Snake-handling star of ‘Snake Salvation’ reality show dies from snake bite

By Scott Kaufman
Sunday, February 16, 2014 11:47 EDT
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The Middlesboro, Kentucky preacher who starred in a reality show about snake-handling died Saturday night after being bitten by a snake.

The Middlesboro Police Department said that at around 8 p.m., they responded to a possible snake bite at the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus [sic] Name church, but that its pastor, the star of the National Geographic Channel’s Snake Salvation, Jamie Coots, had already left the scene by the time they arrived.

EMS responders then went to Coots’s home, where he was found suffering from what they believed was a snake bite. They attempted to administer treatment, but Coots refused on account of his belief that God would not allow him to die from a snake bite.

He died at his home at approximately 10 p.m.

Snake-handlers believe that their ability to hold, and occasionally dance with snakes comes from what are called “the signs of the gospels,” which are found in Mark 16: “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.”

Coots starred in Snake Salvation alongside Andrew Hamblin of the Tabernacle Church of God in Tennessee.

Watch a video of the late Coots and Hamblin handing snakes from The Tennessean below.

Scott Kaufman
Scott Kaufman
Scott Eric Kaufman is the proprietor of the AV Club's Internet Film School and, in addition to Raw Story, also writes for Lawyers, Guns & Money. He earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Irvine in 2008.
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