A Brief History of Zombies in Myths and Media
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A Brief History of Zombies in Myths and Media

This article contains a brief history of zombies as portrayed in myths and media. It gives information on different types of zombies and where they originated.

Zombies are fictional creatures featured in many books, movies, other media, and myths. They are depicted as mindless reanimated corpses, or simply as mindless humans. The chief characteristic of a zombie is that it has no conscious experience, though it is identical to a human in all other aspects.

There are several different types of zombies. The first is most well-known as the Hollywood zombie. As the name implies, these are the zombies featured in movies. They are specifically reanimated corpses, and generally like to snack on human flesh and brains. Their movements are usually impaired, and they look like a dead human, often with many injuries. They are usually brought back to life via mutation or infection by someone who is already afflicted.

The second type of zombie is the Haitian zombie. These are questionably alive, but have been cursed through an act of voodoo. Their free will has been taken away from them, and some argue that their soul is taken as well. There are also people who believe that Hollywood zombies are a sort of corruption of Haitian zombies.

The final type of zombie, and the least discussed, is the philosophical zombie. This zombie has no conscious experiences but act as any normal human would act. They often also look identical to the average human.

Zombies became popular in media with the movie “Night of the Living Dead.” Today, they are featured in many movies, books, television series, and video games. Recently the popularity of zombies has expanded quite beyond what it used to be, some television and game series adding extra scenes and mini games that include zombies.

One of the defining features of the zombie stories in media is specifically the zombie apocalypse. The Hollywood zombism that is most used is spread via the bite of a zombie. Because of this, it is often shown that one or a few people become infected, then spread the infection onto others, who spread it to others, and so forth. This leads to an explosion in the zombie population and near extinction in the normal, uninfected population, and eventually the end of the world once the zombies finish off the “survivors” and eat all the food available to them.

In most cases, the circumstances that start the zombie apocalypse seem rather contrived, as all it usually takes to kill a zombie is the separation of the zombie’s brain from the rest of its body. Usually, all it would have taken to avoid the entire movie scenario would have been a bullet in the first afflicted person.


Retrieved Jan 01, 2011, from Monstrous.com: http://zombies.monstrous.com/

Chalmers, D. (n.d.). Zombies on the Web. Retrieved Jan 1, 2011, from Zombies on the Web: http://consc.net/zombies.html

Chalmers, D., & Fish, B. (2006, October 9). Zombies. Retrieved January 1, 2011, from Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/zombies/

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