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Snake Handlers
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Religion
    (1910- )
    Part of the Church of God with Signs Following religion
    Founded by George Went Hensley in Tennessee
    Movement follows a passage (literally) of the King James Bible; Mark 16:18 - 'They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover'
    It was founded by an illiterate preacher who whipped out a rattlesnake after a sermon.
    All members (not just the leaders) that receive the power of the Holy Ghost believe they can heal the sick, speak in tongues and cast out demons.
    They refuse to take medicine.
    Women may not wear make-up or cut their hair short.
    Its founder died of a snake bite at age 74 (June 24, 1955).
    Between 1936-73, 35 members died from snake bites.
    Members greet each other with a 'Holy Kiss' (same and/or different sex depending on the region).
    They abstain from alcohol and tobacco.
    The movement has run into many legal issues involving banning/unbanning in First Amendment rights to free practice of religion vs. potential danger to non-participants.
    11 states have had congregations at some point in time (TN, KY, NC, SC, GA, AL, VA, WV, FL, OH and TX).
    It got a segment in the cult movie 'Faces of Death (1978).'
    Moe Szyslak of 'The Simpsons' is a snake handler.

Credit: Scar Tactics


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