Zombie Encyclopedia: What is a Zombie?
They have invaded horror films and literature in modern times. They eat brains and intestines, and they'll eat yours too, if you come too close. They are slow, rotting corpses with a hunger for human flesh. They are zombies.
We all are well aware of how zombies are portrayed in modern times, but what is a zombie, exactly? Have they always been the flesh-craving, brainless monsters that we know and love today? I have a feeling that there is much more to zombies than what meets the eye...
Take a tour through my Zombie Encyclopedia to find out more about zombies than you could possibly imagine. Hang onto your heads.
Zombie Encyclopedia: Ancient Zombies - Zombie Origins
Zombie origins is an extremely intriguing topic, especially if you are a big fan of the modern-day zombies. I think we all have this image that the concept of a zombie comes from the idea that the world will end or experience the apocalypse, a disease gets out of some lab and infects millions of people, inevitably turning them into gut-eating, brain-feasting (and brainless) dead people. But is this the original idea of the zombie? Did all zombie origins start with this perception of a zombie?
In fact, no they did not. One of the earliest beliefs in zombies, and perhaps the most intriguing of zombie origins (in my opinion), is the belief in the ghoul. A ghoul is a type of being who would haunt the cemeteries at night and eat body parts. The belief in ghouls actually comes from the Middle East region, probably most likely originating near the Mesopotamian. Ghouls were thought to have been flesh-eating demons who would parol the graveyards and eat anything in their path. Some relate the ghoul to the Islamic belief in the Djinn...obviously the ghoul is a more malicious and ravenous Djinn that prefers the taste of human flesh...rotting or alive. But is this the only origin of zombies or do other cultures have their stories of these monsters?
For many centuries in countries all over the world there have been "undead" monsters who enjoy feasting on human flesh or blood or both...in many places these were considered vampires but in some places the "ghoul" or possibly what we now know as the "zombie" was the most feared of the undead graveyard stalkers. There are theories circulating the internet and elsewhere the the disappearances centuries ago on Easter Island could have possibly been due to a zombie outbreak. You can read more about the zombies on Easter Island by clicking here.
After the zombie outbreak on Easter Island and in more recent times (but not totally too recent) was the zombie invasion of 1599 in London, England. You read that right. There was a zombie outbreak in England in the 16th century! Queen Elizabeth was the queen of England and London was experiencing a huge burst of population. Apparently something fell from the night sky and slammed into a building in London (that building is now a bar), and because of this accident an infection was released which basically would destroy the victim's cerebral cortex and force the person's brain to revert back to a primitive human brain. This infection affected dozens of people, and even more people ran and hid from the "walking dead". You can watch the video documentary and learn more about zombie origins and the zombie invasion of 1599 below.
Zombie Encyclopedia: Haitian Zombies
So in addition to relating the zombie origins to ancient Middle Eastern "ghouls" and a plague that occurred in London in the sixteenth century, where else could zombies have originated? Well, many say that zombies are a dangerous tool of Voodoo or Hoodoo practitioners (witch doctors) that live in Haiti and sometimes elsewhere in the Caribbean Islands and even New Orleans, LA. The people of Haiti believe that once a body is dead that it can be stolen by a witch doctor and turned into a zombie (an animated, living corpse that is ready to do the bidding of its evil master). They believe this so much so that they have special precautions to watch over their newly-departed loved ones so that their bodies are not taken by these evil practitioners.
It is believed by certain theorists and explorers who have studied Voodoo and Hoodoo in Haiti that there are certain ingredients that can be injected or given to the victim in order to turn them into a zombie. One of those ingredients is that of the pufferfish's flesh (which contains TTX, a powerful neurotoxin) and the other ingredient is usually some sort of dissociative drug like datura (according to Wikipedia). A combination of these drugs in one's system produces a zombie-like effect...unfortunately others have turned down this theory.
The Haitian zombie has been one wrapped in mystery and suspense. There are actual accounts of individuals who have been declared dead and then only to be seen walking around the village years after their supposed deaths.
Others believe that these so-called zombies are merely people who are mentally ill and very easily controlled. They could possibly be schizophrenics or something of the like that are literally brain-washed by the "sorcerer" and used to do the sorcerer's bidding.
Zombie Encyclopedia: Zombie Ants
Things other than humans can be turned into the "living dead"...this includes innocent little ants. There is a particular type of fungus that can infect an insect's brain and literally make them walking zombies!
Watch the poor ants in the video to the right be taken over by a predatory-fungus and literally lose control of their own brains. It's quite creepy, actually.
Zombie Encyclopedia: Zombies in Film & Literature
We've seen zombies on television and on the big screen. We've even read about them in popular fictional novels. What is your favorite zombie show or film? Here's a list of just a few:
Night of the Living Dead
Zombieland (One of my all-time favorite zombie movies!)
Dawn of the Dead
Shaun of the Dead (A hilarious spoof on zombie films, you must see it.)
Walking Dead (Television Show)
28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later
Return of the Living Dead
Land of the Dead
The Evil Dead
Pet Sematary 1 and 2
We know about all of the zombie movies and television shows, but what about a good zombie read? Check these out:
City of the Dead by Brian Keene
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith
The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks
Zombie Encyclopedia: How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse
Number one rule for surviving a zombie invasion...DON'T TRUST ANYONE! If they've been bitten, forget 'em. It's sad, but true. How many times have you watched a zombie movie where the main character's sister or brother is bitten and they just want to ignore that fact? Too many times to count!
Number two rule for surviving the zombie apocalypse...get yourself some weapons, preferably big guns. And don't be afraid to use them. Generally speaking the zombies are usually pretty slow...they don't lose their minds and gain super-strength warped speed...usually if they lose their minds, they'll lose a lot of coordination too. So gun 'em down before they get too close to you.
Number three rule for surviving the zombie apocalypse...find a safehouse but never stay in one place for too long. Eventually, it will get invaded by the walking dead. You'll need somewhere that's boarded up or locked up to stay the night in and somewhere where you can rest for a bit before going back out into the world to hunt for more food and supplies.
Last rule...DON'T GET BITTEN!
Written and owned © by Kitty the Dreamer, 2012. All Rights Reserved.