(Investigator 160, 2015 January)


Named after Edgar Cayce (1877-1945), otherwise known as the Sleeping Prophet or the Man of Miracles.

While in a sleeping state or trance, Cayce would prescribe treatment for various ailments and make prophecies for the future. He claimed the information was the product of a Universal Mind. Cayce would claim to have no knowledge of what he had said. In addition to "on the spot" diagnoses, the "psychic consultant" (as he preferred to be known) was also able to diagnose illnesses for patients unable to attend in person, and frequently just from a name told to him or coming via the mail.

Over a period of forty-three years, Cayce gave over thirty thousand diagnoses that were stenographically recorded. They are now on file at the Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.) in Virginia Beach, Virginia, a multi-million dollar business run by his family.

Additionally, there are case reports, affidavits from patients and reports from doctors verifying the accuracy of his diagnoses and the efficacy of the treatment. These form the basis for the Cayce Therapies.

Cayce, like so many prophets, was a religious man given to bibliolatry and who conducted Bible classes. He was a devout and orthodox Protestant who, it is claimed, had read the bible forty-six times, once for each year of his life up until 1923.

His education was limited to a literal interpretation of the Bible. He accepted it verbatim, and taught it verbatim. As a youth, he worked in a bookshop and was an avid reader which may well have contributed to a philosophy which combined elements of Theosophy, Christianity and Pyramidology.

Cayce had no medical training.


Cayce's approach was said to be holistic, concerned more with finding the causes of illness rather than cures. His "information" was claimed to come from "collective consciousness", which probably makes him the first of the modem day channelers.


His therapeutic tools included manipulation, diet, exercise, herbs, massage, nutrition, osteopathy, hydrotherapy and an extraordinary range of poultices. His prescriptions were unconventional, mainly concoctions of herbs of the type popular in the "home remedies" medical encyclopaedia of the day. Some were particularly bizarre - applying mashed potatoes to the eyes for blindness, or taking three almonds a day to prevent cancer. Hot broths and vile-sounding concoctions made from roots and bark were also popular recommendations.


In his book Health and Healing: Understanding Conventional and Alternative Medicine (1983), ethnopharmacologist Dr. Andrew Well summed up the validity of Cayce's diagnoses and treatments
"Much of this (Cayce's) material sounds like hogwash ... I find many of Cayce's metabolic and hormonal explanations of specific diseases to be garbled and fanciful, such as his assertion that multiple sclerosis is an imbalance of the endocrine glands due to a deficiency of gold."


Gardner, Martin. 1957. Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science. Dover Publications Inc., New York.
Kurtz, P. (Ed.) 1985. A Skeptic's Handbook of Parapsychology. Prometheus Books. Buffalo. NY.
Randi, J. 1980. The Slipping Prophet. Skeptical Inquirer. 4(1):50-57.
1985. Flim Flam. Prometheus Books, Buffalo, New York.
Stearn, J. 1967. Edgar Cayce -The Sleeping Prophet. Bantam Books. NY.
Trench, B. 1973. The Eternal Subject. Souvenir Press. London.
Weil, Andrew. 1983. Health and Healing: Understanding Conventional and Alternative Medicine. Houghton Mifflin, Boston.
Wilson, C. 1971. The Occult. Mayflower Books. UK.

From: Edwards, H. 1999 Alternative, Complementary, Holistic & Spiritual Healing, Australian Skeptics Inc.