Worshippers grapple with poisonous SNAKES to demonstrate their faith in photos from 1948 church service when the ritual was popular among US evangelicals
- The remarkable series of pictures were taken at the Church of God in Pine Mountain, Georgia back in 1948
- Pictures show men and women wearing snakes on their heads and picking up the creatures during services
- Religious snake-handling began in the early 20th century in Appalachia and spread throughout the region
Incredible images reveal how worshipers handled poisonous snakes in a ritual to prove their faith at a Christian church in the United States in 1948.
Men hold snakes on their head, show them to a child and hold their hands and arms over fire at the Church of God in Pine Mountain, Georgia,
Snake handling as a religious right in the United States is still observed in a small number of isolated churches.
The practice began in the early 20th century in Appalachia and plays only a small part in the church service. Participants are Holiness, Pentecostals, Charismatics and other evangelicals.
Many writers say George Went Hensley (1880-1955) invented Appalachian religious snake handling and popularized it, but his role in initiating the practice has been disputed by academic studies.
Snake handling as a test or demonstration of faith became popular wherever Hensley travelled and preached in the small towns of Tennessee, Kentucky, the Carolinas, Virginia, Ohio, and Indiana.
In July 1955, Hensley died following a snakebite received during a service he was conducting in Altha, Florida.
A group of men holding snakes in the congregation at the Church of God in Pine Mountain, Georgia during one of the bizarre meetings. Snake handling as a religious rite in the United States, also called serpent handling, is still observed in a small number of isolated churches
Most religious snake handlers are still found in the Appalachian Mountains and other parts of the southeastern United States, especially in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, and South Carolina. Pictured: A male and a female worshipper get too close for comfort to the reptiles during one of the services
In 2001, about 40 small churches practiced snake handling, most of them considered to be either Holiness, Pentecostals, or Charismatics.
Practitioners believe serpent handling dates to antiquity and quote the Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of Luke to support the practice
‘I was called a sl*t for taking off my hijab’: Student, 26,…
Former postman, 36, ‘who inspired young men to join ISIS’ is…
Not lovin’ it: Arab Christians clash with Israeli police…
Scientology blames Hollywood star Leah Remini and TV network…
Share this article
Snake handlers do not worship snakes, instead using the snakes to show non-Christians that God protects them from harm.
In church services, when they feel the anointing of the Holy Spirit come upon them, these Christians reach into boxes, pick up venomous snakes and hold them up as they pray, sing, and dance
Snake handling was made a felony punishable by death under Georgia law in 1941, following the death of a seven-year-old from a rattlesnake bite. However, the punishment was so severe that juries would refuse to convict, and the law was repealed in 1968
Many writers have attempted to designate George Went Hensley (pictured during one of the rituals) as both the progenitor and popularizer of Appalachian religious snake handling, but his role in initiating the practice has been disputed by academic studies
Men wave their hands over fire during a ceremony, covering their arms and fingers in soot from the flame beneath. At its height the practice attracted hundreds of adherents across the US
Followers of the snake handling element of the sect would reportedly only take the rattlesnakes into their hands when they could feel the presence of the Holy Sprit as they were praying within the confines of the church.
White man punches 12-year-old black girl in altercation outside mall
Shocking moment child flies out of car in car seat at road bend
Staff crawl across China street after ‘failing to hit targets’
Jake Patterson appears in court after kidnapping Jayme Closs
Broadway legend Carol Channing through the years
Trump buys fast food for Clemson Tigers amid government shutdown
Gillette’s new ‘We Believe’ ad aims to stop toxic masculinity
Piers Morgan: ‘Men are fed up with being told how awful we are’
Protests outside Brooklyn church after pastor charged with rape
Brit ‘gypsy’ family cover park in rubbish before threatening locals
Family of Jayme Closs praises her strength and courage
Woman flashes her BREAST during bizarre road rage clash
Source: Read Full Article