In 2013, hackers in Great Falls, Montana infiltrated KRTV’s Emergency Alert System (EAS) and broadcasted a dire warning to viewers—the zombie apocalypse had begun. A pulsating noise followed by a voice had drowned the audio to the regularly scheduled program. “Dead bodies are rising from their graves.” A blue bar at the top of TV screens ran the names of counties and areas affected by the event.
The announcement continued: “Follow the messages onscreen that will be updated as information becomes available. Do not attempt to approach or apprehend these bodies as they are considered extremely dangerous.”
Local police reported viewers had called the station requesting information. What type of firearm can the citizens use against the roamers? Of course, the police took every call seriously even though folks had placed them in jest.
But has anyone ever asked if this scenario is actually possible? It’s all very well and fine that we know this whole thing was a hoax. Who in their right mind would take something like this and act on it is beyond me. However, several things stand out.
How did the hackers gain access to the EAS? Aren’t there security checks in place to prevent this kind of thing from happening? Who performs the yearly audit of the system? Shouldn’t someone have caught this vulnerability in deployment testing? If I were the affiliate station, I would certainly place a very concerned call to the FCC demanding a revamp of the system. Then again, I am Canadian, so my ramblings really don’t count.
More importantly, I’ll ask again, has anyone yet asked if a scenario such as this is possible?
My answer? No. A resounding no! Dead bodies rising from their graves makes for a cool horror flick but looking at it from the perspective of science can prove informative.
There’s this thing called Primary Flaccidity that occurs soon after death whereby every muscle in the body relaxes. Following this condition is Rigor Mortis, which takes place about three hours after death causing muscles in the body to stiffen. During this stiffening process, blood pools into larger veins discoloring the body giving it a pale look. This is called Livor Mortis or what embalmers call Postmortem Stain, for the bruise-like appearance of where the blood settles. The sequence by which the body stiffens tends to differ due to the variance with lactic acid levels in the muscles and glycogen levels in the different types of muscle fibers. Suffice it to say the process may begin with eyelids, neck and jaw. During the course of Rigor Mortis, the body cools in another process called Algor Mortis.
Within twenty-four to forty-eight hours, the body’s muscles relax again in Secondary Flaccidity. Within a week, the abdomen swells with gas produced by bacteria in the body. Skin blisters appear. Within two weeks, abdomen tightens and swells further. Within three weeks, organs and cavities burst. Nails fall off. Within a month, skin liquefies making the body unrecognizable.
It’s pretty morbid but fascinating nonetheless.
Anyway, getting back to the scenario of dead bodies rising from their graves in a maelstrom invasion of sorts—impossible. That is, impossible if the bodies hadn’t gone through decomposition. It would mean every body rising in every grave had to have died within minutes of each other and rise just before Rigor Mortis stiffened the muscles, Livor Mortis pooled the blood, Algor Mortis cooled the flesh, and Secondary Flaccidity prepped the abdomen for exploding organs.
Doesn’t make sense to me. If the reports from Montana were true, they’d of had skeletons roaming the streets and not bodies.
What does make sense, though, is an invasion born of the living, much like the post Zombie Apocalypse: Revisited I’d written regarding the origins of such an event.
What do you think? Is a Zombie Apocalypse possible from bodies rising from the graves? Where does science fit in all this?