It seems that zombies are on the prowl again. They are appearing in movies, videos, and even television commercials. I have met a few “living” zombies driving automobiles while spaced out on drugs and alcohol and ushered them to the nearest jail. However, these walking “undead” dead people seem to be gaining a foothold in our country. A little research reveals that this is nothing new. Zombies have been around for many years.
First question is, “What is a zombie?” Well, it is said that it is an animated corpse raised by magical means, such as witchcraft. Since the late 19th century, zombies have acquired notable popularity, especially in North American and European folklore. In modern times, the term “zombie” has been applied to an undead being in horror fiction, often drawing from the depiction of zombies in George A. Romero’s 1968 film Night Of The Living Dead. They have appeared as plot devices in various books, films, television shows, video games, and comics.
In the book The Zombie Survival Guide, by Max Brooks, is listed all known zombie attacks throughout human history. Brooks says that the first recorded encounter with zombies happened around 60,000 BC in Katanga, Central Africa. He then lists many attacks through the year 2002, the last one in Saint Thomas, US Virgin Islands. He then lists eleven known attacks which occurred in the United States from 1578 in Roanoke Island, N.C. to March of 1994 in Santa Monica Bay, California.
It is said that zombies, like vampires, are great opportunists. So it comes as no surprise that zombie outbreaks often happen in the wake of natural disasters. Combine disasters with warm climates and you truly have a recipe for a major outbreak.
According to “The Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency”, the top three zombie outbreaks in United States history are:
Key West, Florida, 1935. On Labor Day, September 2, 1935, a category five hurricane hit the Florida Keys doing much damage from 150 mph winds. Amid the destruction, infected rats began roaming the island of Key West, and by morning the first of the zombies appeared. Many of the islanders mistook the zombies for dazed hurricane survivors, and the plague spread across the island. The islanders had no way of escape. Scores of people drowned when they chose to leap into the choppy surf rather than face the voracious zombies.*
Vicksburg, Mississippi, 1863. After New Orleans fell to the Union, the city of Vicksburg remained as the last Confederate holdout on the Mississippi river. On May 1863, over three thousand Union troops arrived off the coast of Vicksburg and demanded an immediate surrender, but Confederate leaders refused. The Union soldiers laid siege to the city with a month of heavy bombardment. On June 17, 1863, city residents spotted the first zombie, and within days dozens were wandering about. The Confederate soldiers entertained themselves by conducting target practice on the zombies. But they soon ran out of ammunition and the zombies kept coming. To this day, Southerners claim that the Union let the zombie plague continue out of pure malice. When the Union soldiers entered the city on July 3rd, hundreds of zombies roamed about. The soldiers had to do the killing and they quickly found out that zombies do not surrender. In the end, an estimated 2,000 people were infected and destroyed at Vicksburg.*
Honolulu, Hawaii, 1892. In the 1890s Hawaii found itself in a tug of war between natives who wanted to remain independent, and powerful sugar growers who wanted to join the United States. Fighting began in Oahu among Chinese laborers in the cane fields which then spread to Honolulu. Wave after wave of zombies came staggering out of the jungle, forcing desperate islanders to board outrigger canoes and flee to neighboring islands.
It took several thousand troops to rid the island of the zombies. Just fewer than two thousand people were killed. *
Tradition says that zombies kill and eat the flesh of its victims, especially the brain. Zombie experts say that the only way to kill one is to shoot it in the brain, or by decapitation. It is said in the tenets of Vodou that zombies have a short “life” span because in a short time God will take the soul back making the zombie a temporary spiritual entity. It is also said that feeding a zombie salt will make it return to the grave. But, how is this done – you want to try it?
So, there you have it – everything you ever wanted to know about zombies but were afraid to ask. However, I am not sure but that the above information came from people with over-active imaginations. You must decide for yourself.
Excerpts from - The Zombie Survival Guide
- Known Zombie Outbreaks