A MODERN EXAMPLE OF SUCCUMBING TO THE WHISPERINGS
[Much of the discussion to follow is a summary of Chapter 6 of Unholy Spirits by Gary North. Download it for free by clicking here.]
Edgar Cayce was an example of a man who succumbed to the temptation of power. He was born in Kentucky in 1877. As a child, he grew up around a family that dabbled in the occult. His grandfather was a dowser, or “water witcher.” He had even made tables and chairs move without touching them — but only in front of his grandmother.
Edgar’s father had a strange, undesirable attraction to snakes. They would follow him out of the fields and wrap themselves around his hat if he put it down. To get away from them he moved from the farm into the city.
Cayce was remarkable in that he played with imaginary friends as a child. Unlike other children, he claimed to really see them. When he was thirteen he claimed to have seen, in a vision, a woman with wings. When she asked him what he wanted, he said he wanted to help people.
LOUSY STUDENT, SUPERNATURAL TALENT
He was not a good student, and he had difficulty learning. He read his Bible every day for years, and he read it several times over by the time he was thirteen — but he didn’t seem to comprehend it, as we’ll see.
His dad grew frustrated that his son was unable to learn spelling. His dad in a particularly frustrating lesson hit his son, Edgar. At that moment the voice of the lady came back to him and said “If you can sleep a little, we can help you.”
He asked his father’s permission to take a five-minute nap, and his dad allowed it. He put his spelling book under his head, dozed off, and when his dad came back he knew every word in the book, including page numbers.
Edgar Cayce was a psychic who would have people send him their medical problems for him to diagnose. He would go into a trance and have the problem read to him. In his trance state, he would prescribe a solution to their problem. One such series of readings progressed as follows:
Even more eerie was his prescription, “oil of smoke.” Again, no catalogue listed it. No one had heard of it. They took another reading. The name of a Louisville drugstore was given. Ketchum wired the store for a bottle. The reply: never heard of it. “We took a third reading. This time a shelf in the back of the Louisville drugstore was named. There, behind another preparation – which was named – would be found a bottle of ‘Oil of Smoke,’ so the reading said. I wired the information to the manager of the Louisville store. He wired back, ‘Found it.’ The bottle arrived in a few days. It was old. The label was faded. The company which put it up had gone out of business. But it was just what he said it was, ‘Oil of Smoke.’ ” This story was related to Professor Miinsterberg, or so Sugrue reports. It is unlikely that Ketchum would make himself appear to be a fool in front of a Harvard professor. Cayce did possess astounding powers. Or, to put it more accurately, astounding powers possessed Cayce.
SLAVE AND MASTER
Edgar had a problem with losing his voice. It would become hoarse, and then he would lose it. When Cayce first encountered the problem, he went to a local amateur hypnotist. The hypnotist, being familiar with Cayce’s past, got the idea to put him into a trance. He asked a hypnotized Cayce to diagnose his problem. He spoke: “Yes, we can see the body.“
The “voice” said Cayce had insufficient circulation. The voice spoke in the plural. This recalls a familiar story from the New Testament:
And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him. (Luke 8:30)
And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many. (Mark 5:9)
The amateur hypnotist suggested to the voice, just as Cayce did with those whose illnesses he diagnosed, that he heal himself.
As North documents, “Cayce’s neck grew pink, then bright red. Twenty minutes later, it became normal again. Layne told Cayce to wake up, and when he did, his voice had returned.” 
Edgar Cayce had problems with losing his voice for his entire life. Though medical science could not diagnose or treat his problem, to those familiar with the occult it was a clear case of occult bondage. His readings had to go on. If he stopped giving them, he lost his voice.
He became a slave to his power — or, rather, to the source of his power.
A DANGEROUS FASCINATION
While incredible to most people — even today, with “Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E.” organization going strong on the web — Edgar’s “powers” are not to be envied or desired. In the end, the “voice” achieved its primary goal: Edgar renounced his Christian upbringing and embraced occultic philosophies. His readings later in life were particularly fascinated with Atlantis.
Not only did Cayce’s fascination with occultic power lead him astray from the Gospel of Christ and God’s promise of authority and dominion granted by ethical obedience to His word and law, it continues to lead new people astray everyday. People who are weak in their faith or who don’t know the Gospel stumble upon Cayce’s legacy and believe that Edgar’s talents are talents we should all have — that if we just study hard enough and attain enlightenment we’ll all develop Edgar Cayce’s “powers.”
This is the cunning of the devil on full display. Edgar for many years did nothing but heal people with his “power.” He concluded that since his “powers” — his prescriptions, given by “the voice” when in his trance state — never allowed him to harm anyone, they must be a “force” of “good.”
This is a common conclusion drawn by humanistic rationality.
THE TRAP IS SPRUNG
In a rather tragic moment of honesty, Edgar Cayce admitted: “If ever the Devil was going to play a trick on me, this would be it.”
Shortly before this admission, Cayce, a Sunday school teacher, agreed to give an astrological reading to an occult philosopher. Edgar’s “voice” told the philosopher that the philosopher had once been a monk.
That means reincarnation — which goes against Christian religion. Cayce had been a reader of the Bible his whole life, but when the rubber hit the road, his convictions failed him. As we are told in the book of Hebrews:
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:27-28)
When the voice — whom had gained Edgar’s trust for so long by doing “good” by healing sick people — finally tested Edgar’s faith, he broke from the teaching of the Bible and confessed total loyalty to the source of his power.
It was shortly after this that his readings began to move beyond just helping the sick and into the more outrageous realm of the occult.
Men are looking for two things out of life: meaning and power. If they have abandoned all hope in life, they will turn to the realm of the mystical for escape. Perhaps if they can’t find meaning, they can try to find power. Perhaps if they are naive they will think they’ve found both.
This essay will conclude in Part 6, where we review some of the specifics of what the Bible reveals to us about demon possession and how they may apply in the news stories circulating the Internet today.