I’ve been asked in interviews about J B. Rhine’s opinion of psychic Edgar Cayce. I didn’t really research this a lot. But I did learn that at one point Upton Sinclair had suggested that the lab study Edgar Cayce. Rhine was less than enthusiastic.
They’d gone to Virginia Beach once to test Cayce, Rhine told Sinclair, and Cayce charged them $25 per trial (and he missed), plus $40 for medicines only Cayce’s supply housed. Nonetheless, Rhine said they were planning another test when Cayce died.
When I went back to Duke in March I came across a March 3, 1966 letter where Rhine made a statement about Cayce.
“There is no reliable information, so far as I know, of any other source for the late Mr. Edgar Cayce’s statements, made in what is claimed to have been an unconscious state, than Mr. Cayce’s mind itself. I would not want to put any confidence in the claims that this information came from other sources. To determine that it did would require a much more carefully controlled study than was made during Mr. Cayce’s life time.
“Our own researches has led us to the working hypothesis that everyone has some potential psi (psychic) ability such as has been claimed for Mr. Cayce, but that Mr. Cayce had more than the average person has, as I have said, not been satisfactorily proved so far as I know.
“Naturally I cannot and would not want to say that Mr Cayce did not possess unusual psi ability, but I would insist with strong emphasis that it is not responsible to make a cult out of belief in these powers in an individual without the careful scientific study of the claims that were available throughout Mr. Cayce’s lifetime.”