Saturday, 29 November 2014

Apocalypse Hal: Zombi Lifecyle

I know what you are thinking, didn't I do a Zombie Lifecycle the other week? Yes but was for a zombie while this week it is for a zombi.

So what is a zombi?  Here is a very short summary.

It all began on the mountainous island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean Sea. The Eastern half of the island, now the Dominican Republic was originally colonised by the Spanish while the Western half, now the Republic of Haiti was under the French. It was in Haiti that the zombi first started to appear.

It also involves Vodou, one of the more misunderstood religions. It is quite a sophisticated religion and centres on the loa, or divine spirits, which can posses worshippers in a trance like state. Vodou houngans act as priests while bokors are Haitian sorcerers who practice dark magical arts.

Let's say an aspiring bokor sorcerer is getting frustrated at keeping their home clean but those commercial housemaids cost a fortune. What would be useful is some free help. A zombi would be perfect.

So the bokor finds a suitable candidate and uses powerful drugs, most likely tetrodotxin from the pufferfish, to paralyse the victim. Hopefully the local doctor mistakes the paralysed patient as being dead and it's off for a quick burial. The bokor would then return after the funeral to raise the corpse from the ground and carry it away.

The paralysis starts to wear off and the victim comes back to life. By skilful application of more drugs and a bit of convincing, the bokor makes the victim believe they had returned from the dead to be a faithful zombi slave. You may think that would be a bit hard for the victim to accept but some people will believe anything. Also the expectations of Haitian society and peer pressure from the other zombi would cause the drugged person to believe they must be a zombi too.

The bokor can now focus on expanding the family sorcery business while the zombi dutifully takes out the garbage and collects the mail.

In the Haitian French language people raised from the dead in this manner are called "zombi". As the English like to fiddle with things they added the “e” on the end giving us the word "zombie".  

The zombi is specific to the Haiti culture and they don't eat brains or infect people. But they are real, or at least were. I also have no idea what a bokor looks like so I based my on some of the traditional vodou imagery. These days bokor probably wear suits and have business cards. 

Bite off more pufferfish than you can chew.

Mr Rimsky

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