The Edgar Cayce readings were a series of sessions during which Cayce placed himself in a trance and answered questions about a variety of subjects, primarily those concerned with matters of health. The readings were usually mediated by his wife. In total, Cayce gave more than 14,000 readings.
Cayce, who was originally from Hopkinsvile, Ky., began having psychic experiences very early in life. One of the first demonstrations of his talent was his ability to memorize books by sleeping on top of them. As an adult, Cayce realized he could put himself in touch with what he called the "universal consciousness" simply by lying on a couch and crossing his hands over his stomach. He could answer questions posed to him by people who were not necessarily in the room with him and who, in some instances, were hundreds of miles away, in his trances. Sometimes the questions were about very specific health concerns. Other times the questions were about world events or pertained to general philosophical questions about life.
In 1931, Cayce founded a nonprofit organization to research the claims regarding his readings. It still exists today and has cataloged all of his readings according to topic. Though he is considered one of the pioneers of new age medicine, Cayce himself was devoutly religious and purportedly read the Bible from beginning to end each year. He died in 1945.