Who Could Have Seen This Coming?

May 31, 2012 By: Juanita Jean Herownself Category: Uncategorized

There is was a minister in West Virginia who was profiled in the Washington Post Magazine for his snake-handling skills.

Mark Randall “Mack” Wolford was known all over Appalachia as a daring man of conviction. He believed that the Bible mandates that Christians handle serpents to test their faith in God — and that, if they are bitten, they trust in God alone to heal them.

Well, I also think God trusts you not to be a damn fool.

He died.  And you know how.  Snake bit ’em.

Wanna make this story even more West Virginia?  His father was a snake handler who died of a snake bite in 1983.  Apparently, it’s genetic that they don’t believe that Saint Mark was speaking metaphorically when he said, “they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them…”

Hey, at least they didn’t drink poison.

Lesson: Quit testing God.  He’s got better things to do.

Thanks to Carl for the heads up.

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34 Comments to “Who Could Have Seen This Coming?”


  1. Just like in the “Hatfields and McCoys” special on the History channel where the McCoys had something in their genetic make up that made them prone to violent acts.

    Is there something in the water in the deep South????

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  2. When I read this it reminded me of the song where the snake bites the woman and says, “you knew I was a snake when you took me in!”

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  3. Sam in Pearland says:

    Finished the Hatfields and McCoys last night. I’d believe almost anything from that part of the world.

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  4. How is the snake?

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  5. TexasEllen says:

    These folks didn’t learn a damn thing from Eve, mother of us all. Snakes are to be left on the ground and left alone.

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  6. @Warner- you took the words right off my keyboard!!

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  7. With apologies to St. Mark, I take my cue from the Gospel according to St. Kellybee: “…and if thee seeth a serpent upon the ground, do not take it up; thee would do well to runneth like Jesse Owens in the opposite direction.”

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  8. Elise Von Holten says:

    At a family reunion one of my West Virginia cousins showed up with his white shirt so completely embroidered with verses, flames, hate speech about love, that the others of us (Northern Ca-types) backed off in some alarm…one side of my family tree; snake handlers and lunatics for G-d, the other, closet Jews/Lutherans–me? So full of the laughter at the cosmic jokes, I’m Zen Buddhist–it’s priceless…but in truth, (big sigh) not being able to distance yourself from your family (Hatfield/McCoy–snake handling daddy) is immature at best, and we see that the worst is you repeat the scenario over and over–does the bozo have any sons? If he does, we’ll get to see this story again in 20 yrs…sigh…immature bullies–yay for the south–next time the union should let them go…There’s room at my house for the sane, if any of you need a safe haven–the new Underground Railroad…sigh
    Jefferson said something about, “I tremble for my Country when I reflect that G-d is just…”-me too, me too.
    Forget Eve–it’s our internal Lilith (Adam’s 1st equal partner) who gets women into trouble every time!

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  9. A few years ago, I read a book entitled “Salvation on Sand Mountain” about that very practice. The author, a journalist, started out observing and interviewing these folks, and was tempted, yea, tempted, into taking up snakes himself. Turns out it is a wild adrenaline rush! Who’d a-thought that? Oh yeah, the bunch he was with also drank poison. And we libruls wonder why some buy the whole GOP myth. These people will believe any freakin’ thing.

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  10. Heard about a man visited by proselytizers. He happened to have a number of snakes, scorpions, etc. in terraria. Asked the visitors if they believed that every word in the Bible was true– oh, yes. Borrowed their Bible and read out the verse about snake-handling. Challenged them to open the cage of their choice and hand him the occupant. Neither one would do it. He told them that if they didn’t really believe their book, he didn’t see why he should.

    But at least they had more sense than this guy.

    Side issue– notice how they never pray that a missing limb will grow back, like they KNOW that’s not gonna happen?

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  11. He would still be bothering God if the Bible had mentioned snake bite kits. Instead he is now a certified Hellfire and Brimstone preacher.

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  12. IronCelt says:

    Also re. the finale of “Hatfields & McCoys,” RMcC prayed to God that his family would be spared (they weren’t), and then turned away from God to worship alcohol–apparently blaming God for the hate-filled feud instead of properly blaming hisownself, Devil Anse Hatfield et al., and, oh yeah, the Devil.

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  13. Looks like the serpent said “enough!” and took him up instead! The nice snake deserves a medal!

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  14. daChipster says:

    The phone rang at the Pearly Gatehouse and St. Peter picked it up. “Peter, it’s Me,” he heard.

    “I was just going to call You,” Peter said.

    “I know,” said Jesus.

    “Then You also know why I was going to call You?” Peter guessed.

    “Yes,” said Our Savior, “But for the purposes of this post, let’s pretend I don’t.”

    “Okay, well, we got another one of them hillbillies with fang marks on his butt and a surprised look on his face.”

    “It would be unusual if it were the other way around,” Jesus joked.

    “Uhh, what?”

    “Never mind,” Jesus sighed. When He originally named Peter “Rock” it wasn’t meant as a compliment. He simultaneously hung up the phone and appeared at the Gate. “What can I do for you?”

    “I am Pastor Mark Randall ‘Mack’ Wolford,” the man said, as if that explained everything.

    “THE Pastor Mark Randall ‘Mack’ Wolford?” Jesus gasped.

    “Why, yes,” Mack said, standing up a little straighter.

    “Of the Full Gospel Apostolic House of Me?” Jesus demanded, leaning in.

    “Uhh, yes, that’s my church,” Mack beamed.

    “Never heard of you,” Jesus said. Peter guffawed loudly; that always got the pastors. “What seems to be the problem?”

    “Well, Peter here says I have to spend a few hundred years in Purgatory,” Mack complained. “I don’t even believe in Purgatory.”

    “Oh dear,” Jesus blinked. “Well, We can’t let you In right now, and if you don’t believe in Purgatory, then the only other choice is…”

    “Whoa, whoa, WHOA!” Mack bellowed, “I never said… but… I’m saved! St. Mark said I could handle snakes and everything.”

    “How’s that working out for ya,” Peter smirked.

    “Good one, Pete,” Jesus high fived him. “Listen, Mack, some people are just not as saved as they think they are. Other than being a pompous jerk, you’re not as bad as some.” He took the clipboard from Peter. “Your chart shows your faith quotient is sky-high, and your other scores are good, but your humility is a quart low. So we’ll let you dwell on that for a few centuries, then you’re in like Flynn. You’re just lucky we don’t test for IQ. Fondling a timber rattler, I ask you! What in My Name were you thinking?”

    “I… uh…”

    “Say, ‘Thank you, Jesus,’” Peter prompted.

    “Thank you, Jesus” Mack gulped.

    “You’re welcome. Peter, if you need me, I’ll be watching that Hatfields and McCoys show. ”

    “Lord, I was watching that. How does it end?” Mack implored.

    “Dude, your middle name is ‘Randall.’ How does it end?” He grinned, “You’re soaking in it.”

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  15. There’s a saying that “it takes all kinds.” That may be true, but for the life of me I cannot understand what purpose a man like Mack Wolford serves other than as an example of stupid. I hate to say it about another human being, but he asked for what he got.

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  16. Aghast Independent says:

    Hmm… Not to put to fine a point on it, but is this behavior really all that unusual? I mean, John McCain tried to handle Sarah Palin And the crowd at Jerry Falwells “University,”. George H W Bush tried to handle Dan Quail, Dubya tried to handle Dick Cheney, the GOP tried to handle Micky B, Nixon tried to handle Spiro T., and…well, the list goes on and on. But the result is the same, and they all get bitten in the butt by the poison they handle. Difference is, these folks get elected to public office and get multi million dollar book deals!

    Maybe we should all start grabbing pit vipers?

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  17. Don A in Pennsyltucky says:

    Don’t blame all the Hatfield-McCoy stuff on West Virginia. A bunch of them were from Kentucky which may explain Mitchy-Mitch McConnell.

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  18. It didn’t matter what the good Reverend believed.
    What counted was that the snake believed “I’m gonna bite this fool waving me around”

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  19. Guess they forgot about the bit that says “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”

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  20. Terri Kaufman says:

    I am now a senior citizen and I have always lived by the rule of ” the only good snake is a dead snake”.

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  21. Corinne Sabo says:

    Is the snake OK or did he die too?

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  22. Snake only fulfilling its God-given assignment.

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  23. Cindy D. says:

    @DaChipster, I was with you all the way to the last line. I didn’t see the Hatfields and McCoys so I missed the punch line. It’s such a great piece I’m frustrated cause I know I’m sposed to laugh but I “don’t get it.”

    For many years, I was a teacher. I had many Jesus-es and Angels in my classes over the years. One skill I was required to teach was Cause and Effect. Sounds like Mack would not have passed my class. He probably would have failed Predicting Outcomes, too.

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  24. I’m not religious at all but for some reason, this news made me sad. That’s pretty strange and I wish I could explain it or understand it. Maybe it’s because he practiced what he preached. I guess he didn’t learn from his daddy’s death.

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  25. @Judi, W Virginia is explicitly and intentionally not a deep South state. Hillbilly, yes; southern no.

    We from the south have enough problems without adding W Virginia snake-handlers to our resume.

    Alec – from Ga.

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  26. publius bolonius says:

    If we learn anything from the H&M show – alcohol and firearms are always an exciting combination. That was the most likkered-up period in US history. Was everybody always drunk?

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  27. Terri Kaufman, I guess you must like rats. Live snakes eat a lot of rats and mice, but dead ones don’t. If I see a blacksnake, I wave and say thanks. Same with those little mosquito-eating bats.

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  28. Grand Kludd says:

    West Virginia is a good trick question. “What was the last state to be admitted to the Union East of the Mississippi?” West Virginia in 1863. They were part of Virginia until the Civil War broke out, but since they didn’t own many slaves were Unionist in sentiment and split off.

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  29. Barbara Quattro says:

    Alec is right..those of us from West (by God) Virginia never think of WVA as a southern state. We wanted no part of fighting against the Union so we became a state on June 20, 1863. The part of the state where I came from didn’t have any snake handlers that I knew of, but we did have a bunch of moonshiners.

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  30. Um…Judi…West Virginia is not deep south. Actually, as the South goes, it’s pretty shallow.

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  31. Marge Wood says:

    I love your line: quit testing God, He has better things to do. Well, I guess it’s cheap entertainment. Maybe somebody else already said all this…we been tryin’ to coax a skeered kitty out from under the street. Did I say WE? I meant I’ve been sittin’ here while the men folks of the house been crawlin’ around on their knees tryin’ to talk to a cat. Maybe they orta run for the Legislature.

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  32. Seems as though God prefers the snakes.

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  33. Perhaps the good preacher would have done well to have had Toufik Benedictus “Benny” Hinn, (no really, that’s his name) on stand by. That way if Benny had not been able to save him, at least he could have passed the collection plate and raised some money.

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  34. Mz Patti says:

    I have a girlfriend in Cabo who hails from West Va. Her drawl, ya’ll, was much worse than mine. Smokes like a chimney, drinks copious quantities of all kinds of booze, tans her white skin to the point she looks a bit like that crazy tanning booth lady. God, I miss Kathy.

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