Feature articles from Fate #358 January 1980
Martin Ebon’s report for Fate opens with a recap of 1980’s current history: “His Imperial Highness Mohammed Riza Shah Pahlevi, who governed Iran with the certainty that he had been chosen to lead his backward nation to the status of a 21st-Century superpower, was ignominiously forced into exile early in 1979.”
True to its title, “The Mystic Visions of the Shah of Iran” focuses on the unique events the Shah experienced throughout his life.
At the age of seven, the future Shah lay sick with typhoid fever for weeks. One night in a dream, Ali, the husband of Mohammed’s daughter, came to him. He later wrote of the encounter in his autobiography. “He was sitting on his heels on the floor and in his hands he held a bowl containing a liquid. He told me to drink, which I did. That day the crisis of my fever was over and I was on the road to rapid recovery.”
In another childhood event, the boy travels a steep trail on horseback to Emamzadeh-Dawood, a favorite spot of his family’s in the mountains above Teheran. When the horse slips, Riza Pahlevi falls headfirst onto a jagged rock and faints. “When I regained consciousness the members of the party were expressing astonishment that I had not even a scratch. I told them that, as I fell, I had clearly seen one of our saints named Abbas and that I had felt him holding me and preventing me from crashing my head against the rock.”
A third event in the Royal Palace of Shimran, gave him further proof he was supernaturally protected. A vision of a man with a halo around his head. “As we passed one another I knew him at once. He was a descendant of Mohammed who, according to our faith, disappeared but is expected to come again to save the world.” It was an apparition. His guardian, also present, saw nothing. But the future Shah was undeterred from this lack of corroboration. He believed the vision true even if he alone was its sole witness.
As an adult, the Shah experienced no further visions. But early in his adult life, as a pilot, he made a miraculous landing when the engine of the plane he was flying cut out. He and his passenger escaped almost certain death without a scratch.
He summed up his seemingly unbelievable luck: “I am convinced that I have been able to accomplish things which, unaided by some unseen hand, I could never have done.”