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Anthropologists usually point to four beliefs from the Congo Basin from which the belief in the living dead may originate. The word “Nzambi,” there, has two meanings. It can describe a creator, but also a dead man possessing superhuman powers. “Nsumbi”, on the other hand, is a demon or devil. “Mvumbi” finally means soul or invisible man. 1)

Zumbi dos Palmares

Zumbi was a leader of rebellious slaves who in the 17th century managed to establish a free state in Brazil the size of today's Czech Republic. Although Zumbi was executed in 1695 and his corpse was desecrated (his severed genitals were stuffed into his mouth), his name became a terror to the colonizers. 2)


“Zanbibi” was created by the Fon people of Benin or former Dahomey. To this day the tradition of scaring children with them survives. 3)

Zombie of Grand Perou, or Countess de Cocagne

In 1697, sentenced to exile in Guadeloupe, the Frenchman Pierre-Cormeile Blessebois, published the book “Zombie of Grand Perou, or Countess de Cocagne”. Today, no one would be interested in Blessebois's graphomania, were it not for a small detail - in the work appears, for the first time in the history of literature - the word zombie! “The Zombie of Grand Perou…” is a largely autobiographical story. As the narrator, Blessebois tells the story of Countess de Cocagne, the foolish mistress of the Marquis of Grand Perou. The woman, wanting to marry the Count at all costs, decides to turn to magic. 4)

Coupe poudre

According to numerous reports, voodoo priests (houngan, mambo, or bokor) create a white, powdery compound called “coupe poudre”. The ingredients in it can turn a person into a zombie. 5)


The term “zombie” originates from Haitian folklore, where it referred to a reanimated corpse brought back to life through voodoo magic. 6)


Zombies are often depicted as mindless, reanimated corpses that hunger for human flesh and brains. 7)

Flesh-eating monsters

The idea of zombies as flesh-eating monsters was popularized by George A. Romero's 1968 horror film, “Night of the Living Dead.” 8)

Traditionally depicted as slow-moving

Zombies are traditionally depicted as slow-moving, but in more recent depictions, they can be fast and agile. 9)

Where do they come from

In some cultures, zombies are believed to be the result of a curse or spell, while in others, they are seen as the result of a viral outbreak or radiation exposure. 10)

Haitian folklore

In Haitian folklore, zombies were believed to be controlled by a sorcerer or bokor, who would use them as laborers or soldiers. 11)

Being invulnerable

Zombies are often depicted as being invulnerable to most forms of attack, except for blows to the head or destruction of the brain. 12)

Staple of horror movies and TV shows

Zombies have become a staple of horror movies and TV shows, with popular examples including “The Walking Dead,” “Dawn of the Dead,” and “Shaun of the Dead.” 13)

Computer games

Zombies have also appeared in video games, such as “Resident Evil,” “Left 4 Dead,” and “Dead Rising.” 14)

Zombie ants

There is a scientific explanation for zombie-like behavior in animals, known as “zombie ants.” These ants are infected with a parasitic fungus that takes control of their bodies and forces them to climb to a high location where the fungus can spread its spores. 15)

Zombie apocalypse

Some people believe that a zombie apocalypse could actually happen, and there are even survival guides and training courses available for those who want to prepare. 16)

Theme for Halloween

Zombies have also become a popular theme for Halloween costumes and decorations. 17)

Zombie genre

The zombie genre has spawned a variety of subgenres, including zombie comedies, zombie romances, and even zombie musicals. 18)


The word “zombie” is sometimes used as a metaphor to describe people who are disengaged or unresponsive, such as those who are addicted to their phones or social media. 19)


Some cultures have their own unique versions of the zombie myth, such as the “jiangshi” of Chinese folklore, which are hopping corpses that feed on the life force of living beings. 20)

zombie.txt · Last modified: 2023/02/16 01:50 by aga