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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)

zombie.txt · Last modified: 2021/08/12 05:05 by aga