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"Snake Salvation" is a reality docu-series that airs on National Geographic Channel

Imagine if your path into heaven was contingent on holding deadly snakes above your head while speaking and singing in tongues. Based on a Bible passage that suggests a poisonous snakebite will do no harm as long as its handler is anointed by God's power, some devotees of this unconventional ritual practiced in 100 churches in the U.S. believe not participating will leave them destined for hell.

This series follows two pastors of this creed who frequently battle the law, a disapproving society and sometimes their own families to lead their faithful followers to righteousness. For pastors Jamie Coots and Andrew Hamblin, the work is always hard, but always worth it, as to them, handling snakes is nothing short of a commandment from God. You can call them crazy, but they are determined to keep their tradition alive no matter the cost.

Pentecostals who call themselves "Holiness" followers have been handling deadly snakes for more than a hundred years in the United States. Since its founding there have been as many as 100 reported deaths from church-related snake bites. The doctrine of the faith is based on a passage from the Book of Mark (Mark 16:17-18) that says, "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."

Each episode will follow Pastors Jamie and Andrew as they fight to maintain their struggling churches. Their biggest obstacle is their most important: finding and sustaining a collection of venomous snakes to use in their services. Each will take viewers along as they head out on snake roundups, racing to find dens of their coveted cold-blooded reptiles before winter starts and the snakes go into hiding. With both pastors too financially strapped to purchase their supply, they are often forced to get creative to keep their stock thriving, be it snake trading at Repticon, the reptile convention, or illegally transporting venomous reptiles from warmer climates across state lines. Even if they can keep their snake population thriving, and stay out of jail, they're also challenged to find and retain followers to their unorthodox faith. Many community members scoff at their bizarre practices, members of their own families teeter on faithfulness and reformed criminals use it as their best defense against backsliding into sin. National Geographic's cameras were there when many church members were bitten by one of the poisonous serpents. But the pastors' own faith never falters that they'll be able to inspire their masses to seek their personal Snake Salvation.

"Snake Salvation" is a National Geographic Television (NGT) production executive produced by Jerry Decker and Matthew Testa. Ted Duvall is senior producer. For National Geographic Channels, Madeleine Carter is executive producer and Kevin Mohs is the vice president of production and development.


Network: National Geographic Channel
Genre: Reality
Runtime: 30 mins.
Premiere Date: September 10, 2013
Seasons: 1
Production Company: National Geographic Television

"Snake Salvation" scene with Andrew Hamblin 'Snake Salvation' Holds Death in Bare Hands — Premiering September 10, the new National Geographic Channel series takes a hissing look at two pastors in the heart of Appalachia who lead congregations in the religious ritual of snake handling. Read more...

Got Snake Salvation spoilers? What did you think of the last show?

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