With a broken swagger, a distant face and a hunger for human flesh and brains, a zombie is a regular haunt during Halloween. Truly popularized by the cult classic Night of the Living Dead, zombies do have roots within Haitian folklore and voodoo.
Bokors exist in the religion of vodou and are sorcerers that can practice black magic and benevolent magic. Within the black magic, the Bokor can create zombies. According to Haitian tales, the Bokor use a potion that contains poison from a puffer fish. The potion makes the person appear dead thus they are buried alive. After the burial, the Bokor will dig up the corpse, and use it as a slave. To maintain the dream-like, detached state of the zombie, the Bokor will administer drugs that cause delirium like datura. The person is fully functioning and alive; however, they have no control over what they think or say.
It sounds like a story or a myth, but Clairvius Narcisse, a Haitian man, was a topic of interest to scientists as it was said he was turned into a living zombie with the use of drugs. His brother gave him the cocktail of drugs because they were quarreling over land. After Narcisse’s death and burial, a Bokor administered a paste that was made of datura. He then was forced to work on a sugar plantation until the Bokor’s death. It is said that because Narcisse wasn’t receiving the datura paste due to his master’s death, he regained his sanity and returned to his family.
Narcisse’s story was the foundation for Wade Davis’ book The Serpent and the Rainbow. His worked was highly criticized as his claims show scientific inaccuracies. Part of his investigations, caused an uproar and a question of ethics because he had the grave of a buried child dug up. Dead human tissue is used to create “zombie powder” along with the tetrodotoxin (poison of puffer fish).
A movie based on Davis’ master thesis also called The Serpent and the Rainbow starring Bill Pulman and directed by Wes Craven flopped at the box office. Additionally, Davis’ agreed by saying that it was “one of the worst Hollywood movies in history”.
To protect yourself from the wrath of a zombie, experts have compiled a list of gear to that includes a helmet to protect your head and brain. Zombies feast on human brains and it is vital for protection. Leather, denim and even a wet suit can protect your torso from unwanted bites. Additionally, these items are stylish when fighting off the attack.
To protect your ankles and feet, a sturdy construction boot with steel-toes is a perfect choice for the crawling zombie who attacks from below. Cover your hands with a sturdy leather glove, and carry a tarp in a back pack for shelter. The tarp’s material will protect you during an attack and give you time to flee.
For further instruction on Z-Day, pick up a copy of The Zombie Survival Guide written by Max Brooks. It is a step-by-step guide that ensures that you and your love ones will survive a zombie attack.