Exceptional Human Experience

male nerdy geek fall asleep with face on pile of books over white background

Discussion Post I Submitted for my Atlantic University TP5000 Course – May 7, 2019

The Exceptional Human Experience (EHE) that I found most remarkable, and disturbing, was a story about Edgar Cayce when as a boy he first became able to absorb large amounts of materials contained in books simply by resting his head on them.  The story, conveyed by Harmon Hartzell Bro’s book Edgar Cayce: A Seer out of Season, was a frightening look at how discipline was meted out the 1800s.  If writing a misspelled word on the blackboard 500 times after incorrectly spelling it in class wasn’t bad enough, Cayce’s father later that evening hit the poor boy every time he got a word wrong during an intensive drilling session that lasted well past Edgar’s bedtime.  As Bro calmly notes, “…the jars to his nervous system were considerable” (Bro, 2011, pp. 305)

Edgar begged and received a short reprieve from his father’s abusive treatment, and was granted a few moments of sleep.  He put his head down on his books for a short nap, and when he returned to his father, “he began to spell not only the words in the assigned lesson, but any word asked him from anywhere in the book.”  As the saying goes, “no good deed goes unpunished,” so Edgar’s father responded by beating him additionally because he believed his son was “holding out on him”  (Bro, 2011, p. 306).

This account is extraordinary on many levels.  First, it shows the calmness, patience, and grace a young Edgar Cayce displays in the face of an abusive family situation.  It also provides a glimpse into this remarkable soul’s childhood, and how even at that age he possessed amazing supernatural gifts.  He continued using his “osmosis” method of studying beyond this initial experience. It also illustrates his closeness to God, and how God responds by choosing him for a special role in life.  Finally, I believe God gave him the necessary knowledge that night to help him try to avoid further beatings, although his father still gave him a few parting shots before calling it a night.

Cayce’s remarkable gift of retaining material just by resting his head on books is clearly a supernatural gift, one of many given to this remarkable man.  Rhea White notes that such an EHE serves “as the portals to [a] more connected worldview, which is not so much a concept or idea as it is a noetic experience, an experience of knowing, and even beyond that, of being” (White, 1994, p. 3). In fact, much of Cayse’s life can be seen as a connection through various portals to the expanded universe.  Such an EHE can be intimidating to those of us who haven’t experienced such a phenomena.  White reassures us, however, that many EHEs “are at the upper end of what we think of as ‘normal’ experience, such as creativity, empathy, dreaming, and being ‘in the zone’ while engaging in sports”(White, 1994, p. 3). Good news for me anyway.


Bro, H.H. (2011). Edgar Cayce: A seer out of season. Virginia Beach, VA: A.R.E. Press.

White, R. A. (1994).  Exceptional human experience and the more we are exceptional human experience and identity.   Presented to the Academy of Religion and Psychical Research 1994 conference.  Retrieved: http://www.ehe.org/display/ehe-pagea229.html?ID=7

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