Venomous Snake Handling Pentecostal Minister Dies From Rattlesnake Bite

May 6, 2012

Mark "Mack" Wolford, a venomous snake-handling minister of Full Gospel Apostolic House of the Lord Jesus in Matoaka, West Virginia, died as a result of a snakebite to his thigh while presiding over a service in the state's Panther State Forest. According to a story in the Daily Mail, Wolford, 44, was bitten by a timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)  around 2 p.m. Sunday, May 27, and  died around 10:30 p.m., an hour after he was taken to the hospital. Wolford followed in the footsteps of his father, who also died as a result of a snakebite during a church service when Wolford was in his teens.

Timber Rattlesnake


Timber rattlesnake

According to the article, followers of Wolford's religion, considered an offshoot of Pentecostalism, take the readings from the Book of Mark in the King James Bible literally, believing that being bitten by a rattlesnake can mean several things; that the person bitten by the snake has sinned; has not lived a righteous life; or that God "was using that person as a messenger to confirm the faith and the word is true."

The timber rattlesnake can be found in the eastern United States and grows to about three to five feet. It is considered one of the most dangerous of the rattlesnakes due in part to its long fangs and prodigious venom-creating capabilities, yet has a mild disposition when compared to other rattlesnakes. It is the state reptile of West Virginia, where Wolford lived and preached, which is one of the few states where snake handling is still allowed.


Related Articles

Passengers on Qantas Air Flight Screen Own Version of Snakes on a Plane

Scrub python spotted trying to survive on wing of plane bound for Papua New Guinea.

Motorist Runs Over 5ft. Boa Constrictor On Oahu's Pali Highway In Hawaii

There are no native land snakes in Hawaii and keeping them is illegal.

New York Animal Control Officer Charged With Running Snake Breeding Business Out Of His Home

Man also cited for keeping two Burmese pythons, which are illegal to keep in Shirley, NY.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit Module

Cast Your Vote

What is Your Favorite Reptile?


Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleEdit Module

Find Us On facebook

Edit Module