Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, “Spooktober Series” where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!
Astro Zombies By The Misfits, Album: Walk Among Us (1982)
The zombie, often portrayed as an undead, flesh-eating, decaying corpse, has enjoyed a popularity surge in recent years. Whether they’re devouring their prey in The Walking Dead or getting their groove on in Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video, zombies dominate pop culture. But are zombies real? Unlike many other monsters—which are mostly a product of superstition, religion and fear— zombies have a basis in fact, and several verified cases of zombies have been reported from Haitian voodoo culture.
A zombie, according to pop culture and folklore, is usually either a reawakened corpse with a ravenous appetite or someone bitten by another zombie infected with a “zombie virus.”
Zombies are usually portrayed as strong but robotic beings with rotting flesh. Their only mission is to feed. They typically don’t have conversations (although some may grunt a little).
The Ancient Greeks may have been the first civilization terrorized by a fear of the undead. Archaeologists have unearthed many ancient graves which contained skeletons pinned down by rocks and other heavy objects, assumedly to prevent the dead bodies from reanimating.
Zombie folklore has been around for centuries in Haiti, possibly originating in the 17th century when West African slaves were brought in to work on Haiti’s sugar cane plantations. Brutal conditions left the slaves longing for freedom. According to some reports, the life—or rather afterlife—of a zombie represented the horrific plight of slavery.
Voodoo is a religion based in West Africa and practiced throughout Haiti and the Caribbean, Brazil, the American South and other places with an African heritage.
Many people who follow the voodoo religion today believe zombies are myths, but some believe zombies are people revived by a voodoo practitioner known as a bokor.
Bokors have a tradition of using herbs, shells, fish, animal parts, bones and other objects to create concoctions including “zombie powders,” which contain tetrodotoxin, a deadly neurotoxin found in pufferfish and some other marine species.
Used carefully at sub-lethal doses, the tetrodotoxin combination may cause zombie-like symptoms such as difficulty walking, mental confusion and respiratory problems.
High doses of tetrodotoxin can lead to paralysis and coma. This could cause someone to appear dead and be buried alive – then later revived.
Though it’s rare, there are several credible reports in medical journals of people using these compounds to induce paralysis in people, then revive them from the grave.
A 1997 article in the British medical journal The Lancet described three verifiable accounts of zombies. In one case, a Haitian woman who appeared to be dead was buried in a family tomb, only to reappear three years later. An investigation revealed that her tomb was filled with stones, and her parents agreed to admit her to a local hospital.
In another well-documented case, a Haitian man named Clairvius Narcisse entered a local hospital with severe respiratory problems in 1962. After he slipped into a coma, Narcisse was declared dead was buried shortly thereafter.
But 18 years later, a man walked up to Angelina Narcisse in a village marketplace, insisting she was his sister. Doctors, townspeople and family members all identified him as Clairvius Narcisse, who claimed he had been buried alive, then dug up and put to work on a distant sugar plantation.
The astro zombies are coming to destroy us in this punk anthem. This song was inspired by a 1968 science fiction horror film called The Astro-Zombies.