10 Things You Didn’t Know About Zombies

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Well, it’s Halloween. You know what that means: time to go deep on zombies. Here are some odd facts, culled from around the web, that you might not already have known about them.

1. Zora Neale Hurston, beloved African-American novelist, was interested in zombies. Specifically, she claimed to have met one while doing fieldwork in Haiti. (Hurston was also a folklorist.) She discusses the experience in the above clip.

2. People worry about cats infecting their precious, precious babies. But SCIENCE reveals that what cats really have is the power to make MICE into zombies by way of their Toxoplasmosis gondii germs. Apparently, once infected, the mice become less afraid of cats, and easier to kill.

3. May is Zombie Awareness Month.

4. White Zombie, reputedly the first zombie movie, got terrible reviews when it came out. Naturally, it earned a decent amount of money anyway. The film was set in Haiti, and most of the actors were whites in blackface.

5. In ancient Ireland, people believed you could ward off zombification by wedging rocks into the mouths of dead bodies. This kept evil spirits from entering them Proof: the above skeletons, found in Ireland in 2005-2009.

6. The only real-life case of zombie-ism ever to be substantiated was that of Clairvius Narcisse, a Haitian man who “died” in 1962 and then reappeared 18 years later.

7. When they shot Resident Evil, 16 actors were injured on the set. The zombie special effects makeup was actually an impediment to getting the injured treated. It was hard to tell which gashes were real.

8. There is, in fact, a calculator dedicated to the number of zombie bites you will need to suffer before you get infected.

9. Zombies first appeared on Broadway in 1932, in an eponymous play by Kenneth Webb. The New York Times critic enjoyed it, calling the concept of the zombie a “bully idea for a cold-sweat school of drama.”

10. Wes Craven’s film The Serpent and the Rainbow, which creeped me right out when I was a kid, is based on the true story — and book of the same name — by a Canadian anthropologist who went to Haiti to investigate the truth about zombies.