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Monday, 20 May 2013

A Treatise on Animal Zombism; Part 2.

Wade Davis (1985,1988) did present a pharmacological case for zombies in two books. He claimed that a living person can be turned into a zombie by two special powders being introduced into the blood stream (usually via a wound). The first, coup de poudre (French: "powder strike"), includes tetrodotoxin (TTX), a powerful and frequently fatal neurotoxin found in the flesh of the pufferfish (order Tetraodontidae). The second powder consists of dissociative drugs such as datura. Together, these powders were said to induce a deathlike state in which the will of the victim would be entirely subjected to that of the bokor. Therefore, if coupe de poudre works on animals then it could be reasoned that the creature would therefore be zombiefied. However, do animals have the necessary active intellect to be so controlled?

A further complication is the creation of the zombie state through viral infection, McCullough (op. cit; p.44-50).

Half of us, scientists say, carry the parasitic protozoa Toxoplasma gondii (T.gondii) and once we have toxoplasma in our bodies, we carry it for life. T.Gondii has the ability to alter our personality. A number of studies have suggested subtle behavioural or personality changes may occur in infected humans (Flegr, 2013) and infection with the parasite has recently been associated with a number of neurological disorders, particularly schizophrenia (Webster et al, 2013).

Because cats are the only hosts within which T. gondii can sexually reproduce to complete and begin its life cycle it would appear that our feline friends could be the source of viral zombieism. It is not yet clear if the T.gondii has effects on their feline hosts.

Similarly the viral disease rabies, appears to exhibit the early forms of zombification, what is more this virus is zoonotic. Symptoms being typically flu-like infection occuring between two to twelve weeks, but incubation periods as short as four days and longer than six years have been documented, depending on the location and severity of the inoculating wound and the amount of virus introduced. Soon after, the symptoms expand to slight or partial paralysis, anxiety, insomnia, confusion, agitation, abnormal behaviour, paranoia , terror, and hallucinations, progressing to delirium. Modern drug interventions are highly successful and infected animals tend to be incinerated prior to the completion of zombification and are therefore unavailable for further study.

I will await comments before I write any conclusions.

 Bibliography

Davis, Wade (1985). The Serpent and the Rainbow. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Davis, Wade (1988). Passage of Darkness: The Ethnobiology of the Haitian Zombie. Robert F. Thompson, Richard E. Schultes. University of North Carolina Press

Flegr, J (2013 Jan 1). "Influence of latent Toxoplasma infection on human personality, physiology and morphology: pros and cons of the Toxoplasma-human model in studying the manipulation hypothesis.". The Journal of experimental biology 216 (Pt 1): 127–33

McCullough: J.A. (2010: Zombies. A Hunter’s Guide: Dark Osprey.

Mearls; M., Schubert; S. andWyatt; J. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast , 2008)

Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. 1998.

Webster, JP; Kaushik, M; Bristow, GC; McConkey, GA (2013 Jan 1). "Toxoplasma gondii infection, from predation to schizophrenia: can animal behaviour help us understand human behaviour?". The Journal of experimental biology 216 (Pt 1): 99–112.

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zombie : Accesed 19MAY13.

7 comments:

  1. I did enjoy and still own the osprey zombie book and it's sub divisions of zombies but I'm still a slow zombie fan but enjoy the idea of virus fast zombies!

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    1. There's an Osprey Zombie book ?

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    2. The cover for it is the second pic in the post, I own it too awesome book.

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  2. I've always hated cats and now I have a perfectly sound argument why - thanks Irqan.

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    1. Your welcome. Vile creatures.

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  3. This subject has always fascinated me, i think a mutated form of rabbies would best explain things ...... things being a zombie Apoc.

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  4. LOL at the cat hatred lol. I do own dogs but cats can be so funny sometimes.

    Certainly food for thought indeed. Not read the osprey book. But have a few zombie books that discuss facts and myths behind them they make very interesting reads.

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