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Zombie Myths

While the bookshelves and video aisles are full of stories based on the mythology of vampires, comparatively little folklore exists with regard to zombies. Many zombie myths arose out African and Caribbean superstition, a fact not surprising when one considers the disproportionate number of zombies in the tropical regions of the world.

I Walked With A Zombie (1943)
Dir: Jacques Tourneur

Zombies are reanimated corpses

Source: A zombie's lack of a heartbeat, along with observations of apparently dead zombie-bite victims reawakening as zombies.
Truth: Despite appearances to the contrary, a person infected with the zombie virus never actually dies before awakening as a zombie. In addition, zombie circulation is taken up by the skeletal muscles, rendering the heart inert.

Zombies are immortal

Source: As with vampires, victims of zombie bites arise from comas, an event often misinterpreted as some sort of resurrection.
Fact: Most zombies live less than a year.

Zombies are created by voodoo spells

Source: West African and Caribbean slave mythology, along with the large numbers of zombies in tropical areas.
Fact: Zombies are created by the transmission of a virus.

Zombies are brain eaters

Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Dir: George Romero
Source: Observation.
Fact: well-fed zombies can afford to be discriminating. They will generally eat the more nutritious brains and bone marrow and leave the rest of the corpse untouched. However, a hungry zombie will leave only the bones.

Zombies can be created by exposure to toxic chemicals or radiation

Source: Innumerable B movie plot lines.
Fact: Repeat after me: zombies are created by the transmission of a virus.


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