Monday, September 13, 2010

Zombies: They're Not Just For Halloween Anymore

Zombies. They're everywhere these days, aren't they? From PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES to this annual "Thrill the World" event, where people all over the globe dress in zombie costumes and dance to Michael Jackson's "Thriller", in an annual attempt to break the Guinness World Record for "largest simultaneous Thriller dance":

23,000 people danced last year, all while dressed as rotting, slavering, spastic dead people. (Looks like fun, but I don't really get the rotting, slavering part, because I am a big scaredy-cat weenie, and people who look like they want to eat my brains freak me out.) :-)

The modern day conception of zombies usually involves either some kind of deadly virus, or a post-apocalyptic disaster involving radiation (who hasn't seen 28 Days Later--great zombie movie!) but did you know that the true origin of the zombie mythos lies not with science, but with voodoo?

While I was writing my first novel, DEAD GIRLS ARE EASY, I did a lot of research into the exact nature of the whole 'Night of the Living Dead' thing. Voodoo priests and priestesses (called houngans, or mambos) could supposedly re-animate the dead by forcing a a living person's spirit to enter a dead body. The reanimated body was called the cheval, or the "horse", as it was merely a vessel for the soul to "ride" as long as it remained in the physical world. The person whose soul had been stolen would then become a zombie of a sort as well, a mere shell of who they'd been before, susceptible to the will of the priest or priestess. Two zombies for the price of one: a dead, rotting re-animated corpse, and a healthy, soul-less slave to evil. Scary, huh? :-)

For the record, I don’t believe that corpses can be re-animated. But I do believe the spirit is eternal, and I do believe evil exists, so the concept of creating zombies through some kind of soul transfer makes a weird kind of sense, doesn't it?

Aw, c'mon... it's just as valid a concept as viruses or radiation!

Zombies. They're the new black, and they're not just for Halloween anymore.


Zita said...

You don't believe in reanimation? Are you saying that you think Frankenstein was fiction?!?!?

Terri Garey said...

Ok, Zita, so now I have to tell you my favorite Frankenstein joke:

Q: Did you ever wonder why Frankenstein was always in a bad mood?

A: If someone wired a lightning rod to your nuts during an electrical storm, you'd be upset, too.


Minna said...

"Voodoo priests and priestesses (called houngans, or mambos) could supposedly re-animate the dead by forcing a a living person's spirit to enter a dead body."

I read somewhere that Voodoo priests and priestesses used poison, the kind of poison you get from this kind of fish:
The poison doesn't nessasarily kill you (depends on how much you get and how much poison your body can stand), but it can make you appear dead for some time.

Minna said...

Parody of Taylor Swift - You Belong With Me ("Just A Zombie")

Kuorosota 2010 [3]// Kuopio - Like A Virgin

Terri Garey said...

Yes, Minna, you're right! A trick, that poison, to make people think they'd "raised the dead", by paralyzing a person and making them appear dead, but knowing exactly when the poison would wear off so they could "raise" them. Puts fear into the hearts of anyone who might oppose them!

I'll take a peek at those videos! :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi, i just wanted to say i love your book and i'm new to the nicki styx series i'm on book 2 and was wondering if there was going to be any more after book 4? and I can't wait for Sammy's book to come out!!! Have a good day.

Terri Garey said...

Hi, Teresa! So nice to hear that you're enjoying Nicki's adventures! Future Nicki books have not been ruled out, but Sammy gets his turn for at least the next two books. If you're reading A Match Made In Hell, you've already met him... Once he showed up he just refused to go away! ;-)

Thanks for stopping by!