The actual undead? Bash’em over the head till they stop moving? Can zombies really happen? No. Ahem *throat clearing*. Not Quite. And I say that because there is some scary stuff that could one day become what may closely resemble a Zombie apocalypse and wipe us all out.
I’m here hopefully to try educate you, not to make you shit. Not mentioning any movies by name. But, ahem (throat clearing again), World War Z. So, we ponder the question, can zombies really happen?
The History of Our Friend, the Zombie
Contrary to popular belief, the living dead has been around for millenniums. That surprised me too, I thought we’ve just conjured this docile villain only in recent times, like black and white movie times. However, each civilization that have been separated by time and space has each come up with its own version of the modern zombie. For example, our middle-eastern brothers had what they called ghouls dating back to ancient times. Usually, a seductress in the desert that at the last minute shows her true form and eats your face.
The bible even mentions a few times, I don’t know where so you can call me a liar if you want, but it mentions that the dead will walk to feed on and outnumber the living with a great army. To me, my friend, that’s a zombie. The Vikings, in the fun time they were around, used to carry a corpse head first out of their hut, ti-pee or whatever to try and confuse the dead should they come back to feast on the living. So, we now, were not the only ones who had a vivid imagination, made zombies up and got pleasure out of telling porky pies to scare someone. Particularly little brothers and sisters.
To Kill the Zombie, First Identify the Zombie
Let’s analyse World War Z. It’s the perfect example of your typical zombie apart, from they’re lightning fast, besides Brad Pitt is in it and he’s the man. We need to identify what makes a zombie, a zombie.
- They mainly bite. They do grab and hit but when you think of zombie, it’s teethmarks
- They swarm. Probably the most essential and terrifying aspect of the zombie. Their sheer numbers, you can’t get away, it’s easy to outrun one or two but rarely is there one or two.
- They keep coming. Shooting him/her in the chest just pisses them off. Taking out a leg or an arm means they’ll just be a bit slower or one-sided. A head shot stops’em sometimes. They’ll climb over each other. They’ll do whatever. They’re absolutely full believers in the tortoise and the hare story.
- They’re dead. Immune to everything, They just want to eat or bite for fun. Brain function is zero.
- They’re ugly bastards.
- They’re angry
Can Zombies Really Happen?
Now that we’ve identified the zombie, what parasite or pathogen is out there that comes close. We’re all dreading the day we turn on the news and hear of some deadly virus that spreading uncontrollably. Ebola, as I currently write this, you could probably say is doing just that. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that in a worst case scenario more 1.4 million people could be infected by January. January!!! Although Ebola is a contagion and won’t exactly turn us Z, it does however have the potential to wipe us out. It will cause a state of panic, and shut down our societal infrastructure much like a zombie end of days. Here though a some scenarios that may in fact look more like the dead have rejoined the party.
Mad Cow Disease (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) and when transferred to humans, Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease
This freaks even me out. It all comes down to protein called a Prion. The Prion changes brain function, attacks the central nervous system, and slowly kills the infected. We, as humans, can catch this bad boy by eating infected meat and when we do the symptoms are much like the walking dead. We shiver, walk funny, moan and groan, our eyes roll into the back of our head, all the while our brain is becoming like a sponge. Scary stuff.
Anthrax (Bacillus Anthracis)
Another good one. Anthrax is actually found in the dirt making animals more susceptible than humans. We can get it though when we come into contact with infected animals or, of course, terrorists send it in the mail. Anthrax is nasty with three ways of contracting the disease, either, through cuts, the lungs or ingestion. Each case has its own varying symptoms and all are a pretty terrible way to die. To the right is a skin reaction to anthrax. Zombie stuff, right?
Rabies, rabies, rabies. I forgot about this one. This freaks me out more than Mad Cow Disease. Transmission is through a scratch or bite from an infected person or animal. The afflicted suffer from rage, hallucinations, paranoia and the hydrophobia (fear of water). Rabies is pretty much always fatal since diagnosis is almost always too late from misdiagnosis. Why do we never hear about rabies? We kinda do but we don’t hear that over 50,000 people a year die from it.
Secret Government Experiment
You knew it was coming. But I had to include it. In 2012 on a causeway in Miami, Rudy Eugene attacked Ronald Poppo in manner that rules out every other human behavior other than that of a Zombie. Repeatedly biting his face for longer than 10 minutes. The real kicker though is when the police rocked up and screamed at him to desist. Eugene looked at them, growled then started biting again. They shot him once. Shot him twice. Five bullets were needed to stop him. What makes a man act like this? Drugs perhaps? Or, experiment gone wrong?
It’s Kinda Happened In The Past Already
If you’re not fully freaking yet here is a bit of history that could help that along. These bad bugs mean business and although that don’t exactly replicate a zombie pathogen, some came pretty close to the decimation of our existence.
Estimated at up to 200 million people! And in the 1300s! Almost half of the population in Europe. Imagine 1 of every 2 people you know, gone. The closest we’ve come to an apocalypse, we almost lost this one. It wasn’t so much a zombie illness like the above mentioned but still the plague bacteria Yersinia Pestis didn’t play nice. A pandemic of epic proportions.
H1N1 – Spanish Influenza
500 million people infected by 1918, killing up to 100 million, an estimated 4% of world population. Not much else to report other than that if you’ve seen the movie Contagion, you know what this would be about.
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, almost had its day. With 10% mortality rate, authorities were quick to act on this one. It spread to 37 countries in no time and killed over 700 people.
As at October 18, 2014 , 4000 deaths and rising. Obama has sent troops to the West African region to control the spread and fight Ebola at the source. Not, literally as in guns and bullets, I meant figuratively. We’ll have to wait and see what happens with this outbreak. A Ugandan Ebola hospital in 2000 below.
Who Can We Turn To?
Center for Disease Control and Prevention – No
UN – No
Governments – No
Family – Yes
Friends – Possibly
Neighbors – Ned Flanders maybe but no otherwise
Woody Harrelson – Yes
Yourself – YES
Your Choice: Get Ready Or Turn Z
To bug in or bug out? Which means should I stay indoors or take my chances outdoors. It depends I think. If you have a big family with old and young, then I say bug in. If you’re single or a with able-bodied people I say bug out. I’d rather be in the wilderness or a remote town then in the center of a city hell bent on destruction. Either way it’s not really where you are but who you are.
Drinking safe water – The first port of call, because dehydration will be the first thing to take you down apart from sickness or zombies. Drinking water from dubious sources can be deadly. Water needs to be boiled, cooled for 30 minutes, then bleach added to it. It’s true. About 8 drops per 2 liters, making sure that its pure bleach too, (6% Sodium Hypochlorite).
Starting a Fire – You need to be able to collect fire wood. Making sure it is all dead and dry. You need to know to ignite leaves or paper first. Then add twigs and light brush then finally adding the big stuff. Don’t burn chemically treated wood because it is a carcinogen. You have to be able to start the fire, so apart from the obvious things like matches or a lighter, you need skills in doing that. Shorting out batteries creates a spark, as well as rubbing wood together or banging steel against concrete or rocks.
First Aid – This is pretty easy to explain and easy to rectify. First Aid courses are in abundance and teach you everything you need to know. Bites, breaks, scratches, CPR, some forms of rescue, choking, electrocution and more.
Food – We all think if worse comes to worst, we’ll raid houses and supermarkets. Except everybody else is thinking that too. The people who will last an apocalypse will be the guys who know what the caveman knew. To hunt, to forage. Obviously this is a big topic and totally depends on your geographic location. But I implore you to look into this a bit more.
Hot/Cold – God gave us this cool intrinsic skill where if you’re cold, you shiver and if you’re hot, you sweat. And you know about jumpers and the rest. On top of that though I’d like to add that if you’re cold, there are more things you can do if you a little stuck for winter gear. Rub your chest, and rub it intensely. Don’t worry about your extremities, to survive rub your vital organs, they’ll sink you first. Another good tip is insulation. Scrunching up newspaper or book pages and putting them inside your clothing can help immensely. Think of your roof at home, they do it there so why not here?
Navigation – The power is out. Phones don’t work. You have to be able to tell where you going if you’re bugging out. The sun, my friend, the sun. It rises in the east and sets in west. Or the stars, follow the stars, more specifically, the North Star
Defense – Again, doesn’t need much explaining. Apart from weapons, a little hand to hand combat is going to come in handy. I personally like Krav Maga, based on Israeli Army fighting techniques. Suitable for anyone and cuts to the chase straight away with disabling someone.
Here’s a brief overview of what you might need. Remember though there is a special balance between what you need and weight. You gotta be light.
Can Zombies Really Happen? God Forbid
Doomsdayers say it’s not a matter of if but when. Some of them sound to me like they’re counting on it, like they’ll get something out of it. I have a bit more faith in humanity. However, you have to be ready. I’ve given what’s happened, what may occur and what to do to be ready for it. Thanks heaps for reading and I’ll see you on the otherside! Hopefully.
Do you think zombies can really happen?
Let me know your thoughts. So I’ll leave you saying I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, leave any questions and queries below.
Thanks MCM’s Rohan.