No, seriously, this thread is about how to make a zombie. In this particular case, the Haitian zombies famed throughout the Carribean. I've been on a
bit of a zombie kick
lately, thanks to the works of Max Brooks, but in reading some unrelated
material, I found an article about how Haitian zombies are created, and did more looking into it as well. No one appears to have done a serious thread
on zombies yet, so I figure, what the heck.
Before I begin, a couple of misconceptions to clear up:
First, Haitian zombism is not a communicable disease
, it is an artificial state of
psychosis caused by drugs. If one bites you, it will almost certainly be septic
(the human mouth is filthy
), but you can rest assured that it will not
cause you to turn into a zombie.
Second, they are not reanimated dead. They are, however, very very close to death during the creation process. They are not the spawn of satan, nor
are they aliens. They can move, eat, hear, speak, but have no memory and no insight into their condition.
Third, they cannot be mass produced. This is a very careful, expensive, and dangerous process requiring very skilled preparation, application, and
follow-through, to avoid killing the victim. Most die in the process.
Let's create a typical Haitian Zombie scenario on a micro-scale with only three people:
Bob, our hapless victim.
Jimbo, a plantation owner.
Marie, a skilled medicinal herbalist.
1.) Jimbo has a plantation run mainly off servant labor (not entirelly unheard of in third world countries), and he spots Bob, a poor young man with a
strong back, without family nearby.
2.) Jimbo then hires Marie, who slips a rather nasty concoction of cane toad (bufo marinus) skin and puffer fish in Bob's drink one day which lowers
his heart, breathing, and so forth, to an almost imperceptable level. The active ingredients of the poison are
. These are all extremely dangerous toxins, and should
be slipped to someone as a "joke". In all probability, it will, more often than not (roughly 60% of the time), kill the victim,
and even if it doesn't they will end up brain damaged as a result.
3.) Because most places in Haiti lack refrigeration, the dead are buried very quickly, often without any of the
work one might find in a funeral home. Since skilled doctors are at a premium, every so often
someone who isn't really dead will be mistakenly buried, intact. Bob, who is now in a coma-like state, gets buried.
4.) With the decreased heart and breath rate, the average coffin space has about eight hours worth of air, which is both good news and bad news for
Bob. As a result, if he is to be "resurrected", he must be dug up within eight hours. As it gets closer to the eight-hour mark, Bob will suffer more
and more brain damage from very slow oxygen starvation.
5.) Once the "corpse" has been dug up, and revived, he is then force-fed a paste of datura
. The chemical in jimsonweed has the capacity to break one's links with reality in the present, and disassociate the
links to recent memory.
6.) As a result, the person is now left in a state of psychotic amnesia. They do not know what day it is, where they are, or even who they are. And
because of the disassociative identity disorder created by the jimsonweed, they are unable to learn any of these as well. Most at this point are so
far gone they can't even speak.
7.) Bob is now a zombie, trapped in a semi-permanent state of psychotic delirium, and sold to Jimbo, the evil Plantation owner, as slave labor.
Because Bob has already been declared legally dead, and is presumably buried, the chance of anyone who would know him discovering his fate is very
slim. Bob certainly won't object, and if he starts coming to his sense, he is simply given more datura.
Just such a case was discovered in 1980, when zombie Clairvius Narcisse
was investigated by
Harvard enthnobiologist Dr. Wade Davis, which, incidentally, is how the process was discovered. In 1962, Clairvius refused to sell his share of the
family land. Soon after he officially "died" and was buried, then dug up and sold to a plantation owner as slave labor. In 1964, when the plantation
owner died, Clairvius wandered around Haiti for 16 years until, in 1980, he quite literally stubled into his sister in a marketplace, and recognized
her. She didn't recognize him at first (remember, by now 18 years had passed), but he identified himself to her by telling her early childhood
experiences that only he could possibly know. This remarkable tale is what prompted Dr. Davis to investigate the process in the first place, who later
published his findings in the non-fiction book "The Serpent and the Rainbow" (also a movie by Wes Craven).
[edit on 11/14/2006 by thelibra]