Article

The Ways and Nature of the Zombi

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Abstract

This article presents a review of zombiism and our personal investigations on the hitherto little-known spirit zombi. The Haitian zombi is of African origin. Numerous references to zombis or zombi-like entities are found in Equatorial and Central Africa and in the Caribbean. There are two types of zombis, the zombi of the body, or living dead, and the zombi of the soul. Both are closely related to the Haitian concept of a dual soul, which is also of African origin. Properties of the spirit zombi are described. Zombi stories or sightings may be explained by the observation of vagrant or exploited mentally ill. The various "zombi powders" so far studied seem to belong to the domain of sympathetic magic, and their pharmacological effectiveness remains to be proved.

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... Although zombies are currently an integral part of our popular culture, our morbid fascination with the walking dead spans several centuries. Historians and anthropologists trace the origin of zombies to the folklore of several tribes in western Africa, from Ghana to Nigeria (1,2). During the slave trade of the late 1500s through the 1800s, persons from these regions were spirited away from their homes to till the plantations of the Caribbean and the European colonies, bringing with them the voodoo culture of magic and spells. ...
... During the slave trade of the late 1500s through the 1800s, persons from these regions were spirited away from their homes to till the plantations of the Caribbean and the European colonies, bringing with them the voodoo culture of magic and spells. Among some academics, zombies in the New World were thought to be wretched, half-dead creatures that reflected the bondage African-born and Caribbean slaves suffered at the hands of their masters, working to the point of exhaustion in the plantation fields while having little to no agency (2). To this day, voodoo is prominent in western Africa, Haiti, New Orleans, and parts of the Caribbean Islands (1). ...
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Thesis
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... However, Tallant's book continues to influence public perceptions and is still cited as a reputable source in academic works (see Jacobs 1989, Gauthier and Ackermann 1991, Liverpool 1998, Picone 2003.) The exciting nature of his stories and writing style make his books common items for sale in tourist shops. ...
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To find out more about Gregory Shushan's work, to download free articles, or to contact him, please visit www.gregoryshushan.com. To support his work, please visit https://www.patreon.com/gregoryshushan. A wide-ranging survey of ethnographic, explorer, and missionary literature demonstrates that although historical accounts of near-death experiences (NDEs) are attested in indigenous African societies, they are comparatively rare. Correspondingly, there is also a scarcity of mythological narratives of journeys to afterlife realms and a comparative lack of concern with afterlife speculation per se. Instead, the literature reveals that many African peoples had marked concerns about potentially malevolent influences of ancestral spirits , shamanistic focus on spirit possession and sorcery, and precipitous burial practices limiting the occurrence of NDEs. NDEs were sometimes seen as aber-rational, suggesting that individuals would have been reluctant to relate them. In such cultural environments, NDEs could scarcely have played a significant role in contributing to afterlife conceptions. www.gregoryshushan.com
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Zombies are everywhere. Their popularity tends to make us forget that they are not only commercial products but also psychic products of our time. In fact, these mythical creatures, presumably originating from Black Africa and entered through Western culture via Haiti, have a long history. Their meaning changed, expressing the fears and anxieties of the times when they appeared. In Haiti, their character represented the fear of slavery and of Christian resurrection ; in the United States of the 1960’s, it proved to be a representation of divine punishment ; and since 2000, it is the embodiment of our pessimism, our fear of techno science, and of our feeling that we are on the verge of returning to the “state of nature”. Each time, the zombie is the symptom of an anxiety, a tension driving along a culture. More than ever, fictions behave like revealing objects.
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Thesis (M.A.)--Northern Illinois University, 2006. Includes bibliographical references (leaves [192]-198).
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