Since it was originally published in 1943 no other single publication has introduced as many people to Edgar Cayce, and his philosophy, as the book There Is A River by Thomas Sugrue.
Now Subtitled: There is a River
At the beginning of the book, and more extensively in later chapters, Thomas Surgue, apparently hoping that the subject would be explored more fully than it has been, expounds on Hypnotism as a Diagnostic Modality. Herein we’re going to review many of his passages:
“The story of Edgar Cayce properly belongs in the history of hypnosis, as a chapter in evidence for the theories of Armand Marc Jacques de Chastenet, Marquis de Puysegur. It was de Puysegur, not Mesmer, who in 1784 discovered hypnotism. De Puysegur’s famous subject Victor went into a sleep instead of a convulsion while being magnetized, and in that state showed remarkable intelligence and apparent powers of clairvoyance. Further experiments brought the same results. Other patients, when put to sleep, showed like powers. Walter Bromberg, in The Mind of Man,* says: “dull peasants became mentally alert, and could even foretell events or understand things ordinarily obscure to them. Somnambulists made medical diagnoses in other patients brought before them, and foretold the future. The magnetizer of the 1820’s merely brought his patient before a competent somnambulist, and waited for the diagnosis… If only modern science had such aids! The clairvoyance of the somnambulist became a fascinating game…”
Today in modern medical practice hypnotherapy is commonly used to to gain control over pain, stress/anxiety or undesired behaviours like smoking or overeating. Most medical doctors have little more knowledge of hypnosis than a med school lecture on the subject and it’s regarded by many to be an underutilized therapy.
Edgar Cayce first discovered his famous trance state via hypnosis in an effort to diagnose and treat his serious chronic throat condition. With this in mind, the title of an online article at first seems promising: Hypnosis As A Diagnostic Modality For Vocal Cord Dysfunction. Follow the link, however, and you’ll find that hypnosis in this case was merely implemented as the sole anesthesia for the insertion of a nasopharyngeal laryngoscope.
Full Body Catalepsy
Two hundred years ago, just after hypnotism was first discovered, its use as a diagnostic tool was being explored more broadly. Following is the 2nd paragraph from There Is A River wherein Tom Sugrue continues to write:
“…But the fascinating game was not encouraged, either by the French Academy or by the medical profession, and it suffered the fate of other fads. A generation later Andrew Jackson Davis, the “Poughkeepsie Seer,” was practicing medical diagnosis by clairvoyance in America, but he remained obscure and is not even mentioned in textbooks and histories of hypnotism. Hypnotism, in fact, will have nothing to do with clairvoyance; it has renounced its own mother.”
All Seeing Hypnotic Eye
There are those who hypothesize that the spinning computer graphic TV Network News logos, featured at the beginning of news programs, like the image above, are intended to induce a light hypnotic Alpha wave trance.
In Chapter 20 of the book Sugrue elucidates further regarding Victor, the young shepherd who was the first subject of hypnosis by the Marquis de Puysegur:
“Victor went into a sleeping trance, and remained in it for some time. De Puysegur then found that the boy was apparently clairvoyant. He seemed able to diagnose the physical ailments of other people while in this trance! A whole fad was started, and people began to go to somnambulists instead of doctors. The writer of this book says it was a ‘wholly erroneous belief’ that the somnabbulists could diagnose diseases, and the fad died out after the eighteen-twenties.”
In Chapter 21 of the book, Mr. Sugrue clarifies further regarding Dr. Davis, the “Poughkeepsie Seer”:
“A local tailor, experimenting with mesmerism, succeeded in putting the young Mr. Davis into a trance state during which he stated that his powers were to be used to help the sick. A hundred years before Edgar Cayce was diagnosing patients Andrew Davis was doing the same. Andrew Davis went on to become a medical doctor and learned to perform clairvoyant diagnoses without going fully into trance.”
And from Chapter 8:
“The material on somnambulism that was gathered and printed during the first half of the nineteenth century would seem to be overwhelming proof of the reality of the phenomenon. Karl du Prel, (who chronicled scores of authors) discussing the subject in The Philosophy of Mysticism…“
“When in the year 1831 the professional Commission, which had been engaged in its investigation since its appointment several years before, caused its report, confirming all the substantial phenomena attributed to somnambulism, to be read in the Medical Academy of Paris, the deep silence of the assembly betrayed the disturbance of their minds. Then, when as usual it was proposed that this report should be printed, an academician, Castel, rose and protested against the printing of it, because if the facts reported were true, half of our physiological science would be destroyed.”
More succinctly, when Hugh Lynn Cayce expressed optimism to his father that hypnotism’s empirical record would prove what’s right and wrong to doctors Edgar responded:
“Maybe. Records don’t mean much to these fellows if they don’t want to believe what the records say.”
There are many “Status Quo Empiricists” in the world who refuse to examine the evidence but prefer to look the other way earnestly proclaiming its nonexistence. A large body of evidence is available to anyone who has the courage to look.
The truth is that the first person ever hypnotized, as well as others, including a medical doctor, have demonstrated, with available empirical documentation, similar diagnostic ability to that of Edgar Cayce. It not only stands to reason, but is a mathematical essential, that there must today be greater numbers of other persons alive with this type of latent diagnostic talent.
In his book titled Mastering Your Spiritual Development, Kevin Todeschi, CEO of Edgar Cayce’s Association for Research and Enlightenment, points out that throughout Cayce’s lifetime of 14,000 readings he performed readings for a total of 20 kindhearted subjects who were on their final sojourn on this planet. This means that they were sufficiently spiritually evolved to no longer have need to reincarnate on Earth again. Are such people, possibly unbeknownst even to themselves, viable candidates for accreditation as hypnotic diagnosticians?
Only twenty such spiritually advanced souls per 14000 makes the odds of finding such people 1/700. And perhaps these odds are longer given the Universal Law that “Like Attracts Like” and the spiritually evolved were more likely to gravitate toward Edgar Cayce for a reading. Or the reasons that imbue someone with such latent talent could be entirely different; like early childhood danger heightening their sensitivity. One thing is certain: A determinable percentage of the population already has this mostly undiscovered talent.
Incidentally Thomas Sugrue goes on to write that it was determined that there are two kinds of somnambulists: Sensitives and Intuitives. Sensitives take on the symptoms and pains of the patients*. Intuitives, like Cayce, wake up with no memory of their in-trance diagnosis.
Dr. P.P. Quimby took spiritual healing from mesmerism to science, and then to Mary Baker Eddy who founded the religion of Christian Science. Mr. Quimby was a sensitive who had difficulty throwing off his patient’s troubles. He found that one of the secrets of the cures was the willingness to bear the burdens of the sick and sorrowing. “He came to the conclusion that in taking the sufferings of patients upon himself he was learning the way of the Christ, coming to learn God’s presence as love.” – The Quimby Manuscripts, Ch 6, The Intermediate Period p. 69
A test by a hypnotist to determine a subject’s extrasensory vision would be to ask a simple question like “What’s in my briefcase?” The world could only benefit from such as an on-going recruitment program. The need is great to assist with challenging diagnoses, or reduce misdiagnoses.
Many doctors in Cayce’s day came to know the truth of his ability. If his throat condition hadn’t required ongoing hypnotic therapy he may not have gone on to become both the father of holistic medicine and the father of the New Age. Hypnotic diagnosticians could end up doing mankind, as a whole, a great service in a manner very much like Edgar Cayce.
A hypnotist’s stage performance could benefit from having a dignified component within a show otherwise wholly designed to be at the subject’s expense.
…Who’s a good candidate to be an accredited hypnotic diagnostician?…
…It could be you, Bob.
“All bodies are amenable to suggestion, through the abnormal mind, or through the subconscious mind, or through sympathetic nerve system.” Edgar Cayce (4648-1)
Help Awaken Somnambulance!
Hypnotic Diagnostic talent could be misused or abused and care must be taken, and perhaps a long-term suggestion implanted to ensure, that any trance-induced skill only be used for diagnostics and not co-opted for selfish sexual, economic, political or military reasons.
The health of any hypnotic diagnostician should be carefully monitored. The stress of giving too many desperately needed readings ultimately claimed Edgar Cayce’s life.
Note: There have been individuals at Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E. who have become psychic via earnest application of the Search For God Study Group material. Jim Branch, who passed over in 2002, developed very similar diagnostic ability to Edgar Cayce. Linda Gibbons is reputed to be another.