The Day the Laugh Man Came to Town

He lost his job selling dry goods and then he lost his job in the bookstore. His dreams of becoming a doctor and a preacher weren’t working out either, but that was okay, his young fiancé loved him all the more. He went into partnership with his father but his promising start as an insurance salesman was cut short when he developed a mysteriously incurable case of laryngitis. Unable to speak above a whisper, he found work as a photographer’s assistant on Main Street in the little town of Hopkinsville, Kentucky. And in doing this, he finally was beginning to feel himself finding a place in life.

All of the strange events that had characterized his childhood seemed to be fading into the past. Edgar was becoming, at last, “normal.” He began dreaming of the simple life, and he and Gertrude discussed their plans for a quiet, happy future together.

It was at this point that a man named Hart came to town. He called himself the Laugh Man, but his specialty was as a hypnotist. While preparing for his show at the Opera House on February 12, 1901, he was told about the young man who had lost his voice. He made sure that Edgar was in the audience that night.

Before a packed house, the Laugh Man placed Edgar into a trance.

“Edgar... do you hear me? I want you to answer me in a clear voice... a confident voice... because, Edgar... your laryngitis is gone.”

“I understand,” Edgar replied strongly, without a trace of the rasp that had plagued him.

By the end of the next month, Edgar Cayce began placing himself under hypnosis. The quiet life he had dreamed of was put away forever when he fathered America’s New Age movement and became the “Sleeping Prophet.”

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