People Are Afraid of Hell Here… and for Good Reason

21 thoughts on “People Are Afraid of Hell Here… and for Good Reason”

  1. DE Browning,

    I have read this over and over, and I see nothing degrading except the comment Devil worshiper’s. She is not the only one to think that. I have to tell you I was born at Stephen’s Clinic in War WV. My Daddy was from Jolo WV and my mother from Bradshaw Mountain. The area and “some” of the people are as she describes them. I didn’t once think she was making fun of anyone. Even my grandmother thought there was something.”.just not right” with the snake handlers. She never spoke bad of anyone, but she always warned me to stay away from them. People from the outside would think that if they did not know those mountain folks themselves. The loud music, the chanting, dancing and swaying while holding the poison vipers above their heads would make any sane person think the same. Yes I have been to one of their services. A relative drug me there just to see them. One lady died that my granny knew from one of those snake bites. They say she swelled till she almost exploded. Her daddy was a preacher there and would not let them bring in medical help. He deemed its Gods Will if he took her and said her faith was not strong enough.

    I spent many a summer in Jolo, playing in the dirty creek barefoot, riding my Poppy’s old plow horse while he plowed his fields and listening to the stories of my other granny who saved my daddy from death with a granny witches potion after the doctors could not help him. He was shot point blank in the stomach with a single shot shotgun while hunting in the mountain.

    I am proud of where I came from and proud of my family roots and ties to Tazewell County as you said.

    Anna has described what Jolo has become in recent years very well… Take time DE Browning to drive there, you will see the remnants of what was once the thriving town of Bradshaw. Follow the road on up to Jolo and watch for the rotting trailers on the sides of the road, the trash piled out beside them and the old home places that are now tumbling down the sides of the banks on the road. Then head on up the mountain, the view is still beautiful from the top,as the fog hides the ugliness that has moved in the valley.

    I am the Great Granddaughter of many of those folks that were on the side of the line that became McDowell County WV formerly part of Tazewell County VA when WV left VA to become its own Great State. I am not as educated as you are but I am not a fool either.

    I look forward to more of this story and hope she takes it off the back burner and finishes it soon. It is just that a story..a interesting story that holds you makes you want more.

    Sorry to be so lengthy…

  2. Killer Work! Truly.
    You know, of course, that you have me here with this hook in my mouth like all the others. Hope you plan to reel us in a little closer soon!

  3. I am not from Jolo, but I am from West Virginia and I find this introduction, offensive, judgmental and and ignorant. I did graduate work many years on the “snake handler” churches and what you call “Devil worship” and you are wrong, wrong wrong about these people! You are labeling Christian, God fearing people based on gossip and your own ignorance. They have Bible Scripture for their beliefs and have the right to practice religion as they choose, but that is a West Virginia “thang.” You are making fun of mountain people and poverty and I am shocked that a writer with your abilities and talent would be so condescending and stoop to this level. No, I do not belong to one off these churches but I have personally known many of the church members in years past, in other parts of the state. Incidentally, the majority of people from Jolo have deep roots in Tazewell County, Virginia. I am very familiar with Richlands and have been there many times to visit relatives.

    1. Thank you for your post and insight. With all due respect, you must understand that the thoughts on Jolo and the descriptions of the religious practices are those of a book character, not my own specifically. That’s one of the great things about being a storyteller; you can say or create just about anything. I would never “make fun” of anyone, especially my neighbors. I’m an educated mountain woman, too. 🙂 Perhaps one of these days you’ll check out the entire story to best understand the protagonist’s assumptions. Best wishes to you.

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