Posted in Monday Mayhem

Real Zombie Stories

Nowadays, zombies are everywhere. In the movies we watch. In the stories we read. And even in the songs we listen to. Can anyone forget Michael Jackson’s Thriller video? I know I can’t. But one place I don’t want to read about zombies is in real life. That whole debacle that happened two years ago with the “Miami Zombie” was something out of a pulp fiction magazine. Doing some research, I found it wasn’t an isolated incident. For today’s Monday Mayhem post, I’d like to talk about real zombies that once roamed among us who have left behind an indelible story as their legacy.

Clairvius Narcisse
Clairvius Narcisse

Let’s start with the story of Clairvius Narcisse who one day in 1980 walked into a hospital in Deschapelle, Haiti, almost twenty years after he had died. His family had buried him, that, they knew. They later found his grave disturbed. What they didn’t know was that a local voodoo doctor, a bokor, stole Narcisse’s body and enslaved him to work on a plantation. When the bokor died, Narcisse’s days as a slave died along with him. Authorities believe the bokor had poisoned him with Tetrodotoxin, a powerful neurotoxin that produces a comatose state, had him buried to convince the family he had died, then had him exhumed, later feeding him Datura stramonium, a hallucinogen known as Jimson weed, to keep him enslaved. Dr. Nathan Klein and Dr. Lamarque Douyon confirmed Narcisse’s story as the first case of zombieism.

Alexander Kinyua, twenty-one years old, of Maryland was an engineering student at Morgan State University. He had emigrated from Kenya to the United States, becoming a citizen. On May 25, 2012, Kujoe Bonsafo Agyei-Kodie had disappeared, reported missing by Kinyua’s father. At the time, Agyei-Kodie was staying with the family pending deportation. On May 31, police appeared at Kinyua’s residents after his brother contacted them to investigate body parts found in tin canisters in the family’s basement. Police arrested Alexander Kinyua on first degree murder. Kinyua had allegedly eaten Agyei-Kodie’s organs.

Since I’d mentioned him in my introduction, let’s talk about Rudy Eugene. Dubbed the “Miami Zombie”, on May 26, 2012 he assaulted a homeless man, one Ronald Poppo. Eugene died after Miami police had shot him dead. The details of the assault are gruesome. Eugene accused Poppo of stealing, then proceeded to beat him unconscious. What happened next belongs in a fiction novel. For eighteen horrifying minutes, Eugene ate Poppo’s face leaving him blind. When Officer Jose Ramirez confronted him, requesting him to desist from the attack, Eugene growled at him. Subsequent to Eugene’s death, police sources speculated bath salts might have played a part in the attack. Toxicology reports however found traces of marijuana in Eugene’s system. No bath salts.

In the wake of Alexander Kinyua and Rudy Eugene’s attacks in 2012, the CDC had issued a statement saying, “CDC does not know of a virus or condition that would reanimate the dead (or one that would present zombie-like symptoms).”

The world has always had its fill of zombies, whether they are of those people who have lost their humanity in throes of indifference or otherwise. We hear the stories. Perhaps it’s about time to live beyond ourselves in order to prove zombies shouldn’t exist in our real lives. And only then would we be able to rid the world of those zombies that keep us awake at night.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

Have you heard of these stories? What do you think of the CDC’s statement regarding the attacks of 2012?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Zombie Apocalypse: Aliens?

Today, I want to talk about something that’s been on my mind for a while. I’m not sure if anyone will understand, but I’m going to try to explain it as clearly as I can. After all, Monday Mayhem wouldn’t be interesting if occasionally I didn’t include mayhem. Don’t you think?

Zombie Apocalypse
Zombie Apocalypse

In past posts, I’ve talked about zombie apocalypse causes. I’ve written about how neurotoxins can inhibit the brain’s ability to utilize cognitive reasoning in order to perform simple tasks. Alkaloids render victims helpless by producing a trancelike state all the while motor skills remain intact.

I’ve also documented how brain parasites such as Toxoplasma gondii could create a zombie crisis by attacking a victim’s brain and converting it into a bowl of mush. The parasite, which originates from ingesting undercooked meat, currently lives in one-third of the world’s population.

Then there’s Cysticercosis a parasite born from consuming undercooked pork infested with Taenia solium eggs. In some cases, the incubation period lasts ten years before symptoms begin to display themselves in the form of muscle swelling, atrophy, and fibrosis, which, in turn, would cause headaches, brain lesions and seizures. Imagine a society succumbing to a worldwide plague of this sort.

Zombies vs. Aliens
Zombies vs. Aliens

Although these zombie apocalypse causes stir the imagination of any undead fan, the one thing I’ve heard with resounding agreement is that we shouldn’t even consider merging the world of zombies with the world of aliens. But you know what I say? I say change is good. Have we forgotten that zombies from George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead originated from exposure to satellite radiation?

One cannot deny the similarities between zombies and aliens. For instance, inasmuch as zombies avoid having empty stomachs, likewise, aliens avoid having empty heads. In some form or fashion, every alien movie features extraterrestrials conducting experiments with the human anatomy. Like zombies, malevolent aliens want a piece of us.

If we take it one step further, why, in the first place, do zombies have to spawn from a disease here on earth? Why not have zombies emerge soon after aliens initiate a plan to take over the world? Aliens, deep in the heart of Texas, defeat American armies, transforming them into zombies bent on destroying humanity. Seems plausible, right?

Not everyone would agree, however. Ardent zombie fans would rather not marry genres and keep the status quo.

So, I’ll put the questions to you. Do you think adding aliens to the zombie genre would add a new level of excitement? Would it breathe life in a mature genre? And would the stories encourage other fans to follow the trend?

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

What do you think of genre hopping between zombies and aliens?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Zombie Apocalypse: Causes

The other day, an article published October 29, 2007 on Cracked.com titled 5 Scientific Reasons a Zombie Apocalypse Could Actually Happen, caught my eye. I typically base most of my posts on multiple sources. However, because the site’s article instilled such a horrible chill in my bones, I decided to focus my entire Monday Mayhem post on two of its main points.

Neuron
Neuron

To start, Cracked’s scientific reasons made sense. Two in particular had an air of reality that no one could deny. I’ll concentrate on these two, but I’ll add my own spin to the equation. Furthermore, the definition of a zombie comes into question when the victims of these causes remain alive during the time of their undead-like episodes. Keep that in mind when evaluating the viability of these two points.

Neurotoxins—The literal definition of the word neurotoxin means nerve poison. Ever fill up on fuel? A common neurotoxin is ethanol. Imagine what’s happening in the brain when those gas fumes seep into the pores of the skin. Pretty gnarly, if I can still use the Eighties word gnarly to describe anything beyond radical. Neurotoxins can produce weird effects on the body. In some cases, depending on the agents used, they can even fool doctors into believing patients suffering neurotoxic poisoning are deceased. Kicker neurotoxins such as Alkaloids leave victims in a trancelike state with no memory, and with motor skills intact. Voodoo doctors in Haiti used Alkaloids to zombify people in the Sixties so they could get them to work on sugar plantations without resistance. Talk about forced labor, or rather, zombie labor. Will that be a double-double or do you take your coffee black?

Brain Parasites—In the simplest terms, a human ingests a parasite that makes them go all funky. This means loss of mental faculties, no cognitive awareness, and pure brain meltdown. The article mentions Toxoplasma gondii as a potential candidate to jumpstart the end of humanity. According to the numbers, a third of the world’s population already has it. The spread happens by ingesting undercooked meat containing the parasite, contaminated water, soil or vegetables, and transmission from mother to infant via pregnancy. Some of the effects after the infection include subtle behavioral or personality changes, and a number of neurological disorders, in particular schizophrenia. This type of stuff ought to keep anyone awake at night.

Taenia solium
Taenia solium

Ah, but I’m not done yet. Cysticercosis is my parasite of choice of which I think may usher in the zombie apocalypse. The infection occurs when a human ingests eggs of Taenia solium, pork tapeworm. This nasty biological marvel has an incubation period of months to ten years! This means if a human were to have eaten undercooked pork containing viable cysticerci, the host will not know it until its too late. Should any of the eggs make it into the muscles, it would cause muscle swelling, atrophy and fibrosis. Should any of the eggs make it into the brain, it would cause headaches, brain lesions, and seizures. Investigating this further, the CDC specifies Cysticercosis can also cause confusion, difficulty with balance, brain swelling, and even death. Sounds zombie-like to me, don’t you think?

Cracked featured three other reasons a zombie apocalypse could actually happen: The Real Rage Virus, Neurogenesis, and Nanobots. I may tackle these someday. For now, though, you can read more in the original article.

Have you read about neurotoxins or brain parasites? Does it scare you as much it scares me?