Rattlesnake attacks pastor of 'Snake Church' who thought Jesus would 'save him'
Many have attributed the spread of snake-handling within Christian communities to George Went Hensley, though this has been up for debate. Regardless of whether he originated the practice or not, it's one that he did popularise - and we can still see some examples of it in the United States to this day.
The belief is said to come from a more literal reading of a bible quote. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus said:
"And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover."
While you may have heard about this kind of thing happening in the states, it's rare that you get to see any photos or footage of it. Now, as part of a new series from Barcroft "which gains unprecedented access to people who’ve chosen to live outside the norms of modern mainstream society," the shocking moment a pastor was bitten by a deadly snake during a service has been caught on film.
Cody Coots is the pastor at the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus' Name church, located in Middlesboro, Kentucky. It is one of the last remaining snake-handling churches in the country, with the dangerous ritual already costing the church its last pastor - Jamie Coots, Cody's father. He was bitten by a rattlesnake, passing away in 2014 - but his son is still continuing the work in his place.
"I've been bit six times," he said. "I don't think it's crazy, I think it's a sign from God."
The story of the time in which Cody is met with a similar snakebite is caught in the documentary, My Life Inside: The Snake Church. In the footage and photos circulated of this incident, he is seen splattered with blood after the snake snaps at his ear. He tells the other members that "I'm not worried at all, God's a healer, I'm not worried," but soon after he collapses.
He was carried out of the church by his followers, and promptly taken to the hospital, where he just about evaded the same fate as his father. Doctors noted that he could have been killed, as he came close to severing the temporal artery.
"Most people bit in the face are dead in five, ten minutes," one of the members who took him to hospital, Big Cody, said. "I mean, his own daddy got bit in the hand and within seven minutes was dead."
Pastor Coot’s wife Tammy, added:
"That church is their blood, you know. It started with their family and it’s going down with their family.
"Me and Cody didn’t talk about religion until after we got married and all I said is, 'God, what did I get myself into?'"
Since this fateful day, it has been reported that Pastor Coot has started to re-evaluate his life in the wake of the incident. Hopefully he'll be a little more careful around in the future. After all, maybe they make that rattling noise for a reason?