15 - The Cayce Babies
The pretty blonde was browsing through the Book Room occasionally
picking up a volume and thumbing its pages. She was pretty and
supple enough to be in the chorus line of a Broadway show, and she
had a demure, yet sensuous way of moving, showing her trim tailored
slacks to advantage.
The A.R.E. receptionist caught my look of
“She is a Cayce baby,” she said, “Rae Denny Horton.”
The girl looked over and smiled.
“Yes, she had a reading from Edgar Cayce when she was a child.”
The girl’s smile broadened. “Two readings,” she said, “the first
when I was two years old.”
“Did you toddle in for it?” I asked.
Her good-natured smile seemed part of her personality. “I wasn’t
even there. My mother sent in for it. She believed in Edgar Cayce
because he had helped her healthwise, when the doctors had failed,
and so she got life readings for both myself and my sister.”
“You believe then in reincarnation?” I asked.
The girl looked surprised. “Of course,” she said, “it explains
practically everything that has happened to me, as Edgar Cayce made
When she was two, he had said she would have a talent for
dancing, music, the theatre. She had turned to ballet when she was
three years old, before she could possibly know about the readings,
and, discounting maternal influence, had gone on to win a dance
scholarship in her hometown of Norfolk, enabling her to study in New
York. Her mother’s suggestive force hardly gave the daughter her
At twelve, her dancing won unusual recognition. After classes at a
New York ballet school, she was recommended for a professional start
in New York. Her family explained that she was only twelve.
thought she was older,” was the disappointed rejoinder. “There would
be too much red-tape with child authorities unless she was
How had Cayce picked out her special dancing ability?
Mrs. Horton plucked her readings out of a library file. Her eye ran
down a mimeographed page.
“The inclination to ever be the actress at
all tunes will necessitate judgments as to the training of the
activities, especially in the vocal direction as well as in the
ability to dance.”
She had not studied any musical instrument, and
only after marriage had she sought voice training. She was divorced
now, with three children, and thought she might sing professionally.
She was still young enough, in her late twenties, to pursue a
career, vocally, since she did have professional experience, having
studied at the Pasadena (California) Playhouse and worked at a big
club in Brooklyn.
Scanning the readings, a sentence caught my eye. “After the twelfth
to the fourteenth year, she will take care of all the rest of the
family, if needs be.”
Had Rae taken the job at fourteen?
She shook her head. “Odd, that sentence never struck me before.” Her
family had been well off, and there had been no need to work, though
a job, rejected at twelve, was available at fourteen. How much had
she been influenced by the readings?
“I never thought of them until recently, yet looking back, I see how
the whole pattern of my life, including my marriage, was
“Personality has a lot to do with shaping our lives,” I said,
recalling the Greek axiom that character is fate.
She smiled. “Edgar Cayce certainly caught my personality.”
turned back to the reading. “A very demure, meek entity; and then
one almost wild at times in its determination for its own way.”
stress on wild had been underlined in Cayce’s voice even in trance.
I appraised the slim, cool-looking figure, with the sunny face.
She nodded. “I’m afraid so, at times.”
Her finger picked out a paragraph in the life record. “As to the
appearances in the earth, as indicated even from the temperamental
abilities of the entity, many have been the appearances. These that
are given here, though, are those indicating the greater urge in the
early development of this entity in the present sojourn.”
She looked over at me. “Do you know what that means?”
I shrugged noncommittally.
As her life developed, Rae felt somewhat confused as a teen-ager.
She was a pretty girl, and quite comfortable about being a girl, she
thought, but the feeling came over her at times that she would be
much happier as a boy.
Was this the “greater urge” mentioned by Cayce? It seemed hardly
likely. I regarded her lithe, sinuous figure with detached
“You make a strange-looking boy,” I said.
“I seem to
have a lot of masculine traits. I was less emotional than my
husband, for instance, and I realize now that I resented his trying
to run things.”
“That’s the new breed woman—aggressive, dominant, omniscient.”
also have a practical masculine turn of mind. In school, I just
didn’t learn anything, even a geometrical problem, by rote. I had to
And what had all this to do with reincarnation?
“There,” she said, picking out a well-thumbed passage in her
reading, “there, I was a Frenchman in that incarnation, and
entertained the king and his court.”
In that life, I read, her name
was Cheveaux, and she was a man, of course.
That was one of the things that intrigued me: the way the entities
kept changing sex. Conceivably, it could lead to homosexuality, if
there was a karmic overload from the opposite sex. However, that was
obviously not Rae Horton’s problem. But Cayce did say something
about masculine influence.
“And in the present life those
experiences and expressions will be seen as a part of the entity’s
development, in that masculine thought will be a manifestation in
the early portion of its experiences, the desire to know the whys of
I looked over at Rae.
“You saw this reading by the time you were
eight, and you’ve read it a hundred times.”
“You will notice,” she said determinedly, “that I had a Greek life,
and was a singer and dancer in that experience.” Because of this
experience, Cayce had noted, “And through the present life, in the
early portion, the entity will find the desire for the activities
which keep the body in perfect form and activity.”
From the looks of her, Rae hadn’t passed out of the “early portion”
“I’ve always loved to drape myself in flowing Grecian costumes, just
as I love French perfume.”
“That’s a common failing,” I said.
“Perhaps because these are common backgrounds.”
But Atlantis was her major preoccupation.
“I feel a strong affinity
for Atlantis at all times. I’ve read about everything I can on it,
both in the Cayce readings and in articles and books.” “I suppose,”
I said rather drily, “that you had an Atlantis experience, too.”
but her ancestors came from there.
“The entity was in the Egyptian
land, of the Atlanteans and the extremists,” Cayce said.
those periods of perfecting the body for special service, the
entity—among associates and companions even in the present—aided
many in bringing greater interpretations of body and mind as related
to the spiritual aspects of life. The name then was Is-So-El.”
“Well, Is-So-El,” I said, “what do you think that meant, ‘associates
and companions even in the present’?”
Is-So-El laughed. “Haven’t you felt an immediate rapport with some
people, as though you had special reason for feeling close, or just
the opposite, for that matter, raising the hackles on your neck?”
always blamed an over-active thyroid.”
“The fact remains,” she smiled, “that Cayce was right about
practically everything else about me.”
She had a health reading at the age of five. She was pale and
sickly, and her hair was falling out. Cayce prescribed Calcios, a
substance taken with bread or crackers, and in a couple of weeks the
girl’s hair had started coming back. She certainly had no problem
now, the blond tresses falling thickly over her shoulders.
She regarded me pleasantly.
“Cayce was so right about my health. So
why would he be right about one thing, and not the other, since it
was all from the same unknown source?” I could only shrug.
Cayce was infallible only when the motivation was right, when people
needed help desperately, and couldn’t get it elsewhere.”
“But the life readings were as helpful as the physical, in
underlining people’s personality weaknesses, and setting up guides
for future behavior.”
“These life readings are downright suggestive. They could have made
a dancer out of almost anybody, or a girl who always had to know
As she flipped the pages of the readings, her eye fell on a
follow-up in the back. She had never seen it before. It had just
been taken out of the A.R.E. research file. When she was ten, a
dancing teacher had reported she was the only one in the dancing
school to do acrobatic work on her toes. At the same time she had
won a prize for her dancing on a television show, and at eleven,
just after her scholarship award, a teacher observed,
“It is very
seldom that a good ballet dancer can also be a good acrobat.” Rae
finished the report with a smile.
“I wonder if dancing in ancient
Greece was more fun than Brooklyn,” she said. “It couldn’t have been
Rae Denny Horton’s reading had not appeared to chart her life with
any great detail. Still, other readings told subjects they would
become architects, tailors, and doctors, because of influences
carried over from past lives, and they had become architects,
tailors, and doctors. The architect had been a builder, a carpenter,
an architect in previous incarnations, according to Cayce, and the
aptitudes had been brought over into this one as a sidelight; the
main purpose of course always being development. Cayce had said that
the best way of getting to heaven was on the arm of somebody you
It was intriguing to consider the possibility that people were
mechanically inclined, writers, musicians, healers, as they
subconsciously remembered what they knew of these fields. In doing
something perhaps subconsciously familiar, they often touched off a
chord stirring around uneasily in the back of their consciousness.
The World War II soldier, stopping off in Bavaria, suddenly saw
himself a Crusader in the very spot he was now enjoying a beer,
remembering with a start that Cayce had once put him in the
It was certainly a complex pattern, however you looked at it, for it
visualized a broad master plan that embraced each and every body and
mind in the universe, each with its own little niche. Only God in
his omnipotence could handle such a program. Yet, as even the
atheistic Einstein recognized, there was a definite order in the
world, call it what you will, and man, like the rest of nature—the
planets, comets, the seasons—had a place in this order. Life was
orderly, even if man’s life wasn’t As the Hindus had noted, life
sometimes seemed like a tree. Buds died, prematurely whisked away by
the wind or rain, before they could leaf.
Others became leaves, and fell off at varying stages.
lived through their season, then inevitably dropped off, as the
experience ended—only to begin again in the spring, the same tree
having different leaves, with perhaps different impulses, and all
again inevitably dying. Still, what did trees have to do with
people, except to form a provocative analogy? How was it that Mozart
at five produced the music of mature genius; or Josef Hoffman played
the piano at two and a half? Commenting on child prodigies, the
talented Alan Jay Lerner, author of Brigadoon, My Fair Lady,
Camelot, expressed the view these prodigies must have surely lived
before to have been so gifted.
“They remembered through the
subconscious,” he felt, “the source of all inspiration.”
attention was drawn to a newspaper article describing a six-year-old
Turkish boy whose paintings had been the rage of European art
galleries for four years.
“Bedri [Baykam] started painting when he
was only two years old,” the Christian Science Monitor reported. “He
has turned out more than one thousand water colors and over five
thousand drawings, but he has never had a painting lesson in his
And what did Bedri paint? Turkish scenes, Saracen, pastels of the
Middle East and the Holy Land? Bedri, untraveled and unlettered,
unable to read or write, daubed his colors into delightful
representations of the American Wild West.
“One of Bedri’s favorite
subjects,” the article went on, “is cowboys. In a sequence of a few
sketches, which have tremendous movement, he is able to tell a whole
It would have been interesting to have known what an Edgar Cayce
would have said about Bedri. For another, Cayce had said once,
“There is the natural interest toward things of the artistic nature
and temperament. There are the abilities to use the voice, as well
as playing almost any musical instrument.”
The subject, growing up, had displayed ability, but had not done
very much with it, though in a previous life, said Cayce, he had
been a better than middling composer named Franz Liszt. Success
didn’t necessarily follow; musical progress was subordinated to the
broader need of learning humility and service. It was a most
comforting concept, reincarnation. Very few who received a Cayce
life reading ever argued with the aptitudes he saw as part of the
personality pattern, but not all accepted the underlying concept.
One housewife told Cayce after a life reading for her husband,
of the things you said about my husband I know to be true,
character, abilities, and practically everything about his physical
condition as we know it, but I have wondered what the catch is, and
I find it, reincarnation!”
There were many “Cayce babies,” and it was interesting to follow-up
some, in view of Cayce’s prognoses. I sat across the luncheon table
one day from a young man who had a life reading when he was but four
hours old. Just after birth, the suggestion was planted with the
“You will give the relation of this entity and the
universe, and the universal forces, giving the conditions which are
as personalities, latent and exhibited in the present life; also the
former appearances in the earth plane, giving time, place and the
name, and that in each life which built or retarded the development
for the entity; giving the abilities of the present entity, that to
which it may attain, and how.”
That was twenty-three years ago, and
the parents had carefully kept the reading from the boy, so that it
would not influence him. It was not until his sophomore year in
college that he had taken a look at it He was now taking graduate
work in a Western university, and planning to be a physician. He was
a young man of even disposition, but obvious determination.
He came from a family of moderate circumstances, but had already
showed a remarkable facility for making money in the stock market,
through using information gained by chance or from friends. He was
in more than a dozen stocks, was constantly buying and selling
through two brokerage houses, and had established credit with a
couple of banks. Some of his stocks had multiplied a dozenfold. As a
sidelight, too, he kept a patch of land near his college, which he
worked as a garden. In all, he appeared to be an unusually
productive, versatile young man. I would have said offhand that he
was bound to succeed.
Still, what could Cayce have said of an infant but four hours old?
Together, the young man and I went through his reading.
determined individual,” Cayce had said, “yet not high-tempered, but
having his way.”
That had been my impression.
“In the experience before this,” the reading continued, “a farmer, a
wide-awake, high-minded individual.”
The young man smiled.
“I found that odd, because originally I wanted
to be a farmer before I wanted to be a doctor, and used to love
working on my uncle’s farm, not to mention the little farming I do
It was just as well that he switched, for Cayce had put it firmly,
“In this experience the entity should be a doctor, and should, and
will be, a very betraveled individual.” He envisioned an “unusual
career” as a doctor.
The youth had made up his mind to be a doctor, before he knew about
the reading; he had already been to Europe. Cayce was checking out.
“He will be an observer of little things,” Cayce had said. “He will
be wealthy, which will come from listening, taking advantage of the
As a boy of thirteen, with a newspaper route, he had
overheard one of his customers on the telephone telling a friend to
buy into the stock of a fertilizer firm. It sounded good to him and
he received permission from his father to put $250 of his savings
into the company. In a few years, this investment was worth more
than three thousand dollars, and the boy’s aggregate stock holdings
added up to more than ten thousand dollars, after paying his own way
through four years of college.
I was sure he would be wealthy, if that was what he wanted.
“Teaching also is indicated in the experience. Thus the unusual
opportunity of education, by travel as well as by that of
association and of pedagogy.”
He was already teaching, while working
for his doctorate in psychology, and had received a full
scholarship, financing study for both his Master’s Degree, which he
had already obtained, and the doctorate.
Here was a prediction not yet subject to validation, since only time
“Entering at this particular period (born October 1942),
there will be in the affairs of the earth those activities similar
to those as the King of Sweden, in keeping peace in the earth.”
I asked the young man if he knew what this meant. He shrugged
pleasantly, maintaining the “eventemper” of the reading.
flattering,” he said modestly, “but I will have to wait and see, I
I couldn’t remember what the King of Sweden had been like, but as a
perennial neutral he had quietly interested himself in discussions
aimed at ending the conflict raging in 1942. There was more.
entity will be one of strong body, and should be allowed to engage
in all characters of sports, not as an activity for pay but as
developing of body, of mind.”
The young man smiled. He had been too
busy to participate much in sports, but had been on the college
“I’ve never been in a hospital,” he said quietly,
“never had a real illness in my life.”
I looked down the page. “Beware of activities that have to do with
the digestion, and the throat These are weaknesses in the karmic
forces influencing this body.”
He seemed to be enjoying his lunch, and his throat was clear. “It
may yet happen,” I said.
He gave his even-tempered smile. “I’ll just have to watch for that.”
There was a word for the parents who had requested the reading,
“Educate, put then in the way of the entity those things that may
have to do with every form of those activities, spiritual, mental,
and material, that may be helpful in bringing to those in the
material plane the consciousness of healthgiving force in the
experience of those that suffer.”
Had the parents thrown subtle suggestions of a career his way in the
green formative years? “They never did advise me, one way or the
other,” he said, “and I understand it now; they wanted to see how it
would turn out.”
There was little of counsel in the reading except, born under Libra
[October] he was told when choosing a companion, presumably a wife,
to pick one born in January or October. He had not yet been
confronted by a decision, and being a rather level-headed young man
didn’t go around asking girls their birthdays.
There was one last word of advice. “Beware of politics for this
entity: though there will be opportunities for same.”
The young man shrugged and looked away. “I’m not sure I know what
that means.” He had a number of previous lives, one in his own
family, another as a physician at the time of Christ, again as a
farmer. Lives in Sweden, China, Egypt, had given meaningful
And that was it
The young man smiled evenly.
“The reading seems to have worked out
well, as far as analyzing my life goes, but I haven’t made up my
mind on reincarnation. It’s almost too pat a way of explaining
everything we don’t understand. The need is there, and the concept
“You haven’t been influenced then by previous
incarnations as a doctor and farmer?”
“I just don’t know. Some day,
the message may come as it did to my father. But I’ll have to find
out for myself.”
“Then how did Cayce pinpoint your strong and weak points?”
He frowned. “That I don’t know, either, except that clairvoyantly,
he may have been able to look into the future.”
We shook hands, and I knew, without a Cayce, that here was a young
man destined for success. He had an inner calm and resolve beyond
The next day, the father called.
“How did it go?” he asked.
“You know,” I said, “he doesn’t believe in reincarnation.”
“We’ve never imposed our beliefs on him. He’s a most determined
young man.” He laughed.
“When he was a boy, eleven or twelve,
another boy his age borrowed his bicycle without permission,
bringing it back without the chain. I happened to look out the
window, and saw him standing over the boy, with the chain in his
hand, forcing him through sheer will to put it back. He never got
flustered or upset, but the other boy obeyed without a word.”
I recalled the boy hesitating over the warning on political
activity. The father chuckled.
“I don’t blame him,” he said. “You
know, he was always politicking in school. In high school, he was
elected president of the student body, campaigning all over town,
and it stirred a certain amount of criticism. In college, he was
president of his class, but his campaigning again stirred
opposition, and even friends ganged up on him. He was a
disillusioned young man before it was over, brooding over the
frailty of human friendship. He’s never run for any student office
But what had it to do with reincarnation?
“There is some aptitude remembrance, in his flair for farming, in
his ambition to be a doctor, and in other qualities from the past;
the ability to listen and evaluate, have certainly stood him in good
stead. He’s been self-supporting since he was a teen-ager.”
It still seemed nebulous grounds for reincarnation,
“In one of the previous lives mentioned by Cayce,” the father said,
“as a four-year-old boy he saw his grandfather killed by a horse.
The horse caught bis foot and fell, and the rider, tossing the boy
to safety, was crushed under the animal. It was an unforgettable
He had been born again to the same family, apparently
permissible in reincarnation. And there was remembrance, remembrance
that he consciously knew nothing about.
“When my boy was four, we
had been out for a walk, when we saw a horse rear up with a girl on
it. There was nothing to get alarmed about, but my son, normally
stolid, stood trembling, his whole body in a sweat, as though having
The horse soon quieted, but the boy kept staring, rigid with fear.
Then taking hold of himself, he advanced determinedly and put his
hand on the horse’s forehead, stroking the animal as though he was
trying to overcome his obsession.”
The father had never seen fear in
the youngster before or since.
“There is no doubt in my mind that
the old memory came surging in, and then he determinedly tried to
rid himself of his fear.”
Granted reincarnation, signs were apparently all an independent
researcher could hope to find, unless he had a pipeline to Universal
Knowledge. Remembrance was one of these signs, of course, but again
a Cayce was needed. A young woman, morbidly fascinated by circuses,
left in a panic every time they trundled out the lions and tigers in
their steel-barred cages.
Without knowing of this idiosyncrasy, the sleeping Cayce told her
that she had been a Christian in an earlier life in Rome, and had
been fed to the lions. No wonder she was scared. For another girl
born lame, just as the Biblical child was born blind, Cayce
explained that during the reign of Nero she often sat and laughed in
the Colosseum, as the Christian martyrs were killed or maimed by the
I read elsewhere in Cayce of people who had used the
sword cruelly in one life being plagued in this by unexplained fear
of all cutting instruments, including an inoffensive bread knife.
And I recalled Eula Allen saying that the millions who had perished
in war must have killed others in earlier wars. From Revelation, I
suddenly remembered: “He that leadeth into captivity shall go into
captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the
sword.” I had always considered this in the framework of one life,
but it certainly didn’t work out that way; wickedness so often went
unnoticed, even rewarded. It was that kind of a world.
But karma, the reincarnationist’s debit and credit ledger, changed
all this. It was the load we carried from one life into another.
“Karma,” said Cayce, “is the lack of living to that which ye know ye
should do. As ye would be forgiven, so forgive in others. That is
the manner to meet karma.”
A positive attitude could also help. For
a woman lamed by rheumatic fever in childhood:
“The attitudes that
have been held by the body have been and are helpful, yet these
conditions being karmic, must be met by the body, in adding to the
being and the soul of the body, patience, kindness, brotherly love,
long-suffering, and the like.”
Again, even with the opportunity to work off karma, it seemed a
paradox that a merciful God should subject his creatures to an
apparently endless cycle of punishment.
“We are taught to turn the
other cheek and forgive,” I told one reincarnationist, “and this in
God’s name. Am I to assume that we have learned this lesson better
than our Maker?”
The reincarnationist smiled.
“If you don’t accept reincarnation,
does injustice and bloodshed then disappear? At least, with
reincarnation, there is a purpose, an aim, a hope for development.
The life snuffed out today has a chance in the endless tomorrow.”
eyed me rather sardonically.
“It seems to me that the Maker who
gives his creatures another chance is more merciful than one who
lets the world spin around like a top.”
With it all, I neither accepted nor rejected reincarnation. Thinking
of all the inexplicable phenomena I had witnessed over the years, of
people somehow predicting the future, of clairvoyance, of telepathy,
it would have been absurd to have closed myself off through either
the inadequacy of my understanding or of the evidence. I didn’t
understand how electricity worked, nor did anybody, and yet it
The Cayce readings could hardly be taken as proof of reincarnation,
since they were valueless as evidence, unless they could be proved
out with something tangible. For instance, Cayce had advised a young
man of twenty-three, obsessed with wanderlust, that this expression
was a carryover from a previous life in Peru, before the Incas.
that land now known as Peru, the entity was then among those that
ruled in the land and was subjugated by the Incas that took
possession of the land from those that ruled.”
There was a little more, tracing the wandering spirit.
lost through this experience, for in that of bringing the wreck of
the peoples from the desire to rule brought destructive forces to
others and to self. In the urge seen from this experience, the
entity finds that self becomes wandering in body, mind, and in
In other words, he was a sort of Ulysses. That was all very
nice, but when Cayce predated the Incan civilization he was again
off in a subconscious dream world of his own.
“How,” I asked Gladys
Davis, who was busily inventorying the Cayce readings, “how can
anything so esoteric as reincarnation be indicated out of anything
so apocryphal as a civilization we have not even an indication of?”
Edgar Cayce’s secretary, rummaging on her desk, came up with a copy
of Science News for April 9, 1966, billed as The Weekly Summary of
Current Science. On the front cover were two shadowy figures,
captioned “Undersea Pillars.” I turned curiously to the article, as
Gladys said casually,
“There’s something there about the Incas that
might be pertinent.”
The article dealt with information that seemed
right out of a Cayce reading:
“Strange carved rock columns, shown on
this week’s front cover, some with writing on them, have been
sighted by cameras six thousand feet under the sea off the coast of
Peru. (Photo credit: Duke University) “This unknown Atlantis of the
Pacific lies too deep for exploration from a surface ship, said Dr.
Robert J. Menzies, director of ocean research at the Duke University
Marine Laboratory, Beaufort, North Carolina. A mobile deep-diving
vehicle is needed for precise observation. Two upright columns,
about two feet or more in diameter, were sighted extending five feet
out of the mud. Two more had fallen down and were partially buried,
and another angular squarish block was seen, said Dr. Menzies.
The pieces were sighted from a surface ship carrying apparatus for
lowering cameras to within a few feet of the ocean floor. The
Oceanographic cruise of the research vessel Anton Brunn lasted for
six weeks off the coasts of Peru and Ecuador in the waters of the
Milne-Edward Deep, a deep trench that drops off to almost 19,000
feet in places. The cruise was sponsored by the National Science
There was more, indicating that just as Cayce had said, there may
have been a counterpart of Atlantis named Lemuria in the Pacific.
“The sunken columns,” the article continued, “are located about fiftyfive miles off the city of Cal-lao, the port of Lima, capital
of Peru. This is near the Ring of Fire, the zone of earthquakes and
active volcanoes that encircles the Pacific Ocean. The area had once
been covered by at least six hundred feet less of seawater, about
eleven thousand years ago at the time of the great glaciers of the
Ice Age, said Dr. Menzies. The area is now slowly sinking.”
So Lemuria, or whatever, was still subsiding. The oceanographer had
come across the mysterious sea pillars accidentally, while foraging
around for specimens of a small mollusk.
His expedition had found
sixty thousand specimens of sea animals and taken a thousand
underwater photographs before it stumbled across the sunken ruins.
“We did not find structures like these anywhere else,” he reported.
“I have never seen anything like this before.”
But what of our friend who had lived before the Incas in Peru?
the pillars there had been other discoveries.
“Old Inca ruins have
been found around that area, and civilizations predating the Incas
by many years are now believed to have existed nearby.”
That was not
Cayce, but the Science News. And still, this reference to a
pre-Incan civilization was but a sign. Yet perhaps, this was all
that was needed. For was it not written in the Book, in Job, clearly
the story of mankind and its tribulations, was it not said:
are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth
are a shadow.”
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16 - The Reckoning
Edgar Cayce gave his last reading on September 17, 1944, and it was
for himself. He was tired, frazzled, worn out. As Gladys Davis said,
there was no place to put another patch. His own readings had
repeatedly warned that if he “read” more than twice a day, he would
disintegrate. But with the war on, and thousands appealing for help,
he could not resist doing as much as time - and his waning strength
- would allow.
In the months before his death, thousands of requests
for readings had piled up, arriving at the rate of fifteen hundred a
day. People were concerned not only for their own health but for the
welfare of loved ones in the far corners of the earth.
Cayce’s own two sons - Hugh Lynn and Edgar Evans - were on the
battlefronts, and the compassionate Cayce could not turn from
anybody. As his fame spread through books and articles, he undertook
seven or eight readings a day, but, even so, the most desperate
appeals had to take their place, and this generally meant a five or
six month delay. Often the sick worsened and died before Cayce could
get to them, and this knowledge, as well as the work, wore on him.
He felt weak and inadequate. Working around the clock, he couldn’t
catch up with his backlog in three or four years.
As he helplessly
looked at the huge mailbag, crammed every day with fresh appeals, he
would lie down with a sigh, and pray that something would come
through. In time, the man who seemed to know everything when asleep,
could no longer go to sleep. His weary body and mind would no longer
respond to his suggestion, and so he had to put the readings away
for a while, and hope for a renewal of strength.
Just before his
last reading, he visited biographer Tom Sugrue at Clearwater Beach
in Florida, which the readings had picked out as ideal for
convalescence. Sugrue had asked for help on an article on the human
aura, and Cayce, though his own aura was dimming rapidly, could not
refuse. He also hoped that he would rest up enough to get on with
the work. “He had no more power to refuse me anything,” Sugrue
commented later, “than he had to refuse anyone else.”
As it turned out, he was too restless to relax, even with Sugrue,
whom he loved. He had taken his correspondence with him, responding
with counsels of patience and good cheer, compensating in this way
for not giving the readings. It struck Sugrue that Cayce was
hastening his own end.
“I suggested that he spend his tune fishing
and gardening, except for when the readings were given, but in the
letters he received were stories of misfortune and suffering. Each
was a cry for help, and had it gone unanswered, he would have heard
it among his flowers or on the pier, fishing. His heart was heavy
and his mind numb with the burden of his helplessness. Though at
first, he stayed asleep longer than ever, pushing himself, he could
not even dent the pile of requests. It was this more than anything
that broke him.”
The night before he said goodbye to Sugrue, he had a dream that was
“I was on a train going to Florida,” he told
the writer. “I had retired, and I was going to live there.”
evening before, looking out at the sea, he had remarked what a
beautiful place it would be to rest. But as both Cayce and Sugrue
knew, only death could retire the man who had said in sleep:
is the builder. Knowledge not lived becomes sin.”
Even without the last reading, he knew what the answer was. The end
was near, but he felt only regret that this life experience was to
be interrupted when he was needed so badly. He called on his friend,
Dr. Woodhouse, in Virginia Beach, and the doctor said, “You know as
well as I what is wrong with you.” He was clearly disintegrating, as
that reading had warned.
Mrs. Cayce had framed the questions for that final reading. “How can
the body best free himself of worry and anxiety concerning the
“Get out of the office,” came Cayce’s reply.
In the hills near Roanoke, Virginia, there was a nursing home where
the readings sometimes sent patients. “This would be preferable to
anyplace where there would be anxieties from others outside.
Commence soon.” “How long should I stay?” the next question was put.
The answer was to the point “Until you are well or dead.”
Like more orthodox therapists, he had never followed his own advice,
and it was rather late in the day to begin. But restless, at home,
with each day’s bag of mail staring at him accusingly, he went to
Roanoke anyway. He now neither could sleep to read by, nor to rest.
The vital energies were slipping away.
In April of 1926, nearly twenty years before, he had had a dream
which symbolized the way he would die. In this dream, he visualized
himself immersed in a tub of hot water, and scalding to death. He
interpreted this dream in a subsequent reading. In resisting
physical pain one day, his body would become protectively immersed
in water, and death would follow. When he died, the cause was
diagnosed as pulmonary edema.
Two weeks before the end, a physician
had warned, “The danger lies in his strangling to death.”
In late November, as thin as a wraith, but still wearing a smile, he
returned home to spend his last days, looking across the lake where
he had fished so often. On New Year’s Day, 1945, he told visitors
cheerfully, “It is all arranged. I am to be healed on Friday, the
fifth of January.” His friends understood what he meant, when they
arrived on Friday for his funeral. He would be elsewhere, wherever
this healing would occur.
The night before his death, as his wife reached across to kiss him
goodnight, the man, whose gift had always been his obsession, looked
at her reflectively, and said with tenderness, “You know I love you,
A lump came to the throat of the woman who had made him her whole
world through forty years of marriage. She nodded silently, unable
to trust her voice.
He smiled gently. “How do you know?”
“Oh, I just know,” she managed.
“I don’t see how you can tell - but I do.” His mind traveled down
the years when his work had been the consuming passion of his life.
“You know,” he said, “when you love someone you sacrifice for them,
and what have I ever sacrificed because I love you?”
She hushed him as though he were a child, closed his eyes, and,
kissing him lightly, stole from the room. He died the next night,
January 3. He was sixty-seven.
Gertrude began to fade rapidly. She told her friend, Lydia J.
Schrader Gray, that she felt as though one of her vital organs had
been bodily removed. She had two sons at war to live for, but she
felt that Cayce was gently pulling her to his side. Three months
after Cayce’s death, on April 1, 1945, on a beautiful Easter Sunday
morning, Gertrude Evans Cayce followed her husband hopefully beyond
The Cayce family lived, as it believed.
On March 30, the day before his mother’s death, Hugh Lynn had
written from his Army post in Germany:
“It makes me deeply happy to
know how ready you are to pass through that other door. There is so
much beauty in your living, that I cannot be sad at the possibility
of your joining Dad. You held up his right hand—sometimes both
hands—here, so it does not surprise me that he may need you now.”
And the son designated to spread the Work showed his readiness for
“We have come, Mother,” he saluted, “to an understanding
of karma in a way that we have for a long time been explaining to
others, and I find that your life represents so much that is fine
and beautiful that I cannot allow my selfish desires to mar this
period of waiting and wondering. My prayers are that you will not
suffer. I know that you must realize how much love has been, is, and
always will be yours.”
In death, there has been no deification of Edgar Cayce at Virginia
Beach. Long before Stalin’s successors, Cayce had de-emphasized the
cult of the personality. The supreme law was: “Thou must love the
Lord thy God with all thy strength, and love thy neighbor as
But the A.R.E., Cayce’s Association for Research and
Enlightenment, is still run by a voice from the dead—Cayce’s.
than forty years ago, when there was no widespread acknowledgment of
extrasensory perception in any form, the sleeping Cayce plotted the
growth of the Work.
“For such work must of necessity first appeal to
the individual and through individuals, groups, classes and then the
masses, as it gams credence necessary for recognition by the general
Just as Cayce foresaw, the A.R.E.’s work after his death began with
an inventorying of his readings, branched out to a library offering
help to researchers.
“The institution,” Cayce blueprinted, “should
be built around a place where the records of that accomplished
through these sources [Cayce’s clairvoyance] are kept.”
The chief aim, he stressed, was not the revelation of psychic
phenomena, but of “better understanding of the purpose of life.” He
was most specific.
“First, put the information in an orderly manner,
so that any phase of human experience may be had from that already
In suggesting how the Information should be siphoned to the
outside world, he mentioned a number of persons who should one day
On three occasions, I noted with interest, my own surname cropped
“Choose from among those,” Cayce directed, “that are gifted in
the putting together of data so obtained into scientific matters, in
those of story, verse or fiction, and let the same then be given to
the hundreds of channels or outlets.”
As he had once advised Tom Sugrue how to plot his bestseller, Starling of the White House, he
now counseled others,
“Let it be known that that being dispensed
comes from such sources, as is verified by those who found in their
lives the answer to then: problem - and such then becomes then more
worthwhile to readers, whether of Snappy Stories or of Sunday School
In 1956, through an unexpected gift, of the sort that the
sleeping Cayce would have understood, the A. R. E. was able to buy
back Cayce’s old hospital in Virginia Beach - known as the White
Elephant - reopen the vaults and begin the analysis of some fifteen
thousand readings which apply more than ever today in their broad
understanding of the nature of the universe. Today, at A.R.E., the
files have been laboriously classified by categories - cancer,
arthritis, homosexuality, reincarnation, Atlantis, etc., as
recommended by the sleeping psychic.
scientists, oceanographers, and cultists have all found their tasks
easier - for Cayce stressed simplicity.
“Be able at a glance, from
whatever phase of human experience, to have the information in the
setting it was presented to that individual. Whether it pertain to
marital relations, separating the silt from the gold, or adding to a
body that vibration necessary to alter the very fires of nature
within the individual itself.”
It was difficult, perhaps impossible, however, to help those whose
intellectuality would not permit them to grasp that which was
“Do not attempt to cast pearls before
swine,” said the Scripture-minded mystic, “nor give to those who
read such as of the fiction of the day.”
Many of course did consider reincarnation a pleasant fiction. It was
an interesting Cayce concept, though I wasn’t at all sure it made
life easier to consider still another life on this plane.
Reincarnation presupposed some sort of order in a world apparently
predisposed to disorder. Still, it was difficult to accept God and
believe with the hedonists that there was nothing but the
everlasting present and sensual gratification in that present.
Theirs was a world without plan, organization, a schemata of any
kind. And yet the lowliest bureaucrat, in the pettiest assignment,
governed his minuscule activity with some table of organization.
Were we to suppose God less capable?
Despite myself, I was intrigued
by the small boy who climbed on the Cayce lap, and mentioned their
being together on the Ohio during an Indian massacre. That boy,
grown to manhood, was serenely unaware of what he had said that day.
If regressed, under hypnosis, would his subconscious dredge up a
previous life, coinciding with Cayce’s own life reading for himself?
And would this be evidence for reincarnation? I didn’t know, but I
supposed some would think so. Inherently, the value of Cayce seemed
to rest in the recognition that his glimpse into the divine purpose
of the universe could be shared by all ready to count themselves an
infinite part of that infinite universe.
Cayce dealt with the
mundane and the bizarre, the trivial, and the universal. In his
prophecies, he stressed a lesson of courage and resolution in
adversity, so that to man at one with Nature even disaster was a
manifestation of God’s superior, if often unrevealed, purpose.
Predicting widespread destruction in New York and California, he
still did not take a dark view of the forecast destruction, nor did
he think it would help to move around to avoid it As anybody might,
in the circumstances, a concerned religious had asked,
California or Virginia Beach be considered at all, or where is the
right place that God has already provided for me to live?”
suggested that his questioner look inside himself for the well-being
he was rightly concerned about.
“As indicated, these choices should
be made rather in self. Virginia Beach or the area is much safer as
a definite place. But the work of the entity should embrace most all
of the areas from the east to the west coast, in its persuading not
as a preacher, nor as one bringing a message of doom - but as a
loving warning to all groups, clubs, art groups, those of every form
of club, that there needs be, in their activities, definite work
toward the knowledge of the power of the Son of God’s activity in
the affairs of men.”
Essentially, as was especially evident in his healing, the Cayce
message was one of faith, in self and God. God was not some vague,
remote indescribable entity. He was a friend, a companion. He worked
through God, and God worked through him. His will was implicit in
every wonder that Cayce performed. The sleeping Cayce saw body,
mind, and spirit not only as a flowing, electrically vibrant current
of blood, lymph, and nerve impulses, but as an entity of faith, hope
The mind, become negative, reacted in dis-ease, which,
neglected, became disease. He did not push anything at anybody.
Reincarnation, Atlantis, Lemuria, these were no stranger than his
traveling through space to pick out a jar on a drugstore shelf
hundreds of miles away, or his description of how a rabbit serum
should be prepared against cancer years before medical researchers
turned up a similar concept. Not dissimilar from one who had trod
the earth two thousand years before, he applied the wisdom of a
connected universe to virtually every facet of human thought and
During the war, as so many had, a worried mother consulted him,
psychically, because of her concern that her only son, in the Army,
might be killed or injured in battle. The mother, already helped by
a Cayce health reading, expressed her anxiety over the safety of her
son, then stationed in the U.S.
“Please give advice, guidance, and
help to this confused mind, and answer the questions, as I ask
Cayce put the problem on a spiritual plateau, indicating that the
over-all cause had to be considered in weighing the mother’s private
“To be sure, there is built within the consciousness of the
entity [the mother] an aversion to strife, to war, and to all phases
of military activity. But in an hour of trial, when there are
influences abroad that would change or take away that freedom which
is the gift of the creative forces to man, that man might by his own
innate desire be at-one with God, there should be the willingness to
pattern the life, the emergencies, the exigency as may arise, much
in the way and manner as the Master indicated to each and every
soul. According to the pattern of the life as He gave, one should
ever be able and willing, even to lay down the life, that the
principles may live as he indicated, that of freedom not only from
the fear of servitude, but that the whole earth may indeed be a
better place for an individual, for those that are to come to reside
In the Christ story, Cayce saw clearly the tribulations of
every son of man on the terrestrial plane, climaxed on earth with
“When He withheld not His own son, how can ye ask
Him to withhold thine.”
There was practical advice. He suggested the
mother revise her attitude so that her courage and resolution, her
faith, would be transmitted to her son, encouraging rather than
“So live then, so think, so act in thy conversation,
in thy convocation with thy fellow man, that others may know, too,
that the Lord walks with thee. Instill that hope, that encouragement
in the mind and in the heart of thy son, that he, too, may look to
the Lord for strength, for purpose, for sureness; and that in the
peace which is to come there will be the needs for his activity
among the children of men, that the way of the Lord may be sure in
The earth was the house of the Lord, and Christ, too, had showed
anger when it became “a den of those who took advantage of their
fellow man.” He stressed how Christ’s travail could reinforce the
woman’s own strength.
“He, too, brought that knowledge to those that
seek His face, that He knows the heartache of disappointment, the
heartache of fear, even as He prayed: If it be possible, let this
cup pass from me—not my will, oh God, but Thine be done.”
After listening to the message she had requested, the mother,
apparently missing the prophetic reference to her son’s postwar
activity, very humanly asked,
“Is there any other branch of the
service where my son could serve, that would be less dangerous?”
The sleeping Cayce recognized that she had not got the message.
portion of the service is dangerous,” he stressed, “if he is put in
the hands of God. Look upon that condition which disturbs—not from a
material angle—but from the standpoint of a mental and spiritual
blessing to others in the opportunity offered.”
There is probably nobody more concerned than a mother about her only
“Could he be transferred to some post closer to his home?”
“This may be, but is it best? Rather than making the environ by
doubts and fears, isn’t it better to put it all into the hands and
upon the heart of thy Elder Brother, in the hands of thy God?”
it best for him where he is?” she persisted.
“Consider well the Master’s answer, No man is in this or that
position save by the grace of God.”
“Could he better serve in some defense work outside the military
For a brief moment, the sleeping Cayce appeared to lose
“If it had been, would not this have been the place? If
what has been given is studied, these questions will be answered.”
And then came the sharp enjoinder. “Fill the place better where ye
are, and the Lord will open the way.”
The stressed words were
Cayce’s. “Only as we are able to realize consciously that we live
and move and have our being in Him, can we put it all into His
hands, and leave it there, doing our duty as we see it from day to
The son eventually went overseas, and saw battle service without
harm. However, there was a family loss. The father, for whom similar
concern had not been shown, died suddenly a year later, at the
height of the war. Perhaps Cayce had foreseen this event when he
counseled, “Fill the place better where ye are.”
The greatest of the American psychics conveniently left a guide on
psychic development for those with some of this ability, or for
researchers interested in its development In trance once, he pointed
out that the psychic force, traveling through the subconscious,
functioned through certain glands.
“In the body we find that which
connects the pineal, the pituitary, the Leydig, these may be truly
called the silver cord.”
The force was more active in women, whose conscious powers were not
as highly developed perhaps, permitting greater development of the
subconscious. The higher levels subconsciously would be attained
only through a spiritual outlook, an avoidance of the material - a
lesson that psychics who have striven for notoriety might well heed.
“One fed upon the purely material will become a Frankenstein that is
without any influence other than material or mental,” he warned.
saw nothing unusual in the psychic force, pointing out that it was
as much a part of the natural talent, as the powers that man drew on
to create the ability to fly; it was similar to the inspiration for
great works of art, poetry and mathematics, as in the Einstein
theory of relativity, that came to the great mathematician
Not everybody should develop as a psychic channel, only those
capable of providing more understanding of the individual’s
relationship with the creative forces. The potentiality of a gift
like Cayce’s was endless. Cayce pointed out many times that Christ,
performing his wonders, had said that with the aid of God others
could do the same.
Cayce, in humility, felt that he himself was
merely a reflection of the unlimited scope of human potential, in
the continuous struggle to get in tune with the universe he lived
in—boundless man trying to find himself in a boundless universe. In
his own apparent boundlessness, there seemed no limit to Cayce’s
ultimate service, in practical and spiritual areas. As more and more
doctors poked into the Information, as researchers worked out of his
legacy of readings, it appeared probable that the Cayce fight
against infection and disease would mount through the years. In a
small way, I had a dramatic experience myself with the wonders of
I had developed an irritating hardening of the rim of the outer ear,
an excrescence the size of a small pea. It interfered with sleep at
night, and became increasingly annoying to the point where I
consulted a doctor. He scanned the offending area under the
magnifying lens, and said,
“Actinic keratosis, a prelude to skin
cancer. Nothing very serious, as it’s usually localized and can be
removed. However, you might check with a dermatologist.”
condition had resulted from too much sun.
Instead, I checked with
“What would Cayce have prescribed?” I asked. There was
no hesitation. “Castor oil. Rub on a little morning and night,
alternating with camphorated oil, if you want.”
In a spirit of experiment, I did as suggested, while keeping the
name of a skin man in the back of my mind.
I put it down to imagination at first, but after twenty-four hours
there was a comforting sense of relief. At the end of three days,
applying the oil, my probing fingers told me that the thickening of
the skin was greatly reduced. At the end of a week, the crustiness
was disintegrating and there was no pain. The actinic keratosis,
soothed by the camphorated oil mornings, and the castor oil at
night, had vanished in six weeks.
What Cayce had done as a mystic might be repeated by another one
day, though there was only one Shakespeare, Nostradamus, Da Vinci
and Plato, as though to show what man was capable of. Nonetheless,
Cayce pointed up the potential of the psychic in more than one way.
Once, for instance, he gave a demonstration before the psychology
class of a Kentucky school. One of the students, taking advantage of
this priceless opportunity, asked the Universal Mind about funds
being mysteriously drained away from her father’s business in
Cayce described the thief, and how the thefts were
being managed. Soon, he heard from the student’s father. On the
basis of Cayce’s information, they had grabbed the thief and saved
the business. It was trivial, but then life was made up of trivia,
and it appeared easier to accept the psychic on this level. Whenever
there was an unusual earthquake, particularly in California, I
thought of Cayce. On June 27, 1966, a moderate tremor—5.6 on the
Richter scale—hit the Paso Robles area, 175 miles south of San
Francisco, and left visible fractures in the earth along a
twenty-mile section of the San Andreas fault The western side of the
fault had moved north several inches.
And the unusual feature - for
California quakes - was that even after the quake the surface cracks
seemed to be growing.
“I must emphasize,” said Louis Pakiser of the
National Center for Earthquake Research, “that this is a very rapid
For many, including the Geologist who had a specialized interest,
Cayce’s upcoming earth changes were perhaps his greatest revelation.
However, only the future will tell how accurate the prophet was in
his X-ray-like probing of the center of the earth, and its forecast
axis tilt. Even now, little is known of the axis on which the earth
But, provocatively, bolstering Cayce, some geologists profess
that the polar points have wandered -through millions of years of
time, continually altering the topography and climate of the small
speck of the universe known as Earth. From earth borings, from cores
and sedimentations, the scientists have established the ages of
mountains, lakes, deserts and other areas of the globe. Striking
discoveries by recent deep-sea and paleo-magnetic research have made
possible recreation of periods millions of years ago, in which it
has been surmised life was somewhat similar to our own.
More strikingly, most of Cayce’s readings on prehistorical life were
given in the 1920s and ‘30s. And all these, available before his
death, preceded the scientific finds that have confirmed major
aspects of the prehistorical portrait of the changing earth as he
gave it. The Geologist was principally impressed that where recent
research often modified, or repudiated, long standardized concepts
of geology, it tended rather to strengthen Cayce’s psychic readings,
a trend that seems to be intensifying with time.
The Cayce key year
1958 has passed, prefacing some earthly fireworks as he suggested,
and now 1968, or ‘69, will soon arrive to test Atlantis rising,
though Cayce explained elsewhere that the rise would be gradual, and
might not break the surface immediately. After that, who knows?
Perhaps the break-ups could be prayed away, as Cayce so often
suggested, without such ever materializing. And yet even as a source
of destruction was possibly gathering momentum in the crust of the
earth, under his very feet, man could still look overhead hopefully
for eternal salvation.
For as Cayce read so often from Matthew:
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be
darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall
fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. And
then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven, and then
shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son
of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”
All one needed was faith - a faith that Cayce had come along to
bolster in a time of need.
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