December 2, 2022

Now that the Christmas season is upon us, I was thinking of snake handling. Recently, I spoke to a friend whose relative worships in a church that honors snakes. It’s a secret. One member of the family told another member who telephoned me. Many years ago, snakes and I got together when my mother briefly taught science in Loogootee, Indiana. She wanted to impress on her seventh grade or was it eight grade class that snakes were to be treated with respect. She did this by draping my six year old arms with snakes. Oddly, I wasn’t frightened. After all, she was my mother. 

Through the years I’ve been bothered by the killing of snakes in wild places where they live. That’s not to say when I hiked I didn’t let out a scream or two when a serpent crossed my path. 

As everyone knows you can find anything on the internet. My friend started searching for snake worshipping churches. There are about 125 churches that use poisonous snakes in their service. Of course, many are in the deep South. But hold on. There are also a number in Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and West Virginia. My source, and I’m sure you’ve guessed it, is Wikipedia.

The snake in Genesis corrupted Eve. And its reputation has been down hill ever since.

According to Wikipedia, Holy Ghost People is a 1967 documentary by Peter Adair. It has entered the public domain and is available at the Internet Archive.