This is the third article in a series of three articles about Edgar Cayce’s interesting and sometimes unimaginable discovery of his psychic abilities and connections with the Divine. If you have not previously read the first installment, titled Edgar Cayce’s Earliest Psychic Readings, and the second article, titled Edgar Cayce’s First Miracle Reading, I politely recommend that you do so before you continue reading this article.
Wesley Ketchum, a homeopathic M.D. from Edgar’s hometown of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, and later a professor at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, was the individual most responsible for Edgar Cayce attaining national celebrity status. Before we look at how this honor came about, I will present to you snippets of details from a couple of the outstanding medical cases that Edgar Cayce and Dr. Ketchum solved together.
George Dalton was a 240-pound, well-to-do railroad and building contractor from Hopkinsville who, in late May of 1907, or possibly 1906 as no documents have been located to confirm the year, took a nasty fall on a construction site and broke his right leg both above and below the knee. A battery of medical experts decided that Dalton would never walk again and that amputation of his leg would probably be necessary.
Dalton placed his fate in the hands of Dr. Ketchum, who tracked down Edgar for an emergency reading. No copies of the actual reading have survived the years, but the excerpts that follow are from a talk Dr. Ketchum gave in California in November of 1962.
“It was on the 30th day of May, 1906 or ’07, … I went down and consulted Cayce. He laid down and went to sleep and told me what to do … Cayce had said to bore a hole in there (the knee cap) and nail it down. That was rather radical treatment for those times. It just wasn’t done. They had used splints, but not metal screws up to that time.
So, after I got the picture in my mind I went down to the old blacksmith and told him what I wanted. He made a nail like a large roofing nail, with a large head on it, made out of iron. Dr. Anderson and I and the two girl nurses went down there and bored a hole in the knee and nailed it. Then we put the leg in traction, with a pulley at the foot of the bed. … He took that nail to his grave with him, about 30 years afterward.” [Reading 5779-1, Reports, R1.]
In the second case that amazed and bewildered Dr. Ketchum, he was also the patient. For two and a half years the good doctor had suffered sometimes severe abdominal pains which he feared was appendicitis. A number of physicians were consulted and treatments prescribed, but the problem always returned. Dr. Ketchum might have consulted Edgar earlier than he eventually did, but over that time span Edgar lived in Alabama, earning his living as an award-winning photographer.
Reading 4135-1 is in the Edgar Cayce archives, but it is crammed with medical terminology so we will again rely on a public address given by Dr. Ketchum on October 11, 1911 before the American Association for Clinical Research in Boston, Massachusetts.
“At this time it would have taken but little suggesting until I would have undergone an operation, which was not necessary, but when we are suffering, physician and layman alike want relief. In March 29th, 1909, … On the … above date he [DS: Edgar Cayce] came to my office at the suggestion of my friend, who came with him. He laid down and went into one of his usual naps.
Now he had been told nothing pertaining to whose case he was to tell about, and as I had tried everything suggested by seven men and no relief, of course I had little faith in anything. But I was willing and anxious to have him try. My friend said “Go over this man carefully, (giving my name) he is here in this room. Tell us what you find.”
[DS: Edgar said] “yes, we have him here. A little over twenty-eight moons ago this man wrenched his spine, as a result of which we find an impinging on the vertebral end of the nerves at the last dorsal and numbers one and two lumbar vertebrae. We now find pain and irritation at the opposite pole, or in the inguinal region, worse on the right side, through the sympathetics. We also find some irritation of the bladder.
As this was caused mechanically it will require mechanical treatment of manipulation to relieve it.” My wife, upon being told, immediately recalled the time when I wrenched my spine while feeding my horse. It had only troubled me a few days and had completely passed from memory until it was recalled. …After three or four mechanical treatments my pseudo-appendicitis cleared up entirely …” [4135-1, Background, B1.]
In 1910, Dr. Ketchum presented a paper at a medical conference in Pasadena on his work with Edgar Cayce. This paper was presented a second time in September at the Clinical Research Society’s annual meeting at Harvard University. On October 9, 1910, the New York Times published a feature article on Edgar Cayce, which was picked up by numerous big-city papers across the country.
The article is too long to reprint here, but you can view the original article on the New York Times website or you can read it on an Edgar Cayce website.
The Cincinnati Times-Star on October 10, 1910, the Seattle Times on October 15, 1910, the Kentucky New Era on October 15, 1910, and the St. Louis Dispatch all ran similar articles. Edgar, the quiet Kentucky country boy, was now a national celebrity.
© Doug Simpson 2012.
Edgar Cayce Readings © 1971, 1993-2009 by the Edgar Cayce Foundation. Used by Permission, All Rights Reserved.