Where do zombies come from? - Deepstash

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Zombies Gaining Popularity

Zombies Gaining Popularity

Zombies, a staple of pop culture horror, first started appearing in novels and pulp magazines in the 20s, finally debuting on celluloid in 1932 with the movie White Zombie, though many attribute their mainstream popularity to the 1968 adaptation of the Richard Matheson novel 'I Am Legend', called The Night Of The Living Dead.

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The Origin Of The Zombie Folklore

The word ‘Zombie’ is derived from West African languages, with the Mitsogo language of Gabon describing them as ‘ndzumbi’, which means a corpse, to the Kongo language using the word ‘nzambi’ meaning the spirit of a dead person.

Pop culture and folklore from the Caribbean and Haiti seem to be the birthplaces for the concept of zombies that the American audiences crave so much.

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Zombies From The Caribbean Region

  • The Caribbean and its surrounding areas carried a large number of slaves, transporting them across the Atlantic, for making them work in farming. This created a mix of religions and infused many different traditions and practices like Catholicism, voodoo, Obeah and Santeria.
  • Certain ‘bokors’ or witch-doctors in Martinique and Haiti created magic potions and used hypnotic spells to render victims dead, and then enslave or capture them, making them their personal slaves, The zombie, thus became a slave without any will or name, trapped forever in a living hell.
  • The French Colony (later Haiti) where slaves were especially big in number and suffered the worst, witnessed a rebellion, and the rulers were overthrown in 1791. In 1915, when The US occupied Haiti, the native religion of Voodoo was spread even more. Stories of the vengeful dead coming out of the grave and chasing people became popular in pulp magazines of the 20s and 30s.

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Searching For The Real Zombies

The earliest writers of zombie tales like the novelist Zora Neale Hurston and occultist William Seabrook claim to have seen actual zombies and do not consider it a primitive superstition or folklore.

They believe that zombies actually exist and have documented many experiences and findings.

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