Discuss as:

Pentacostals in Jolo, W. Va., handle serpents, speak in tongues

Snake handling, according to this Wikipedia article, began in the early twentieth century in Appalachia.

Jim Lo Scalzo / EPA

Robey Harrison (R), a member of the 'Signs' Pentecostal denomination, an amalgam of Christianity and folk beliefs unique to Appalachia, anoint Betty Payne (C) with oil during an evening service at the Church of the Lord Jesus in Jolo, West Virginia, September 3. The church hosts one of the last Signs denominations in the country, which encourages worshipers to speak in tongues and to handle serpents. Popular throughout Appalachia in the 1920s, the practice is rooted in a Biblical passage from the Book of Mark.

Jim Lo Scalzo / EPA

Pastor Mack Wolford, a member of the 'Signs' Pentecostal denomination, handles a highly venomous timber rattlesnake during an evening service at the Church of the Lord Jesus in Jolo, West Virginia, September 3. The church hosts one of the last Signs denominations in the country, which encourages worshipers to speak in tongues and to handle serpents. Popular throughout Appalachia in the 1920s, the practice is rooted in a Biblical passage from the Book of Mark.