In the United States, since the beginning of the 20th century, a small number of isolated Pentecostal churches in Appalachia have made snake-handling an actual religious service based on a literal interpretation of a passage from the Gospel of Mark:
"... In my name they shall cast out evil spirits; they shall speak a new language; they shall take serpents in their hands, and if they drink deadly poison, it shall not hurt them.
They will lay hands on the sick, and the sick will be well."
Chris, a carpenter turned Pentecostal minister, holds a church service every Chris, a carpenter turned Pentecostal minister, holds a service every weekend at his small church in a mountain valley in West Virginia.
To show his power over demons, he handles snakes, dances with them, and sometimes even trample them. Chris confesses that he started his church after being saved by God from his addiction to crystal meth and cocaine.
Chris lost his father and brother, both of whom died from snake bites during a service.
In the United States, there have already been over sixty cases of identical deaths.
Chris agrees to let me attend the memorial service for his brother, Mack.
During this service, he is bitten in his turn...