Piercing a Black Canopy of Evil
John C. Rankin (April 4, 2014)
The day I submitted the petitions for a statewide referendum on human life on August 3, 1988, to the Secretary of State’s office in Boston (see Witchcraft in the Midst of Massachusetts Politics), a torrent of witchcraft and demonic came against me and my family. I was caught totally off guard. And it continued through the 1989-1991 season of our Sacred Assembly for the Unborn at Preterm abortion center in Brookline. And I write about some major highlights in companion articles.
I wrote many notes during this season, but at present cannot locate a certain portion of them. So here, to the best of my recollection, let me give a few highlights. And when I locate them, I can make comparison and give a fuller accounting (and see if I have conflated any details).
The Boston chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) fiercely opposed our referendum and pro-life witness at Preterm (including when we were periodically at the neighboring Repro abortion center, where once when we had 30-40 people in worship, where about the same number of women exercised public witchcraft curses against us, with howls and other demonstrative hatred as they surrounded us).
In fact, in 1987, I had one of my seminary “field education” students pay a visit to their office on Commonwealth Avenue near Boston University, to ask them for their thoughts on our planned referendum question: “In biological terms, when does an individual human life begin?” It was multiple choice in terms of answers (conception, viability, birth or write in a different biological term). The response, I was told, was almost apoplectic. They feared it deeply, for as I surmised, the referendum was seeking an accurate definition of terms via the consent of the governed, that which serves truly informed choice, and thus on both counts, able to cut through the mythology of the 1973 Roe v. Wade imposition of abortion on the nation.
And as soon as we submitted the petitions, qualifying in 105 state representative districts across the state, the next day Boston NOW had a team of its members checking every signature. Their collusion with the political powers that be was obvious, and they did not challenge any of the nearly 26,000 signatures.
Our House in Manchester
We then rented a house in Manchester, on the North Shore (which shortly thereafter changed its official name to “Manchester-by-the-Sea”). Beginning that summer, a whole range of demonic manifestations appeared, as it were, out of nowhere.
Once in prayer, I had a strong vision, of a lightning bolt coming through “strata” in the heavenlies, from the top of a small forested hill across the nearby major street, through our house, through the backyard and into a stream in a modest wooded ravine, that connected to a pond and a further stream that emptied into the Atlantic Ocean about one mile away. The hill had a certain reputation of a history of cloistered violence. And in our backyard our eldest son, who loved to dig for old coins and bottles, discovered some bones and was somewhat freaked. And every time he would go toward the ravine and stream he sensed spiritual darkness.
We prayed about it, and at one discernible time, I knew a breakthrough had been made. As I asked the Lord for what all this meant, I sensed a “haunt” in the ravine of a three-hundred year old demon, and demons do haunt places where there has been violence and bloodshed. I later lined up the possibility of a connection with the 1690 Salem Witch trials, just down the coast, almost exactly three centuries prior.
In the midst of that season, we were hosting a temporarily homeless family of seven, and we were a family of five at the time prior to the birth of our daughter. All this in a three bedroom cape, but the two bedroom on the second floor were quite large. The young son of our friends had a terrifying experience, when he saw a burning light appear above his head, and it touched his finger and burned him.
Also, there was a week when the whole house was teeming with what I sensed to be a “gathering of demons,” to everyone’s painful awareness. On the Friday evening before going down to Preterm, I was up late praying. It was so intense, I called some friends who were involved with us in coming down to Preterm, and asked them to pray. They contacted a number of friends and did so. At midnight, in my prayers I sensed strongly the Lord saying, “the intercession is complete.” Thus, with everyone asleep, I went to the top of the stairs and prayed over the whole house, declaring the peace of the Lord. I felt an immediate and great peace descend. The turnaround was dramatic for everyone from that point forward. And the next day, my friends told me that in their prayers, they knew a breakthrough had occurred just before midnight.
In this season too, after our friends moved out, my wife and I had several days off to go to Cape Cod, while our children were cared for. On the way home, my wife dropped me at my office in Boston. As she drove up to the North Shore she was painfully aware if a horde of demons literally chasing her, including the directed in-your-face cursings by some passersby on Route 1 in Saugus.
Around that same time, late afternoon, I heard the Lord clearly say to take an early train home, that my wife was in need. In an era prior to cell phones, I knew nothing of what she was going through. As I was above to leave and walk to the train at North Station, she called, begging me to come right home, deeply terrified by the demonic attack. And on the train ride, I remember sitting next to a woman dripping with the occult, who got off at Salem (not surprisingly), but more than that, there was a deeper sense of the darkness crowding against us from various angles. When I arrived at home, we prayed for a period, and the darkness lifted.
Also in that season, we all traveled by car to Ithaca, New York, where I was speaking and addressing a debate. Here I learned of some spiritual warfare of a remarkable nature, and when driving home, my wife and I were talking about it. At this point, in the back seat, out two older sons got energized. They spoke of having been up to the small forested hill not far from our house, and it being a dark and scary place, and that their peers felt the same, and knew various stories dealing with theft and murder associated with the place.
But especially, when I told them about the lightning bolt vision, and the exact day when our prayers broke through, the eldest boy got very excited. “Dad – that is why I never wanted to take out the trash at night.” He had experienced the presence of supernatural evil emanating from the ravine. “But ever since [three weeks ago], the evil is gone, I am peaceful and unafraid when I take the trash out.”
Black Canopy at Preterm Pierced
Finally here, in the summer of 1990, we had a remarkable experience at Preterm abortion center. A church in the central part of the state sent a team of 30 or so people on a given Saturday every month, also bring with them a number of their young children. At the end of the morning on one such time, the person leading worship (with a guitar for our sidewalk gathering) told the pastor of a vision he had been experiencing all morning. Namely, there was a black canopy of evil in the heavenlies over the abortion center and immediate neighborhood. But as our our prayers and praises rose up, the canopy was being stretched toward breaking, as though being pushed back by various spear tips. But it did not break.
The next month, there was a different worship leader. When the group was packing at the end of the morning, he told the pastor of a vision he experienced all morning. And he had no knowledge of the prior vision that had been shared. He saw a black canopy of evil in the heavenlies over the abortion center and immediate neighborhood. And as our our prayers and praises rose up, the canopy was stretched by such an assault against evil, then it broke. And on that day, and prior to this report being shared, we noticed a dramatic change in the heavenlies, and discrete advances in the fruit of ministry as our opposition – human and demonic – was in retreat.