Recently, zombies have been invading our small screen and the theaters. Either from famous shows as The Walking Dead or World War Z.
The term zombie has been part of our lives for centuries, but most recently, gained in popularity. However, research proved that zombies are a fact.
A Source of Entertainment
Zombies, Living Dead, Revenants, those terms all refer to a reanimated corpse without consciousness. Either from TWD or a Thriller video, they have common traits of decaying bodies, often their arms reaching forward and eyes without a reason to live.
Unlike vampires, werewolves, and mummies, zombies took more time into digging its place into the lives of people. Their brainless personality, often spread by a military experiment gone wrong or virus didn’t receive a positive reaction from people as much as vampires or other monsters would.
However, more recent movies and storytelling decided to dare change the slow-moving zombies hungry for brains to more active ones with a stronger hunger turned to cannibalism all-together. In the past decades, it didn’t matter if it was a virus or more recently, blue methamphetamine created by a confident White seen in AMC‘s The Walking Dead, zombies are now “da bomb.”
It all started with the independent American movie by Victor Halperin, White Zombie in the year 1932. The film, inspired by the 1929 novel Magic Island by William B. Seabrook, didn’t receive a good critique from the audience. However, The Revolt of the Zombies in 1936, a sequel to its predecessor seemed to be more welcomed.
Why am I mentioning silver classics? Because of the location the story took place in that brings us to the reality of real life zombies, Haiti, but first, fiction!
Spreading The Grunt
Zombies are brainless slow machines that have one mission only: feed. Like animals, but less intelligent, they are unaware of when their next meal would be therefore are always on the hunt.
Zombies are known for their rotten flesh, how they reproduce haven’t changed in the past few decades, unlike vampires or werewolves, their method remained the same: an infected bite. There’s usually nothing to prevent the person from changing or regressing the infection.
The wound can’t be cleaned, and the person is doomed to a fever that changes their genetics to turn them into the living dead. The recipe might divert a little from movies to novels to series, but grosso modo it stays around those parameters.
Now, let’s dig into history, shall we? It might bring us to a place you never thought would be the first to believe in zombies and even go as far as manipulating the corpses to prevent any movement.
The great ancient civilization of Greece are usually the first for many topics, and zombies are no exception. Archeologists and anthropologists found old graves containing the skeleton of people that were held down by rocks or any other kind of heavy objects to prevent those bodies from walking out of their burial.
I have my doubts that Ancient Greeks might have been either scared of zombies or vampires as we know both are technically undead and can both create damage walking out of their tombs.
When reading about how the zombies came to life in Haiti, my perception of the word changed. It is a metaphor of how their enslavement into the sugar cane plantation left them as zombies. They lived in deplorable horrific conditions, their afterlife, zombified and lifeless.
Voodoo is not just a practice, but religion as well and has spread throughout West Africa, Haiti, the Caribbean, Brazil and any other place that has African heritage. Over the years, people practicing Voodoo might not believe in zombies, a myth of the religion at the most, however cases have shown that voodoo practitioners, Bokors, reanimated corpses by the past.
It is the mix of many herbs, fishes, animals, and bones that Bokors use that eventually created the famous “zombie powder.” This zombie powder contains what is known as tetrodotoxin which is a dreadful neurotoxin pufferfish carry among other marine creatures.
If the mix is in low dosages, it is still very lethal. It can create the appearance of zombies walking with much difficulty, confusion in their eyes and gestures and they would show trouble breathing as well. If a dose is too strong, it can easily lead to not only paralysis but coma as well hence the dead than the revived ability of a voodoo practitioner.
Zombies & November
November is our Zombie month. It seemed to fit the appearance of the days. Also, much is now famous around the often under-appreciated monster. To know more about its origin and real-life cases, you’ll have to wait until next week for me to bring it up!
Much has to be said about zombies so for a month full of excellent articles about them and their world!
The OCD Vampire,