Edgar Cayce and A.T. Still
The Edgar Cayce physical readings rely heavily on the traditional osteopathy of his era. Apparently Cayce once met A.T. Still (founder of osteopathy) and felt a strong resonance with that historic figure.
As a psychic diagnostician, Edgar Cayce made several referrals to the Still-Hildreth Osteopathic sanitarium in Macon, Missouri. Below is a sample of the correspondence between Cayce and A.G. Hildreth, D.O (co-founder of the hospital). Based on the letter by Hildreth, it is clear that the parents of Dr. Hildreth were "spiritualists" and that A.T. Still himself was also likely to have been a spiritualist. Spiritualism, as a movement, began in the 19th century and was known for the practice of spirit communication. Interestingly, Still (founder of osteopathy) and Palmer (founder of chiropractic) both were involved in spiritualism:
"Andrew Taylor Still (1845-1917) [osteopathy] and Daniel David Palmer (1845-1913) [chiropractic] were contemporaries, founders of dissenting schools of healing, school heads, philosophers, father figures to marginal professions, editors and authors. Both were spiritualists, doctrinaire eccentrics . . . and both taught that man and his healing was the product of a supreme being." (Brantingham, 1986, pp. 18-19)
A book by Edgar Cayce's granddaughter (see below) documents the similarities in the readings of Edgar Cayce and the writings of A.T. Still.
Brantingham, J. W. (1986). Still and Palmer: The impact of the first osteopath and the first chiropractor. Chiropractic History, 6, 19-22.
Osteopathy: Comparative Concepts __ A. T. Still And Edgar Cayce – This text was compiled by J. Gail Cayce (granddaugher of Edgar Cayce). It focuses primarly on the conceptual and philosophical similarities between the readings of Edgar Cayce and the writings of A. T. Still.
Correspondence Between Cayce And Hildreth – Below are two letters: One from Cayce to A.G. Hildreth; the other a reply from Hildreth.
[Text of Letter from Edgar Cayce to A. G. Hildreth]
May 16, 1935
Dr. A. G. Hildreth
Dear Dr. Hildreth:
I appreciate your letter of the 8th more than I can tell you; I appreciate your giving me the background for your interest in a work of this nature. While the time was short that I spent with Dr. Still on his visit some years ago in Kentucky, the most of it was spent in talking over many things that had happened in the experience of each. Of course, you can realize that during the thirty-five years that I have been doing this work I have come in contact with physicians of almost every school. A great many have shown interest. More have said taboo. And quite a number have, after years, come back and said, “We have found it worthwhile.” That the information in the readings has more often and more consistently suggested osteopathy than any other one character of treatment, of course, is one of the things that has caused many of the medical profession to question same. Why it has done this I do not know, but we have quite a number of osteopaths throughout the country who are very well acquainted with the results individuals have obtained, even when applying medicine and other local applications in connection with osteopathy. Osteopaths seem more open-minded and willing to cooperate with any school of treatment which may help the individual. Just as our friend Dr. Frank Dobbins of New York City said some weeks ago, “When I have forty-eight cases that come with the readings, and I follow the treatments suggested—even though some of them are not exactly as I have been trained to give them, and I see all forty-eight patients get the results as promised in the readings, then I have to believe something.” Or as Dr. Gravett of Dayton, Ohio, said some years ago, “When I see seventy-five cases osteopathically correctly diagnosed through the readings, I know there’s something to it.”
Dr. Hildreth, I do hope that sometime we may have the opportunity to each view personally the other’s field of activity. I would indeed deem it a privilege to be able to go through your institution. And if you are ever this way again, I do want you to stop in and see the amount of data we have on hand, and the reports we have had from people all over the country who have gotten results by carrying out their readings—most of whom we have never met personally . . . We have had quite a number of cases of dementia praecox, but never one thoroughly tested yet with the treatment suggested through the readings; because the ones we have had have been so closely allied with the medical profession that no cooperation could be obtained in following any other mode of treatment suggested. In a few cases we have seen people removed from insane institutions by some sympathetic physician administering some simple remedy outlined in the readings, but these have been very few—and have been scattered through the entire thirty-five years of experience with this work. So, it is indeed a wonderful thing that such an institution as yours exists. I’m sure Dr. A. T. Still was happy, is happy, to know that such an institution exists—for the good it has done and may do for suffering humanity . . .
[signed by Edgar Cayce]
[Letter from A. G. Hildreth to Edgar Cayce]
STILL-HILDRETH OSTEOPATHIC SANATORIUM
Office of Superintendent
A. G. HILDRETH, D.O.
May 24, 1935
Dr. Edgar Cayce
Association for Research & Enlightenment
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Dear Doctor Cayce:
Your highly appreciated letter and literature came. I have read with very much interest all you had to say. The facts are, Mr. Cayce, I have been raised in an atmosphere similar to that which you found in Dr. Still and as to belief and liberality relative to the type of work you are doing my mother and father were spiritualists for a great many years before I was born before there was much known about that phenomenon and they were steadfast in their attitude, even through all criticism and ridicule heaped upon their belief.
I am very sure you are doing a splendid work, one that is of vast benefit to a great many people.
Note what you say about Dr. Still’s joy over the work at this institution. He always stated when the time came our profession could own buildings of our own and surround those people with the right kind of an atmosphere there was a great number of the mentally sick that could be cured osteopathically and this institution here was in line with his thought and his desire and his sons contacted this property before I did and they selected me, or said they would consider it if I would agree to take charge of it.This was a source of great pleasure to Dr. Still and while its establishment came so late in his life that he was never able to visit us at Macon, only thirty-two miles from Kirksville, yet he was vitally interested and frequently sent for me to talk over our work here and always expressed his delight over the fact we had this institution here where we could offer our services to humanity along the line of his discovery. There is no question in our minds not only that he enjoyed this institution while alive but he is equally interested in it now and happy over the results we are able to produce.
I note what you say about dementia praecox [schizophrenia] and relative to Miss [ . . . ]’s brother. We will be very glad if we can serve them. There is no way to know other than by trial what can be accomplished for him, but a trial is certainly worthwhile. We are deeply grateful to you for your attitude. We are grateful we can offer to those poor individuals whose lives if they must live to the end insane, which is worse than death, a chance to get well. Don’t misunderstand me, I appreciate fully your good words and your interest in our type of work but over and above my own benefit and my profession’s comes first the glory of helping some body get well who has been pronounced incurable.
I presume you are well acquainted with conditions relative to dementia praecox, or rather the fact there is no treatment for it so far as the old system is concerned; hence, if we can establish, as we are, a percentage of cures great enough to interest the reading public perhaps the time will come when the whole world can recognize that insanity may be cured through osteopathic treatment or some similar method.
As to the attitude of the old school men relative to our work and yours, it does not bother me any because I know it is based on prejudice. It is too bad the whole medical world could not extend their right hand to any and all avenues that offer more and better results in the cure of dementia praecox and in the cure of disease.
Like yourself I would be happy if I could meet you and have a long talk and visit and I assure you should we travel east anytime again we will try and make that opportunity. We would be happy to have you visit Macon, see and know for yourself of our work and our results. It is very fine of you to take the time you do in writing me such interesting letters. By the way, I am well acquainted with Dr. Gravett of Dayton and consider him one of my real friends. The facts are I know a great many osteopaths throughout the length and breadth of the land and only hope I can return at least in part to you in a way that will help you personally for the good things you say and do for our profession.
With good wishes, I am,
A. G. Hildreth, D.O.
[photocopy of Hildreth’s letter – click to enlarge]