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Are Zombies a Modern Superstition?

The fascination with zombies has taken off in recent years, thanks to an abundance of zombie-themed films, television shows, novels, and comic books. But the belief that the dead could rise from their graves is by no means a modern superstition. Archaeologists in England think they have found evidence of corpses being dug up and mutilated in the Middle Ages, in an effort to prevent the dead from rising and terrorizing the living. The theory is based on the discovery of human remains in the medieval village of Wharram Percy in North Yorkshire. The corpses had clearly been exhumed and then burned or dismembered. The archaeologists, from the University of Southampton and Historic England, considered various explanations for this unusual treatment of the dead, including the possibility of cannibalism during a famine or a massacre of outsiders. However, they concluded that the hypothesis that best matched the evidence was indeed that the medieval villagers were attempting to prevent the corpses from rising after death.

More about zombies:

  • Our modern conception of zombies is believed to have roots in Haitian and West African beliefs such as Vodou.
  • The word "zombie" is thought to be of African origin, possibly originating from words such as ndzumbi, which means "corpse" in the Mitsogo language, or nzambi, which means "spirit of the dead" in the Kongo language.
  • The 1932 American film White Zombie is generally cited as the first zombie movie ever made.
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