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Bill Haast, the Florida Man Who Became Immune to Snake Venom After Being Bitten by Snakes 100 Times

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By Christian Webster - - 5 Mins Read
A king cobra and Bill Haast collage

Bill Haast who was the owner of the Serpentarium in Miami, a tourist attraction center in the southern part of Florida from 1947 until 1984, extracted venom from snakes for the fun of paying customers. Mr. Haast has extracted venom from venomous snakes from the time he was a little boy.

Mr. Haast closed the Serpentarium and opened the Serpent Laboratory in Miami, a facility where snake venoms are produced for medical use and research. Mr. Haast ppalpablyEnom from dangerous snakes holding them by his hand while forcing them to bite a rubber sheath covering a vial. Mr hast has been bitten up to 172 times as a result of manipulating these snakes,  of which only the last few were verified by the Guinness Book of World Records as " the first person to survive the most deadly snake bites", a recognition Haast detest as he did not think being bitten by snakes was a goal to be admired.

Normally, When you hear the hissing sound of a snake around you, it runs down your spine and you get goosebumps. However, If you are not afraid of snakes, then you might find this enjoyable.

A shocking but fascinating secret of his success according to  The washing post was the immunity he had built up by injecting himself every day for more than 60 years with a mix of venoms from 32 snake species. He suspected the vaccines might have explained his extraordinarily good health, but he was reluctant to make the claim, he said, until he reached 100 years of age.

The Cobra King

Mr. Haast's original Miami Serpentarium enticed 50,000 tourists a year for four decades. Outside the center was a 35-foot-high concrete statue of a giant cobra, Mr. Haast, the self-proclaimed “Cobra king” entertained paying customers by using his hands to grab snakes below their heads and force their teeth into soft plastic. Venom would then drain into test tubes fastened to the plastic, he did this at least 100 times a day.

Bill Haast milking a snake in his lab
Bill Haast milking a snake in his lab (Source: blogtalkradio.com)

Mr. Haast and a Doctor in Miami treated more than 6,000 people with a snake venom serum which was also effective against multiple sclerosis.

Sclerosis is a disease that is marked by the hardening and thickening of the skin, connective tissue that surrounds other tissues and organs, and blood vessels. However, after the CBS News program reported on the subject in December 1979, interest in the vaccine surged among the people. But in 1980 the Food and Drug Administration banned the product as useless after saying that numerous deficiencies had been found in Mr. Haast’s manufacturing process. Nevertheless, researchers have continued to work on drugs made from venom with the hope of using them to treat cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other diseases.

Aside from this incident, Mr. Haast indisputably saved lives all by himself as he flew around the world to donate his antibody-rich blood to 21 different snakebite victims. Venezuela, a country on the northern coast of South America made him an honorary citizen after he went deep into the jungle to give a boy a pint of blood.

According to The Associated Press, the favor was returned in 1989 when the White House used secret connections to spirit a rare serum out of Iran to treat Mr. Haast while he fought to recover from a bite by a Pakistani pit viper as different venoms require different antidotes.

Bill Haast Death

According to Wikipedia Mr. Haast, who was director of the Miami Serpentarium Laboratories turned 100 in December 2010 and died on June 15, 2011. He died of natural causes on Wednesday at his home in southwest Florida.