Monday, December 16, 2013

Are Zombies Real?

One well known concept introduced by Haitian Voodoo is “zombification”, the practice of reviving the dead.  The term zombie came into general use after the publication of The Magic Island in 1929, in which William Seabrook described his experiences in Haiti, including an encounter with the walking dead: “The eyes were the worst. It was not my imagination. They were in truth like the eyes of a dead man, not blind, but staring, unfocused, unseeing. The whole face, for that matter, was bad enough. It was vacant, as if there was nothing behind it. It seemed not only expressionless, but incapable of expression.” 

The dead risen from their graves and animated by malevolent Voodoo sorcerers, a fanciful superstition?  Perhaps only partially according to Harvard trained biologist Wade Davis who has studied zombies in Haiti.  Victims were only made to look dead, by means of a drug that dramatically slowed metabolism.  According to Davis, a Voodoo practitioner prepares a powder that is rubbed into a victim’s skin. The subject becomes paralyzed, his lips turn blue, and within a matter of hours his metabolism slows to a level almost indistinguishable from death. If the victim survives the first few hours after poisoning, he or she revives spontaneously.  Then the so called zombie master administers Datura or some other drug that perpetuates the victim’s disorientation and reliance on the zombie master.  One of the ingredients that Davis found in every zombie powder he examined (along with such things as toads, sea worms, lizards, tarantulas, and human bones) was a dried species of blowfish.  Many of these fish contain a powerful poison known as tetrodotoxin, one of the most powerful non-protein poisons known.

The best reading experience on your Android phone or tablet, iPad, iPhone, Mac, Windows 8 PC or tablet, BlackBerry, or Windows Phone.

No comments: