Society

The History of Zombies

Popularized by films, the zombie stems from Haitian folklore surrounding magically reanimated corpses.

In the recent past, the zombie has dominated the film and pop culture. Often portrayed as the undead, decaying, flesh-eating corpse with a robotic walk, the zombie has starred in popular films including "The Walking Dead," "World War Z," and even in Michael Jackson's “Thriller” video. Unlike several other monsters in movies that are a product of superstition, zombies have a contentious history.

Zombie Traits

A zombie is either a reawakened corpse or someone that is bitten by a corpse and turns into one after being infected by the zombie virus. They are portrayed as creatures with a ravenous appetite for flesh, particularly human flesh. They move robotically with only one mission; to feed. They do not hold conversations but grunt a little and can always tell the difference between another zombie and a human. They are hard to kill, and decapitation is the most efficient way as shown on film and told in legends.

Origin of Zombies

Ancient Greeks are thought to be the first civilizations to exhibit fear of the undead. Archeologists have discovered ancient graves with skeletons pinned down by rocks or tied to the ground using ropes assumedly to prevent them from reanimating.

Haitians have told zombie folklore since the 17th century. It is believed that the folklore developed at a time when African slaves were brought to work on sugar plantations. Brutal working and living conditions left the slaves longing for death but could not kill themselves because of the fear of becoming zombies. They believed that anyone who committed suicide would turn into a zombie and roam the plantation for eternity.

Zombies and Voodoo

Several people who still follow the voodoo religion today consider zombies as myths, but some still think that zombies are corpses revived by witchcraft and sorcerers. Sorcerers are thought to capture and control lingering souls after death waiting to join gods. The sorcerers create a powder containing tetrodotoxin which is a lethal neurotoxin found in pufferfish. The neurotoxin creates zombie-like symptoms including difficulty in walking and breathing. In high doses, lead to paralysis and coma and in the past, such people would be considered dead, only to awaken or show signs of life days later.

Are Zombies in the Bible?

The modern-day zombie is very different from resurrections as told in the Bible. Jesus is said to have been resurrected but is not described as a zombie. So was Lazarus and several other people. In his book, Ezekiel describes a vision where he drops into a boneyard that began to shake and grow muscles and flesh although there was no sign of life in them. The Old and New Testaments tell of resurrections of saints and sinners in the end times, which has lead to zombies being associated with the apocalypse.

Modern-Day Zombies

Although the zombies we see in movies are the things of legends and myths, the idea of zombies is a popular one. Zombie mania has become so popular in the 21st century that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created a website a “Zombie Preparedness” website with tips on how to survive a zombie apocalypse in case one eventually occurs.

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