Snake Handlers, by Fred Webster
Since a serpent handling preacher — Mack Wolford — from West Virginia passed away from a strike a couple of weeks ago (and the pastor’s father had passed away the same way), there’s been a lot of interest and news stories about the practice. One of the best was in the Tennessean.
This church I found in Macedonia, Alabama a few years ago has been mentioned in a couple of books as following ‘signs’ (from the Christian Bible, Mark 16: 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 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. 19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. 20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.) — it’s Old Rock House Holiness. One of my friends in college was once invited to a similar church, and she politely turned down the offer. I, on the other hand, would love to go.
The 1967 documentary, Holy Ghost People, is in the public domain:
Another documentary, from 2006, is Heaven Come Down: Snake Handlers, Sinners, and the Electrifying Spirit:
With Signs Following came out this year:
Mack Wolford is featured, and his portrait appears on the film’s website as well. He was also a major part of this Washington Post article last year.
Fred Webster, who created the serpent handlers pictured at the top of this post, is included in the ‘Faith and Form’ exhibit going on now thru September 1 at the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum in Lafayette. Full press release here.
The Chicago Tribune approves of the ‘Heaven + Hell’ exhibit at the Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA), going on now thru June 30. Among the artists included: Minnie Evans, Howard Finster, William Edmondson, and Sister Gertrude Morgan.
And now, there’s: