'Serpent Pastor' Dies of Snake Bite
Mack Wolford believed faith compelled him to face the risk
By Mary Papenfuss, Newser Staff
Posted May 30, 2012 12:01 AM CDT
Agitated Rattler   (©West Chester Dumonts)

(Newser) – A West Virginia Pentecostal pastor who used poisonous snakes during religious services has died of a rattlesnake bite. Mack Wolford, who just turned 44, was killed by a snake he had owned for years, reports the Washington Post. He was bitten during an outdoor service at a state park he had hoped would be a "homecoming like the old days," filled with people speaking in tongues, handling snakes and having a "great time," he said on his Facebook page. “Praise the Lord and pass the rattlesnakes, brother,” he wrote last week.

Wolford was bitten on the thigh when he sat next to the rattlesnake during the service. He was taken to a relative's home to recover, but was rushed later to a local hospital where he was declared dead. Wolford believed that the Bible requires Christians to handle poisonous snakes to test their faith in God, and remain steadfast in their belief that they will not be bitten or will be healed if they are attacked. Death by rattlesnake is "excruciating—the venom attacks the nervous system, and it's vicious and gruesome when it hits," a snake expert told the Post. Wolford was the son of a snake-handler preacher who died of a snake bite when Wolford was 15.

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Showing 3 of 100 comments
Disillusioned
Jun 4, 2012 6:07 PM CDT
I hope the poor snake wasn't to traumatized
Ultraworld
May 31, 2012 5:07 PM CDT
These dopes believe that if your beliefs are strong, you won't die of a bite, so they are in no hurry to get medical help. I hope God reminds him how stupid he is.
JudHanson
May 31, 2012 12:58 PM CDT
"Mack Wolford, who just turned 44, was killed by a snake he had owned for years....." Snakes aren't housepets, dude. You can't sit and stroke them or teach them to fetch. I've never heard of a snake meeting its owner at the door when they come home, LOL. "Wolford believed that the Bible requires Christians to handle poisonous snakes to test their faith in God........." So this guy had a lot of faith but not a damn bit of common sense. Evidently, either he wasn't faithful enough, there is no God or this was a message from God saying, "Stop playing around with poisonous snakes, already!"