Edgar Cayce (March 18, 1877 – January 3, 1945) was an American mystic who allegedly possessed the ability to answer questions on subjects as varied as healing, reincarnation, wars, Atlantis and future events while in a trance. These answers came to be known as “life readings of the entity” and were usually delivered to individuals while Cayce was hypnotized. This ability gave him the nickname “The Sleeping Prophet”. Cayce founded a nonprofit organization, the Association for Research and Enlightenment that included a hospital and a university.
He is credited as being the father of holistic medicine and the most documented psychic of the 20th century. Hundreds of books have been written about him and his life readings for individuals. Though Cayce himself was a member of the Disciples of Christ and lived before the emergence of the New Age Movement, some consider him the true founder and a principal source of its most characteristic beliefs.
Cayce became a celebrity toward the end of his life, and he believed the publicity given to his prophecies overshadowed the more important parts of his work, such as healing the sick and studying religion.
Augustus Montague Summers (10 April 1880 – 10 August 1948) was an English author and clergyman. He is known primarily for his scholarly work on the English drama of the 17th century, as well as for his idiosyncratic studies on witches, vampires, and werewolves, in all of which he professed to believe. He was responsible for the first English translation, published in 1928, of the notorious 15th-century witch hunter’s manual, the Malleus Maleficarum.
Summers’ career as an ostensibly Catholic clergyman was highly unusual. He wrote works of hagiography on Saint Catherine of Siena and Saint Anthony Maria Zaccaria, but his primary religious interest was in the subject of the occult. While Aleister Crowley, with whom he was acquainted, adopted the persona of a modern-day witch, Summers played the part of the learned Catholic witch-hunter. In the introduction to his book on The History of Witchcraft and Demonology (1926) he writes:
In the following pages I have endeavoured to show the witch as she really was – an evil liver: a social pest and parasite: the devotee of a loathly and obscene creed: an adept at poisoning, blackmail, and other creeping crimes: a member of a powerful secret organisation inimical to Church and State: a blasphemer in word and deed, swaying the villagers by terror and superstition: a charlatan and a quack sometimes: a bawd: an abortionist: the dark counsellor of lewd court ladies and adulterous gallants: a minister to vice and inconceivable corruption, battening upon the filth and foulest passions of the age.
In 1928, he published the first English translation of Heinrich Kramer’s and James Sprenger’s Malleus Maleficarum (“The Hammer of Witches”), a 15th-century Latin text on the hunting of witches. In his introduction, Summers insists that the reality of witchcraft is an essential part of Catholic doctrine, and declares the Malleus to be an admirable and correct account of witchcraft and of the methods necessary to combat it. This should be contrasted with the vastly more skeptical and critical attitude of mainstream Catholic scholars, reflected for instance in the Rev. Herbert Thurston’s article on “Witchcraft” for the Catholic Encyclopaedia of 1912, which labels the publication of the Malleus a “disastrous episode.”
Montague Summers then turned to vampires, producing The Vampire: His Kith and Kin (1928) and The Vampire in Europe (1929), and later to werewolves with The Werewolf (1933). Summers’ work on the occult is notorious for his unusual and old-fashioned writing style, his display of erudition, and his purported belief in the reality of the subjects he treats.