Peter Cummings, a scientist from Boston University, states that several diseases and conditions already exist that could cause someone to be viewed as a zombie. According to Cummings, the key to understanding the potential for these conditions to produce zombie traits was to examine the shutdown of the frontal lobe of the brain.
When thinking of zombies, most people conjure up images of the dead rising from their graves. She stated that the rising dead was an unlikely scenario, but the mutation of a virus similar to rabies wasn’t.
With the slave trade, these traditions and practices made the journey to many parts of the Americas. In recent times, Haiti has become one of the epicenters of modern cases of “zombies.” In fact, the notion of voodoo permeates the mindset of the population.
Without a doubt, one of the most controversial claims of real-life zombies came from Wade Davis of Harvard University. Even more intriguing was Davis’s claims that criminals were turned into zombies in antiquity to stop their wayward behavior.
Almost half a century before Davis, Huston claimed that “people have been called back from the dead.” Supposedly, she had also witnessed real “zombies in Haiti.” In one intriguing account, Huston tells of being invited to study hoodoo rituals up close.
A hoodoo priest gave permission for the unique opportunity, and Huston eventually performed several rituals herself. However, the account in her 1938 book, Tell My Horse: Voodoo and Life in Haiti and Jamaica, really grabbed people’s attention.
‘ Zombie Parasite Takes Over Insects Through Mind Control | National Geographic The main worry is that these natural methods will be replicated in a science lab and used against the general population.
For example, many natural zombies are created when a parasite enters the nervous system of an animal through the food chain. This is most often an effort to bring the animal out into the open and in full view of its natural predators.
Stephen Kane, an associate professor at the University of California, Riverside, certainly has a unique theory as to why aliens have not visited Earth. In 2014, he claimed that space travel in the past had left such astronauts stranded as zombies on an unknown planet.
It would probably take the world’s scientists and medical experts by complete surprise and on the back foot. When we view the idea of zombies in those terms, the prospect doesn’t appear so laughable regardless of how unlikely it is to happen.
Some researchers insist that the intelligence world is seeking to turn people into zombies through the use of drugs and mind control. While there is no reason to worry about the walking dead traipsing down your street anytime soon, there are real-life illnesses that can simulate the fictional undead.
These viral infectious diseases spread quickly and have been known to cause people to act in a quite unusual way. The virus may also be passed on if infected tissue comes into contact with skin in the eyes, nose, or mouth.
Pain, tingling, or itching at the site of the bite wound or other site of viral entry Stiff muscles Increased production of thick saliva Flu-like symptoms, such as headache, fever, fatigue, nausea Painful spasms and contractions of the throat when exposed to water Erratic or bizarre behavior, such as biting, thrashing about, spasms, and delusions Development of intense phobias to water (hydrophobia) Paralysis While sleeping sickness is most often found in sub-Saharan Africa, this is a good one to be aware of if you are a world traveler.
African Trypanosomiasis, also known as “sleeping sickness” is caused by microscopic parasites of the species Trypanosoma Bruce, also known as the tsetse fly. Later symptoms occur once the parasite invades the brain and central nervous system.
Leprosy, or Hansen’s disease, is an infection caused by slow-growing bacteria called Mycobacterium deprave. While largely eradicated in the modern world, records show that it dates back to over 4,000 years ago in Egypt, China, India, and Africa.
While leprosy is only transmitted through prolonged, close contact with an infected individual, it still affects about 100 people a year in the United States. Because of nerve damage, people might not feel the skin and develop injuries and ulcers.
Discolored patches of skin Growths on the skin Thick, stiff or dry skin Painless ulcers on the soles of feet Painless swelling or lumps on the face or earlobes Loss of eyebrows or eyelashes Muscle weakness or paralysis (especially in the hands and feet) Eye problems that may lead to blindness A stuffy nose and/or nosebleeds Paralysis and crippling of hands and feet Shortening of toes and fingers due to reabsorption Nose disfigurement Burning sensation in the skin Bovine spongiform encephalopathy is a progressive neurological disorder of cattle caused by an agent called a prion.
Those who develop such an infection usually have compromised immune systems from another illness, including diabetes, kidney disease, and cancer. Typically, a necrotizing fasciitis infection is not spread from person to person, but occurs randomly when bacteria (most commonly Strep A) enters the body through a cut, scrape, burn, insect bite, or puncture wound.
Prompt treatment with antibiotics and, often, surgery is required to remove all dead tissue. While they may not create the mummy-like creatures we are used to seeing on TV and in the movies, zombie -like illnesses are a very real phenomenon.
In the 1980s, Harvard University ethnobotanist Wade Davis uncovered a potential medical explanation for cases of zombie -like living deaths in Haiti. Davis described his findings in a book, The Serpent and the Rainbow, which horror director Wes Craven later turned into a movie.
Prions were behind a disease called Kurt, which once infected members of a cannibalistic New Guinea tribe. People with Kurt exhibit symptoms like poor coordination, personality changes, loss of speech, and open sores.
It doesn’t take more than a few sneezes and coughs to produce a full-on zombie pandemic that efficiently wipes out two-thirds of the world’s population. True to his medical roots, Dr. Showman gave the hypothetical disease a complicated name and an acronym: ataxic neurodegenerative satiety deficiency syndrome (AND).
The prion destroys most of the brain, but leaves just enough working tissue behind to let the humans-turned-zombies walk (albeit in a highly uncoordinated way). But if you are the type of person who likes to be prepared for everything, the CDC offers a handy (tongue-in-cheek) zombie apocalypse preparedness guide.
It recommends coming up with an emergency plan and stocking up on water, food, medications, and other necessary supplies. We found out recently that if you try to leave a little kid in a graveyard late at night, he'll freak out.
It's because on some instinctual level, all humans know it's just a matter of time until the zombies show up. Our culture is full of tales of the undead walking the Earth, from our religions to our comic books.
But, some sort of zombie apocalypse isn't actually possible, right? Parasites that turn victims into mindless, zombie -like slaves are fairly common in nature.
There's one called toxoplasmoses Gandhi that seems to devote its entire existence to being terrifying. This bug infects rats, but can only breed inside the intestines of a cat.
The parasite knows it needs to get the rat inside the cat (yes, we realize this sounds like the beginning of the most fucked-up Dr. Seuss poem ever) so the parasite takes over the rat's freaking brain, and intentionally makes it scurry toward where the cats hang out. Chances this could cause a zombie apocalypse: Humans and rats aren't all that different; that's why they use them to test our drugs.
So, imagine if half the world suddenly had no instinct for self-preservation or rational thought. You've got to wonder if the lab workers don't carry out their work under the unwitting command of the toxoplasmoses Gandhi already in their brains.
You may be protesting that technically these people have never been dead and thus don't fit the dictionary definition of “zombies,” but we can assure you that the distinction won't matter a lot once these groaning hordes are clawing their way through your windows. The movie The Serpent and the Rainbow, the upcoming Resident Evil 5 video game.
The victims can then be brought back under the effects of a drug like data strontium (or other chemicals called alkaloids) that leave them in a trance-like state with no memory, but still able to perform simple tasks like eating, sleeping, moaning and shambling around with their arms outstretched. There are books about it, the most famous ones by Dr. Wade Davis (Passage of Darkness and The Serpent and the Rainbow).
Yes, the movie The Serpent and the Rainbow was based on this guy's actual science stuff. Well, there was that one scene where they strapped the guy naked to a chair and drove a huge spike through his balls.
He was a Haitian guy who was declared dead by two doctors and buried in 1962. It turned out the local voodoo priests had been using naturally occurring chemicals to basically zombie people and putting them to work on the sugar plantations (no, really).
But, even if some evil genius intentionally distributed alkaloid toxins to a population to turn them into a shambling, mindless horde, there is no way to make these zombies aggressive or cannibalistic. In the movie, it was a virus that turned human beings into mindless killing machines.
But, it proves widespread brain infections of the Rage variety are just a matter of waiting for the right disease to come along. Chances this could cause a zombie apocalypse: If the whole sudden, mindless violence idea seems far-fetched, remember that you are just one brain chemical (serotonin) away from turning into a mindless killing machine (they've tested it by putting rats in Deathmatch-style cages and watching them turn on each other).
All it would take is a disease that destroys the brain's ability to absorb that one chemical and suddenly it's a real-world 28 Days Later. Particularly of interest to zoologists like ourselves is neurogenesis, the method by which they can re-grow dead brain tissue.
How it can result in zombies: You wanted the undead to make an appearance in this article? That just leaves the part that controls basic motor function and primitive instincts behind.
You don't need the cortex to survive; all you need is the stem, and you'll still be able to mindlessly walk and eat and enjoy Grey's Anatomy. So, you take a brain-dead patient, use these techniques to re-grow the brain stem, and you now have a mindless body shambling around, no thoughts and no personality, nothing but a cloud of base instincts and impulses.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is what we like to call a real, live, undead fucking zombie. Under every legal system in the world, all rights and responsibilities are terminated at death.
All it takes is someone with resources and a need for a mindless workforce of totally obedient slave labor. We're betting somebody in the world, maybe North Korea, will have a working zombie by Christmas.
As seen in... Michael Crichton's novel Prey, The PS2 game NATO Breaker. Nanobots are a technology that science apparently engineered to make you terrified of the future.
We're talking about microscopic, self-replicating robots that can invisibly build--or destroy--anything. Vast sums of money are being poured into nanotechnology.
How it can result in zombies: Scientists have already created a nano-cyborg, by fusing a tiny silicone chip to a virus. The first thing they found out is these cyborgs can still operate for up to a month after the death of the host.
Notice how NATO scientists went right for modification, even at this early stage. According to studies, within a decade they'll have nanobots that can crawl inside your brain and set up neural connections to replace damaged ones.
They can form their own neural pathways, meaning they can use your brain to keep operating your limbs after you've deceased and, presumably, right up until you rot to pieces in mid-stride.