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Pastor killed at snake handling ceremony

BLUEFIELD, W.Va. (AP) — Funeral services are scheduled Saturday for a snake-handling pastor who was fatally bitten during an outdoor service Sunday near Bluefield, W.Va.

The Rev. Mack Wolford was an enthusiastic believer in a disputed Bible verse that most scholars think was tacked on to the Gospel of Mark. It quotes Jesus as saying that believers “shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them.”

On Sunday, witnesses say the 44-year-old Wolford sat down next to a rattlesnake, which bit him on the thigh. Instead of seeking immediate medical help, friends and family prayed for his healing.

Photojournalist Lauren Pond, who attended the service, says Wolford died about eight hours later.

Snake-handling worship services are outlawed in many states, but are legal in West Virginia

Arlene Culpepper, Asst. Editor-in-Chief
Arlene Culpepper, Asst. Editor-in-Chief
Vice-President & Asst. Editor-in-Chief of The Heat Magazine, Arlene is a Louisiana native, Certified Paralegal, Publicist, Owner of MIKODreamz PR, co-owner of 504Diffusion, writer, producer, and jack of all trades, who is heavily involved in her community as well as serving as Media Advisor for New Orleans Union for Entertainment (NOUE), Member of the NOLA Music Awards from 2012-present & Member of the Press Club of New Orleans. Her work is published across the web. Her PR work has been highly recognized & awarded. She was/is publicist for the late great BTY YoungN, 0017th and more. She is also working on her first novel & aspires to turn it into a film & is currently writing the authorized biography of the legendary Pimp C of UGK. She can be reached via email at Follow her on Twitter - @CategorySeven & Instagram - @hurricanearlene.


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