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Clairvius Narcisse- The Real Life Zombie

Updated on April 7, 2012
Clairvius Narcisse
Clairvius Narcisse | Source

Clairvius Narcisse was a Haitian man who had been ill for quite a while, with symptoms consisting of body aches, a fever, and he had also begun to cough up blood. On April 30,1962 he checked himself into the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Haiti, and his condition rapidly worsened. Finally, on May 2, he was pronounced dead. His body was indentified by his sister, Marie Claire, and he was buried the following day.

Eighteen years later, his other sister, Angelina, was walking through the village marketplace when a man who identified himself as Clairvius Narcisse approached her. He told her in perfect accuracy of all the symptoms he had experienced before he died. He also said that even though he was not able to move or speak, he was still aware of everything that was going on after he was pronounced dead and could also feel the sheets being pulled over his face. He was even 'awake' when his coffin was nailed shut and he was buried. In addition, he was able to tell her the nickname he had received as a child.

Clairvius claimed that his coffin was eventually opened by a boker (sorcerer). He beat, bound, and gagged Clairvius, and he also gave him a paste made from a weed known as datura, which can cause hallucinations and memory loss at certain levels. He was then taken to work on a sugar plantation alongside many other 'zombie' slaves. For two years, he labored on the plantation from sunrise to sunset, until one of the zombies finally killed the boker. As a result, they were released from enslavement, and Clairvius regained his sanity back, since he was no longer receiving the hallucinogenic drug.

He spent the next sixteen years wandering throughout the area and wrote numerous letters to his family, although he never received a reply from any of them. He only decided to return to his village after the death of his brother, whom he was convinced had been the one that poisoned him as they had been arguing over land prior to Clairvius' 'death'.

Clairvius' story later was later recorded in the book, The Serpent and the Rainbow, written by Wade Davis. One toxin that Clairvius was assumingly poisoned with is derived from the puffer fish, which produces a neurotoxin that causes paralysis, as well as can mimic death in modified forms by reducing the heart rate and metabolism. The other is the poisonous secretions of the Cane Toad, which was supposedly used to create an additional anaesthetic-like effect.


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    • That Grrl profile image

      Laura Brown 4 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

      I watched a documentary about this case before. It really was weird and sounded like it could be possible.

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 5 years ago from Chennai, India

      An insightful hub on the real-life zombie! This is the first time I came to know about this real-life zombie thanks to you! I have heard about the film 'The Serpent and the Rainbow' and surfed this film on Wikipedia. Thankfully, these so-called zombies are harmless and sort of 'robotic' compared to ravenous zombies we usually saw in movies. An unusually engaging hub! Well-done!

      Thanks for SHARING. Awesome & Interesting. Voted up

    • mizjo profile image

      mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

      I wonder if zombies are unique to Haiti? All zombie tales I have read about have come out of there. It is hard to dispute the truth of the stories and yet hard to really believe that dead people can be resurrected to be enslaved.

      Still, evil is very real, and the devil co-exists with God. We can only pray for protection from evil.

      Interesting hub, Jennzie. Voted up.

    • jennzie profile image

      jennzie 5 years ago from Lower Bucks County, PA

      I agree, Amethystraven. It's sad that people could treat other fellow human beings like that.

    • Amethystraven profile image

      Amethystraven 5 years ago from California

      It's atrocious that people drug other people to make them slaves to do their bidding. All I have to say is Karma, karma, karma.

    • jennzie profile image

      jennzie 5 years ago from Lower Bucks County, PA

      Wow, that's so cool! I'm sure that must have been a very interesting experience for your friend.

    • profile image

      klarawieck 5 years ago

      jennzie, It's kind of strange. I was talking about this with my sister just a few days ago. She was telling me about a documentary she saw on TV about these Haitian zombies that are enslaved and drugged out.

      I have a friend who went to Haiti in the 70's and got to see these slave-zombies.

      Thanks for writing about this. It surely is an interesting and unique theme.

    • jennzie profile image

      jennzie 5 years ago from Lower Bucks County, PA

      Thanks. :)

      Here's a link that provides more info on the story:

    • JohnGreasyGamer profile image

      John Roberts 5 years ago from South Yorkshire, England

      Wow, a nice story there! I'd love to read the book about this, especially when I found a story similar to this in Max Brooks' Zombie Survival Guide. It's a great tale, and I like how it was told. Any more info would be much appreciated ^^