LEDGER - DISPATCH
Thursday - January 4, 1945
EDGAR CAYCE, "PSYCHIC HEALER," DIES AT BEACH; FUNERAL FRIDAY
Edgar Cayce, "psychic healer," who attracted national attention by his diagnosis of human ailments while in a hypnotic trance, died at his home at Arctic Circle, Virginia Beach, last night at 7:15 o'clock.
Mr. Cayce had lived at Virginia Beach during the last 20 years, the most dramatic period of his life. Thousands of believers in psychic powers flocked to his home for "readings." He employed a staff of secretaries, and his engagement book was often filled for months in advance.
In the late twenties and early thirties, Cayce attracted the attention of Morton and Edgar Blumenthal, wealthy New York brokers who supporting the founding of the Cayce Hospital, Virginia Beach, and obtained Blumenthal money for the founding of transitory Atlantic University.
National attention again was focused on his healing powers and career early in 1943 when Henry Holt & Co. published "There Is A River: The Story of Edgar Cayce," by Thomas Sugrue, New York newspaperman who attributed his relief from invalidism to Cayce's unusual abilities.
Born on a farm in Christian County, Kentucky, near Hopkinsville, the son of the late Leslie B. and Carrie Major Cayce, Cayce was considered a dull boy, says his biographer. He read the Bible prodigiously and one day while so engaged was approached by a woman "with wings on her back" who asked him what he wanted most in life. He replied: "Most of all, I would like to be helpful to other people, especially children."
The very next day, Sugrue relates, Cayce had been having trouble with his spelling. He placed the book under his head and went to sleep; when he woke up he knew all that was in it. In much the same manner he discovered his diagnostic powers somewhat later when he lost his voice and in a hypnotic trance was able to determine the trouble and tell what to do for it.
Soon he was giving "readings," in which he placed himself in the hypnotic state and described events, medicines, diseases and scientific terms with which he was completely unfamiliar during his waking hours. In later years, his wife or one of his secretaries transcribed his remarks during these trances to make them the basis of his advice to "patients."
In 1912 he was investigated by the Harvard psychologist, Hugo Muensterburg, who told him, "If it is a trick, you are not aware of it."
With the Blumenthals, he founded on May 6, 1927, the Association of National Investigators and moved to Virginia Beach. The purpose of this corporation, the charter stated, was "to engage in general psychic research and to provide for the practical application of any knowledge obtained through the media of psychic phenomena." To house the clinical work of this organization Cayce hospital was founded. With the diminution of Blumenthal funds in the stock market crash, together with a waning of their interest, this building later became the Princess Pat Hotel and still later the Terrace Beach Club. The corporation was dissolved on February 26, 1931, at a meeting which Cayce attended, in the Blumenthal offices in New York.
UNIVERSITY IS BORN
In the meantime, however, Dr. William Moseley Brown, a professor at Washington and Lee University decided to run for Governor on the Republican ticket in 1929 to capitalize on the Hoover landslide. Losing the election, he was approached by Cayce and asked if he would undertake to establish a university at Virginia Beach. Cayce's son had been a student under Dr. Brown at Washington and Lee.
Cayce enlisted the aid of the Blumenthals, who agreed to make $100,000 available for the first year's operations; and Brown set about to establish an institution to rank with the greatest in the world. He recruited a faculty of prominent educators, at top salaries; and a site near the ocean in the vicinity of the hospital was purchased for the buildings. (The foundations of two structures, never completed, still stand.)
In organizing the seat of learning, Dr. Brown used Cayce hospital as his headquarters; and in the autumn of 1930 Atlantic University opened its doors. These doors opened into beach hotels and cottages, which had been leased for university quarters pending completion of the institutions own buildings.
Sugrue sets out that differences arose between Brown and his backers over the purpose of the university - the Blumenthals and Cayce wishing to direct its emphasis toward psychic research and Dr. Brown holding out for a more traditional academic institution, with psychic research, if any, to come after its reputation was established. It was the stock market crash, however, which really wrote finis to Atlantic University in 1931.
Sugrue, stricken with a form of paralysis in 1938 while a reporter for the New York Herald-Tribune, lived at Cayce's home at Virginia Beach - as both "patient" and Boswell - from June, 1939, to October, 1941. He entered Cayce's home an invalid and, at last reports, was walking.
Cayce is survived by his wife, Mrs. Gertrude Evans Cayce, of Virginia Beach; two sons, Hugh Lynn Cayce, USA, and Capt. Edgar Evans Cayce, USA; two grandsons; and four sisters, Miss Annie Cayce, Mrs. W. A. McPherson and Mrs. J. L. Hesson, of Nashville Tenn., and Mrs. J. J. Crume, of DeLand, Fla.
The body was taken to the H. D. Oliver Funeral Apartments. Funeral services will conducted at the residence at Virginia Beach Friday at 10:00 a.m. by the Rev. Joseph B. Clower, pastor of First Presbyterian church, Morganton, N.C., and formerly of the Virginia Beach Presbyterian church. The body will be shipped Friday at 1:30 p.m. via Norfolk & Western Railroad to Hopkinsville, Ky., for services there Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Burial will be in Hopewell cemetary, Ky.