What Are Zombies, Really?


Last night, I decided to sit down and do some Throwback Thursday Zombie Flick Pick homework. I loaded up my Netflix and began browsing in search of a zombie movie.

Instead, I found a National Geographic documentary called The Truth About: Zombies.

It was actually pretty cool…and got me wanting to sit down and do some research.

So what is a zombie, really?

Well, besides it being a mixed alcoholic beverage (I’ve never had one), the definition of a zombie is “a corpse said to be revived by witchcraft”. This is what the documentary mostly covered about zombie-ism. In Haitian Vodou folklore, a Bokor sorcerer captures part of a human soul and controls it, making them a personal slave.

Wade Davis, an author and Harvard ethnobotanist, traveled to Haiti in search of a drug that could allegedly turn a living person into a zombie. This, of course, struck my interest because the protagonist in my book is not bitten in the traditional manner to become a zombie.

Davis gets to Haiti and finds that there is a drug made up of two different types of powders. These powders are introduced into the blood stream and induce a deathlike state. Not only did he find out this drug was indeed real, but there was a man who apparently succumbed to this practice. He was recorded to have died and been buried to his family and the public, however, he said he was taken out of his grave and brought to a farm as a zombified slave. He escaped the farm and made it back to where he was from several years later to tell his story.

So there is some history.

Now zombies as seen in the movies, those are different. Those zombies are crazy! They want to eat people, their motor skills are way off, They have no coordination, they can’t think…all they want to do is just eat brains.

Ever heard of rabies? This is the condition that many associate and compare zombie-ism with. Rabies, too, causes delirium, abnormal behavior, and deterioration of brain cells, which are some of the effects of a zombie virus.

Check out this video…NOT FOR THE WEAK STOMACH!!!!

Does some of that look familiar?

As for a zombie virus outbreak, many scientists don’t believe that there would ever be one like we see on TV. Those viruses tend to spread like wildfire! And the people who are “bitten” turn within a matter of minutes. The incubation period would be much longer than that.

But don’t be discouraged, Zombie Lovers! One scientist on the show did say that it doesn’t mean it could never happen. In fact, there could be a zombie virus actually made one day. We don’t know what would happen if you take rabies and the flu and put them together. What would that give you??

In conclusion, zombie is a term that has been used for centuries. It could be related to anything from witchcraft to fictional characters in a book or movie, to metaphors for the overuse of technology this day and age or catastrophic disasters.

Watching the show was actually beneficial for me. I got some ideas brewing for the sequel as we speak!

If you are interested in the documentary, check it out on Netflix. It’s packed with cool information regarding zombies, witchcraft, and even hypnosis.

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