Cult orca handler and rider Pastor Jamie Coots died early Friday morning after being bitten in half by a killer whale during a non sanctioned religious service at Sea World. The ardent Pentecostal minister preached whales will not harm true believers if they are anointed by God. The practice is illegal in most states but still goes on primarily in cities with ocean-themed amusement parks.
Coots was a third-generation orca handler at the Cetacean Revelation Tabernacle located in San Diego where the congregation says God speaks directly to them from the Book of Jonah. In chapters 1-2 Jonah is swallowed by a whale and harmlessly ralphed up 3 days later.
According to members they would hide in bathroom stalls at the closing of Sea World, emerge several hours later when employees left the park then make their way to Shamu Stadium to conduct their ceremonies.
Congregant witnesses said they had completed preliminary rituals of incantations, speaking in orcinustongue, the laying of hands on Shamu, and treating. Coots then mounted Shamu for the sacramental “ride around the cement pond” when he suddenly became agitated, bucked Coots off and bit him in half. Members waited several hours before calling paramedics believing Shamu would disgorge Coots’ upper half and be miraculously reattached by Jesus.
“They don’t call them killer Blackfish for nothin” said one congregant who quickly added “maybe we should have treated with something more substantial than Cheeze Its”.
Orca handling has been banned in California since 1989 when two Sea World trainers were killed by rampaging orcas protesting the quality of mackerel tossings and being forced to perform two shows a day.