Zombiclopedia, facts of life and death.
Zombie encyclopedia contains mobs of zombie information and dictionary definitions. A source of reference about understanding exactly what a zombie is.
What is a Zombie?
First to study zombies it is important to understand exactly what a zombie is. We need to differentiate between to common terms used for zombies, Undead and Zombie. First the definition of undead, according a combination of dictionary definitions (dictionary.com, Merrian and Websters):
un•dead ən-ded noun, adjective
1. no longer alive but animated by a supernatural force, as a vampire or zombie.
2. neither dead nor alive. living dead.
zom•bie also zom•bi zäm-bē noun
1 a: the supernatural power that according to voodoo belief may enter into and reanimate a dead body
2: a: person held to resemble the so-called walking dead; especially : automaton
3: a mixed drink made of several kinds of rum, liqueur, and fruit juice (we can rule this out it is not the type of zombie seen in this site)
It is clear that a zombie is one who has lost the ability of free will, resorting to primitive cognitive function and physically resembling dead or corpse like features. This is a good basic definition of what a zombie is; unfortunately it is a very broad one. This means there are many different forms of zombies. Check out the zombie taxonomy subcategory for more details of types of zombies.
What makes zombies different is that they do not come from a European gothic tradition. Instead, the zombie story originates in Haiti, where West Africans were brought as slaves to work on the sugar plantations. As a part of the voodoo religion, Haitians believe that magicians called bokors, or houngans, can revive the recently dead, turning them into mindless, soulless servants called zombies. Zombies remain under the control of the bokor since they have no will of their own. Believers in voodoo will guard the grave of deceased relatives until they are certain that it has begun to decay, for the magic only works on fresh bodies.
"Zombi" is also another name of the Voodoo snake god Damballah Wedo, There also exists within the voudon tradition the zombi astral which is a human soul that is captured by a bokor and used to enhance the bokor's power.
Modern zombies, as portrayed in books, films, games, and haunted attractions, are quite different from both voodoo zombies and those of folklore. Modern zombies are typically depicted in popular culture as mindless, unfeeling monsters with a hunger for human flesh.
Usually, zombies are not thralls to masters, modern zombies come in mobs and waves, seeking either flesh to eat or people to kill or infect. They are generally incapable of communication and show no signs of personality or rationality.
Modern zombies are closely tied to the idea of a
the collapse of civilization caused by a vast plague of undead. The ideas are now so strongly linked that zombies are rarely depicted within any other context.