Kentucky salesman Edgar Cayce was born in 1877. Persistent illness caused him to stop working and he attempted hypnosis as a cure. The hypnotist asked him to describe what unconscious thought was the root of his problem.
He was amazed to discover he could answer. Perfecting the ability, he went on to be known as the Sleeping Prophet, offering as many as 30,000 trance diagnoses during his lifetime.
Setting up the Association for Research and Enlightenment in 1928 in Virginia, Cayce needed only a name and address to achieve diagnosis and suggest treatment. Thousands considered he had got it just right.
A believer in reincarnation, he considered illness to be caused by deed or emotion in past lives. He himself claimed many past lives, one pre-dating Adam and Eve and another on the lost land of Atlantis. Edgar Cayce died of exhaustion in 1944, lauded as a great psychic.
(c) Anthony North, Feb 2007