“Unlike many other monsters—which are mostly a product of superstition, religion, and fear— zombies have a basis in fact, and several verified cases of zombies have been reported from Haitian voodoo culture.”
Why The Zombie Still Fascinates Us?
Well, none of us wants to become a walking dead. But there must be a reason why we fear the reanimated corpses of our neighbors and family. If you ask me, it’s the great unknown called death. What happens to our loved ones when they cross to the other side?
The ancient Egyptians based their whole culture around this quest: preserving their earthly remains from rot so that the skin & bones that once housed a person could continue existence in the afterlife. We miss our deceased and need assurance that they’re okay: or at least continue to exist on some level.
The idea of ceasing to exist as medical death occurs is unbearable for many.
But we don’t want the dead to rip the magical veil that separates the world of the living from the dead. Countless books, movies, and tv-series carry on the legacy of the beastly corpses that continue to fascinate and terrorize us. The concept of a zombie plagued ancient Greeks and many other civilizations around the globe. A zombie is a universal idea. Why else would the archaeologist unearth graves with skeletons pinned against the ground by rocks?
“A zombie, according to pop culture and folklore, is usually either a reawakened corpse with a ravenous appetite or someone bitten by another zombie infected with a “zombie virus.” Zombies are usually portrayed as strong but robotic beings with rotting flesh. Their only mission is to feed.”
How Do You Become a Zombie?
Voodoo or another form of magic
“A zombie (Haitian French: zombi, Haitian Creole: zonbi) is a mythological undead corporeal revenant created through the reanimation of a corpse. In Haitian folklore, a zombie is a dead body reanimated through various methods, most commonly magic like voodoo.” Source: Wikipedia.
The goal of the voodoo priest was to produce a horde of mindless, undead workers who toiled on the sugar plantations day and night–without any control of their fate or a will to plan an escape.
There’s a strong link to the horrors of slavery. “Zombie folklore has been around for centuries in Haiti, possibly originating in the 17th century when West African slaves were brought in to work on Haiti’s sugar cane plantations. Brutal conditions left the slaves longing for freedom. According to some reports, the life—or rather afterlife—of a zombie represented the horrific plight of slavery.” Source: History.com
Modern explanations deal with scientific methods/ natural causes like vectors, carriers, and mental diseases. Parasites and other biological organisms like fungi, bacteria, or viruses. This explanation often offers the idea of “nature strikes back, or God punished mankind for its evil ways.”
Accidents that spread poison or radiation. The Chernobyl disaster produced enormous fish and spiders which can no longer weave a decent, well-designed web.
And let’s not forget extraterrestrial intelligence or a lifeform that hitches a ride with a meteorite. Ancient organisms freed from polar ice or permafrost could cause zombification: we won’t have any immunity for the devils that possessed the dinosaurs.
Parasitic organisms which zombify the host do exist
“A worm gets into the brain of a shy, shade-loving snail, compelling it to crawl out of its safe home and into the open where it gets attacked by a bird—which is destined to be the parasite’s next host.”
Source and more information, Scientific American: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/zombie-creatures-parasites/
A Medical Impossibility
Luckily for you, a zombie is medically impossible.
A few reasons:
- Decomposing would destroy the zombies, especially in humid, hot climates
- Their teeth would fall out as their gums rot
- Without nerves, muscles and tendons, movement is impossible
- Zombies have no efficient breathing, blood circulation or immune systems: oxygen doesn’t move and bacteria would wreack havoc on their bodies (for example: the human immunodeficiency virus)
- Metabolism ceases and food isn’t converted into energy for the cells to function. No breaking up of their victims into nutrients, no pooping either.
- Wild animals would eat them, maggots would take care of the rest–nature designed some pretty efficient waste management systems
- The five senses cease, navigating would be extremely difficult (and you need the cortex to computate the input of the senses)
- Biting is an inefficient way to spread disease
The Dead Outnumber the Living
The shortened phrase ZomPoc means zombie apocalypse. Its definition is the breakdown of society as a result of a zombie outbreak that spreads quickly.
The concept of the modern zombie always includes the rapid spreading of the disease, usually through scratching or biting the living victims. Zombie saliva transfers the walking-dead-creating pathogen into the bloodstream of the living. The living “turn” within hours or days (they die and reanimate). An important part of all modern zombie stories is the breakdown of organized society.
The outbreak becomes an exponentially growing crisis
“The spreading phenomenon swamps normal military and law-enforcement organizations, leading to the panicked collapse of civilized society until only isolated pockets of survivors remain, scavenging for food and supplies in a world reduced to a pre-industrial hostile wilderness.”
And of course, all of the above-mentioned offer us (the authors) countless ways to create tension and drama. We write vivid characters with unique skill-sets and describe the interactions within a survivor posse. Tap away!