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Zombies are fictional undead creatures encountered in horror and fantasy themed work. They are typically mindless, reanimated corpses with a hunger for human flesh, and particularly for human brains. I chose to search on this topic because Zombies are incredibly popular, the growth is phenomenal, not only are they in films, TV shows and fan productions on YouTube, but there’s a vast growth in books with zombie survival guides selling very well. Some question I researched on: why are zombies so popular in today’s modern society media? I will also look into the history of zombies. How did they come in first place?

What are the factors that can result someone into a zombie? Are they anything like those are portrayed in movies or on TV? Most importantly what would happen if we had a Zombie Apocalypse? For research I used article from discovery news “A History Of Real Zombies” by Benjamin Radford and a documentary video from History Channel “Zombies: A Living History. ” A zombie is a reanimated human corpse that feeds on living human ?esh. Stories about zombies originated in the Afro-Caribbean spiritual belief system of voodoo. These stories described people as being controlled by a powerful sorcerer.

Modern zombies come from a film made in 1968 by a as then unknown director George Romero (Night of the Living Dead). George Romero rewrote the book about zombies. “What started as a low budget horror movie became an international sensation” (Radford). More than half of all zombie movies have been made since September 11, 2001. Romero did not invent the zombie. It’s been around as long as man has walked the earth. There are several possible etymologies of the word zombie. One of the possible origins is jumbie, which comes from the Caribbean term for ghost.

Another possible origin is the word nzambi which in Kongo means “spirit of a dead person” (Radford). According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word zombie originates from the word zonbi, used in the Louisiana Creole or the Haitian Creole. According to the Creole culture, a zonbi represents a person who died and was then brought to life without speech or free will. The followers of Voodoo believe that a dead person can be revived by a sorcerer. After being revived, “the zombies remain under the control of the sorcerer because they have no will of their own”(Radford). Zombie is also another name for a Voodoo snake god.

It is said that the sorcerer uses a “zombie powder” for the zombi?cation. This powder contains an extremely powerful neurotoxin that temporarily “paralyzes the human nervous system and it creates a state of hibernation” (Radford). The main organs, such as the heart and lungs, and all of the bodily functions, operate at minimal levels during this state of hibernation. What turns these human beings into zombies is the lack of oxygen to the brain. As a result of this, they suffer from brain damage. A popular belief in the Middle Ages was that the souls of the dead could return to earth one day and haunt the living.

In France, during the Middle Ages, “they believed that the dead would usually awaken to avenge some sort of crime committed against them during their life. These awakened dead took the form of an emaciated corpse and they wandered around graveyards at night” (Zombies: A Living History). The idea of the zombie also appears in several other cultures, such as China, Japan, the Paci?c, India, Persia, the Arabs and the Americas. Modern zombies (the ones illustrated in books, ?lms and games) are very different from the voodoo and the folklore zombies. Modern zombies follow a standard, as set in the movie Night of the Living Dead. The ghouls are portrayed as being mindless monsters who do not feel pain and who have an immense appetite for human ?esh. Their aim is to kill, eat or infect people. The “undead’ move in small, irregular steps, and show signs of physical decomposition such as rotting ?esh, discolored eyes and open wounds”( Zombies: A Living History). Modern zombies are often related to an apocalypse, where civilization could collapse due to a plague of the undead. The background stories behind zombie movies, video games etc, are purposefully vague and inconsistent in explaining how the zombies came about in the ?rst place.

Some ideas include radiation (Night of the Living Dead), exposure to air-borne viruses (Resident Evil), mutated diseases carried by various vectors (Dead Rising, claimed it was from bee stings of genetically altered bees). Shaun of the Dead made fun of this by not allowing the viewer to determine what actually happened. When a susceptible individual is bitten by a zombie, it leaves an open wound. The wound created by the zombie has the “zombie’s saliva in and around it” (Radford). This bodily ?uid mixes with the blood, thus infecting the individual.

In summary, a zombie outbreak is likely to lead to the collapse of civilization, unless it is dealt with quickly. While aggressive quarantine may contain the epidemic, or a cure may lead to coexistence of humans and zombies, the most effective way to contain the rise of the undead is to hit hard and hit often. As seen in the movies, it is imperative that zombies are dealt with quickly, or else we are all in a great deal of trouble.

Work Cited

Radford, Benjamin. “A History of ‘Real’ Zombies. ” Discovery News. 4 June 2012. Web. 04 Dec. 2012. Zombies: A Living History. Dir. David V. Nicholson. History Channel, 2011. Documentary.

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