New Hope Church
Big Springs is a small community in Rutherford County, TN, just south of Murfreesboro. In 1846, New Hope Baptist Church was established. Of course Tennessee has always been known as a very religious state, and Middle Tennessee especially. The first preacher was Rev. A. J. McNabb, who was a fire and brimstone type who gave very good sermons. For the first thirty-five or so years, nothing of real note happened. In the 1880s, however, a revival was held that is considered by some to be the greatest revival in history. What actually happened is not clear, but legend has it that the preacher summoned fire from Heaven. Much to everyone presents surprise, the fires actually appeared. In the midst of it all, a giant barrel fell from the sky. Naturally, everyone was terrified, and most ran or hid. Many horses and other animals ran as fast as they could to escape.
For years following this event, everyone debated on what it could possibly mean. One theory was that the Wrath of God had been brought upon the church. According to legend, one of the early members of the church had killed a drifter and stole his money. Afterwards, he felt guilty, and donated the money to the church, which it used to construct the building. The ill-gotten “blood money” of course was a sin in God’s eyes, so He decided to reveal to the people that their church was cursed.
For years following this event, mysterious things happened at the church. Strange lights emulated from the church. One night the “stars from the sky fell” just following a Wednesday night meeting. The sounds of a baby crying was heard, and some people even reported encountering a headless ghost! According to legend, if you venture into the cemetery and touch a tombstone, the crying will cease.
In 1901, a new church was built and the old one removed. The supernatural occurrences are thought to have stopped, though many in the community remain leery, and some refuse to pass by at night. On my trip, I felt a little uneasy, though that might have just been the power of suggestion. I also saw several deer grazing nearby.