Randall Casto

Preacher and Snake Handler

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The Poca Post announces a new issue honoring the Rev. Randall Casto.  Rev. Randall Casto was born near the town of Buffalo-on-the-Poca in 1855.  He grew up without traveling far from his home.  In his early twenties Randall became a "born again" Christian, and joined the congregation of the Buffalo Bible Church.  This congregation, like others in the area, believed that if one had sufficient faith, it would be possible to handle dangerous creatures without harm.  They would often cite Mark 16:18. "... they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them..."

Since Baptists don't drink strong potions, the minister of this congregation would handle only rattlesnakes and copperheads, usually at Sunday night meetings.

In time Randall Casto became a preacher in his own right at the Buffalo Bible Church.  He was a fire-and-brimstone preacher who could hold the fearful attention of even the smallest children in the congregation.  People would come from far and wide on Sunday evenings to watch Rev. Casto handle the poisonous serpents.  Casto was fond of making a "turban" from the serpents.  He would wear this deadly "turban" while conducting a portion of his Sunday evening services.

The snakes would be kept in the springhouse of a nearby church member until just before services.  The cool temperature of the springhouse would keep the snakes very quiet, and Rev. Casto was careful not to keep the snakes out for very long.  However, on Sunday, March 9th, 1908, Rev. Casto held the snakes for an exceptionally long time during some "witnessing" from the audience.  A large timber rattler bite him on the forehead.  This incident brought an end to Rev. Randall Casto's ministry and life.

The stamp was issued on 9 March, 2002 in a pane of 16 stamps with the domination of 58 Poca Units.


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