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2. Haitian Folklore and the Zombie

2. Haitian Folklore and the Zombie

Zombies are real . . . Well, sort of.

We’ll explore that “sort of” part a little later.

For now, it’s important to realize that it’s entirely possible that you may one day run into a zombie, especially if you often find yourself in the backwaters of Haiti.

The concept of zombification stems from Haitian Vodou (Voodoo), a syncretic religion that holds various deities, known as Loa to be subordinate to a principle deity (Bondye) that stays out of human affairs.

Where do zombies come from?

A Bokor, of course.

We have an entire segment on Bokor but for now what you need to know is that a Bokor studies black magic and according to folklore, has the power to capture souls and raise bodies from the dead by issuing a coup padre, which is a powder that reduces heart rate and renders a human being near dead.

I say near dead because the entire trick to the zombification process is to take a person close enough to death to get them buried without actually killing them. If they died, this next part wouldn’t work quite as well.

After the person was “died” they would be buried quickly because bodies tend to rot in the Haitian sun, soon after this happened, the Bokor would dig up the freshly exhumed, confused and disoriented corpse and send them to work as slaves.

Thus a zombie was born. Even today, there are many officially recognized zombies in Haiti, but that’s a story for another time.

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