“Homecoming Like In The Old Days”: Snake-Handling Minister Dies From Snakebite . . . 29 Years After His Father Died From Snakebite As Religious

Pentecostal pastor Mark Randall “Mack” Wolford was one of the nation’s leading advocates of snake handling as an article of faith. Last Sunday, he sent a message to the faithful to join him at a state park for “homecoming like the old days” with “Holy Ghost-filled speaking-in-tongues sign believers.” Wolford then proceeded to handle snakes as a demonstration of the immunity given by God to those who believe. He was then bitten and died. It came 29 years after his father — another religious snake handler — died from a snakebite in 1983.

Wolford and others believe in the literal meaning of Mark 16:17-18

“And these signs will follow those who believe: in My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

This is only the latest such death among snake handlers — deaths that are quickly dismissed as due to a lack of faith or God decided to call a member home.

Wolford had written to followers “I am looking for a great time this Sunday . . . Praise the Lord and pass the rattlesnakes, brother.”

Wolford’s death came as he was passing a yellow timber rattlesnake (and apparent agnostic) around the congregation. He then laid it down on the ground and sat down next to it. The snake bit him on the thigh. Rather than go to a hospital, he was take to a house of one of the faithful. He had been bitten before, but this time it was fatal. After he was transported to the Bluefield Regional Medical Center, he was pronounced dead.

He was 15 when his Dad died in similar circumstances. Mack Randall had just turned 44 the day before.

Source: Bangor Daily News as first seen on Reddit.

25 thoughts on ““Homecoming Like In The Old Days”: Snake-Handling Minister Dies From Snakebite . . . 29 Years After His Father Died From Snakebite As Religious”

  1. Today’s Scores:

    Natural Selection- 1
    Holy Bible- 0

    Clarence Darrow- 1
    William Jennings Bryan- 0

    Common Sense- 1
    Ignorance- 0

    Rattlesnake- 1
    Dumbass- 0

  2. I guess he proved that “God” gives immunity to those who believe. Or, at least, I guess he proved that “God” gave him as perfect immunity from criminal prosecution as may yet be humanly achievable.

  3. The old brain physiology notion “reptilian brain” comes to mind, because this episode seems to give it new meaning.

  4. Maybe there is a Ghod………… He just takes his time getting to the necessary tasks. I wonder when he’ll get to all the Rip-off TV evangelists….After all, he’s got the entire Universe to look after… Wha-hahahaha

  5. I expect that rattlesnake bites have caused many people to speak in tongues over the years, but I don’t think I would call it a religious experience.

  6. What would the hills and hollers of Appalachia be without these guys? Better, I’d say.

  7. The big question arises: Does the Pastor have any sons and does the snake have any offspring, male or female? This is about predestination. Every good dog knows to bite the hand that beat his pappa or momma dog.
    This also shows the limits of fleecing the flock.

  8. Rattlesnakes have a much quicker strike than a cobra. You won’t see the Indian snake handlers trying it with a rattlesnake.

  9. Thou shall not tempt the Lord you God . . .

    As a child, i often stayed at my Grandparents’ house. Grandpa was a stern, taciturn Baptist preacher. Grandma was a sweet as she could be. And she truly feared tornadoes.

    A big, dark cloud could easily send Grandma scurrying to the storm shelter out back, with me in tow if I was visiting. During one such trip I said, “Grandma, don’t you know that when it’s your time, it’s your time no matter what you do.”

    “i surely believe that,” she said without breaking stride. “Just as I believe that the good Lord will know where to find me when it is my time.”

  10. Anonymously Yours 1, May 30, 2012 at 8:49 am

    I suppose he could not fang this any longer…….

    One has to wonder what justification arises in the laity when they see this happen.

    1. There are two responses possible. One is that the victim did not believe enough, or two, the Lord decided to call him home at that time. Your choice, and there is no rational response available for such folks. Reason plays NO part in this at all which is why I wish to promote this among Christians, especially the fundamentalists.

  11. Well, if the Bible is literally the word of the Lord God then you can handle these snakes without any harm coming to you. Of course if you know anything about rattle snakes (the preferred vehicle for these types) you know there are very rarely deadly. Plus their hands and arms often are all screwed up from the damage done by bites (as would be expected) so harm DOES come to them.

    I want to slip a couple flue-de-lance or black mambas into the mix just to help them prove their point.

  12. I love this one. I would hope that all such fundamentalist Christians would take up this test of faith. We need MORE of this in their ranks.

  13. “Wolford’s death came as he was passing a yellow timber rattlesnake around the congregation.” – why is he passing an extremely venomous snake around the congregation? Even if he believes faith will protect him from fate, does he really want to be liable for any non believers the snake wants to share his juices with? They could obviously have found a less dangerous snake and said, if you get bit you’re a non believer.
    R.I.P. I just hope its not the same one that killed his father.
    I read they live about 30 years:

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