Are zombies real? Don't roll your eyes at me -- you know at least some tiny part of you can't help but wonder whether all the flesh-eating crimes of late point to the possibility of a real live (real dead?) zombie apocalypse.
Well, I can't say for certain whether or not the zombie apocalypse is upon us (interesting update on the "Miami cannibal" Eugene Rudolph: Apparently no flesh was found in his stomach during the autopsy, so he didn't actually eat his victim's face, he just chewed it off).
Anyway, setting aside the apocalypse part for a moment: Do zombies even exist?
Um ... probably. Yeah. Here's the (sort of) proof:
1. Neurotoxic "zombie powder." Dude, you know how in Haiti zombies were always the stuff of legend? Well, in the 1980s, Harvard ethnobotanist Wade Davis (from Harvard, did you catch that?) said he discovered a powder containing a neurotoxin which could be used to poison victims into a zombie-like state -- zombie powder! (To create armies of drone-like sugarcane plantation workers, of course.) Dude, he was from Harvard. It's gotta be true.
2. "Walking Dead" in Medieval Ireland. So, researchers recently dug up two early medieval skeletons in Ireland with big, giant stones wedged into their mouths -- "evidence, archaeologists say, that it was feared the individuals would rise from their graves like zombies." Because apparently in Ireland at that time, there was a prevailing belief in "revenants" or the "walking dead," an unsavory rep usually slapped on creepy outsider types.
3. Zombie fungus. Okay, this is a sort of long and involved scientific theory, but basically? The same fungal networks that sustain most forests could, theoretically, take over infected corpses (after death) and make them an active, meat-eating part of the ecosystem.
4. Zombie parasites. Guess what? You might ALREADY be carrying toxoplasmosa, the parasite that can turn rats into zombie-like creatures programmed to deliver themselves straight to waiting predators (and yes, the same parasite you can catch from a cat's litter box). Obviously, so far people haven't developed quite the same condition, but there have been reports of "personality change" and "insanity." Could get much, much worse ...
Phew! Freaky stuff, huh? Told you it was possible ...
Do you think real zombies exist?
Image via Nivaldo Arruda/Flickr