2. The novel Crucible: McCoy - Provenance of Shadows establishes that there was a real Benny Russell in the mid-20th Century. Of course, the Crucible trilogy is not set in the same continuity as most Treklit novels -- but I personally think there's a reasonable argument to be made that Benny Russell may have existed in the "real" Trekverse and that he may have been given visions of the 24th Century to inspire his writing by the Prophets -- who perhaps deliberately sought to link these two men's lives across the centuries.
I just don't find that convincing. The scenario in FBTS was too allegorical.
Plus it makes the Prophets real jerks, ruining that poor guy's life just so they could send Sisko a cryptic vision they could just as easily have fabricated as a pure illusion.
But the Prophets have done terrible things to people when it suited them and their goals. The story of Sisko's mother Sarah
, who was possessed by a Prophet and in such a state made not only to marry Joseph but conceive and bring to term a child, comes to mind. (The fact that she left a year after Benjamin's birth makes me think that this wasn't consensual. I've suspicions about her death, too.)