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Zombie Encyclopedia

Updated on May 15, 2012
kittythedreamer profile image

Holding a complete fascination with vampires and werewolves, Kitty enjoys writing about the undead in their many forms in folklore.

A Pretty Zombie?
A Pretty Zombie?

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.

A Ghoul
A Ghoul
Zombies in Moscow
Zombies in Moscow | Source

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 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.

Night of the Living Dead
Night of the Living Dead

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.)
Resident Evil
Walking Dead (Television Show)
28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later
Return of the Living Dead
Land of the Dead
The Crazies
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.


Submit a Comment

  • profile image


    5 years ago

    Have anyone seen Carnival of Souls. It's an awesome movie about ghouls.

  • HSAdvocate profile image


    6 years ago from Home

    Degenerationofhuman - Words are funny things, they tend to mean whatever the majority of people agree they mean. I would say that while your definition of the word zombie is accurate, the definition has changed due to it's (mis)use in contemporary language.

    Also the London 1599 Zombie invasion is not real.

    Cool post though!

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Kitty Fields 

    6 years ago from Summerland

    Thanks for clearing those up!

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    Ghouls: Ghoul (from the Arabic ghul, meaning “demon”) is an undead creature that eats dead human flesh and drink blood. It will greedily devour a corpse, this necrophagous behavior is its preference. But it also desires living human flesh like children and defenseless human beings. It will strive to obtain a living victim if it can do so with little risk to itself (it is a rather cowardly creature). These creatures tend to travel and hunt in small packs, and even a small group can strip a corpse clean in minutes. Although not very intelligent, the creature is very cunning. They have no knowledge of but the most basic tools. Therefore, the best ways to destroy a ghoul are decapitation, cremation. A ghoul will run from strong and healthy person.

    2.Vampires: a corpse said to leave its grave to suck the blood from the living for sustenance.

    3.Zombies: a dead body that has been brought back to life by supernatural force Voodoo.

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Kitty Fields 

    6 years ago from Summerland

    Princessa - Thanks so much!

  • Princessa profile image

    Wendy Iturrizaga 

    6 years ago from France

    Awesome hub, I find the information about the zombie invasion of 1599 in London fascinating.

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    Night Of The Living Dead was about ghouls not zombies.

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    I love ghouls the most. Cause they are most powerful than any risen corpse or undead. Watched Night Of The Living Dead and became a fan of flesheating ''ghouls''.

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Kitty Fields 

    6 years ago from Summerland

    cyclingfitness - Thanks so much! Nice to hear from you again. :)

    eaglecreek - Me too!

  • eaglecreek profile image


    6 years ago from Vilonia , Arkansas

    I have always had this fear that my town may be taken over by zombies

  • CyclingFitness profile image

    Liam Hallam 

    6 years ago from Nottingham UK

    Loving the images and all the info. Fantastic hub as ever Kitty! CF

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Kitty Fields 

    6 years ago from Summerland

    thom w conroy - Thanks!

    Fullerman5000 - Thanks so much!

  • Fullerman5000 profile image

    Ryan Fuller 

    6 years ago from Louisiana, USA

    Very fun and entertaining. I enjoyed this unusual bit of literature.

  • thom w conroy profile image

    thom w conroy 

    6 years ago

    Fun and interesting reading...BRAINzzzzz

  • Nellieanna profile image

    Nellieanna Hay 

    6 years ago from TEXAS

    Thank you - and you, too!

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Kitty Fields 

    6 years ago from Summerland

    Good stuff, nellieanna! Thanks for the cuteness. I needed to see some of that tonight. :) Have a blessed rest of the week.

  • Nellieanna profile image

    Nellieanna Hay 

    6 years ago from TEXAS

    I didn't really attribute it to the zombies - ahem - but there was the timing coincidence! muhahaha. . . .

    Right - those kiddos need not know. . . . wouldn't believe it anyhow! tee hee.

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Kitty Fields 

    6 years ago from Summerland

    Nellieanna - Are you telling me all the zombie talk turned you on? LOL. That's hilarious! Don't feel bad, we all have our dark secrets...but our kids/grandkids never need to know, friend! ;)

  • Nellieanna profile image

    Nellieanna Hay 

    6 years ago from TEXAS

    Gosh, Kitty - - I hate to admit it, but actually I had some really sexy dreams which I'm not too accustomed to! haha - Mebbe I ought to read more gory tales before retiring. hehehe. :-)

    ps - I also slept till 11AM, not my usual! (hope I haven't started a new obsession! - how to explain it to my great grandkids? tee hee)

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Kitty Fields 

    6 years ago from Summerland

    nellieanna - I hope I didn't give you nightmares! I agree, to be honest I'm not a huge zombie fan, but they are fun to research and write about. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Nellieanna profile image

    Nellieanna Hay 

    6 years ago from TEXAS

    Kitty, I confess that I prefer the more beneficent types of fantasy-folk. But I love the cute tongue-in-cheek way you present the zombies, ghouls, vampires and other blood-thirsty members of the world of the living dead or fantasy types, and laced it all with historical FACTS. It held me spellbound from first words to the end. Gets my votes!

    Now, hope I can sleep to-night!


  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Kitty Fields 

    6 years ago from Summerland

    thejeffriestube - You know it, buddy!

    Jeannie - Glad you enjoyed it and could learn something new.

    southernhoney - Happy to oblige you with a good zombie story including zombie origins. :)

    Thanks to everyone else who read this hub & commented! Your comments and support are very much appreciated.

  • Lipnancy profile image

    Nancy Yager 

    6 years ago from Hamburg, New York

    I just loved your hub. Very interesting hub. I hope that I do not need to use your zombie advice any time soon.

  • phoenix2327 profile image

    Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

    6 years ago from United Kingdom

    I guess every civilization has zombie lore. I'd never heard about the London zombie outbreak so I'll be checking that out.

    I'm not really into zombie films. (They freak me out too much.) But I did enjoy 'Shaun of the Dead'. Hilarious. I also liked 'Night of the Living Dead.' Classic film.

    Voted up and interesting. If there had been a button marked 'Unnerving' I would have clicked on that too.

  • Haunted Places profile image

    Haunted Places 

    6 years ago from Virginia

    Great Hub - Voted Up but you forgot to mention Twinkies :)

  • LABrashear profile image


    6 years ago from My Perfect Place, USA

    Great information! I had heard of the Middle Eastern ghoul legend, but not of the London incident. I, too, love Zombieland! Great article...voted up!

  • Amethystraven profile image


    6 years ago from California

    Kitty, this is an awesome hub! Zombies have always sparked my curiosity. There are natural genes that lie within all humans that can be mutated by bacterial infections or viruses that can cause ravenous hunger accompanied with comatose psychosis. The 1599 incident comes somewhat close to this. I don't find it far fetched at all. I voted up, interesting, awesome, and useful.

  • jennzie profile image


    6 years ago from Pennsylvania

    Very informative hub- I learned a lot about zombies from reading this. :)

    Voted up & awesome!

  • SouthernHoney profile image


    6 years ago from Woodinville, WA

    This hub is awesome!! I love zombie lore, but rarely do authors focus on the "origins" of flesheaters. I've never heard of the 1599 story, but it seems to be all over the internet. Very interesting - voted up :)

  • Jeannieinabottle profile image

    Jeannie InABottle 

    6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    I never realized there was a zombie outbreak in 1599. I am definitely going to look into that. Thanks for sharing all this cool zombie information! Voted up!

  • thejeffriestube profile image


    6 years ago from United States

    Kitty, damn good article! There's nothing that makes me prouder than a woman that can recognize zombies for the vermin they are!


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