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Zombie - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Zombie (Haitian Creole: zonbi; North Mbundu: nzumbe) is a term used to denote an animated corpse brought back to life by mystical means such as witchcraft.[1] The term is often guratively applied to describe a hypnotized person bereft of consciousness and self-awareness, yet ambulant and able to respond to surrounding stimuli. Since the late 19th century, zombies have acquired notable popularity, especially in North American and European folklore. In modern times, the term "zombie" has been applied to an undead race in horror ction, largely drawn from George A. Romero's 1968 lm Night of the Living Dead.[2] They have appeared as plot devices in various books, lms and in television shows.

1 West African Vodun 2 Haitian Vodou and alleged pharmaceutical explanation 3 South Africa 4 Tibetan folklore 5 In popular culture 6 See also 7 References 8 Further reading 9 External links

West African Vodun

According to the tenets of Vodou, a dead person can be revived by a bokor, or sorcerer. Zombies remain under the control of the bokor since they have no will of their own. "Zombi" is also another name of the Vodou snake lwa Damballah Wedo, of NigerCongo origin; it is akin to the Kikongo word nzambi, which means "god". There also exists within the West African Vodun tradition the zombi astral, which is a part of the human soul that is captured by a bokor and used to enhance the bokor's power. The zombi astral is typically kept inside a bottle which the bokor can sell to clients for luck, healing or business success. It is believed that after a time God will take the soul back and so the zombi is a temporary spiritual entity.[3] It is also said in vodou legend, that feeding a zombie salt will make it return to the grave.

Haitian Vodou and alleged pharmaceutical explanation

In 1937, while researching folklore in Haiti, Zora Neale Hurston encountered the case of a woman who appeared in a village, and a family claimed she was Felicia Felix-Mentor, a relative who had died and
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Zombie - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

been buried in 1907 at the age of 29. Hurston pursued rumors that the affected persons were given a powerful psychoactive drug, but she was unable to locate individuals willing to offer much information. She wrote:

What is more, if science ever gets to the bottom of Voodoo in Haiti and Africa, it will be found that some important medical secrets, still unknown to medical science, give it its power, rather than gestures of ceremony.[4]

Several decades later, Wade Davis, a Harvard ethnobotanist, presented a pharmacological case for zombies in two books, The Serpent and the Rainbow (1985) and Passage of Darkness: The Ethnobiology of the Haitian Zombie (1988). Davis traveled to Haiti in 1982 and, as a result of his investigations, claimed that a living person can be turned into a zombie by two special powders being entered into the blood stream (usually via a wound). The rst, coup de poudre (French: 'powder strike'), includes tetrodotoxin (TTX), a powerful and frequently fatal neurotoxin found in the esh of the puffersh (order Tetraodontidae). The second powder consists of dissociative drugs such as datura. Together, these powders were said to induce a death-like state in which the will of the victim would be entirely subjected to that of the bokor. Davis also popularized the story of Clairvius Narcisse, who was claimed to have succumbed to this practice. The process described by Davis was an initial state of death-like suspended animation, followed by re-awakeningtypically after being buriedinto a psychotic state. The psychosis induced by the drug and psychological trauma was hypothesised by Davis to re-inforce culturally-learned beliefs and to cause the individual to reconstruct their identity as that of a zombie, since they "knew" they were dead, and had no other role to play in the Haitian society. Societal reinforcement of the belief was hypothesized by Davis to conrm for the zombie individual the zombie state, and such individuals were known to hang around in graveyards, exhibiting attitudes of low affect. Davis' claim has been criticized, particularly the suggestion that Haitian witch doctors can keep zombies in a state of pharmacologically induced trance for many years.[5] Symptoms of TTX poisoning range from numbness and nausea to paralysis (particularly of the muscles of the diaphragm), unconsciousness, and death, but do not include a stiffened gait or a death-like trance. According to psychologist Terence Hines, the scientic community dismisses tetrodotoxin as the cause of this state, and Davis' assessment of the nature of the reports of Haitian zombies is viewed as overly credulous.[6] Scottish psychiatrist R. D. Laing highlighted the link between social and cultural expectations and compulsion, in the context of schizophrenia and other mental illness, suggesting that schizogenesis may account for some of the psychological aspects of zombication.[7]

South Africa
Some cultures in South Africa harbor the idea of zombies. In some communities it is believed that a dead person can be turned into a zombie by a small child.[8] It is said that the spell can be broken by a powerful enough sangoma.[9]

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Zombie - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It is also believed in some areas that witches can turn a person into a zombie by killing and then possessing the victim's body in order to force it into slave labor [10]. After rail lines were built to transport migrant workers, stories emerged about witch trains. These trains appeared ordinary, but were staffed by zombie workers controlled by a witch. The trains would abduct a person boarding at night and the person would then either be turned into a zombie worker, or beaten and thrown from the train a distance away from the original location.[10]

Tibetan folklore
Main article: Ro-langs A ro-langs is a zombie-like gure from Tibetan folklore. Ro is the word for corpse and langs is the perfect tense of "to rise up", so ro-langs literally means "a risen corpse". A ro-langs is usually created by a gdon spirit, or a sorcerer.[11] A ro-langs cannot speak or bend over, so it signals its victims by wagging its tongue back and forth. They can not bend at any joints, which makes them walk with a stiff-armed lurch. In regions of Tibet there are low doorways to keep the ro-langs out[12]

In popular culture
See also: Zombie (ctional) The gure of the zombie has appeared several times in fantasy themed ction and entertainment, as early as the 1929 novel The Magic Island by William Seabrook. Time claimed that the book "introduced 'zombi' into U.S. speech".[13] In 1932, Victor Halperin directed White Zombie, a horror lm starring Bela Lugosi. This lm, capitalizing on the same voodoo zombie themes as Seabrook's book of three years prior, is often regarded as the rst legitimate zombie lm ever made, and introduced the word "zombie" to the wider world.[14] Other zombie-themed lms include Val Lewton's I Walked With a Zombie (1943) and Wes Craven's The Serpent and the Rainbow, (1988) a heavily ctionalized account of Wade Davis' book. A new version of the zombie, distinct from that described in Haitian religion, has also emerged in popular culture in recent decades. This "zombie" is taken largely from George A. Romero's seminal lm The Night of the Living Dead, which was in turn partly inspired by Richard Matheson's 1954 novel I Am Legend.[15] The word zombie is not used in Night of the Living Dead itself, but was applied later by fans.[16] The monsters in the lm and its sequels, such as Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead, as well as its many inspired works, such as Return of the Living Dead and Zombie Flesh Eaters, are usually hungry for human esh although Return of the Living Dead introduced the popular concept of zombies eating brains. Sometimes they are victims of a ctional pandemic illness causing the dead to reanimate or the living to behave this way, but often no cause is given in the story. Although this modern monster bears some supercial resemblance to the Haitian zombie tradition, its links to such folklore are unclear,[15] and many consider George A. Romero to be the progenitor of this creature.[17] Zombie ction is now a sizeable sub-genre of horror, usually describing a breakdown of civilization occurring when most of the population become esh-eating zombies a zombie apocalypse.

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See also
Anchimayen Draugr Dybbuk Frankenstein Ghoul Golem Hoodoo Jiang Shi Mind control Undead

1. ^ "Zombie". Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. 1998. 2. ^ Smith, Neil (March 7, 2008). "Zombie maestro lays down the lore" ( /2/hi/entertainment/7280793.stm) . London: BBC News. /7280793.stm. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 3. ^ *McAlister, Elizabeth. 1995.A Sorcerer's Bottle: The Visual Art of Magic in Haiti. In Donald J. Cosentino, ed., Sacred Arts of Haitian Vodou. UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, 1995: 304321. ( /cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1016& context=div2facpubs) 4. ^ Hurston, Zora Neale. Dust Tracks on a Road. 2nd Ed. (1942: Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1984, p. 205). 5. ^ Booth, W. (1988), Voodoo Science, Science, 240: 274277. 6. ^ Hines, Terence; "Zombies and Tetrodotoxin"; Skeptical Inquirer; May/June 2008; Volume 32, Issue 3; Pages 6062. 7. ^ Oswald, Hans Peter (2009 (84 pages)). Vodoo. BoD Books on Demand. p. 39. ISBN 3837059049. 8. ^ Marinovich, Greg; Silva Joao (2000). The Bang-Bang Club Snapshots from a Hidden War. William Heinemann. p. 84. ISBN 0434007331. 9. ^ Marinovich, Greg; Silva Joao (2000). The Bang-Bang Club Snapshots from a Hidden War. William Heinemann. p. 98. ISBN 0434007331. 10. ^ a b Niehaus, Isak (June 2005). "Witches and Zombies of the South African Lowveld: Discourse, Accusations and Subjective Reality". The Journal of the Royal Anthropological
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Institute 11 (2): 197-198. 11. ^ Morema, Sage, 6-3-10, [[1] ( ], 12-3-11 12. ^ Wylie, JSTOR, 1964, [[2] ( /stable/1061872?origin=JSTOR-pdf) ], 12-3-11 13. ^ "Mumble-Jumble" ( /time/magazine/article/0,9171,764649,00.html) , Time, 9 September 1940. 14. ^ Roberts, Lee. "White Zombie is regarded as the rst zombie lm" ( , November 2006. 15. ^ a b Jasie Stokes. "Ghouls, Hell and Transcendence: the Zombie in Popular Culture" ( /etd3501.pdf) . Bringham YOung University. /etd3501.pdf. Retrieved 2011-10=02. 16. ^ "Godfather of the Dead George A. Romero Talks Zombies" ( /underwire/2010/06/george-a-romero-zombies/) . /2010/06/george-a-romero-zombies/. Retrieved 2011-10-02. 17. ^ Deborah Christie, Sarah Juliet Lauro, ed (2011). Better Off Dead: The Evolution of the Zombie as Post-Human ( /books?id=0oZIlm84F2oC&pg=PA57& lpg=PA57&dq=romero+zombie+ghouls& source=bl&ots=OqDhPx6I3m& sig=fBKmtkH_PBGVm7rpADZ0bwR3_lI& hl=en&ei=SpuITqGXF8TI0QWFk4XlDw& sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5& ved=0CDsQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&
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Zombie - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

q=romero%20&f=false) . Fordham Univ Press. p. 169. ISBN 0823234479, 9780823234479. /books?id=0oZIlm84F2oC&pg=PA57& lpg=PA57&dq=romero+zombie+ghouls& source=bl&ots=OqDhPx6I3m&

sig=fBKmtkH_PBGVm7rpADZ0bwR3_lI& hl=en&ei=SpuITqGXF8TI0QWFk4XlDw& sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5& ved=0CDsQ6AEwBA#v=onepage& q=romero%20&f=false.

Further reading
Ackermann, Hans-W.; Gauthier, Jeanine (1991). "The Ways and Nature of the Zombi". The Journal of American Folklore 104 (414): 466494. doi:10.2307/541551 ( /10.2307%2F541551) . JSTOR 541551 ( . Bishop, Kyle William (2010) American Zombie Gothic: The rise and fall (and rise) of the walking dead in popular culture McFarland, Jefferson, North Carolina, ISBN 978-0-7864-4806-7 Black, J. Anderson (2000) The Dead Walk Noir Publishing, Hereford, Herefordshire, ISBN 0-9536564-2-X Curran, Bob (2006) Encyclopedia of the Undead: A eld guide to creatures that cannot rest in peace New Page Books, Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, ISBN 1-56414-841-6 Davis, E. Wade (1983). "The ethnobiology of the Haitian zombi". Journal of Ethnopharmacology 9 (1): 85104. doi:10.1016/0378-8741(83)90029-6 ( /10.1016%2F0378-8741%2883%2990029-6) . PMID 6668953 ( /pubmed/6668953) . Davis, Wade (1988) Passage of Darkness: The ethnobiology of the Haitian zombie University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, ISBN 0-8078-1776-7 Dendle, Peter (2001) The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia McFarland, Jefferson, North Carolina, ISBN 0-7864-0859-6 Flint, David (2008) Zombie Holocaust: How the living dead devoured pop culture Plexus, London, ISBN 978-0-85965-397-8 Forget, Thomas (2007) Introducing Zombies Rosen Publishing, New York, ISBN 1-4042-0852-6; (juvenile) Graves, Zachary (2010) Zombies: The complete guide to the world of the living dead Sphere, London, ISBN 978-1-84744-415-8 Littlewood, Roland; Douyon, Chavannes (1997). "Clinical ndings in three cases of zombication". The Lancet 350: 10946. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(97)04449-8 ( . McIntosh, Shawn and Leverette, Marc (editors) (2008) Zombie Culture: Autopsies of the Living Dead Scarecrow Press, Lanham, Maryland, ISBN 0-8108-6043-0 Moreman, Christopher M., and Cory James Rushton (editors) (2011) Race, Oppression and the Zombie: Essays on Cross-Cultural Appropriations of the Caribbean Tradition. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-5911-7. Moreman, Christopher M., and Cory James Rushton (editors) (2011) Zombies Are Us: Essays on the Humanity of the Walking Dead. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-5912-4. Russell, Jamie (2005) Book of the dead: the complete history of zombie cinema FAB, Godalming, England, ISBN 1-903254-33-7 Waller, Gregory A. (2010) Living and the undead: slaying vampires, exterminating zombies

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University of Illinois Press, Urbana, Indiana, ISBN 978-0-252-07772-2

External links
Discussion of zombies in lm at NPR's On The Media ( /2003/10/31/05) Centers of Disease Control and Prevention discuss Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse ( Retrieved from "" Categories: Corporeal undead Film genres Horror ction Mind control Caribbean mythology Pop culture words of Bantu origin Vodou Zombies This page was last modied on 10 December 2011 at 11:43. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. See Terms of use for details. Wikipedia is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a non-prot organization.

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