New Hightower Baptist Church during the day is beautiful with its picturesque backdrop. It is not much different on a cold, winter evening in February. The lights bathe the small southern church with an opalescence that is somewhat mesmerizing, especially on a clear night with the stars and crescent moon visible above it in a velvet sky. The woods around it are laid bare this time of year, stripped of their leafy foliage. Across the way, the graveyard also has its own cloak of pristine light. The large tree, that others have dubbed “The Hanging Tree” or “The Bleeding Tree” in the 1960’s and 1970’s, stands tall and seems to be guarding over those in their eternal rest.
The atmosphere is, well, extremely quiet – even late at night. A sense of complete calm and serenity hovers over the whole area. It is so quiet, in fact, that one could hear the sound of a stray leaf or acorn falling. No feelings of dread or angry spirits seemed to be lurking. Since the article was published about this church about 10 months ago, members of ParanormalSouth.com have done further investigations at this location. A lot of interesting people with their own paranormal research stories have been encountered, but there have been no solid evidence of any paranormal activity found thus far by our team.
The investigation at New Hightower Baptist Church took a lot of turns and thanks to the feedback we have received from our readers. This information gave us a much more interesting perspective and insight that we didn’t have previously. We initially wanted to start the investigation at the beginning of the church’s history. It was soon evident that the beginning of the founding of New Hightower Baptist Church was far from the start of this story.
Hightower is a common name in Ball Ground and Canton, Georgia, when looking at historical records. “Etowah”, we learned, is (loosely) the Cherokee word for “Hightower”. Both of these are commonly used in street and location names in this area.
Etowah is derived from the English word, Hightower. When settlers first came into that region of Georgia and saw the tall mounds, they called them high towers and river that ran beside them the Hightower River. Etowah is the pronunciation of Hightower by the Cherokees, who lived around those mounds.
Canton has been the site of various ancient Native American sites, one of which included a large site discovered in 1995, which is now the current location of Walmart near 575 – Exit 20 (Riverstone Parkway). The site was discovered during Walmart’s construction. The graves were relocated from what is the present day parking lot, along with remains of an old fort that was discovered at what is now the Walmart Garden Center. Over 20 years after the Trail of Tears ended, New Hightower Baptist Church was built on land that is quite possibly property received in the Cherokee Land Lottery of 1832.
Although our team did not turn up solid evidence of paranormal activity, we did receive stories from others that did. Here are some of those stories (paraphrased and removed names):
- One reader stated that she was a member of New Hightower Baptist Church in Canton GA, along with her entire family, and they regularly attended services. She has family members buried in the cemetery, and she grew up visiting their graves often and playing on the church grounds. She never saw or heard anything odd, even when she went to the church at night to prove to her high school friends that it wasn’t haunted. She believes that “the area just has some bad seeds”. She says “the church isn’t haunted, people just like to talk it up.”
- One reader stated he visited this church and had a “negative entity” attack him in the woods by the baptizing pool. He experienced a cold spot in July and felt “a long claw or nail” run from one shoulder blade all the way across his back to the other one. He heard a very faint like voice that said “follow me”. He later found “three long claw marks” across his leg, which felt like it was on fire, when he returned quickly to his car. It was an experience he would not soon forget.
The largest story was received from a paranormal team called Northwest GA Paranormal. They had paired up with Rome Area’s Paranormal team to visit “Hell’s Church”. They discussed having shadowy figures on film, and mysterious mists. An infrared camera captured one of their team members talking about her skin feeling like it was on fire, and they captured her dark veins in the camera at night. They also captured EVPs, stating things such as, “help me”, “get out”, and obscenities – these photographs and recordings are captured and published on their paranormal pages.
We were intrigued and reached out for more information. They went on a full moon in January 2016, several of them went to the baptismal pool while one stayed in the cemetery. Under the moonlight, a dark figure was seen walking that was “darker than the dark”. It moaned and ducked down by a grave when its picture was taken. It is also published on their page. The photographer felt sick after looking at the photo immediately after it was taken, and felt maybe that was a mistake and could have possibly made the figure angry. He retreated and heard footsteps on the road, and he thought it was someone from his team sneaking up on him. He took a photo and ended up capturing a ghostly mist, which could not be replicated in other photographs that immediately followed. There are several pictures that show orbs as well in the cemetery. It sounds like they captured some interesting content!
If you are interested in reading more about these paranormal teams – seeing their photos and hearing their EVP recordings, their Facebook pages are listed below:
Again, ParanormalSouth.com’s team did not capture any unexplained anomalies while on location at New Hightower Baptist Church. We were using professional grade cameras, and we were very mindful of lighting sources (such as the streetlight) to prevent lens flares – which could explain some photographs with orbs and other similar phenomenon that others have captured. Recording devices that were used were shielded from wind, which can mimic whispering voices or other strange sounds that could sound ominous. We experimented with long-exposure photography as well (which have been published on this page), which also did not capture anything out of the ordinary. Several trips were taken at various times of day to the cemetery and baptismal pool with no paranormal activities felt, observed, or captured by our equipment. In our opinion, this is not a paranormal hotspot. There have been others that have recorded and experienced audio and video anomalies, it is up to our readers to decide what they choose to believe.
In closing, we would like to remind anyone who is interested in visiting New Hightower Baptist Church that is an active church with an active cemetery. We ask that you be respectful and mindful of that fact. Many other historical cemeteries that date back to the 1800’s have become locked down and heavily patrolled since 2005-2010 due to vandalism. We appreciate your interest in this article and hope you will review future articles as ParanormalSouth.com performs new investigations.