt a cure. Cayce accepted and the experiment took place on stage in front of an audience. Remarkably, Cayce's voice apparently returned while in a hypnotic trance but allegedly disappeared on awakening. Hart tried a post-hypnotic suggestion that the voice would continue to function after the trance but this proved unsuccessful. Since Hart had appointments at other cities, he could not continue his hypnotic treatment of Cayce. However a local hypnotist, Al Layne, offered to help Edgar Cayce in restoring his voice. Layne suggested that Edgar Cayce describe the nature of his condition and cure while in a hypnotic trance. Cayce described his own ailment from a first person plural point of view ("we") instead of the singular ("I"). In subsequent readings Edgar Cayce would generally start off with "We have the body." According to the reading, his voice loss was due to psychological paralysis and could be corrected by increasing the blood flow to the voice box. Layne suggested that the blood flow be increased and Cayce's face supposedly became flushed with blood and his chest area turned bright red. After 20 minutes Cayce, still in trance, declared the treatment over. On awakening his voice was alleged to have remained normal. Relapses were said to have occurred but were claimed to have been corrected by Layne in the same way and eventually the cure was claimed to be permanent.

Layne had read of similar hypnotic cures effected by the Marquis de Puységur, a follower of Franz Mesmer, and was keen to explore the limits of the healing knowledge of the trance voice. He asked Edgar Cayce to describe Layne's own ailments and suggest cures, and reportedly found the results both accurate and effective. Layne suggested that Cayce offer his trance healing to the public but Edgar Cayce was reluctant. Edgar Cayce finally agreed on the condition that readings would be free. He began with Layne's help to offer free treatments to the townspeople. Reportedly Edgar Cayce had great success and his fame spread. Reports of Cayce's work appeared in the newspapers, inspiring many postal inquiries. Supposedly, Cayce was able to work just as effectively using a letter from the individual as with having the person present. Given the person's name and location, Edgar Cayce claimed he could diagnose the physical and/or mental conditions and provide corrective remedy. He became popular and soon people from around the world sought his advice through correspondence. Cayce's work grew in volume as his fame grew. Edgar Cayce asked for voluntary donations to support himself and his family so that he could practice full time. He continued to work in an apparent trance state with a hypnotist all his life. His wife and eldest son later replaced Layne in this role. A secretary, Gladys Davis, recorded his readings in shorthand.

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The growing fame of Cayce coupled with the popularity he received from newspapers attracted several eager commercially minded men who wanted to seek a fortune by using Cayce's clairvoyant abilities. Even though Cayce was reluctant to help them, Edgar Cayce was persuaded to give the readings, which left him dissatisfied with himself and unsuccessful. A cotton merchant offered Cayce a hundred dollars a day for his readings about the daily outcomes in the cotton market. However, despite his poor finances, Cayce refused the merchant's offer. Others wanted to know where to hunt for treasures; some wanted to know the outcome of horse races. Several times Edgar Cayce was persuaded to give the readings as an experiment. However Edgar Cayce was not successful when he used his ability for such purposes, doing no better than chance alone would dictate. These experiments allegedly left him depleted of energy, distraught, and unsatisfied with himself. Finally, he claimed to have come to the conclusion that he would use his gift only to help the distressed and sick. Edgar Cayce was persuaded to give readings on philosophical subjects in 1923 by Arthur Lammers, a wealthy printer. While in his supposed trance state, Cayce spoke unequivocally of past lives. Reincarnation was a popular subject of the day, but is not an accepted part of Christian doctrine. Cayce reported that his conscience bothered him severely over this conflict. In 1925 Cayce reported his "voice" had instructed him to move to Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Cayce's mature period, in which he created the several institutions which would survive him in some form, can be considered to have started in 1925. By this time Edgar Cayce was a professional psychic with a small staff of employees and volunteers. The "readings" increasingly came to involve occultic or esoteric themes. In 1929 the Cayce hospital was established in Virginia Beach sponsored by a wealthy recipient of the trance readings, Morton Blumenthal. Cayce gained national prominence in 1943 through a high profile article in Coronet. Claiming that he couldn't refuse people who felt they needed his help, Edgar Cayce increased the frequency of his readings to 8 per day to try to make an impression on the ever-growing pile of requests. He claimed this took a toll on his health, as he said that it was emotionally draining and often fatigued him. Edgar Cayce even went so far as to claim that the readings themselves scolded him for attempting too much and that the reading had limited his workload to just 2 readings a day or they would kill him. Edgar Cayce suffered a stroke on January 2, 1945. He died a day later on January 3. Edgar Cayce is buried in Riverside Cemetery in Hopkinsville, KY.

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