“The purpose of man’s life…is to become an abject zombie who serves a purpose he does not know, for reasons he is not to question.” – Ayn Rand
Of all the cryptic, creepy and cruel creatures that emerge each Halloween, few captivate our imaginations like the living dead. Sure, they look dreadful, smell bad, and have the conversational skills of a well-adjusted slug, but despite their bad manners and constant lust for our brains, zombies have clawed their way into our hearts. It just wouldn’t be Halloween without them.
Like any good monster, the legend of the zombie is based in truth. According to Voodoo traditions, powerful spiritual men called Bokors have the power to kill a man and then raise him from the dead, turning him into a zombi, a mindless slave to the Bokor who created him. As outsiders began to look into the myths, they discovered that these sinister sorcerers use a chemical cocktail, including the deadly poison tetrodotoxin, to mimic the physiological signs of death. This zombi juice doesn’t just slow the victim’s heart rate – the toxic mix has lasting effects on the human brain including memory loss and delirium, making them ideal slaves. Once the target is declared dead and buried, the Bokor can dig up the grave and claim his zombi.
While Bokors have been tinkering with brain chemistry to make the perfect zombie for hundreds of years, there are others that have been perfecting the art of zombification for much longer. Parasites are the Victor Frankensteins of the natural world. These mini-neuroscientists turn other creatures into mindless slaves, serving only to further the master’s selfish goals. They do that voodoo better than we do, and they have for eons.
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