Snake Charmers by Fred Webster
(above: ‘Snake Charmers’ by Fred Webster)

Last year, I was contacted by a reality show production company who wanted my help because they were working on a show about serpent handlers.  I’m going to be careful here because I actually don’t know if they are still developing the show (I think the way a lot of these things go is that companies make shows and then sell them to the networks, and once the networks pick them up, it’s off to the races…and the bank I guess…some of the shows/ideas I’m sure die on the vine) so I don’t want to give up too much of the premise other than they promised me that the series would take on a very-very positive, non-judgmental tone.

National Geographic has announced that they will be airing a new series called ‘Snake Salvation‘ on September 10 featuring Andrew Hamblin of Tabernacle Church of G-d in LaFollette, Tenn., and Jamie Coots of Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name church of Middlesboro, Ky.  It will be interesting to see what that faith community thinks of the show — and how scripted or documentary-style it will be.  Since this is a NatGeo production, I’m hoping for the best…and if you’re thinking that to be more true to the adherents of that faith, they should have called it ‘Serpent Salvation’…agreed.

Highly recommend if you’re interested in reading more about this topic: Salvation on Sand Mountain by Dennis Covington, who used to live in B’ham and went up the mountain to research for his NYT assignment…  Others: They Shall Take Up Serpents, and Them That Believe: the Power and Meaning of the Christian Serpent-Handling Tradition.

Even Tell Me by NYT best-selling author Lisa Jackson — published this summer — has serpent handling characters.  Wonder how that goes…

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