You say have noticed I’m running a little behind today. Have a pounding headache and seem to have been running round like a headless chicken all day trying to get caught up with everything. So, considering I feel slightly like death warmed up then it’s probably appropriate that we’re talking zombies again today 😉
While zombies only really became prominent in Western films, books and television over the past century or so (the first actual zombie film was in the 1930s, before George A.Romero made the genre famous in the 1960s with the first of his Living Dead films) they have featured in ancient myths and legends around the world.
For example, the Middle-Eastern tale, the Epic of Gilgamesh is over 5,000 years old and has an angry goddess who threatens to bring the dead back to life to eat the flesh of the living.
Zombies in Chinese myth are called the Kuang Shi, which means the hopping corpse, and are human bodies without any independent will or thoughts. In some Chinese legends, zombies are the bodies of people of who died far away from home and they must walk back to their home before they can rest in peace.
In Scandinavian countries, zombies were known as draugr. These were fierce warriors, who after death were not content to lie peacefully in their graves and instead rose up and attacked the living. In order to kill a draugr you had to cut off its head, burn the body and scatter the ashes at sea.
In Germany, they have a version of the zombie called the Nachzehrer, which can either be translated as ‘night waster’ or ‘night gnawer/chewer’. This has some traits of both the zombie and the vampire, making it particularly dangerous. When the Nachtzehrer first comes back from the grave it gnaws on parts of its own body, before looking for other victims to feed on.
Are we all freaked out yet? Well, it’s World Zombie Day tomorrow, so if you’re getting involved in anything zombie-related then have fun – and if you’re not, then watch out 😉