popularity of movies like Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead and
Resident Evil shows how very interested in zombies the public has grown.
Each one that comes out seems to acquire a cult following no
matter how good or bad the acting or effects are done.
see on the movies is hardly the real story about zombies.
No armies of the moldy dead dragging lame legs down some dusty
path toward your window. Not
the stuff of horror movies at all.
They are, however, the stuff of real life horror.
it’s the West Indian term jumbie, for ghost; or nzambi,
which is Kongo for “dead person’s spirit”, it’s clear that the
meaning is one that involves the dead.
are reanimated corpses, without the ability to speak or make decisions
or judgments. It is
believed they have been used by a Sorcerer as an army of darkness.
Many in the practice of Vodou claim to be able to raise zombies,
but other than stories from the shadows and stories to keep kids in
their beds, not too much is actually know n factually about zombies.
believe the raising of dead tissue and muscle to be one of magic and
superstition. The other
school of thought considers the theory that an old recipe or formula has
survived down through the generations…a formula with the result of
reanimating tissue that has already started the decaying process. Whichever one might believe, the fact that we believe it’s
“possible” is what boggles the mind.
Another theory is that the victim’s beliefs and convictions
push him/herself to near-catatonia, following all direction without
question. (consider the
“hypnotists” who put on shows and have people bark like dogs)
others believe that a zombie is made before the body fully dies, the
blood stream still moving, albeit slow.
It’s thought that between a powder potion formula and a
particular chemical change, the body is brought back from the brink to
use for whatever nefarious errands a sorcerer may have in mind.
Epic of Gilgamesh –
Father give me the Bull of Heaven,
So he can kill Gilgamesh in his dwelling.
If you do not give me the Bull of Heaven,
I will knock down the Gates of the Netherworld,
I will smash the doorposts, and leave the doors flat down,
and will let the dead go up to eat the living!
And the dead will outnumber the living!
passage shows the common belief of the middle ages that “revenants”
walked the earth in the form of skeletons.
Warriors returned to avenge theirs or their kings’ deaths. The
concept of zombification is world wide and culture-common.
Nearly all cultures have dark myths and folklore and most include
the walking dead.
long ago George A. Romero brought zombies back to the mainstream
attention with the Dead Series (night, dawn, day, land, diary)
Zombies have become one of the biggest box
office breakers in Hollywood.
Films like 28 Days Later and Resident Evil continue the zombie
theme but with the twist of epidemics and viruses as a premise for the
zombie-like habits of eating flesh and tearing humans apart.
the idea of zombies leaves us feeling like we need to suspend our
disbelief, because of so many occasions through history where zombies
rise from their dead state. Like
all myth or folklore, somewhere it has some grain of a mote of truth.
Like it or not, zombies are a part of our history, creepy as that
thought may be.
2008 J Thompson
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