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HOly Ghost People Documentary Analysis

I'm having difficulty understanding a video I was watching.

1) In the video, "Holy Ghost People" what reason do the participants give for what they are doing in the ritual?

2) They read a Bible verse at the beginning of the video that seems to justify their drinking of strychnine and handling of serpents. Why do they do this?

3) Why would this practice be more likely to be seen in a community where people have low socio-economic status?

4) Are the practices of the "Holy Ghost People" acceptable because of the way their appearance fits with American society or not necessarily? Is there more to it?

Solution Preview

Dear Student,
Hello. I hope that you have fully watched the video although I know, it being shot in 1967, the narrative now, although ethnographic seems a little 'out of touch' thereby making it a tad difficult to completely understand. Just finish watching it as you might have to discuss it openly in class and this solution below will help you get to the 'bottom of things' in this remarkable video documentary. Good luck with your paper and thank you for using Brainmass.

OTA 105878/Xenia Jones

Holy Ghost People Documentary Analysis

1) In the video, "Holy Ghost People" what reason do the participants give for what they are doing in the ritual?

Peter Adair's 1967 documentary of a Pentecostal Service in Scrabble Creek, West Virginia captured in video what Margaret Mead believes to be an ethnographic record of secular practices, traditions and particular beliefs. In it the participants are filmed actively participating in a very curious Christian service with the film opening to show the squalor of Scrabble Creek, the seeming 'barrenness' and rural depravity (obvious poverty) of the locale. This sets the stage for the events at the church and somehow explains the allure and the grip of the movement to its members. In the background a voice narrates -

"Thousands of holiness churches scattered through the hills of Appalachia...literal bible interpretations...drinking poison, handling snakes, speaking in tongues."

The service is clearly different from that most people are familiar of in Christian Churches - it is outrageous, dangerous and literally lethal. Strychnine and snake poison are just among the many chemicals and dangers that inhibit what can only be called a shared 'hysteria' under the guide of worship. Those who participate and follow this 'religious path' one which the believers call 'The Holiness Way' do so because of the following reasons -

1. Participants find 'pleasure' in the 'possession of the Holy Ghost',
2. The 'quickening ...

Solution Summary

The solution is a comprehensive 1,221-word narrative that provides an analysis of the Holy Ghost People Documentary video shot by Peter Adair in 1967. It answers all the questions listed in the original posting (see long description) providing an in-depth study of the group of people, their belief system and their environment that led them to practice and perpetuate that kind of world-view/faith. References are listed for the purpose of expansion. A word version of the solution is attached for easy printing.