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Zombies ~ Myth,legend and popular culture.
Zombies & Voodoo
Member Name: blackbob
Zombies & Voodoo
Date: 03/12/12, updated on 03/12/12 (42 review reads)
Advantages: Well for the voodoo priest an extremely docile beast of burden
Disadvantages: where would you start !!!
The whole genre of the Zombie has really taken off in the last few years and the topic of how to survive a wide scale Zombie appocolypse is a regular topic of discussion across the internet.
I am a member and contributor to THE conspiracy website,although I'm a natural sceptic the wide range of topics discussed from social issues to quantam physics keep me visiting daily almost.
Debate about what could cause such a scenario is rife but it usually centres around rabies or a new 'weaponised' virus that leaves people alive medically but exhibiting all the classic Zombie characteristics apart from being reanimated corpses.
I think the ever looming 21st of dec feeds into it but when the CDC pubiished a comprehensive guide to surviving a Zombie attack it threw the conspiracy community into a wild frenzy,dismisshng their cited reason as a joke and for horror fans.
You can see why though,it's not normal for a soberhserious government department,particularly one who's purpose is the to contain pandemics and disiese control to do something seemingly so frivilous but that's the US for you and it was great PR.
The Zombie phenomenon is so popular these days that I've no doubt that many,many people particularly the under 30's are unaware that in some areas of the world Zombies are very real ,part of their history,culture and present even today.I'm referring to Haiti in particular but also the other Carribean areas where Voodoo is practiced including Louisiana and New Orleans in the US.
The religion of Voodoo is a vibrant practice which was an organic blend of West African ancestor worship,beliefs and ritual and native Haitian Creole practices that developed amongst the slaves transported from Africa to work in the French sugar plantations.Later they imposed Catholicism on them and they adapted their practices using saints to represent their dieties.
Voodoo also involved spirit posession and was wrapped up with folk magic.The priest is known as the bokor and preforms black and white magic.He has
the power,they believe to reanimate the corpse of someone who has recently died,controlling them,keeping their soul in a sealed jar.
He will have been payed by someone who wants revenge ör maybe fallen foul of the priest in life and may be worked as a slave for 20 years trapped in a hellish limbo.
That there are people turned into Zömbies in Haiti today is a fact though science realises they dont die beforehand but are poisoned with powerful neurotoxins which somehow not only put them into a heavily catotonic state which makes it appear they've died so a doctor can declare them dead and for their family tö bury them.
The film The Serpent and the Rainbow about this subject by John Carpenter in the late 80's is said to be based on a true story.It is to a point in that an American scientific researcher went to Haiti in the '60's to find the 'secret' but particularly the toxins and drugs used but it seems unlike in the film he never truly discovered to the scientific community's satisfaction what the actual process was and the toxins used.
But it seems that the toxins will put them in that state long enough for them to be buried,sometimes waking up in their coffin still undergroud.The toxin obviously does a degree of damage to their brain and their mind but what would the trauma of believing you died and were brought back to life inside your coffin.
To a Western person (and being buried alive happened more often than is thought in Europe before doctors,in the late 18th century,were able to tell reliablelly if someone was truly dead or not !!!) who came round in their coffin if they were able to stop panicing and screaming they might realise they hadn't actually died but been declared dead in error ~ it was a real fear until the invention of the stethescope and why people had open faced coffins or bells inside them.There was even one that had tubes running down to it from the surface with string so if they were buried alive they pulled the string and a flag stood up to tell people you were down there !!!
But in Haiti where the belief in voodoo is very strong,strong enough for people to believe the spirits of some of their lesser gods enter their body and possess them.Clearly everyone knows about Zombies and believes they are were people once who had been murdered then brought back to life by a powerful priest that had full control of you,kept you soul prisoner.The fear of being becoming a Zombie is prevalant amongst the poorer people so when they come to and realise their in a coffin and buried their worst fear has come true,literally a fate far worse than death.
Their brain,mind and mental capacity will have been damaged from the toxin they were given plus a lifelong belief in the dead becoming Zombies it's impossible to imagine what they think or feel when they realise where they are.If they're down their for more than a few minutes the trauma of it might further fracture their mind while the lack of oxygen will cause further brain damage.
It's not only all that but their very history is based on the brutal slave trade where their ancestors were captured and forced from their homes,thrown into cramped,fetid cargo holds where many to die though the corpses may stay with the living until flung over board like rubbish eventually arriving in the hot and humid rain forested islands to be either worked to death hacking the sugar cane down with a machette in the fields or feeding it into the massive heavy presses that could suddenly pull in and pulverise an arm if you werent vigilant.
They were expendable labour and if they got caught in a press,hacked a limb by accident or succumbed to the conditions through the virulent diseases on the islands or at the hands of the brutal treatment of their 'masters'.They weren't considered to be human but animals to work till death with less regret than with an oxen.They were totally dehumanised by the plantation owner and staff.
To be murdered and then laid to rest by your family,dug up and under the control of a powerful priest so you can be completely dehumanised and turned into a mindless,soulless beast just like you're ancestors were 300 years ago must be a serious form of hell in their
It ranks amongst the very worst things that a human can do to another human.The story of the real Zombies may not be about the dead walking in the strictest sense but they are certainly undead in a very real sense and it's far darker,more horrific,shining a light on the true cruelty that can be found in man that make those daft creatures in the movies seem like a joke !!!
I'm not entirely sure where our modern conception of the zombie comes from.Obviously it's been with us in it's now archetypeal form like the vampire or werewolf since George Romero's Night of the Living Dead from the late 60's but did he invent the zombie or did he take the idea from somewhere else ??
Personally,they seem to me like a modern version of the ghoul which was really just a flesh eating corpse.In fact I think it reaches back to medieval Europe and the revenant.The revenant is an undead creature of European folklore that is often cited as the basis for the vampire legend but if you look into it it's as much a precursor for the modern Zombie being an animated corpse that return to wreak havoc on the living,to feed of them or even curse the living as their are different versions depending on the country.The revenant didn't have any gifts or was remotely elegant like the vampire became but bloated,decaying and wild like a modern Zombie.
Of course the Zombie is also a reflection of us,our society and that can be clearly seen in Day of the Dead.They are mindless consumers,all Zombies in films are but in Day of the Dead that point is made by them flocking to the mall,when the hero says that they're drawn to the place by a compulsion to be there.
It's just a wee tongue in cheek,swipe at our society that seems to know only how to consume nowadays.It brings to my mind the term,philosophy of the 'useless eaters',referring to us not a movie creation.lol
Summary: thought i'd do a lighter hearted discussion piece after my previous tirade dressed up as a review.lo