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Where do zombies come from?

https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20150828-where-do-zombies-come-from

bbc.com

Where do zombies come from?
Our contemporary take on the lumbering undead is actually rooted in Voodoo folklore from the Caribbean, writes Roger Luckhurst.

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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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Zombie Craze as Medium and a Message

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The undead are the ultimate other of any us-and-them division, especially if you consider us to be savvy and them to be brainless. But Zombies were not used as just a frightening enemy, but were used to show the ills of the society: consumerism, capitalism, terrorism, etc. 

Zombie Economics

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At this basic metaphorical level, "zombie economics," for example, can describe socialists or free-market thinking, depending on which side you believe holds the monopoly on functioning synapses.

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Misconceptions About Zombies

Misconceptions About Zombies

A zombie is a walking corpse, a living dead. But not all walking corpse is a zombie.

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How Zombies are Reflected in Life

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Most of the films about zombies are not about the zombies themselves, but on how people cope or with the reality of the undead.

Samsara = Life of a Zombie

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Just like the zombie which suffers because of its endless hunger, never satisfied and moves on to another prey which also ends up as a zombie.

A Zombie's drive

A Zombie's drive

Zombies are unstoppable. Even though a zombie is missing a limb or two or being shot at, it just keeps on going.

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Zombies are relatable

There are times that we feel heavy and problems seem to weigh us down, and later on, it feels almost impossible to keep moving to what we want.. we feel lifeless, but still alive.

And this can all be likened to the life of a zombie.

Moving forward

The good thing about being a zombies is that they still have that urge to move forward to their goals after all of the setbacks. And that attitude is what we should apply in our lives.