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'Serpent-Handling' West Virginia Pastor Dies From Snake Bite

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'Serpent-Handling' West Virginia Pastor Dies From Snake Bite

Old 05-30-12, 09:49 PM
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'Serpent-Handling' West Virginia Pastor Dies From Snake Bite

Darwin Awards alive and well


'Serpent-Handling' West Virginia Pastor Dies From Snake Bite
By ARLETTE SAENZ | ABC News 9 hrs ago...



A "serpent-handling" West Virginia pastor died after his rattlesnake bit him during a church ritual, just as the man had apparently watched a snake kill his father years before.

Pentecostal pastor Mark Wolford, 44, hosted an outdoor service at the Panther Wildlife Management Area in West Virginia Sunday, which he touted on his Facebook page prior to the event.

"I am looking for a great time this Sunday," Wolford wrote May 22, according to the Washington Post. "It is going to be a homecoming like the old days. Good 'ole raised in the holler or mountain ridge running, Holy Ghost-filled speaking-in-tongues sign believers."

Robin Vanover, Wolford's sister, told the Washington Post that 30 minutes into the outdoor service, Wolford passed around a poisonous timber rattlesnake, which eventually bit him.

"He laid it on the ground," Vanover said in the interview, "and he sat down next to the snake, and it bit him on the thigh."

Vanover said Wolford was then transported to a family member's home in Bluefield about 80 miles away to recover. But as the situation worsened, he was taken to a hospital where he later died.

Jim Shires, owner of the Cravens-Shires Funeral Home in Bluefield, told ABC News that Wolford died Monday. Wolford's church, the Apostolic House of the Lord Jesus in Matoaka, will host a viewing Friday and a funeral service Saturday morning. Wolford will be buried at the Hicks Family Plot in Phelps, Ky.

Officials at the Panther Wildlife Management Area had been unaware of Sunday's event until they were notified by callers after the service.

"We did not know that this event was happening, and if we had known about it or if we had been asked for permission, permission would not have been granted," Hoy Murphy, public information officer for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, told ABC News.

Hoy said West Virginia state park rules prohibit animals other than dogs and cats on the property.

While snake-handling is legal in West Virginia, other Appalachian states, including Kentucky and Tennessee, have banned the practice in public spaces.

Snake-handlers point to scripture as evidence that God calls them to engage in such a practice to show their faith in him. Mark 16: 17-18 reads, "And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."

Wolford told the Washington Post magazine in 2011 that he is carrying on the tradition of his ancestors by engaging in snake handling.

"Anybody can do it that believes it," Wolford said. "Jesus said, 'These signs shall follow them which believe.' This is a sign to show people that God has the power."

Wolford said watched his own father die at the age of 39 after a rattlesnake bit him during a similar service.

"He lived 101/2 hours," Wolford told the Washington Post Magazine. "When he got bit, he said he wanted to die in the church. Three hours after he was bitten, his kidneys shut down. After a while, your heart stops. I hated to see him go, but he died for what he believed in.

"I know it's real; it is the power of God," Wolford told the Washington Post Magazine last year. "If I didn't do it, if I'd never gotten back involved, it'd be the same as denying the power and saying it was not real."
Old 05-30-12, 09:56 PM
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Re: 'Serpent-Handling' West Virginia Pastor Dies From Snake Bite

grundle....?
Old 05-30-12, 09:58 PM
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Re: 'Serpent-Handling' West Virginia Pastor Dies From Snake Bite

Darwin. Definately. I am not as stupid so I am still alive.
Old 05-30-12, 10:46 PM
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Re: 'Serpent-Handling' West Virginia Pastor Dies From Snake Bite

This isn't unusual in those parts. Personally, I would have respect for a Pastor who was willing to back up his faith with his life.

So long as he didn't swear when it bit him.
Old 05-30-12, 10:57 PM
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Re: 'Serpent-Handling' West Virginia Pastor Dies From Snake Bite

I leave the thousands-of-years-old serpent-handling technique to whores. Not preachers.
Old 05-30-12, 10:59 PM
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Re: 'Serpent-Handling' West Virginia Pastor Dies From Snake Bite

Final Score :

Satan 1

Pastor 0
Old 05-30-12, 11:18 PM
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Re: 'Serpent-Handling' West Virginia Pastor Dies From Snake Bite

Big loss.
Old 05-30-12, 11:32 PM
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Re: 'Serpent-Handling' West Virginia Pastor Dies From Snake Bite

I'm surprised there are not a lot more deaths. Here is a sample of it in this video.

<iframe width="480" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/iUdc5h10zTo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Old 05-30-12, 11:33 PM
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Re: 'Serpent-Handling' West Virginia Pastor Dies From Snake Bite

These nutcases should jump from tall buildings. If God wants them to live, they'll live.
Old 05-30-12, 11:36 PM
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Re: 'Serpent-Handling' West Virginia Pastor Dies From Snake Bite

"Looks like it came up snake eyes...



...for this holy roller".


YEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAHH!!!
Old 05-30-12, 11:43 PM
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Re: 'Serpent-Handling' West Virginia Pastor Dies From Snake Bite

They should test their faith by sticking their dicks in electrical sockets.
This way they won't reproduce.
Old 05-31-12, 05:18 AM
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Re: 'Serpent-Handling' West Virginia Pastor Dies From Snake Bite

He chose...


...poorly
Old 05-31-12, 08:53 AM
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Re: 'Serpent-Handling' West Virginia Pastor Dies From Snake Bite

So in their religon... Does this mean that he was a bad man and had to die? Or he was a good man, but God chose to see him in Heaven?
Old 05-31-12, 09:47 AM
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Re: 'Serpent-Handling' West Virginia Pastor Dies From Snake Bite

Those people that do that silly stuff die left and right, and the ones that are alive often have horrible injuries from the bites.

I saw an excellent doc on Appalachia this year or last year, I think it was Ross Spear's thing for PBS, and the guy wound up doing a part of it on a well known snake handler. Snake handler 'preacher' had his arm flayed open in the hospital, a common practice due to the swelling in the bite area, and had nearly died from this bite as he had been bitten so many ties he had developed an allergy to the venom. The doctors pleaded with the man and his family to stop doing this crazy stuff, that the creator of the universe did not want hm to be bitten by vipers and the like. 'Preacher' said he just wanted to get home and handle snakes. He died from another bite shortly after getting home.

The power of social conditioning in primates...
Old 05-31-12, 11:41 AM
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Re: 'Serpent-Handling' West Virginia Pastor Dies From Snake Bite

Originally Posted by troystiffler View Post
Darwin. Definately. I am not as stupid so I am still alive.
Sure about that?
Old 05-31-12, 01:25 PM
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Re: 'Serpent-Handling' West Virginia Pastor Dies From Snake Bite

Originally Posted by troystiffler View Post
So in their religon... Does this mean that he was a bad man and had to die? Or he was a good man, but God chose to see him in Heaven?
They will talk about it as "his time to go, the Lord called him home." There's not a whole lot of questioning or self-reflection going on in these groups.
Old 05-31-12, 02:31 PM
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Re: 'Serpent-Handling' West Virginia Pastor Dies From Snake Bite

Originally Posted by troystiffler View Post
So in their religon... Does this mean that he was a bad man and had to die? Or he was a good man, but God chose to see him in Heaven?
It means he was a stupid asshole.
Old 05-31-12, 02:50 PM
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Re: 'Serpent-Handling' West Virginia Pastor Dies From Snake Bite

But was he a "real Christian"?
Old 05-31-12, 03:14 PM
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Re: 'Serpent-Handling' West Virginia Pastor Dies From Snake Bite

Sharper than a serpent's tooth is ... a serpent's tooth.
Old 05-31-12, 10:09 PM
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Re: 'Serpent-Handling' West Virginia Pastor Dies From Snake Bite

Originally Posted by Dr Mabuse View Post
The doctors pleaded with the man and his family to stop doing this crazy stuff, that the creator of the universe did not want hm to be bitten by vipers and the like. 'Preacher' said he just wanted to get home and handle snakes. He died from another bite shortly after getting home.
Old 05-31-12, 10:13 PM
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Re: 'Serpent-Handling' West Virginia Pastor Dies From Snake Bite

Originally Posted by Hokeyboy View Post
But was he a "real Christian"?
Maybe these people are "Extreme Christians". Like those skiers who jump out of helicopters. Or when Steve-O staples his nutsack to something.
Old 05-31-12, 10:51 PM
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Re: 'Serpent-Handling' West Virginia Pastor Dies From Snake Bite

Originally Posted by Minor Threat View Post
grundle....?
A rattlesnake handler dies from... a rattlesnake bite. How not-surprising. Of course if he has any children, it's not a Darwin award.

And his father died the same way.
Old 05-31-12, 11:15 PM
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Re: 'Serpent-Handling' West Virginia Pastor Dies From Snake Bite

Couldn't help but think of Cape Fear...

"Grandaddy used to handle snakes in Church!"
Old 06-01-12, 09:50 AM
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Re: 'Serpent-Handling' West Virginia Pastor Dies From Snake Bite

Last night I caught 'Animal Underworld' on NatGeo. It's a really good series on animals hosted by Henry Rollins, and this episode was on 'Beast Worship'. He went around the world examining the nature of the way animals are treated, like nothing more than food in one place, and holy in another.

He wound up in Appalachia at a snake handler church. I like Rollins as he's a bright guy who can express himself, and he did a great job handling this stuff. Anyway they filmed Rollins sitting in on the worship where they handled various hot snakes and danced and the like. As he pointed out, they cried, and got worked up, and it worked him up, and it went on for three hours. He was honestly amazed no one was bitten. But his intellectual honesty about the experience, where he summed it up something like 'That went on for three hours, as it grew in intensity it was obviously blowing their minds, and it blew my mind, people were crying real tears and dancing and singing, it was a truly incredible experience, and I absolutely want to go back to another one again.'

Rollins had summed up, quite well IMO, the nature of it. Bergman, in his genius at film making, had covered that idea brilliantly in 'The Seventh Seal'. The theatre troop was in the village putting on their best show, when the Flagellants came into town. The crowd watching the theatre troop quickly deserted them and flocked to see the Flagellants, as it was a far more committed, engaging, and captivating form of theatre.
Old 06-01-12, 10:29 AM
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Re: 'Serpent-Handling' West Virginia Pastor Dies From Snake Bite

Related topic. I watched this series of videos with a sense of amazement to other day. Really boring conversation, but I love the guy just casually pulling deadly snakes out of every corner of this very crowded room and milking them while carrying on the conversation without pause:

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/tdKosuS_krs" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

I love it when he says that he milks so many snakes every day that he has carpal tunnel syndrome.

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