Zombies for real?
During the eighties, an ethnobotanist named Wade Davis travelled to Haiti to examine the religion of Voodoo and its ceremonies. Among his findings were many explanations for several of rituals, some of which included practices that cause a Zombie-like behaviour in participants. He even found an entire procedure to create a Zombie, which he described as follows:
The subject (or victim) selected was often someone who had acted in an offensive manners and therefore rejected by the group, so that he or she wouldn’t have any social network to rely on.
A blend of toxins, such as deadly, tranquilizing and/or hallucinogenic substances, was given to the subject, sometimes put in his or her shoes(!) or poured on his or her back. The poisonous mixture required careful preparation, in order to keep it from killing the subject outright.
When the subject appeared to have died and so been buried, the medicine man (a so-called “Bokor” or “Houngan”) that was responsible for the poisoning returned later and dug up the body. The victim was then resurrected (or rather awakened) from the drug-induced slumber, and thereafter physically and psychologically abused to break him or her down, so that the subject would obey without questioning orders. One of the drugs used put the victim in delirious state of mind, not unlike a permanent LSD-trip, so that he or she only had a vague notion of reality and couldn’t concentrate.
Some zombies have reputedly been awakened from this enslaved state because of botched medication (or, from the viewpoint of anyone sane, poisoning) or because they had been fed with “forbidden food”, such as salt. Those who wake up are said to generally be enraged (who wouldn’t be?) and look to kill their captors. Those who do not wake usually perish within a month or so because of heavy labour and the toll of the drugs.
There are no absolute or trustworthy reports on how many people that have been transformed into Zombies, but according to reports from families of supposed victims and judging from missing person-cases, it has been said that there may have been as many as a thousand cases.
Some scientists are sceptical to the existence of Zombies, both historical and current, and mean that it is a myth. One of the alternative explanations for sightings of and encounters with zombie-like persons is that they (the apparent zombies, not the experts) may be handicapped people, sold as slaves by uncaring relatives.
Continued in Brrrains! Zombies Explained, part 3.