We'll travel to East Tennessee and meet the evangelical church-goers who live by Jesus' words, "and they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them." For the past I 00 years this extreme sect of the Pentecostal church has been using poisonous snakes in their religious ceremonies. We'll see their snake dance and find out how their faith keeps them from deadly bites.
We'll travel to Punta Gorda, Florida and meet a man who has been bitten 163 times and says the venom is the secret of longevity. He's Bill Haast, the 86 year old director of the Serpentarium Laboratories. Over the last fifty years he's been injecting himself with a "vaccine" of diluted venom. Haast says the shots have saved him not only from deadly snake bites, but from everything from heart disease to the common cold.
We'll travel to Belize, Central America, home of one of the world's most deadly animals, a large pit viper known as the Fer de Lance. We'll see this terrifying snake in the tropical rainforest, see it hunt its prey, and discover stories of its incredible power. We'll meet Zoologist and jaguar expert Brian Rossberg. He'll tell us how once on a research expedition six hours by foot into the rainforest, his lead guide Manuel Longos, reputed to be one of the toughest men in Belize, was
bitten by a Fer de Lance. Rossberg will recount how his team, unable to radio for help, carried their compatriot through the jungle, and how for hours Longos begged them to shoot him and put him out of his misery. Longos miraculously survived. We'll meet him today and see the consequences of his terrifying experience.
In Snake Attack! we'll also discover what's being done to decrease snake attacks and help those who are bitten. We'll go to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the headquarters of Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, the manufacturer of rattlesnake antivenin. We'll see their snake milking operation and find out how they convert a killer into a cure. We'll also find out how in the future snake venom may lead to a cure for breast cancer.
And we'll visit Oklahoma and discover one of the more unusual solutions to snake overpopulation, The Mangum Annual Rattlesnake Derby. Since the 1930's residents of Mangum have been seriously troubled by Diamond Back Rattlers. Their solution? A three day snake catching competition. We'll go to the contest and meet the winner, the men or women who catch the biggest and the most snakes. Last year John Townsend of Muldrow, Oklahoma caught the longest, a 78 inch rattler, and Melvin Ishcomver, caught the most snakes, more 770 pounds of them.