Everyone is Psychic
Everyone is Psychic
T he wind was whipping in off the stormy Atlantic when I arrived at a beach-front hotel in Virginia Beach. It was nearly midnight on a raw March evening in 1987.1 had left Westport, Connecticut, that morning for a ten-hour train ride. Physically I felt as if I had dismounted from the Dead Gulch Stage Coach. Mentally I was buoyed by the prospects that lay ahead.
As the taxi driver handed me my change, he asked what in the world I was doing in Virginia Beach this chilled time of the year. I told him that I was here to research the work of Edgar Cayce at the headquarters down the road. The driver shrugged his shoulders New York style and said, "I should have known. In the last year I've taken more people to that Cayce place than anywhere else." Then he looked at his meter and called out the window, "One day I'm going to go over there and check out that Cayce guy!"
What about this man Cayce? The New York Times, one of the world's more cautious publications, discovered Cayce back in October 1910. The headline read: ILLITERATE MAN BECOMES DOCTOR WHEN HYPNOTIZED. Subheads went on to say: Psychic Diagnoses and Cures Patients. Ignorant of Medicine, He Turns Healer in Trance . . . Strange Power Shown by Edgar Cayce Puzzles Physicians . . . Physician Says Kentucky Man Has Wonderful Powers . . . Remarkable and Successful Treatments Are Sworn To in Affadavits . . . Psychic Power New to Medical World . . .
This was only the beginning. Edgar Cayce's paranormal powers were not limited to the medical. The scope of his cosmic treasury was as boundless as the universe he examined and interpreted. While in a trance state he provided penetrating insights into the mysteries of the body, mind, and soul.
By 1930, Edgar Cayce was the Western world's answer to the gurus of the East. Dubbed by the media "The Sleeping Prophet," he lay on a couch and allowed himself to be put in a trance. People seeking help from serious illness, deep emotional or mental disturbances, or everyday frustrations wrote him. Their questions were read to Cayce while he was in an altered state of consciousness. All he needed to know was the name and address of the inquirer. Then he announced, "Yes, we have the body here."
In a strange, inexplicable way he visualized the disorder. Then he diagnosed and prescribed treatments in detail. Often Cayce felt the presence of the distant person so vividly that he could describe everything from what the person was wearing to his activities, from brushing his teeth to tying his shoelaces.
If Cayce were dealing with a medical case, he displayed vast knowledge of medical science, although he had received no formal education beyond the sixth grade. To the conventional medical mind this seemed almost impossible. As one irritated doctor put it: "Why the hell should I spend all these years in medical school if some illiterate can lie on his couch with his eyes closed and prescribe better than I or any other trained doctor?" Yet this elementary-school dropout repeatedly proved from the early 1900s until his death in 1945 that he could perform wonders.
All this was accomplished during times when people considered the psychic to be very low-grade merchandise. This is not to say that there was any great heightened awareness when I was growing up in the fifties in Cleveland Heights. Emblazoned on my memory was the time Aunt Betty blurted out at dinner that she had seen the angels take her grandmother away. It was hard to discern how far the eyeballs around the table rolled back in their sockets. My uncle Bud, a U.S. marshal, mumbled something about bringing out the handcuffs. My father snapped, "Get the net!" My cousins and brother whooped, booed, and hooted.
I thought back on this family scene as I checked into the hotel