The Zombies wiki last edited by pikahyper on 02/09/14 09:00AM View full history

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A Brief History

Zombie folklore hails from old practice of Vodou; a mix of religion, shamanism and witchcraft originating in Western Africa and prominent, through migration, in Haiti and Louisiana.

According to Voodoo, a zombie is a person who has died but has been resurrected by a 'bokor'. A bokor can be interpreted as a Voodoo priest (houngan) priestess (mambo) a black mage for hire. These are slightly outside the church and considered different (much like Brother Voodoo or Papa Midnite). The tenets of Voodoo say that once resurrected however, you are not control of your actions but rather whoever raised you is. Zombies could be destroyed if fed salt.

It's thought that this stems from people being drugged by a bokor with derivatives of foxglove and appear dead to their loved ones. However, later they would gain basic body function but be sent to work on landowners land. Their relatives would assume their 'dead' loved ones have been risen and become 'nzambi' (where we get our word Zombie). The most prominent case of this being reported in recent times was Clairvius Narcisse in Haiti, 1962. Despite these claims of the rising dead in Haiti, it seems to be isolated to small instances within rural communities and not really canon of the church.

Contrary to his portrayal in fiction as an evil or wicked figure, in league with zombies, the Loa (a spirit of the Voodoo religion) 'Papa Samedi' is actually said to ensure people rot in the ground so they won't come back as a zombie.

Defining a modern Zombie

The defining of a zombie is actually one of debate. However, generally, a zombie will exhibit some or all of the following characteristics:

  • Resurrected from death
  • A taste for human flesh and/or brains
  • Higher brain functions decrease or stop completely
  • Lack of response to pain or other stimuli to peripheral nervous system
  • Ability to sustain tremendous amount of damage
  • Disease can be spread by bites, scratches or exchange of body fluids
  • No sentimentality towards pre-infected life
  • Destroyed by heavy head trauma
  • Generally slow ambulatory
  • Above human strength due to not caring about bodily harm

Due to the ambiguity of the definition, this often leads to debates on what qualifies as a zombie (usually when discussing The Infected from the 28 Days Later series)

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