Throwback Thursday – Edgar Cayce: The Sleeping Prophet and World’s Most Famous Psychic

One of the world’s most famous psychics was born in nearby Hopkinsville, and called Bowling Green home nearly 120 years ago. Edgar Cayce was a man of many mysteries: a clairvoyant, medical diagnostician, photographer, and most commonly called the sleeping prophet.

Born in 1877 in Christian County, Edgar Cayce showed signs of being a highly gifted child. By age 12, he read the Bible all the way thru, every year. His parents could only afford an eighth grade education, but his photographic memory showed an unusual ability to learn from books by just sleeping on them. When asleep, in sort of a trance, Edgar could answer questions he didn’t know the answers to when awake.

This ability quickly became a source of medical healing and fortune telling for people around the country, who wrote him to ask for advice. He was a religious man, believing God gave him the ability to diagnose, and never charged for the 14,000 readings he delivered over his lifetime.

He moved to Bowling Green in 1902, into a boarding house on State Street—that’s no longer standing—and enjoyed his second floor balcony view that overlooked the happenings on Fountain Square. He started a photography business and married Gertrude Evans. He even invented the famous card game based on trading commodities—called Pit—that was trademarked for six dollars by Parker Brothers. He was an apt photographer, capturing images for some of the city’s first postcards and taking portraits of Bowling Green’s most famous people at the time: the Hobsons, Cherrys, and Underwoods.

But his photo studio burned down, twice. And he was under surveillance by a group of Bowling Green doctors and the EQB Literary Club, analyzing his trances.
Legend says that during one of these EQB meetings while Edgar Cayce was under a trance, they stuck a hat pin through his cheek, and even used a pen knife to lift his fingernail. He didn’t notice. He made prophecies predicting the collapse of the stock market in 1929, the beginning of WWII with German and Japanese powers, the lost city of Atlantis, and the second coming of Christ.

He moved to Selma, Ala., and then Virginia Beach by the time of his death. He had founded the Association for Research and Enlightenment in 1931, which turns 90 this year. His group provides body, mind, and spirit resources to explore prayer, meditation, dreams, philosophy, and even ancient mysteries.

The minutes of the EQB meeting in Bowling Green have been lost to the ages. Will the world ever know the truth about Edgar Cayce?