At lunch yesterday with George Meadows I learned about a tradition I never new existed: snake handling. A small number of Pentecostal churches in the U.S practice this religious ritual. According to Wikipedia, “it began as a practice in the early 20th century in Appalachia, spreading to mostly coal mining towns.” It supposedly only plays a small role in the church service and is inspired by this quote from the Book of Mark:
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. (Mark 16:17-18)
And, as always, there’s an excellent, short video about the subject on YouTube:
Seems a bit like Appalachian voodoo, kinda wild and very, very particular.