The 31 Days of Hallowe'en - Make Your Own Zombie
MAKE YOUR OWN ZOMBIE
*If you thought zombies were just a bit of folklore, think again.*
In 1982, a Canadian ethnobotanist named Wade Davis went to
Haiti, where he met a man who claimed he'd been turned into a
zombie and forced to work on a sugar plantation. Davis tracked
down a _bokor_, a "voodoo wizard," who claimed to be able to make
"zombie powder." The powder was sprinkled on the doorstep of the victim,
who would absorb the powder through his feet and die. The bokor would dig
the person up and - voila - a zombie.
Eventually Davis managed to get eight samples of the powder, which he
ran through the gamut of scientific testing. His tests found a neurotoxin
called tetrodoxin, which you can get from puffer fish, or _fugu_, found in
Haitian waters. Tetrodoxin can paralyze you, making your breathing so
it would be easy to miss. Davis gave the powder to a pathologist, who
it on rats.
After 24 hours, the rats revived with no ill effect. The final step in
creating a zombie requires something to scramble your faculties.Davis
the secret is a hallucinogenic drug called datura.
These findings made Davis something of a celebrity. He wrote a 1985
_The Serpent and the Rainbow_, which he sold to Hollywood. The resulting
belittled the voodoo religion. Some are skeptical of Davis's theory. Two
experts, C. Y. Kao and Takeshi Yasumoto, tested Davis's samples, but
enough tetrodoxin to have any effect.
VAMPIRES AND WEREWOLVES
In 1985, Canadian biochemist David Dolphin fingered a blood
disease called porphyria as an explanation for vampirism. People
with congenital erythropoietic porphyria are extremely sensitive
to light, sometimes have psychological problems, and supposedly
their symptoms worsen if they eat garlic. Porphyria sufferers have
been down this road before. In 1964, it was said that porphyria caused
the delusion that you're a werewolf. While people with porphyria may not
vampires or werewolves, they do turn into kings and queens. The genetic
its way into many of Europe's royal families, including Britain's.
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