In popular culture, the zombie apocalypse has become a topic and features in many books, movies, and TV series. But are there real cases of Zombie existence?
You can call them the Zombie, The walking dead, the undead, or reanimated corpses. Whatever it is, they are known to rise from the grave to walk and terrify the world and sometimes infect.
People use the word Zombie to describe things that move slowly, are apathetic, and demonstrate little awareness of their surroundings. But do they exist in nature? What is the Zombie apocalypse, and how do they come to the state of the undead? Can humans become zombies?
Let us find out.
What are zombies?
Zombies are described to look human but have no longer the capacity for brain functioning, but consume. Although you have seen them be fictional, Can they be entirely fictional?
Scientists are keeping their eyes on potential undead outbreaks and people still believe a zombie apocalypse could happen. Surprisingly there are people who believe that zombies walk among us and have hundreds of years.
This origin of zombies dates back to Haitian folklore where the dead revives by dark magic. Potions and rituals are used by a necromancer to revive the dead but the thing that is actually revived is not entirely human.
It may have a full physical function, but something in its soul stays behind, creating a zombie lacking the ability to make complex decisions. When instructed, they can complete simple tasks and make the perfect slave for a sinister witch doctor looking for some free labor.
They can be often kept in this unfortunate stasis for the length of their natural life. If they are not given the proper substances to keep them in their stupor the spell can be broken.
And when they’re awoken, they often don’t remember anything of their time as a zombie. Even if they have been missing for years. This was how the Haitian Folkore described the zombie apocalypse.
Is the Zombie apocalypse real?
There is no proof that a zombie apocalypse could exist but anything can happen. There are some illnesses that can reflect the traits of zombies, like rabies and leprosy. This could mean that we may end up having a “zombie” variant on our hands.
Even researchers have been conducted by scientists to find out whether there is a virus that could cause an apocalypse but none have had a breakthrough. During the pandemic, the rapid spread of coronavirus made us shocked at how fast it was. This also raises a question of how quickly a ‘zombie’ virus would travel to create an apocalypse.
If a zombie apocalypse was to happen theoretically, the containment would depend on how the outbreak would have started. If you see tv shows and films about zombies, it is usually zombies biting people and then those victims turn into a zombie, and this is how it spreads.
More than a mutant virus, this spread is much easier to contain.
What would have caused them?
From the traditional Voodoo religion, there is an odd tale about the zombie apocalypse. But during the US occupation of Haiti, they were surprised to discover that people were actually reporting to know residents who were turned into zombies.
For years, People would show up after being missing and would claim they had been enslaved by witch doctors with only fitful memories of the missing time. These claims were looked up by scientists who found a possible explanation for this.
They found that these people might have been given a powerful neurotoxin that would have paralyzed them completely and slowed their body functions to the point of appearing dead, which is followed by the application of the toxin Datura stramonium.
Derived from Jimsonweed, this can cause long-term disorientation that would leave someone in a fugue state and highly suggestible, leaving them in a zombie-like state.
This is one of the only cases known of actual zombie-like behavior in humans and there are no detailed case studies of this behavior, but stories that happened in the past. Many of the case studies have been doubted to be sustained long-term.
If the chemicals are applied effectively, one missed dose would only take for the person to start regaining their full mental faculties and a slight overdose of the toxic jimsonweed extract could kill.
Not only are these cases that say about the zombie apocalypse, but also there are cases of kidnapping and enslavement.
They are not contagious in any way. All that happens is a nasty infection from the bacteria in a person’s mouth but outside the human world, there are more threatening cases.
For example, Fungi take many forms like mushrooms that grow on trees. In the fungal kingdom, a large number of them are parasitic and some display a disturbing ability to affect other organisms.
Zombie Attacks happened around the world
The zombie dogs
The Safar Centre of Resuscitation Research in Pittsburgh came up with a method in 2005 to bring dogs back from the dead. This process was named “Suspended Animation with Delayed Resuscitation”. This process was done by where part of the dog’s blood was drained and it was replaced in the body with an ice-cold salt solution.
The animal is medically dead cause it has no heartbeat or brain activity using blood transfusions and electric shocks, they would then revive the dog, three hours after draining the blood.
A college student called Austin Harrouf was having dinner with his parents in the city of Jupiter. he complained of slow service and walked out of the restaurant. He came upon a neighborhood where Michelle Mischon and her husband John Stevens III were sitting in their garage. Austin without any hesitation pulled out a knife and stabbed them.
This scene was seen by a neighbor and they called the police. He was stabbed by the boy when he tried to stop. When the police arrived, Austin was naked and he was tearing away the flesh of the dead and started eating.
He was also making weird animal-like noises and when the police tried to pull him away from the dead with stun guns but were unsuccessful.
Police thought it may have been drugs that triggered him as he had been with his fraternity brothers before the dinner with his parents. After testing, his toxicology report came back negative, even additional tests showed no trace of drugs.
In many African countries, sleeping diseases are pretty common. It has been described as an infection by a professor from the University of London. This gets the victims in a zombie-like state before they slip into a coma and then die.
This disease includes symptoms like muscle aches, headaches, and sometimes even itching. In the later stages, the victims become easily irritated. They start slurring and don’t eat. As they stay awake at night and fall asleep during the day, their daily lives become manic.
The disease can become quite a nightmare for the victims while they are alive.
Cannibal attack of 2012
Resident Rudy Eugene attacked homeless man Ronald Poppo in May 2012. He stripped him naked and started eating his face. When the police arrived, Eugene had eaten almost 80% of his face.
They were forced to shoot him to remove him from the body. Before dropping, he took a lot of bullets. At first, police thought Eugene had taken bath salts or PCP, but his toxicology reports only showed marijuana in his body.
Anna Bågenholm was on a skiing trip with her friends in 1999. After losing control in the Kjølen mountains, she went under a frozen stream. A few minutes later, her friends noticed and pulled her out of the water. They rushed to the hospital with her by ambulance but they could not save her, as she had a cardiac arrest.
Dr. Mads Gilbert, the head of the emergency department, claimed that as she was under frozen temperatures meant she was still alive. This is because it has been proven that if the vital organs are cooled properly before the heart stops, doctors can revive the person.
Anna slowly began to revive after being clinically dead for about three hours and soon made a full recovery.
Is there any possibility of a zombie apocalypse?
An infectious disease, particularly zoonotic infections those that are transferred between humans and animals was studied.
The possibility of a zombie apocalypse is extremely unlikely. And it is found that there is no such mechanism to get back the dead, especially the dead for a long. An outbreak of rage zombies, controlled by an anger-inducing virus.
There are microbes that can change behavior and lead to aggression with the rabies virus. Rabies is a fatal viral disease that is largely spread between dogs, raccoons, and wolves. But however, if a human is bitten or scratched by an infected animal, they too can become infected.
But humans are not the target species for this because humans do not typically bite us and usually die from the infection before we can pass it on. But its effects can still be seen in human behavior. Rabies hijacks the brains of its victims to facilitate their own transmission.
Even the animals that were once timid and friendly will become aggressive under its influence and would bite anything that moves and pass on the virus through their infected saliva. It attacks the central nervous system and can induce states of anxiety, hallucinations, confusion, partial paralysis, and fear of water.
Toxoplasma Gondii is another common brain-altering parasite. This is thought to infect between 30 and 50 percent of the world’s human population and about one in 10 people in the U.S., This originates from animals, like cats that can be passed on through contact with infected animals or contaminated food and water.
This can result in flu-like symptoms, lung or brain damage, and eye disease in people with weakened immune systems. Most people do not display visible symptoms. Scientists found that this parasite can actually change the behavior of its host. For example, Infected mice lose their fear of cats.
Although the infection itself has not yet been proven as the direct cause, dormant infections in humans have been associated with schizophrenia, risky behavior, and suicide. There are also doubts on whether infections change human behavior or not, possibly making some infected humans more likely to take risks, but it’s certainly not a dramatic behavioral change like we see with zombies.
Human zombies are yet to be discovered. But zombie-like traits can be seen in the animal kingdom. This can be seen in the natural world, especially among invertebrates like insects and spiders.
In 2018, Fernandez-Fournier and his fellow researchers described the apparent zombification of a species of spider by a parasitoid wasp. This is believed as a parasite injecting a type of hormone into the spider that hijacks the spider’s brain.
It forces the spider to do a simple, more primitive task over and over again, resulting in a ‘zombified’ spider that doesn’t act as it usually does and repetitively lays silk to build an enclosed web for the parasite.
Where should you hide in a Zombie Apocalypse?
The scary thing is if there was a zombie apocalypse, where should you hide? If a pack of zombies came knocking at your door, the options for hiding places would be limited. And you would be searching for whatever spaces you have in your house.
In an advanced warning, you could find places to survive the apocalypse. Lewis Dartnell, an astrobiologist told that somewhere that most of us usually avoid is the best place to wait out a zombie apocalypse. One of the safest locations would be a prison with high walls and barbed wire fences.
They are great at keeping people in as well as great at keeping people out. Researchers at Cornell University studied using mathematical disease modeling to find out where in the U.S. was the best place to hide from the zombie apocalypse. It was shown that within a matter of days, people in the cities and suburbs would be wiped out. But people in remote mountains of Montana and Nevada remained zombie free for over four months.
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