It was a hot, uncomfortable, feverish night for me. It was late September 2001, a few weeks after the 911 terrorist attacks on America. Around two a.m., I woke up drenched in sweat and for hours I just lay awake in bed, contending with the fever. After a few hours of suffering with the fever, an extraordinary vision appeared. What follows is not a snapshot vision of something paranormal or spiritual. Rather, I saw a three-dimensional series of images, as if I were watching a movie. Except, I wasn’t just watching the movie. I was right in the middle of it.
My experience started with a terrifying vision of a thundering red horse, stampeding out of control. The horse was reddish brown, but to me it was the “Red Horse.” It was so frightening, and much of this I experienced at “ground level” as if I might be trampled myself. I did not have any question at all what the red horse was. It was the rage of a the radicalized proportion of the Islamic world who hated America and who considered Bin Laden to be a hero. I saw how out of control the red horse was, but “out of control” is not a sufficient description. He was powerful, running full speed, and seemed unstoppable. I watched the red horse run for thirty to sixty minutes.
Most of the details of the vision I do not remember. I do recall quite clearly that, periodically, saints, sages, and avatars would appear to me, and then leave. This divine group included Jesus, Ramana Maharshi, Shirdi Sai Baba and Sathya Sai Baba, the last three being great Indian saints.
Of the many scenes in this “vision,” one stands out vividly. I had entered a theatre, walked down the main aisle until I was at the front of the auditorium. I then turned around and looked at the entire theatre. It was a large theatre, one floor, with a moderate rise from the front to the back of the auditorium. I walked outside, and saw a very bright blast of light inside the theatre. The explosion was dome-shaped.
The horse continued to run. I felt the rage of millions of people within the red horse. Then, I was startled to see a large, powerful bald eagle that swooped down, grabbed the red horse by the neck, carried him into the air and flew him away. I knew that the eagle had killed the red horse. I knew that America would triumph in the war on terror, and that we would largely be safe.
Because I was raised a devout Jewish atheist, I grew up with no knowledge of Jesus or his teachings. For the purpose of sharing this vision with you, I thought an Internet search on “red horse” would be appropriate. I was not looking for Biblical references, but I will share one that seems appropriate.
Revelation 6:3-4 “And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.”
I don’t cite this Biblical reference as a fact but rather as something to ponder. I knew in my heart that the red horse symbolized Islamic rage out of control. Not all of Islam, but the millions worldwide who identified and agreed with Bin Laden. I knew the red horse was about war. And I personally experienced the rage of millions of people as that red horse stampeded through my consciousness. As I now reflect, the many appearance of Jesus during my vision may make some Biblical sense.
When the vision finally ended, I called a friend of mine, classical guitarist Pepe Romero, and shared the vision. I knew that Pepe had played in every major theatre in the Western world, and I was pretty sure that the theatre I saw was in New York City. Pepe asked me to describe it, and then he told me which theatre he thought it was. I then went to the Internet, and saw how similar the theatre really was that Pepe had suggested to the one I had seen in the vision.
I called the FBI in New York and asked for a field agent regarding information related to 911. I introduced myself. “Hello. I’m Dr. David Gersten. I’m a psychiatrist, but I have a lot of psychic experiences. I have had a vision regarding 911 and a possible attack on a theatre in New York City. You probably get a lot of calls like this don’t you, from people with psychic impressions?”
“No,” He said quite slowly. “We don’t get any calls like this. And I am taking what you are saying quite seriously. I will have this investigated right away.” The FBI agent could sense the sincerity, honesty, integrity, and fear in my words.
The fever was merely a vehicle that allowed the experience to happen, just as a Native American in search of his sacred vision will go on a vision quest, avoiding food and sleep for days, until the vision appears. I was clear about what I saw and that, in good conscience, I simply could not withhold the information, even though I wondered what the FBI agent would think. The information I shared with the FBI might have saved lives. I had a responsibility to share what I did.
I have a sense that NYPD and FBI paid special attention to the specific theatre in New York. To date, that theatre in New York has not been attacked. Perhaps the attention brought to the theatre saved lives. Perhaps I was just wrong. However, the Dubrovka Theater Center in Moscow came under siege by Islamic Chechen terrorists in October 2002. 128 people died while watching the musical “NORD-OST: the Story of Love.” How ironic for such an attack to occur during a musical about love. When I heard about the Dubrovka siege, I wondered if I had misinterpreted my vision, and was off by one continent in terms of the theatre attack.
The story illustrates the awesome power and emotion that people can experience when having other-worldly visions. The vision had such a strong sense of truth and reality about it, that I never questioned the overall sense of it. I did not question the grace of being visited by the holy men who came to me. Because I have spent decades sorting out the difference between miracles and madness, I did my own personal inventory. I did not harbor any thoughts that I had lost my mind. But how many people have had unusual experiences and don’t know if they are going crazy?