Snake Handling

This is a short video piece shot during services at a Snake handling church in West Virginia. The music is a rocking hybrid of blues infused gospel.

Wikipedia’s article on snake handling:

As in the early days, worshippers are still encouraged to lay hands on the sick (cf. Faith healing), speak in tongues (cf. Glossolalia), and provide testimony of miracles. Gathering mainly in homes and converted buildings, they generally adhere to strict dress codes such as uncut hair, no cosmetics and ankle-length dresses for women, and short hair and long-sleeved shirts for men. Most snakehandlers preach against any use of all types of tobacco and alcohol. They also abstain from holidays such as birthdays, Halloween and Christmas, dismissing them and other holidays as worldly, pagan and nonscriptural.

Most religious snake handlers are still found in the Appalachian Mountains and other parts of the southeastern United States, especially in such states as Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Ohio. However, they are gaining steady recognition from news broadcasts, movies and books about the non-denominational movement.

In 2001, there were about 40 small churches that practiced snake handling, most considered to be holiness-Pentecostals or charismatics. In 2004, the practice moved across the border and there were four snake handling congregations in the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia, Canada. Most, if not all, use the King James Version of the Bible and consider other versions to be demonic or false. Like their predecessors, they believe in a strict and literal interpretation of the Bible. Most Church of God with Signs Following churches are non-denominational, believing that denominations are ‘man made’ and carry the Mark of the Beast. Worshippers often attend services several nights a week. Services, if the Holy Spirit “intervenes”, can last up to five hours, and the minimum time is usually ninety minutes.

Serpent Handlers