Grand Opening Celebration:
The History of A.R.E.
By Sidney Kirkpatrick
During Edgar Cayce’s long walks in the winter of 1927, he would pause at a remote stretch of windswept beach at Sixty-seventh Street and Atlantic Boulevard. Looking inland, he would stare up at a grassy knoll above the pines, the highest sand dune between Cape Henry and the city limits, and in his mind’s eye he would paint a picture of the hospital that he had come to Virginia Beach to build. He envisioned the building rising like a “lighthouse” over the sand and sea, becoming an enduring example of the motto soon to be etched into its cornerstone: “That we may make manifest the love of God and Man.”
The Cayce Hospital for Research and Enlightenment welcomed its first patient in 1929. The four-story building was designed along the classical lines of an antebellum plantation house, with a wide porch at the front running the length of the second floor and around the sides. The ground floor housed therapy and examination rooms. The entrance was on the second floor, with stairs leading up to it from the outside. Inside the front door was the lobby, opening into a dining room, doctors’ offices, lecture hall, and treatment rooms. The third and fourth floors housed beds for thirty patients. In keeping with Cayce’s holistic approach to living a balanced life, there were tennis courts, a croquet and shuffleboard park, a club room for card players, meditation garden, and beach cabanas where patients could experience the healing effects of the sea, sand, and sun.
A victim of the Great Depression, the hospital closed its doors in 1931. The realtor handling the property believed the building to be cursed because of the frequency with which it subsequently changed hands: over the next two decades the hospital became a hotel, a nightclub, a home for army nurses, a Masonic lodge, and a venue for summer theater. Mindful of Cayce’s dream of creating a permanent physical presence in Virginia Beach, the fledgling Association for Research and Enlightenment, the A.R.E., purchased the property back in 1955. “Like troops retaking ground lost in an earlier skirmish, its spiritual soldiers enjoyed a sense of triumph,” was how one grateful supporter described the return home.
With the same bold leadership with which the hospital property had been reclaimed, the A.R.E. began a building campaign in 1973 which resulted in a million-dollar visitor center. The new building would come to house the most extensive collection of metaphysical books and manuscripts in the world, and conference rooms would host tens of thousands visitors each year to hear lectures on such subjects as ESP, dreams, holistic health, meditation, energy healing, and life after death.
On June 27th, the A.R.E. once again celebrates the Cayce legacy. Following the 2012 completion of the Don and Nancy de Laski Education Center, and the extensive 2014 renovation of the adjacent Cayce Hospital building, the A.R.E.’s world-class signature programs—Atlantic University, the Cayce/Reilly School of Massage, the Health Center and Spa, and the Edgar Cayce Foundation vault and study room—have new state-of-the-art facilities. And for the first time since Cayce walked what has become the A.R.E. world headquarters, students and visitors can enjoy one another’s company at the Cayce/Miller Café and Copeland Dining Room. The new building complex doesn’t just reclaim old ground; it stands as Edgar Cayce first envisioned it: a welcoming “lighthouse” for fellow travelers on the spiritual journey.
The Grand Opening Celebration of the Cayce/Miller Café and Newly Renovated Cayce Hospital Building will be June 27, 2014 from 2-5 p.m. at Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E. in Virginia Beach. You can join the celebration of these amazing and historic changes and learn how they will help with future growth of the Cayce Work. The program will also be live-streamed around the globe. For details, visit EdgarCayce.org/GrandOpening.
Sidney D. Kirkpatrick III Award-winning documentary filmmaker and best-selling author, Sidney D. Kirkpatrick is a graduate of Kent School, in Kent, Conn.; Hampshire College, in Amherst, Mass.; and NYU Film School in New York. His critically acclaimed books include A Cast of Killers, Turning the Tide, and Edgar Cayce: An American Prophet, which is a biography of Edgar Cayce published in September 2000 that has been described by The New Yorker as "a codex for the New Age." His latest book is a true story of Nazi plunder titled Hitler's Holy Relics. Kirkpatrick is also the producer and director of My Father the President, a much-loved documentary film on President Theodore Roosevelt as seen through the eyes of his daughter Ethel Roosevelt Derby. He is a regular presenter at A.R.E. conferences. He and his wife Nancy regularly host events at their Portage Inn Bed & Breakfast (PortageInn.ca) in Muskoka, Ontario.