To horror-fiction movie fans, zombies are lumbering beasts hungry for human brains. Braaaaaains! Om nom nom!
But, are zombies real?
Zombie-like behavior is definitely real.
For instance, look at the Cordyceps fungus, which hijacks the brain of it’s host and guides it, in order to locate the best real estate for sprouting and releasing it’s spores. Nasty stuff.
Another example is the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which infects rats, causes them to become bold and seek out cats. The cats, in turn, eat the rats and the parasite breeds in it’s intestines and is passed in cat scat, which infects new hosts. It’s estimated that 50% of the human population is infected.
If you missed this horrific news story, a man in Florida high on a drug known as bath salts chewed off a homeless man’s face. Both men were naked, and when confronted by police, the attacker growled at them and continued gnawing.
Wade Davis, a Harvard ethnobotanist, claimed to have discovered a powder in Haiti, created by bokors, which poisoned victims and temporarily paralyzed them. This was featured in the April 15, 1988 issue of Science Magazine, in an article called Voodoo Science. He also wrote two books on the topic, The Serpent and the Rainbow, later made into a horror movie by Wes Craven, and Passage of Darkness: The Ethnobiology of the Haitian Zombie.
The CDC really knows what is important – not whether or not zombies are real, or whether the apocalypse is coming – but being prepared for any emergency that might affect you and your family. Keeping those you love safe is the greatest responsibility you have in times of crisis.
I recommend you take these steps to prepare yourself for zombies:
- Prepare or buy an emergency supply kit
- Create a disaster plan
- Start building useful survival skills
Photo credit: NeoGaboX