‘Serpent-Handling’ Pastor Dies From Snakebite

A “serpent-handling” West Virginia pastor died after his rattlesnake bit him during a church ritual, just as the man had apparently watched a snake kill his father years before.
Pentecostal pastor Mark Wolford, 44, hosted an outdoor service at the Panther Wildlife Management Area in West Virginia Sunday, which he touted on his Facebook page prior to the event.

Robin Vanover, Wolford’s sister, told the Washington Post that 30 minutes into the outdoor service, Wolford passed around a poisonous timber rattlesnake, which eventually bit him. Vanover said Wolford was then transported to a family member’s home in Bluefield about 80 miles away to recover. But as the situation worsened, he was taken to a hospital where he later died.


While snake-handling is legal in West Virginia, other Appalachian states, including Kentucky and Tennessee, have banned the practice in public spaces. Snake-handlers point to scripture as evidence that God calls them to engage in such a practice to show their faith in him. Mark 16: 17-18 reads, “And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues. 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.”

“He lived 101/2 hours,” Wolford told the Washington Post Magazine. “When he got bit, he said he wanted to die in the church. Three hours after he was bitten, his kidneys shut down. After a while, your heart stops. I hated to see him go, but he died for what he believed in.

Do you believe in snake-handling as a demonstration of your faith? Why or why not?

Source: Yahoo News

Image: The Freethinker

Amateur Artist Cracks Da Vinci ‘Zoo’ Code

An artist claims to have cracked a 500-year-old mystery surrounding the Mona Lisa – by spotting a series of zoo animals hidden in the painting. Ron Piccirillo believes it is possible to see the heads of a lion, an ape and a buffalo floating in the air around the subject’s head along with a crocodile or snake coming out of the left hand side of her body.

The amateur oil painter and graphic designer based in New York says he followed a series of instructions set out by the artist Leonardo da Vinci to decipher the image and claims his discovery cracks open the meaning of the work, painted in 1519. That the Mona Lisa is actually a representation of envy.

Mr. Piccirillo claims to have found similar hidden images in works by other Renaissance painters such as Titian and Rafael. It was when he turned the painting on its side that he first noticed the lion’s head. He also said he had found either a crocodile or snake by following the instructions of da Vinci’s journals.

“This is the key to understanding how Leonardo and many other Renaissance artists hid subjects in their artwork. If you know to look for them, they are there,” Piccirillo says. “It’s not every day you spot something that has gone unnoticed for 500 years.”

 

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