And This Year’s Darwin Award Goes To…..

This guy:

Mack Wolford, a flamboyant Pentecostal pastor from West Virginia whose serpent-handling talents were profiled last November in The Washington Post Magazine , hoped the outdoor service he had planned for Sunday at an isolated state park would be a “homecoming like the old days,” full of folks speaking in tongues, handling snakes and having a “great time.” But it was not the sort of homecoming he foresaw.

Instead, Wolford, who turned 44 the previous day, was bitten by a rattlesnake he owned for years. He died late Sunday.

Mark Randall “Mack” Wolford was known all over Appalachia as a daring man of conviction. He believed that the Bible mandates that Christians handle serpents to test their faith in God — and that, if they are bitten, they trust in God alone to heal them.

And we see how that worked out.

FILED UNDER: Open Forum, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. “Jesus answered, ‘It says: “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”‘” — Luke 4:12

  2. J-Dub says:

    If it weren’t so sad I’d be laughing. Oh wait, I am laughing…

  3. mantis says:

    Darwin awards only work if you get yourself killed (or rendered infertile) before having children. As the WaPo story points out, Wolford’s father died of a snake bite when Wolford was 15, and Wolford himself has children. The stupid will live on for generations!

  4. J-Dub says:

    @mantis: Wolford’s father and uncle both died from snake bites. Of course, being from West Virginia, they were the same man.

  5. John Curran says:

    @mantis: The obituary for Wolford says he had step-children, but there is no mention of his having progeny. Found this via the Charleston, WV Daily Mail.

    If this is correct, then he is eligible for the Dawrin Award