This article has some content you might find disturbing!Reason If you continue scrolling down, graphic photos of snake-handling injuries await you.
Snake-Handling Is Great, But There Can Be A Downside
Snake Salvation reminds us all that snake bites are real, and real gnarly.
Judging by the two-part series premiere of NatGeo's Snake Salvation, belonging to a snake-handling Pentecostal sect has a lot of pluses. For pastors, there's the pride of carrying on a cherished family tradition even as legal authorities threaten to curtail it. Believers get to enjoy both the fellowship of belonging to an intimate worship community. For the very intrepid few, there's also the challenge of going out into nature to hunt and capture the snakes that will be handled during church services.
In order to present a balanced program, though, the producers of Snake Salvation must also remind the viewer that, for the snake-handler, there can, from time to time, be minuses, and generally, these take the form of traumatically awful, potentially fatal snake bites. Up top, we see the aftermath of an early snake bite suffered by Pastor Jamie Coots: in accordance with his beliefs, he did not seek medical attention for the bite, and lost part of his finger as a result. But perhaps you're wondering what it looked like before the dead part was amputated. Oh, you weren't? Well, tough: I had to see it and now so do you.
The black part is the poisoned bit Coots is about to lose. But he kept it around as a reminder -- complete with some of the bone that got exposed when the flesh shriveled away. Here he is, holding it up next to his finger stub, the way it would look if it were still attached.
In the second of the night's two episodes, producers underscore the danger inherent in Pastor Andrew Hamblin's flirtation with an albino diamondback by showing us a few random shots of unidentified snake-handling snake bite victims. Behold, a cautionary tale all the more eloquent for being completely silent.
NatGeo isn't saying don't be a snake-handler. It's just saying be aware of the risks.