If you want to have a clear picture of the commonly held beliefs on Haitian zombification, there is more than enough to read in this story but while researching the topic I came upon this article from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation from 2004 that does a rather good job of summarizing the salient details,
“He made the victim ‘dead’ with a mixture of toad skin and puffer fish. You can put it in their food, or rub it on their skin, especially the soft, undamaged skin on the inside of the arm near the elbow. The victims soon appear dead, with an incredibly slow breath, and an incredibly slow and faint heartbeat. In Haiti, people are buried very soon after death, because the heat and the lack of refrigeration makes the bodies decay very rapidly. This suits the zombie-making process.”
You have to dig them up within eight hours of the burial, or else they’ll die of asphyxiation.
The skin of the common toad (Bufo bufo bufo) can kill – especially if the toad has been threatened. There are three main nasties in toad venon – biogenic amines, bufogenine and bufotoxins. One of their many effects is that of a pain-killer – far stronger than cocaine. Boccaccio’s medieval tale, the Decameron, tells the story of two lovers who die after eating a herb, sage, that a toad had breathed upon.
The other half of the witch doctor’s wicked potion comes from the pufferfish, which is known in Japan as “fugo”. Its poison is called “tetrodotoxin”, a deadly neurotoxin. Its pain-killing effects are 160,000 times stronger than cocaine. Eating the fish can give you a gentle physical “tingle” from the tetrodotoxin – and in Japan, the chefs who prepare fugo have to be licensed by the government. Even so, there are rare cases of near-deaths or actual deaths from eating fugo. The toxin drops your temperature and blood pressure, and puts you into a deep coma. In Japan, some of the victims recovered a few days after being declared dead.
It’s a quick read and it will give you clear overview, but I still highly suggest taking a look at some of the differences of opinions that we’ve brought up before you jump to any conclusions. At the very least it will give you some great water-cooler conversation. Who doesn’t like to start their mornings talking about pseudo-magical rituals that produce Zombies?
OK, I’ll admit, this video has nothing at all to do with the segment but you know what, it has been far too long since I gave you a survival guide and I thought things were getting a little depressing around here. Look at yourself, if I didn’t know better I’d say you were getting sentimental on me.