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Do you have a zombie plan?


Tale

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Dudes, you should start by defining what a zombie is, how they spread and what its weak points are.  I see head boinking and what to use/not to use but no details.

 

For example you may want to tell the dudes if melee's a bad idea because the zombie virus/bacteria and other general infections from decaying flesh would be nasty if it gets on you from fluid contact.

 

Sorry for the formatting but im not going to type out 30 pages by hand.

 

THE UNDEAD: MYTHS AND REALITIES

 

He comes from the grave, his body a home of worms andjilth. No life in

his eyes, no warmth of his shn, no beating of his breast. His soul, as

empty and dark as the night sky. He laughs at the blade, spits at the

arrow, for they will not harm hisflesh. For eternity, he will walk the

earth, smelling the sweet blood of the living, feasting upon the bones of

the damned. Beware, for he is the living dead.

 

ZOM-BZE: (Zom'be) n. also ZOM-BIES pl. I. An animated corpse that

feeds on living humanjlesh. 2. A voodoo spell that raises the dead. 3.

A Voodoo snake god. 4. One who moves or acts in a daze "like a zombie."

[a word of West African origin]

 

What is a zombie? How are they created? What are their strengths and

weaknesses? What are their needs, their desires? Why are they hostile

to humanity? Before discussing any survival techniques, you must first

learn what you are trying to survive.

We must begin by separating fact from fiction. The walking dead

are neither a work of "black magic" nor any other supernatural force.

Their origin stems from a virus known as Solanum, a Latin word used

by Jan Vanderhaven, who fust "discovered" the disease.

 

SOLANUM: THE VIRUS

 

Solannm works by traveling through the bloodstream, from the initial

point of entry to the brain. Through means not yet fully understood,

the virus uses the cells of the frontal lobe for replication, destroying

them in the process. During this period, all bodily functions cease. By

stopping the heart, the infected subject is rendered ''dead." The brain,

however, remains alive hut dormant, while the virus mutates its cells

into a completely new organ. The most critical trait of this new organ

is its independence from oxygen. By removing the need for this allimportant

resource, the nndead brain can utilize, but is in no way

dependent upon, the complex support mechanism of the human body.

Once mutation is complete, this new organ reanimates the body into a

form that bears little resemblance (physiologically speaking) to the

original corpse. Some bodily functions remain constant, others operate

in a modified capacity, and the remainder shut down completely.

This new organism is a zombie, a member of the living dead.

 

 

1. SOURCE

U~~fortunateleyx, tensive research has yet to find an isolated example

of Solanum in nature. Water, air, and soil in all ecosystems, from all

parts of the world, have turned up negative, as have their accompanying

flora and fauna. At the time of this writing, the search continues.

 

2. SYMPTOMS

The timetable below outlines the process of an infected human (give

or take several hours, depending on the individual).

 

Hour 1: Pain and discoloration (brown-puple) of the infected area Immediate

clotting of the wound @rovided the infection came h m a wound).

Hour 5: Fever (99-103 degrees F), chills, slight dementia, vomiting,

acute pain in the joints.

Hour 8: Numbing of extremities and infected area, increased fever

(103-106 degrees F), increased dementia, loss of muscular coordination.

Hour 11: Paralysis in the lower body, overall numbness, slowed heart

rate.

Hour 16: Coma.

Hour 20: Heart stoppage. Zero brain activity

Hour 23: Reanimation.

 

 

3. TRANSFERENCE

 

Solanum is 100 percent communicahle and 100 percent fatal.

Fortunately for the human race, the virus is neither waterborne nor airborne.

Humans have never been known to contract the virus from elements

in nature. Infection can occur only through direct fluidic

contact. A zombie bite, although by far the most recognizable means

of transference, is by no means the only one. Humans have been

infected by brushing their open wounds against those of a zombie or

by being splattered by its remains after an explosion. Ingestion of

infected flesh (provided the person has no open mouth sores), however,

results in pemanent death rather than infection. Infected flesh has

proven to be highly toxic.

 

No infomation-historical, experimental, or othenvise-has surfaced

regarding the results of sexual relations with an undead specimen,

but as previously noted, the nature of Solanum suggests a high

danger of infection. Warning against such an act would be useless, as

the only people deranged enough to try would he unconcerned for their

own safety. Many have argued that, given the congealed nature of

undead bodily fluids, the chances of infection from a non-bite contact

should be low. However, it must be remembered that even one organism

is enough to begin the cycle.

 

 

4. CROSS-SPECIES INFECTION

 

Solannm is fatal to all living creatures, regardless of size, species, or

ecosystem. Reanimation, however, takes place only in humans. Studies

have shown that Solanum infecting a non-human brain will die within

hours of the death of its host, making the carcass safe to handle.

Infected animals expire before the virus can replicate throughout their

bodies. Infection from insect bites such as from mosquitoes can also

he discounted. Experiments have proven that all parasitic insects can

sense and will reject an infected host 100 percent of the time.

 

 

5. TREATMENT

 

Once a human is infected, little can be done to save him or her. Because

Solanum is a virus and not a bacteria, antibiotics have no effect.

Immunization, the only way to combat a virus, is equally useless, as even

the most minute dosage will lead to a full-blown infection. Genetic

research is under way. Goals range from stronger human antibodies to

resistant cell structure to a counter-virus designed to identify and destroy

Solanum. This and other, more radical treatments are still in the earliest

stages, with no foreseeable success in the near future. Battlefield experiences

have led to the immediate severing of the infected limb (provided

this is the location of the bite), but such treatments are dubious at best,

with less than a 10 percent success rate.

 

Chances are, the infected human

was doomed from the moment the virus entered his or her system.

Should the infected human choose suicide, he should remember that the

brain must be eliminated first. Cases have been recorded in which

recently infected subjects, deceased by means other than the virus, will

nonetheless reanimate. Such cases usually occur when the subject

expires after the fifth hour of infection. Regardless, any person killed

after being bitten or otherwise infected by the undead should be immediately

disposed of. (See "Disposal," page 19.)

 

 

6. REANIMATING THE ALREADY DECEASED

 

It has been suggested that fresh human corpses could reanimate if

Solanum were introduced after their demise. This is a fallacy. Zombies

ignore necrotic flesh and therefore could not transfer the virus.

Experiments conducted during and after World War I1 (see "Recorded

Attacks," pages 216m have proven that injecting Solanum into a

cadaver would be futile because a stagnant bloodstream could not

transport the virus to the brain. Injection directly into a dead brain

would be equally useless, as the expired cells could not respond to the

virus. Solanum does not create life-it alters it.

 

 

ZOMBIE ATTRIBUTES

 

1. PHYSICAL ABILITIES

Too often, the undead have been said to possess superhuman powers:

unusual strength, lightning speed, telepathy, etc. Stories range from

zombies flying through the air to their scaling vertical surfaces like spiders.

While these traits might make for fascinating drama, the individual

ghoul is far from a magical, omnipotent demon. Never forget that

the body of the undead is, for all practical purposes, human. What

changes do occur are in the way this new, reanimated body is used by

the now-infected brain. There is no way a zombie could fly unless the

human it used to be could fly. The same goes for projecting force

fields, telepottation, moving through solid objects, transforming into a

wolf, breathing fire, or a variety of other mystical talents amibuted to

the walking dead. Imagine the human body as a tool kit. The somnambulist

brain has those tools, and only those tools, at its disposal. It

cannot create new ones out of thin air. But it can, as you will see, use

these tools in unconventional combinations, or push their durability

beyond normal human limits.

 

 

A. Sight

 

The eyes of a zombie are no different than those of a normal human.

While still capable (given their rate of decomposition) of transmitting

visual signals to the brain, how the brain interprets these signals is

another matter. Studies are inconclusive regarding the undead's visual

abilities. They can spot prey at distances comparable to a human, but

whether they can distinguish a human from one of their own is still up

for debate. One theory suggests that the movements made by humans,

which are quicker and smoother than those of the undead, is what

causes them to stand out to the zombie eye. Experiments have been

done in which humans have attempted to confuse approaching ghouls

by mimicking their motions and adopting a shambling, awkward limp.

To date, none of these attempts have succeeded. It has been suggested

that zombies possess night vision, a fact that explains their skill at nocturnal

hunting. This theory has been debunked by the fact that all zombies

are expert night feeders, even those without eyes.

 

B. Sound

 

There is no question that zombies have excellent hearing. Not only can

they detect sound-they can determine its direction. The basic range

appears to be the same as that for humans. Experiments with extreme

high and low frequencies have yielded negative results. Tests have also

shown that zombies are attracted by any sounds, not just those made

by living creatures. It has been recorded that ghouls will notice sounds

ignored by living humans. The most likely, if unproven, explanation is

that zombies depend on all their senses equally. Humans are sightoriented

from birth, depending on other senses only if the primary one

is lost. Perhaps this is not a handicap shared by the walking dead. If

so, it would explain their ability to hunt, fight, and feed in total darkness.

 

 

C. Smell

 

Unlike with sound, the undead have a more acute sense of smell. In

both combat situations and laboratory tests, they have been able to distinguish

the smell of living prey above all others. In many cases, and

given ideal wind conditions, zomhies have been known to smell fresh

corpses from a distance of more than a mile. Again, this does not mean

that ghouls have a greater sense of smell than humans, simply that they

rely on it more. It is not known exactly what particular secretion signals

the presence of prey: sweat, pheromones, blood, etc. In the past,

people seeking to move undetected through infested areas have

attempted to "mask" their human scent with perfumes, deodorants, or

other strong-smelling chemicals. None were successful. Experiments

are now under way to synthesize the smells of living creatures as a

decoy or even repellent to the walking dead. A successful product is

still years away.

 

 

D. Taste

 

Little is known about the altered taste buds of the walking dead.

Zombies do have the ability to tell human flesh apart from that of animals,

and they prefer the former. Ghouls also have a remarkable ability

to reject carrion in favor of freshly killed meat. A human body that

has been dead longer than twelve to eighteen hours will be rejected as

food. The same goes for cadavers that have been embalmed or otherwise

preserved. Whether this has anything to do with "taste" is not yet

certain. It may have to do with smell or, perhaps, another instinct that

has not been discovered. As to exactly why human flesh is preferable,

science has yet to find an answer to this confounding, frustrating, terrifying

question.

 

 

E. Touch

 

Zombies have, literally, no physical sensations. All nerve receptors

throughout the body remain dead after reanimation. This is truly their

greatest and most temfying advantage over the living. We, as humans,

have the ability to experience physical pain as a signal of bodily damage.

Our brain classifies such sensations, matches them to the experience

that instigated them, and then files the information away for use

as a warning against future ham. It is this gift of physiology and

instinct that has allowed us to survive as a species. It is why we value

virtues such as courage, which inspires people to perform actions

despite warnings of danger. The inability to recognize and avoid pain

is what makes the waking dead so formidable. Wounds will not be

noticed and, therefore, will not deter an attack. Even if a zombie's

body is severely damaged, it will continue to attack until nothing

remains.

 

 

E Sixth Sense

 

Historical research, coupled with laboratory and field observation,

have shown that the walking dead have been known to attack even

when all their sensory organs have been damaged or completely

decomposed. Does this mean that zombies possess a sixth sense?

Perhaps. Living humans use less than 5 percent of their brain capacity.

It is possible that the virus can stimulate another sensoly ability that

has been forgotten by evolution. This theory is one of the most hotly

debated in the war against the undead. So far, no scientific evidence

has been found to suppoa either side.

 

 

G. Healing

 

Despite legends and ancient folklore, undead physiology has been

proven to possess no powers of regeneration. Cells that are damaged

stay damaged. Any wounds, no matter what their size and nature, will

remain for the duration of that body's reanimation. A variety of medical

treatments have been attempted to stimulate the healing process in

captured ghouls. None were successful. This inability to self-repair,

something that we as living beings take for granted, is a severe disadvantage

to the undead. For example, every time we physically exert

ourselves, we tear our muscles. With time, these muscles rebuild to a

stronger state than before. A ghoul's muscle mass will remain damaged,

reducing its effectiveness every time it is used.

 

 

H. Decomposition

 

The average zombie "life span"-how long it is able to function before

completely rotting away-is estimated at three to five years. As fantastic

as this sounds-a human corpse able to ward off the natural

effects of decay-its cause is rooted in basic biology. When a human

body dies, its flesh is immediately set upon by billions of microscopic

organisms. These organisms were always present, in the external environment

arid within the body itself. In life, the immune system stood

as a harrier between these organisms and their target. In death, that barrier

is removed. The organisms begin multiplying exponentially as

they proceed to eat and, thereby, break down the corpse on a cellular

level. The smell and discoloration associated with any decaying meat

are the biological process of these microbes at work. When you order

an "aged" steak, you are ordering a piece of meat that has begun to rot,

its formerly toughened flesh softened by microorganisms breaking

down its sturdy fiber. Within a short time, that steak, like a human

corpse, will dissolve to nothing, leaving behind only material too hard

or innutritious for any microbe, such as hone, teeth, nails, and hair.

This is the normal cycle of life, nature's way of recycling nutrients

back into the food chain. To halt this process, and preserve dead tissue,

it is necessary to place it in an environment unsuitable for bacteria,

such as in extreme low or high temperatures, in toxic chemicals

such as formaldehyde, or, in this case, to saturate it with Solanum.

Almost all the microbe species involved in normal human decomposition

have repeatedly rejected flesh infected by the virus, effecThe

tively embalming the zombie. Were this not the case, combating the

living dead would be as easy as avoiding them for several weeks or

even days until they rotted away to hones. Research has yet to discover

the exact cause of this condition. It has been determined that at least

some microbe species ignore the repelling effects of Solanum-otherwise,

the undead would remain perfectly preserved forever. It has also

been determined that natural conditions such as moisture and temperature

play an important role as well. Undead that prowl the bayous of

Louisiana are unlikely to last as long as those in the cold, dry Gobi

desert. Extreme situations, such as deep freezing or immersion in -

preservative fluid, could, hypothetically, allow an undead specimen to

exist indef~telyT. hese techniques have been known to allow zombies

to function for decades, if not centuries. (See "Recorded Attacks,"

pages 193ff.) Decomposition does not mean that a member of the

walking dead will simply drop. Decay may affect various parts of the

body at different times. Specimens have been found with brains intact

but nearly disintegrated bodies. Others with partially rotted brains may

control some bodily functions but be completely paalyzed in others.

A popular theory has recently circulated that attempts to explain the

story of the ancient Egyptian mummy as one of the first examples of

an embalmed zombie. The preservation techniques allowed it to fuuction

several thousand years after being entombed. Anyone with a rudimentary

knowledge of ancient Egypt would find this story almost

laughably untrue: The most important and complicated step in preparing

a pharaoh for burial was the removal of the brain!

 

 

I. Digestion

 

Recent evidence has once and for all mscounted the theory that human

flesh is the fuel for the undead. A zombie's digestive tract is completely

dormant. The complex system that processes food, extracts nutrition,

and excretes waste does not factor into a zombie's physiology. Autopsies

conducted on neutralized undead have shown that their "food" lies in its

original, undigested state at all sections of the tract. This partially

chewed, slowly rotting matter will continue to accumulate, as the zom12

hie devours more victims, until it is forced through the anus, or literally

bursts through the stomach or intestinal lining. While this more dramatic

example of non-digestion is rare, hundreds of eyewitness reports have

confirmed undead to have distended bellies. One captured and dissected

specimen was found to contain 21 1 pounds of flesh within its system!

Even rarer accounts have confirmed that zombies continue to feed long

after their digestive tracts have exploded from within.

 

 

J. Respiration

 

The lungs of the undead continue to function in that they draw air into

and expel it from the hody. This function accounts for a zombie's signature

moan. What the lungs and body chemistry fail to accomplish,

however, is to extract oxygen and remove carbon dioxide. Given that

Solanum obviates the need for both of these functions, the entire

human respiratory system is obsolete in the hody of a ghoul. This

explains how the living dead can "walk underwater" or survive in environments

lethal to humans. Their brains, as noted earlier, are oxygenindependent.

 

 

K. Circulation

 

It would be inaccurate to say that zomhies have no heart. It would not

he inaccurate, however, to say that they find no use for it. The circulatory

system of the undead is little more than a network of useless tubes

filled with congealed hlood. The same applies to the lymphatic system

as well as all other bodily fluids. Although this mutation would appear

to give the undead one more advantage over humanity, it has actually

proved to he a godsend. The lack of fluid mass prevents easy transmission

of the virus. Were this not true, hand-to-hand combat would

he nearly impossible, as the defending human would almost certainly

he splattered with hlood andlor other fluids.

 

 

L. Reproduction

 

Zombies are sterile creatures. Their sexual organs are necrotic and

impotent. Attempts have been made to fertilize zombie eggs with

human sperm and vice versa. None has been succcssful. The undead

have also shown no signs of sexual desire, either for their own

species or for the living. Until research can prove otherwise, humanity's

greatest fear-the dead reproducing the dead-is a comforting

impossibility.

 

M. Strength

 

Ghouls possess the same brute force as the living. What power can be

exerted depends greatly on the individual zombie. What muscle mass

a person has in life would be all he possesses in death. Unlike a living

body, adrenal glands have not been known to function in the dead,

denying zombies the temporary burst of power we humans enjoy. The

one solid advantage the living dead do possess is amazing stamina.

Imagine working out, or any other act of physical exertion. Chances

are that pain and exhaustion will dictate your limits. These factors do

not apply to the dead. They will continue an act, with the same

dynamic energy, until the muscles supporting it literally disintegrate.

i

f While this makes for progressively weaker ghouls, it allows for an allpowerful

first attack. Many barricades that would have exhausted three 1 or even four physically fit humans have fallen to a single determined

zombie.

 

N. Speed

 

The "walking" dead tend to move at a slouch or limp. Even without

injuries or advanced decomposition, their lack of coordination makes

for an unsteady suide. Speed is mainly determined by leg length. Taller

ghouls have longer strides than their shorter counterparts. Zombies

appear to be incapable of running. The fastest have been observed to

move at a rate of barely one step per 1.5 seconds. Again, as with

strength, the dead's advantage over the living is their tirelessness.

Humans who believe they have outrun their nndead pursuers might do

well to remember the story of the tortoise and the hare, adding, of

course, that in this instance the hare stands a good chance of being

eaten alive.

 

 

0. Agility

 

The average living human possesses a dexterity level 90 percent

greater than the strongest ghoul. Some of this comes from the general

stiffness of necrotic muscle tissue (hence their awkward stride). The

rest is due to their primitive brain functions. Zomhies have little handeye

coordination, one of their greatest weaknesses. No one has ever

observed a zombie jumping, either from one spot to another or simply

up and down. Balancing on a narrow surface is similarly beyond their

ahility. Swimming is also a skill reserved for the living. The theory has

been put forth that, if an undead corpse were to he bloated enough to

rise to the surface, it could present a floating hazard. This is rare, however,

as the slow rate of decomposition would not allow by-product gas

to accumulate. Zombies who walk or fall into bodies of water will

more likely find themselves wandering aimlessly across the bottom

until eventually dissolving. They can be successful climbers, but only

in certain circumstances. If zombies perceive prey above them, for

example, in the second story of a house, they will always attempt to

climb to it. Zombies will try to scale any surface no matter how

unfeasahle or even impossible. In all but the easiest situations, these

attempts have met with failure. Even in the case of ladders, when simple

hand-over-hand coordination is required, only one in four zombies

will succeed.

 

 

2. BEHAWOWLPA TTERNS

 

A. Intelligence

 

It has been proven, time and again, that our greatest advantage over the

undead is our ahility to think. The mental capacity of the average zombie

ranks somewhere beneath that of an insect. On no occasion have

they shown any ability to reason or employ logic. Attempting to

accomplish a task, failing, then by trial and error discovering a new

solution, is a skill shared by many members of the animal kingdom hut

lost on the walking dead. Zombies have repeatedly failed laboratory

intelligence tests set at the level of rodents. One field case showed a

human standing at one end of a collapsed bridge with several dozen

zombies on the orher side. One by one, the walking dead tumbled over

the edge in a futile attempt to reach him. At no time did any of them

realize what was happening and change their tactics in any way.

Contrruy to myth and speculation, zombies have never been observed

using tools of any kind. Even picking up a rock to use as a weapon is

beyond their grasp. This simple task would prove the basic thought

process involved in realizing that the rock is a more efficient weapon

than the naked hand. Ironically, the age of artificial intelligence has

enabled us to identify more easily with the mind of the zombie than

that of our more "primitive" ancestors. With care exceptions, even the

most advanced computers do not have the ability to think on their own.

They do what they are programmed to do, nothing more. Imagine a

computer programmed to execute one function. This function cannot

be paused, modified, or erased. No new data can be stored. No new

commands can he installed. This computer will perform that one function,

over and over, until its power source eventually shuts down. This

is the zombie brain. An instinct-driven, unitask machine that is impervious

to tampering and can only be destroyed.

 

B. Emotions

 

Feelings of any kind are not known to the walking dead. Every form

of psychological warfare, from attempts at enraging the undead to provoking

pity have all met with disaster. Joy, sadness, confidence, anxiety,

love, hatred, fear-all of these feelings and thousands more that

make up the human "heart" are as useless to the living dead as the

organ of the same name. Who knows if this is humanity's greatest

weakness or strength? The debate continues, and probably will forever.

 

 

C. Memories

 

A modem conceit is that a zombie retains the knowledge of its former

life. We hear stories of the dead returning to their places of residence

or work, operating familiar machinery, or even showing acts of mercy

to loved ones. In trnth, not a shred of proof exists to support this wishful

thinking. Zombies could not possibly retain memories of their for

mer lives in either the conscious or subconscious mind, because neither

exist! A ghoul will not be distracted by the family pet, living relatives,

familiar surroundings, etc. No matter who a person was in his

former life, that person is gone, replaced by a mindless automaton with

no instinct other than for feeding. This begs the question: Why do zombies

prefer urban areas to the countryside? First, the undead do not prefer

cities, but simply remain where they are reanimated. Second, the

main reason zomhies tend to stay in cities instead of fanning out into

the countryside is because an urban zone holds the highest concentration

of prey.

 

 

D. Physical Needs

 

Other than hunger (discussed later), the dead have shown none of the

physical wants or needs expressed in mortal life. Zombies have never

been observed to sleep or rest under any circumstances. They have not

reacted to extreme heat or cold. In harsh weather, they have never

sought shelter. Even something as simple as thirst is unknown to the

living dead. Defying all laws of science, Solanum has created what

could be described as a completely self-sufficient organism.

 

 

E. Communication

 

Zombies have no language skills. Although their vocal cords are capable

of speech, their brain is not. The only vocal ability appears to be a

deep-throated moan. This moan is released when zombies identify prey.

The sound will remain low and steady until physical contact is made. It

will then shift in tone and volume as the zombie commences its attack.

This eerie sound, so typically associated with the walking dead, serves

as a rallying cry for other zombies and, as has been recently discovered,

is a potent psychological weapon. (See "On the Defense," page 74.)

E Social Dynamics Theories have always proliferated that the

undead function as a collective

force, from an army controlled by Satan to an insect-like

pheromone-driven hive to the most recent notion that they achieve

group consensus by telepathy. The truth is that zombies have no social

organization to speak of. There is no hierarchy, no chain of command,

no drive toward any type of collectivization. A horde of the undead,

regardless of size, regardless of appearance, is simply a mass of individuals.

If several hundred ghouls converge on a victim's location, it

is because each one is drawn by its own instinct. Zombies appear to be

unaware of one another. Individuals have never been observed to react

to the sight of one another at any range. This goes back to the question

of sense: How does a zombie distinguish between one of its own and

a human or other prey at the same range? The answer has yet to he

found. Zombies do avoid one another in the same way they avoid inanimate

objects. When they hump into one another, they make no attempt

to connect or communicate. Zombies feasting on the same corpse will

tug repeatedly on the meat in question rather than shove a competitor

out of the way. The only suggestion of communal effort is seen in notorious

swarm attacks: the moan of a ghoul calling others within earshot.

Once they hear the wail, other walking dead will almost always converge

on its source. An early study theorized that this was a deliberate

act, that a scout used its moan to signal the others to attack. However,

we now how that it happens purely by accident. The ghoul that moans

at the detection of prey does so as an instinctive reaction, not as an alert.

 

 

G. Hunting

 

Zombies are migratory organisms, with no regard for temtory or concept

of home. They will travel miles and perhaps, given time, cross

continents in their search for food. Their hunting pattern is random.

Ghouls will feed at night and during the day. They will stumble

through an area rather than deliberately searching it. Certain zones or

structures will not he singled out as more likely to contain prey. For

example, some have been known to search farmhouses and other rural

structures while others in the same group have moved by without even

a glance. Urban zones take more time to explore, which is why the

undead remain longer in these areas, hut no building will take precedence

over another. Zombies appear to be totally unaware of their sur

roundings. They do not, for example, move their eyes in a way that

would take in the information of a new setting. Shuffling silently, with

a thousand-yard stare, they will wander aimlessly, regardless of location,

until prey is detected. As discussed earlier, the undead possess an

uncauny ability to home in on a victim's precise location. Once contact

is made, the previously silent, oblivious automaton transforms into

something more closely related to a guided missile. The head turns

immediately in the direction of its victim. The jaw drops, lips retract,

and, from the depths of its diaphragm, comes the moan. Once contact

is made, zombies cannot be distracted by any means. They will continue

to pursue their prey, stopping only if they lose contact, make a

successful kill, or are destroyed.

 

 

H. Motivation

 

Why do the undead prey upon the living? If it has been proven that

human flesh serves no nutritional purpose, why does their instinct

drive them to murder? The truth eludes us. Modem science, combined

with historical data, has shown that living humans are not the only

delights on the undead menu. Rescue teams entering an infested area

have consistently reported them stripped of all life. Any creatures, no

matter what their size or species, will he consumed by an attacking

zombie. Human flesh, however, will always he preferable to other life

forms. One experiment presented a captured specimen with two identical

cubes of meat: one human, one animal. The zombie repeatedly

chose the human. Reasons for this are still unknown. What can be confirmed,

beyond any shadow of doubt, is that instinct brought on by

Solanum drives the undead to kill and devour any living creature they

discover. There appear to be no exceptions.

 

 

I. Killing the Dead

While destroying a zombie may be simple, it is far from easy. As we

have seen, zombies require none of the physiological functions that

humans need to survive. Destruction or severe damage of the circulatory,

digestive, or respiratory system would do nothing to a member of

the walking dead, as these functions no

longer support the brain. Simply put, there

are thousands of ways to kill a humanand

only one to kill a zombie. The brain

must be obliterated, by any means possible.

 

 

J. Disposal

 

Studies have shown that Solanum can still

inhabit the body of a terminated zombie for

up to fortyeight hours. Exercise extreme

care when disposing of undead corpses.

The head in particular possesses the most

serious hazard, given its concentration of

the virus. Never handle an undead corpse

without protective clothing. Treat it as you

would any toxic, highly lethal material. Cremation is the safest, most

effective way of disposal. Despite rumors that a pile of burning corpses

will spread Solannm in a cloud of smoking plague, common sense

would dictate that any virus is unable to survive intense heat, to say

nothing of an open flame.

 

 

K. Domestication?

 

To reiterate, the zombie brain has proved, so far, to he tamper-proof.

Experiments ranging from chemicals to surgery to electromagnetic

waves have yielded negative results. Behavioral modification therapy

and other such attempts to train the living dead like some kind of pack

animal have similarly met with failure. Again, the machine cannot be

rewired. It will exist as is, or it will not exist at all.

 

 

THE VOODOO ZOMBIE

 

If zombies are the creation of a virus and not black magic, then how

does this explain the so-called "voodoo zombie," a person who has died,

been raised from his grave, and is doomed to spend eternity as a slave

of the living? Yes, it is trne that the word "zombie" originally comes

from the Kimbnndn word "nzfimbe," a term describing a dead person's

soul, and yes, zombies and zombification are integral parts of the Afro-

Caribbean religion known as voodoo. However, the origin of their name

is the only similarity between the voodoo zombie and the viral zombie.

Although it is said that voodoo houngans (priests) can turn humans into

zombies by magical means, the practice is rooted in bard, undeniable

science. "Zombie powder," the tool used by the houngan for zombification,

contains a very powerful neurotoxin (the exact ingredients are a

closely guarded secret). The toxin temporarily paralyzes the human

nervous system, creating a state of extreme hibernation. With the heart,

lungs, and all other bodily functions operating at minimal levels, it

would be understandable if an inexperienced coroner declared the paralyzed

subject to be dead. Many humans have been buried while in such

a state, only to awaken screaming in the pitch darkness of their coffin.

So what makes this living human being a zombie? The answer is simple:

brain damage. Many who are buried alive quickly use up the air

inside their coffins. Those that are recovered (if they are lucky) almost

always suffer brain damage from lack of oxygen. These poor souls

shamble about with little cognitive skills, or, indeed, free will, and are

often mistaken for the living dead. How can yon distinguish a voodoo

zombie from the genuine article? The telltale signs are obvious.

 

1. Voodoo zombies show emotion. People suffering from zombie

powder-induced brain damage are still capable of all normal human

feelings. They smile, cry, even growl with anger if hurt or otherwise

provoked (something real zombies would never do).

 

2. Voodoo zombies exhibit thought. As has been stated before, when

a real zombie encounters you it will immediately home in like a

smart bomb. A voodoo zombie will take a moment to try to figure

out who or what you are. Maybe it will come toward you, maybe it

will recoil, maybe it will continue its observation as its damaged

brain attempts to analyze the information given it. What a voodoo

zombie will not do is raise its arms, drop its jaw, unleash a hellish

moan, and stumble directly toward you.

 

3. Voodoo zombies feel pain. A voodoo zombie that trips and falls

will undoubtedly hold its bruised knee and whimper. Likewise, one

already suffering from some other wound will nurse it, or, at the

very least, be aware of the wound's existence. Voodoo zombies will

not ignore deep gashes in their bodies like a real zombie would.

 

4. Voodoo zombies recognize fire. This is not to say that they are afraid

of open flames. Some that have suffered severe brain damage may not

remember what lire is. They will stop to examine it, perhaps even reach

out to touch it, hut they will recoil once they realize it causes pain.

 

5. Voodoo zombies recognize their surroundings. Unlike real zombies,

who only recognize prey, voodoo zombies will react to sudden

changes in light, sound, taste, and smell. Voodoo zombies have been

observed watching television or brightly flashing lights, listening to

music, cringing at thunder, and even taking notice of one another.

This last fact has been critical in several cases of mis-identification.

Had the zombies in question not reacted to each other (they looked

at each other, made noises, even touched each other's faces), they

might have been accidentally exterminated.

 

6. Voodoo zombies do NOT have bypersense. A human who has suffered

the debilitating effects of zombie powder is still a sightdependent

human. He cannot operate perfectly in the dark, hear a

footstep at 500 ya~dso, r smell a living being on the wind. Voodoo

zombies can actually be surprised by someone walking up behind

them. This is not recommended, however, as a frightened zombie

might react in anger.

 

7. Voodoo zombies can communicate. While this is not always the

case, many of these individuals can respond to audiovisual signals.

Many understand words; some even comprehend simple sentences.

Many voodoo zombies possess the ability to speak, simply, of

course, and rarely for extended conversations.

 

8. Voodoo zombies can be controlled. While not always true, many

brain damaged humans have lost much of their self-realization,

making them very susceptible to suggestion. Simply shouting for a

subject to halt or even go away can he enough to get rid of a voodoo

zombie. This has created the dangerous situation of confused people

believing they could control or train true zombies. Several times

headstrong humans have insisted they could simply command their

living dead attackers to stop. As cold, rotting hands grabbed their

limbs and dirty, worn teeth bit into their flesh, these people discovered,

too late, what they were truly dealing with.

 

These guidelines should give you a good idea of how to tell a voodoo

zombie from a true zombie. One final note: Voodoo zombies are

almost always encountered in sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean,

Central and South America, and the southern United States.

Although it is not impossible to find someone who has been turned

into a zombie by a houngan elsewhere, the chances of such an

encounter are slim.

 

 

THE HOLLYWOOD ZOMBIE

Since the living dead first stepped onto the silver screen, their greatest

enemy has not been hunters, but critics. Scholars, scientists, even concerned

citizens have all argued that these movies depict the living dead

in a fantastic, unrealistic fashion. Visually stunning weapons, physically

impossible action sequences, larger-than-life human characters,

and, above all, magical, invincible, even comical ghouls have all added

their colors to the controversial rainbow that is "the Zombie Movie."

Further criticism argues that this "style over substance" approach to

somnambulist cinema teaches human viewers lessons that may get

them killed in a real encounter. These serious charges demand an

equally serious defense. While some zombie movies are based on

actual events*, their goal, indeed the goal of almost every movie in

every genre, has always been, first and foremost, to entertain. Unless

we are discussing pure documentaries (and even some of those are

"sweetened"), moviemakers must take some artistic license to make

their work more palatable to the audience. Even movies that are based

on actual events will sacrifice pure reality for good storytelling.

 

Certain characters will be an amalgam of real-life individuals. Others

may be purely fictional in order to explain certain facts, facilitate the

plotline, or simply add flavor to the scene. One might argue that the

role of the artist is to challenge, educate, and enlighten her audience.

That may be true, but try imparting knowledge to an audience who has

either left or fallen asleep within the first ten minutes of the picture.

Accept this basic rule of moviemaking and you will understand why

Hollywood zombie films stray, in some cases wildly, from the reality

on which they are based. In short, use these photo-plays as their makers

intended: as a source of temporary, lighthearted entertainment and

not a visual aid to your survival.

 

 

OUTBREAKS

 

Although each zombie attack is different, given the number, terrain,

reaction of the general populace, etc., its level of intensity can be measured

in four distinct classes.

*At the behest of the filmmakers andlor their estates, the titles of those movies based on me-life stories have been omitted.

 

CLASS 1

This is a low-level outbreak, usually in a Third World country or First

World rural area. The number of zombies in this class of outbreak

ranges between one and twenty. Total human casualties (including

those infected) range from one to fifty. The total duration, from the fist

case to the last (known), will range between twenty-four hours and

fourteen days. The infested area will be small, no larger than a twentymile

radius. In many cases, natural boundaries will determine its limits.

Response will he light, either exclusively civilian or with some

additional help from local law enforcement. Media coverage will be

light, if present at all. If the media is present, look for common stories

like homicides or "accidents." This is the most common type of outbreak

and also the easiest to go unnoticed.

 

CLASS 2

Urban or densely populated mral areas are included in this level of outbreak.

Total zombies will range between twenty and one hundred.

Total human casualties may reach as high as several hundred. The

duration of a Class 2 attack may last no longer than a Class 1 outbreak.

In some cases, the larger number of zombies will spark a more immediate

response. A rural, sparsely populated outbreak may extend to a

hundred-mile radius, while an urban outbreak may encompass only

several blocks. Suppression will almost certainly be organized. Bands

of civilians will be replaced by local, state, even federal law enforcement.

Look for an additional, if low-level, military response, the

National Guard in the United States or its equivalent abroad. Most

often, so as to ease panic, these units will take a more noncombatant

role, providing medical assistance, crowd control, and logistical support.

Class 2 outbreaks almost always attract the press. Unless the

attack occurs in a huly isolated area of the world, or one where the

media is strictly controlled, the story will he reported. This does not

mean, however, that it will be reported acc~lrately.

 

CLASS 3

A hue crisis. Class 3 outbreaks, more than any other, demonstrate the

clear threat posed by the living dead. Zombies will number in the thousands,

encompassing an area of several hundred miles. The duration of

the attack and a possible lengthy mop-up process could last as long as

several months. There will be no chance for a press blackout or coverup.

Even without media attention, the sheer magnitude of the attack will

leave too many eyewitnesses. This is a full-blown battle, with law

enforcement replaced by units of the regular military. A state of emergency

will be declared for the infested zone, as well as the neighboring

areas. Expect martial law, restricted travel, rationed supplies, federalized

services, and strictly monitored communication. All these measures,

however, will take time to implement. The initial phase will be

one of chaos as those in power come to grips with the crisis. Riots, looting,

and widespread panic will add to their difficulties, further delaying

an effective response. While this is happening, those living withm the

infested area will be at the mercy of the undead. Isolated, abandoned,

and surrounded by ghouls, they will have only themselves to depend on.

 

CLASS 4

(See "Living in an Undead World," pages 154-81.)

 

DETECTION

Every undead outbreak, regardless of its class, has a beginning. Now

that the enemy has been defined, the next step is early warning.

Knowing what a zombie is will not help if you are unable to recognize

an outbreak before it's too late. This does not entail building a "zombie

command post" in your basement, sticking pins in a map, and huddling

around the shortwave radio. All it requires is looking for signs

that would slip by the untrained mind. These signs include:

 

1. Homicides in which the victims were executed by head shots or

decapitation. It has happened many times: People recognize an outbreak

for what it is and try to take matters into their own hands.

Almost always, these people are declared murderers by the local

authorities and prosecuted as such.

 

2. Missing persons, particularly in wilderness or uninhabited areas.

Pay careful attention if one or more of the search members end up

missing. If the story is televised or photographed, watch to see what

level of armament the search parties carry. Any more than one rifle

per group could mean that this is more than just a simple rescue

operation.

 

3. Cases of "violent insanity" in which the subject attacked friends or

family without the use of weapons. Find out if the attacker bit or

tried to bite his victims. If so, are any of the victims still in the hospital?

Try to discover if any of these victims mysteriously died

within days of their bite.

 

4. Riots or other civil disturbances that began without provocation or

other logical cause. Common sense will dictate that violence on any

group level does not simply occur without a catalyst such as racial

tension, political actions, or legal decisions. Even so-called "mass

hysteria" can always be traced to a root source. If none can be

found, the answer may lie elsewhere.

 

5. Disease-based deaths in which either the cause is undetermined or

seems highly suspect. Deaths from infectious disease are rare in the

industrialized world, compared to a century ago. For this reason,

new outbreaks always make the news. Look for those cases in

which the exact nature of the disease is unexplained. Also, be on the

alert for suspicious explanations such as West Nile virus or "mad

cow" disease. Either could be examples of a cover-up.

 

6. Any of the above in which media coverage was forbidden. A total

press blackout is rare in the United States. The occurrence of one

should be regarded as an immediate red flag. Of course, there may

be many reasons other than an attack of the living dead. Then again,

any event causing a govemment as media-conscious as our own to

clamp down merits close attention. The truth, no matter what it is,

cannot be good.

 

Once an event has tripped your sensors, keep track of it. Note the

location, and its distance from you. Watch for similar incidents around

or near the original site. If, within a few days or weeks, these incidents

do occur, study them carefully. Note the response of law enforcement

and other govemment agencies. If they react more forcefully with each

occurrence, chances are that an outbreak is unfolding.

Hyperlinks are your friend. :(

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also: Can you imagine what a quote tree would look like with this baby?! :-"

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Dudes, you should start by defining what a zombie is, how they spread and what its weak points are.  I see head boinking and what to use/not to use but no details.

 

For example you may want to tell the dudes if melee's a bad idea because the zombie virus/bacteria and other general infections from decaying flesh would be nasty if it gets on you from fluid contact.

 

Sorry for the formatting but im not going to type out 30 pages by hand.

 

THE UNDEAD: MYTHS AND REALITIES

 

He comes from the grave, his body a home of worms andjilth. No life in

his eyes, no warmth of his shn, no beating of his breast. His soul, as

empty and dark as the night sky. He laughs at the blade, spits at the

arrow, for they will not harm hisflesh. For eternity, he will walk the

earth, smelling the sweet blood of the living, feasting upon the bones of

the damned. Beware, for he is the living dead.

 

ZOM-BZE: (Zom'be) n. also ZOM-BIES pl. I. An animated corpse that

feeds on living humanjlesh. 2. A voodoo spell that raises the dead. 3.

A Voodoo snake god. 4. One who moves or acts in a daze "like a zombie."

[a word of West African origin]

 

What is a zombie? How are they created? What are their strengths and

weaknesses? What are their needs, their desires? Why are they hostile

to humanity? Before discussing any survival techniques, you must first

learn what you are trying to survive.

We must begin by separating fact from fiction. The walking dead

are neither a work of "black magic" nor any other supernatural force.

Their origin stems from a virus known as Solanum, a Latin word used

by Jan Vanderhaven, who fust "discovered" the disease.

 

SOLANUM: THE VIRUS

 

Solannm works by traveling through the bloodstream, from the initial

point of entry to the brain. Through means not yet fully understood,

the virus uses the cells of the frontal lobe for replication, destroying

them in the process. During this period, all bodily functions cease. By

stopping the heart, the infected subject is rendered ''dead." The brain,

however, remains alive hut dormant, while the virus mutates its cells

into a completely new organ. The most critical trait of this new organ

is its independence from oxygen. By removing the need for this allimportant

resource, the nndead brain can utilize, but is in no way

dependent upon, the complex support mechanism of the human body.

Once mutation is complete, this new organ reanimates the body into a

form that bears little resemblance (physiologically speaking) to the

original corpse. Some bodily functions remain constant, others operate

in a modified capacity, and the remainder shut down completely.

This new organism is a zombie, a member of the living dead.

 

 

1. SOURCE

U~~fortunateleyx, tensive research has yet to find an isolated example

of Solanum in nature. Water, air, and soil in all ecosystems, from all

parts of the world, have turned up negative, as have their accompanying

flora and fauna. At the time of this writing, the search continues.

 

2. SYMPTOMS

The timetable below outlines the process of an infected human (give

or take several hours, depending on the individual).

 

Hour 1: Pain and discoloration (brown-puple) of the infected area Immediate

clotting of the wound @rovided the infection came h m a wound).

Hour 5: Fever (99-103 degrees F), chills, slight dementia, vomiting,

acute pain in the joints.

Hour 8: Numbing of extremities and infected area, increased fever

(103-106 degrees F), increased dementia, loss of muscular coordination.

Hour 11: Paralysis in the lower body, overall numbness, slowed heart

rate.

Hour 16: Coma.

Hour 20: Heart stoppage. Zero brain activity

Hour 23: Reanimation.

 

 

3. TRANSFERENCE

 

Solanum is 100 percent communicahle and 100 percent fatal.

Fortunately for the human race, the virus is neither waterborne nor airborne.

Humans have never been known to contract the virus from elements

in nature. Infection can occur only through direct fluidic

contact. A zombie bite, although by far the most recognizable means

of transference, is by no means the only one. Humans have been

infected by brushing their open wounds against those of a zombie or

by being splattered by its remains after an explosion. Ingestion of

infected flesh (provided the person has no open mouth sores), however,

results in pemanent death rather than infection. Infected flesh has

proven to be highly toxic.

 

No infomation-historical, experimental, or othenvise-has surfaced

regarding the results of sexual relations with an undead specimen,

but as previously noted, the nature of Solanum suggests a high

danger of infection. Warning against such an act would be useless, as

the only people deranged enough to try would he unconcerned for their

own safety. Many have argued that, given the congealed nature of

undead bodily fluids, the chances of infection from a non-bite contact

should be low. However, it must be remembered that even one organism

is enough to begin the cycle.

 

 

4. CROSS-SPECIES INFECTION

 

Solannm is fatal to all living creatures, regardless of size, species, or

ecosystem. Reanimation, however, takes place only in humans. Studies

have shown that Solanum infecting a non-human brain will die within

hours of the death of its host, making the carcass safe to handle.

Infected animals expire before the virus can replicate throughout their

bodies. Infection from insect bites such as from mosquitoes can also

he discounted. Experiments have proven that all parasitic insects can

sense and will reject an infected host 100 percent of the time.

 

 

5. TREATMENT

 

Once a human is infected, little can be done to save him or her. Because

Solanum is a virus and not a bacteria, antibiotics have no effect.

Immunization, the only way to combat a virus, is equally useless, as even

the most minute dosage will lead to a full-blown infection. Genetic

research is under way. Goals range from stronger human antibodies to

resistant cell structure to a counter-virus designed to identify and destroy

Solanum. This and other, more radical treatments are still in the earliest

stages, with no foreseeable success in the near future. Battlefield experiences

have led to the immediate severing of the infected limb (provided

this is the location of the bite), but such treatments are dubious at best,

with less than a 10 percent success rate.

 

Chances are, the infected human

was doomed from the moment the virus entered his or her system.

Should the infected human choose suicide, he should remember that the

brain must be eliminated first. Cases have been recorded in which

recently infected subjects, deceased by means other than the virus, will

nonetheless reanimate. Such cases usually occur when the subject

expires after the fifth hour of infection. Regardless, any person killed

after being bitten or otherwise infected by the undead should be immediately

disposed of. (See "Disposal," page 19.)

 

 

6. REANIMATING THE ALREADY DECEASED

 

It has been suggested that fresh human corpses could reanimate if

Solanum were introduced after their demise. This is a fallacy. Zombies

ignore necrotic flesh and therefore could not transfer the virus.

Experiments conducted during and after World War I1 (see "Recorded

Attacks," pages 216m have proven that injecting Solanum into a

cadaver would be futile because a stagnant bloodstream could not

transport the virus to the brain. Injection directly into a dead brain

would be equally useless, as the expired cells could not respond to the

virus. Solanum does not create life-it alters it.

 

 

ZOMBIE ATTRIBUTES

 

1. PHYSICAL ABILITIES

Too often, the undead have been said to possess superhuman powers:

unusual strength, lightning speed, telepathy, etc. Stories range from

zombies flying through the air to their scaling vertical surfaces like spiders.

While these traits might make for fascinating drama, the individual

ghoul is far from a magical, omnipotent demon. Never forget that

the body of the undead is, for all practical purposes, human. What

changes do occur are in the way this new, reanimated body is used by

the now-infected brain. There is no way a zombie could fly unless the

human it used to be could fly. The same goes for projecting force

fields, telepottation, moving through solid objects, transforming into a

wolf, breathing fire, or a variety of other mystical talents amibuted to

the walking dead. Imagine the human body as a tool kit. The somnambulist

brain has those tools, and only those tools, at its disposal. It

cannot create new ones out of thin air. But it can, as you will see, use

these tools in unconventional combinations, or push their durability

beyond normal human limits.

 

 

A. Sight

 

The eyes of a zombie are no different than those of a normal human.

While still capable (given their rate of decomposition) of transmitting

visual signals to the brain, how the brain interprets these signals is

another matter. Studies are inconclusive regarding the undead's visual

abilities. They can spot prey at distances comparable to a human, but

whether they can distinguish a human from one of their own is still up

for debate. One theory suggests that the movements made by humans,

which are quicker and smoother than those of the undead, is what

causes them to stand out to the zombie eye. Experiments have been

done in which humans have attempted to confuse approaching ghouls

by mimicking their motions and adopting a shambling, awkward limp.

To date, none of these attempts have succeeded. It has been suggested

that zombies possess night vision, a fact that explains their skill at nocturnal

hunting. This theory has been debunked by the fact that all zombies

are expert night feeders, even those without eyes.

 

B. Sound

 

There is no question that zombies have excellent hearing. Not only can

they detect sound-they can determine its direction. The basic range

appears to be the same as that for humans. Experiments with extreme

high and low frequencies have yielded negative results. Tests have also

shown that zombies are attracted by any sounds, not just those made

by living creatures. It has been recorded that ghouls will notice sounds

ignored by living humans. The most likely, if unproven, explanation is

that zombies depend on all their senses equally. Humans are sightoriented

from birth, depending on other senses only if the primary one

is lost. Perhaps this is not a handicap shared by the walking dead. If

so, it would explain their ability to hunt, fight, and feed in total darkness.

 

 

C. Smell

 

Unlike with sound, the undead have a more acute sense of smell. In

both combat situations and laboratory tests, they have been able to distinguish

the smell of living prey above all others. In many cases, and

given ideal wind conditions, zomhies have been known to smell fresh

corpses from a distance of more than a mile. Again, this does not mean

that ghouls have a greater sense of smell than humans, simply that they

rely on it more. It is not known exactly what particular secretion signals

the presence of prey: sweat, pheromones, blood, etc. In the past,

people seeking to move undetected through infested areas have

attempted to "mask" their human scent with perfumes, deodorants, or

other strong-smelling chemicals. None were successful. Experiments

are now under way to synthesize the smells of living creatures as a

decoy or even repellent to the walking dead. A successful product is

still years away.

 

 

D. Taste

 

Little is known about the altered taste buds of the walking dead.

Zombies do have the ability to tell human flesh apart from that of animals,

and they prefer the former. Ghouls also have a remarkable ability

to reject carrion in favor of freshly killed meat. A human body that

has been dead longer than twelve to eighteen hours will be rejected as

food. The same goes for cadavers that have been embalmed or otherwise

preserved. Whether this has anything to do with "taste" is not yet

certain. It may have to do with smell or, perhaps, another instinct that

has not been discovered. As to exactly why human flesh is preferable,

science has yet to find an answer to this confounding, frustrating, terrifying

question.

 

 

E. Touch

 

Zombies have, literally, no physical sensations. All nerve receptors

throughout the body remain dead after reanimation. This is truly their

greatest and most temfying advantage over the living. We, as humans,

have the ability to experience physical pain as a signal of bodily damage.

Our brain classifies such sensations, matches them to the experience

that instigated them, and then files the information away for use

as a warning against future ham. It is this gift of physiology and

instinct that has allowed us to survive as a species. It is why we value

virtues such as courage, which inspires people to perform actions

despite warnings of danger. The inability to recognize and avoid pain

is what makes the waking dead so formidable. Wounds will not be

noticed and, therefore, will not deter an attack. Even if a zombie's

body is severely damaged, it will continue to attack until nothing

remains.

 

 

E Sixth Sense

 

Historical research, coupled with laboratory and field observation,

have shown that the walking dead have been known to attack even

when all their sensory organs have been damaged or completely

decomposed. Does this mean that zombies possess a sixth sense?

Perhaps. Living humans use less than 5 percent of their brain capacity.

It is possible that the virus can stimulate another sensoly ability that

has been forgotten by evolution. This theory is one of the most hotly

debated in the war against the undead. So far, no scientific evidence

has been found to suppoa either side.

 

 

G. Healing

 

Despite legends and ancient folklore, undead physiology has been

proven to possess no powers of regeneration. Cells that are damaged

stay damaged. Any wounds, no matter what their size and nature, will

remain for the duration of that body's reanimation. A variety of medical

treatments have been attempted to stimulate the healing process in

captured ghouls. None were successful. This inability to self-repair,

something that we as living beings take for granted, is a severe disadvantage

to the undead. For example, every time we physically exert

ourselves, we tear our muscles. With time, these muscles rebuild to a

stronger state than before. A ghoul's muscle mass will remain damaged,

reducing its effectiveness every time it is used.

 

 

H. Decomposition

 

The average zombie "life span"-how long it is able to function before

completely rotting away-is estimated at three to five years. As fantastic

as this sounds-a human corpse able to ward off the natural

effects of decay-its cause is rooted in basic biology. When a human

body dies, its flesh is immediately set upon by billions of microscopic

organisms. These organisms were always present, in the external environment

arid within the body itself. In life, the immune system stood

as a harrier between these organisms and their target. In death, that barrier

is removed. The organisms begin multiplying exponentially as

they proceed to eat and, thereby, break down the corpse on a cellular

level. The smell and discoloration associated with any decaying meat

are the biological process of these microbes at work. When you order

an "aged" steak, you are ordering a piece of meat that has begun to rot,

its formerly toughened flesh softened by microorganisms breaking

down its sturdy fiber. Within a short time, that steak, like a human

corpse, will dissolve to nothing, leaving behind only material too hard

or innutritious for any microbe, such as hone, teeth, nails, and hair.

This is the normal cycle of life, nature's way of recycling nutrients

back into the food chain. To halt this process, and preserve dead tissue,

it is necessary to place it in an environment unsuitable for bacteria,

such as in extreme low or high temperatures, in toxic chemicals

such as formaldehyde, or, in this case, to saturate it with Solanum.

Almost all the microbe species involved in normal human decomposition

have repeatedly rejected flesh infected by the virus, effecThe

tively embalming the zombie. Were this not the case, combating the

living dead would be as easy as avoiding them for several weeks or

even days until they rotted away to hones. Research has yet to discover

the exact cause of this condition. It has been determined that at least

some microbe species ignore the repelling effects of Solanum-otherwise,

the undead would remain perfectly preserved forever. It has also

been determined that natural conditions such as moisture and temperature

play an important role as well. Undead that prowl the bayous of

Louisiana are unlikely to last as long as those in the cold, dry Gobi

desert. Extreme situations, such as deep freezing or immersion in -

preservative fluid, could, hypothetically, allow an undead specimen to

exist indef~telyT. hese techniques have been known to allow zombies

to function for decades, if not centuries. (See "Recorded Attacks,"

pages 193ff.) Decomposition does not mean that a member of the

walking dead will simply drop. Decay may affect various parts of the

body at different times. Specimens have been found with brains intact

but nearly disintegrated bodies. Others with partially rotted brains may

control some bodily functions but be completely paalyzed in others.

A popular theory has recently circulated that attempts to explain the

story of the ancient Egyptian mummy as one of the first examples of

an embalmed zombie. The preservation techniques allowed it to fuuction

several thousand years after being entombed. Anyone with a rudimentary

knowledge of ancient Egypt would find this story almost

laughably untrue: The most important and complicated step in preparing

a pharaoh for burial was the removal of the brain!

 

 

I. Digestion

 

Recent evidence has once and for all mscounted the theory that human

flesh is the fuel for the undead. A zombie's digestive tract is completely

dormant. The complex system that processes food, extracts nutrition,

and excretes waste does not factor into a zombie's physiology. Autopsies

conducted on neutralized undead have shown that their "food" lies in its

original, undigested state at all sections of the tract. This partially

chewed, slowly rotting matter will continue to accumulate, as the zom12

hie devours more victims, until it is forced through the anus, or literally

bursts through the stomach or intestinal lining. While this more dramatic

example of non-digestion is rare, hundreds of eyewitness reports have

confirmed undead to have distended bellies. One captured and dissected

specimen was found to contain 21 1 pounds of flesh within its system!

Even rarer accounts have confirmed that zombies continue to feed long

after their digestive tracts have exploded from within.

 

 

J. Respiration

 

The lungs of the undead continue to function in that they draw air into

and expel it from the hody. This function accounts for a zombie's signature

moan. What the lungs and body chemistry fail to accomplish,

however, is to extract oxygen and remove carbon dioxide. Given that

Solanum obviates the need for both of these functions, the entire

human respiratory system is obsolete in the hody of a ghoul. This

explains how the living dead can "walk underwater" or survive in environments

lethal to humans. Their brains, as noted earlier, are oxygenindependent.

 

 

K. Circulation

 

It would be inaccurate to say that zomhies have no heart. It would not

he inaccurate, however, to say that they find no use for it. The circulatory

system of the undead is little more than a network of useless tubes

filled with congealed hlood. The same applies to the lymphatic system

as well as all other bodily fluids. Although this mutation would appear

to give the undead one more advantage over humanity, it has actually

proved to he a godsend. The lack of fluid mass prevents easy transmission

of the virus. Were this not true, hand-to-hand combat would

he nearly impossible, as the defending human would almost certainly

he splattered with hlood andlor other fluids.

 

 

L. Reproduction

 

Zombies are sterile creatures. Their sexual organs are necrotic and

impotent. Attempts have been made to fertilize zombie eggs with

human sperm and vice versa. None has been succcssful. The undead

have also shown no signs of sexual desire, either for their own

species or for the living. Until research can prove otherwise, humanity's

greatest fear-the dead reproducing the dead-is a comforting

impossibility.

 

M. Strength

 

Ghouls possess the same brute force as the living. What power can be

exerted depends greatly on the individual zombie. What muscle mass

a person has in life would be all he possesses in death. Unlike a living

body, adrenal glands have not been known to function in the dead,

denying zombies the temporary burst of power we humans enjoy. The

one solid advantage the living dead do possess is amazing stamina.

Imagine working out, or any other act of physical exertion. Chances

are that pain and exhaustion will dictate your limits. These factors do

not apply to the dead. They will continue an act, with the same

dynamic energy, until the muscles supporting it literally disintegrate.

i

f While this makes for progressively weaker ghouls, it allows for an allpowerful

first attack. Many barricades that would have exhausted three 1 or even four physically fit humans have fallen to a single determined

zombie.

 

N. Speed

 

The "walking" dead tend to move at a slouch or limp. Even without

injuries or advanced decomposition, their lack of coordination makes

for an unsteady suide. Speed is mainly determined by leg length. Taller

ghouls have longer strides than their shorter counterparts. Zombies

appear to be incapable of running. The fastest have been observed to

move at a rate of barely one step per 1.5 seconds. Again, as with

strength, the dead's advantage over the living is their tirelessness.

Humans who believe they have outrun their nndead pursuers might do

well to remember the story of the tortoise and the hare, adding, of

course, that in this instance the hare stands a good chance of being

eaten alive.

 

 

0. Agility

 

The average living human possesses a dexterity level 90 percent

greater than the strongest ghoul. Some of this comes from the general

stiffness of necrotic muscle tissue (hence their awkward stride). The

rest is due to their primitive brain functions. Zomhies have little handeye

coordination, one of their greatest weaknesses. No one has ever

observed a zombie jumping, either from one spot to another or simply

up and down. Balancing on a narrow surface is similarly beyond their

ahility. Swimming is also a skill reserved for the living. The theory has

been put forth that, if an undead corpse were to he bloated enough to

rise to the surface, it could present a floating hazard. This is rare, however,

as the slow rate of decomposition would not allow by-product gas

to accumulate. Zombies who walk or fall into bodies of water will

more likely find themselves wandering aimlessly across the bottom

until eventually dissolving. They can be successful climbers, but only

in certain circumstances. If zombies perceive prey above them, for

example, in the second story of a house, they will always attempt to

climb to it. Zombies will try to scale any surface no matter how

unfeasahle or even impossible. In all but the easiest situations, these

attempts have met with failure. Even in the case of ladders, when simple

hand-over-hand coordination is required, only one in four zombies

will succeed.

 

 

2. BEHAWOWLPA TTERNS

 

A. Intelligence

 

It has been proven, time and again, that our greatest advantage over the

undead is our ahility to think. The mental capacity of the average zombie

ranks somewhere beneath that of an insect. On no occasion have

they shown any ability to reason or employ logic. Attempting to

accomplish a task, failing, then by trial and error discovering a new

solution, is a skill shared by many members of the animal kingdom hut

lost on the walking dead. Zombies have repeatedly failed laboratory

intelligence tests set at the level of rodents. One field case showed a

human standing at one end of a collapsed bridge with several dozen

zombies on the orher side. One by one, the walking dead tumbled over

the edge in a futile attempt to reach him. At no time did any of them

realize what was happening and change their tactics in any way.

Contrruy to myth and speculation, zombies have never been observed

using tools of any kind. Even picking up a rock to use as a weapon is

beyond their grasp. This simple task would prove the basic thought

process involved in realizing that the rock is a more efficient weapon

than the naked hand. Ironically, the age of artificial intelligence has

enabled us to identify more easily with the mind of the zombie than

that of our more "primitive" ancestors. With care exceptions, even the

most advanced computers do not have the ability to think on their own.

They do what they are programmed to do, nothing more. Imagine a

computer programmed to execute one function. This function cannot

be paused, modified, or erased. No new data can be stored. No new

commands can he installed. This computer will perform that one function,

over and over, until its power source eventually shuts down. This

is the zombie brain. An instinct-driven, unitask machine that is impervious

to tampering and can only be destroyed.

 

B. Emotions

 

Feelings of any kind are not known to the walking dead. Every form

of psychological warfare, from attempts at enraging the undead to provoking

pity have all met with disaster. Joy, sadness, confidence, anxiety,

love, hatred, fear-all of these feelings and thousands more that

make up the human "heart" are as useless to the living dead as the

organ of the same name. Who knows if this is humanity's greatest

weakness or strength? The debate continues, and probably will forever.

 

 

C. Memories

 

A modem conceit is that a zombie retains the knowledge of its former

life. We hear stories of the dead returning to their places of residence

or work, operating familiar machinery, or even showing acts of mercy

to loved ones. In trnth, not a shred of proof exists to support this wishful

thinking. Zombies could not possibly retain memories of their for

mer lives in either the conscious or subconscious mind, because neither

exist! A ghoul will not be distracted by the family pet, living relatives,

familiar surroundings, etc. No matter who a person was in his

former life, that person is gone, replaced by a mindless automaton with

no instinct other than for feeding. This begs the question: Why do zombies

prefer urban areas to the countryside? First, the undead do not prefer

cities, but simply remain where they are reanimated. Second, the

main reason zomhies tend to stay in cities instead of fanning out into

the countryside is because an urban zone holds the highest concentration

of prey.

 

 

D. Physical Needs

 

Other than hunger (discussed later), the dead have shown none of the

physical wants or needs expressed in mortal life. Zombies have never

been observed to sleep or rest under any circumstances. They have not

reacted to extreme heat or cold. In harsh weather, they have never

sought shelter. Even something as simple as thirst is unknown to the

living dead. Defying all laws of science, Solanum has created what

could be described as a completely self-sufficient organism.

 

 

E. Communication

 

Zombies have no language skills. Although their vocal cords are capable

of speech, their brain is not. The only vocal ability appears to be a

deep-throated moan. This moan is released when zombies identify prey.

The sound will remain low and steady until physical contact is made. It

will then shift in tone and volume as the zombie commences its attack.

This eerie sound, so typically associated with the walking dead, serves

as a rallying cry for other zombies and, as has been recently discovered,

is a potent psychological weapon. (See "On the Defense," page 74.)

E Social Dynamics Theories have always proliferated that the

undead function as a collective

force, from an army controlled by Satan to an insect-like

pheromone-driven hive to the most recent notion that they achieve

group consensus by telepathy. The truth is that zombies have no social

organization to speak of. There is no hierarchy, no chain of command,

no drive toward any type of collectivization. A horde of the undead,

regardless of size, regardless of appearance, is simply a mass of individuals.

If several hundred ghouls converge on a victim's location, it

is because each one is drawn by its own instinct. Zombies appear to be

unaware of one another. Individuals have never been observed to react

to the sight of one another at any range. This goes back to the question

of sense: How does a zombie distinguish between one of its own and

a human or other prey at the same range? The answer has yet to he

found. Zombies do avoid one another in the same way they avoid inanimate

objects. When they hump into one another, they make no attempt

to connect or communicate. Zombies feasting on the same corpse will

tug repeatedly on the meat in question rather than shove a competitor

out of the way. The only suggestion of communal effort is seen in notorious

swarm attacks: the moan of a ghoul calling others within earshot.

Once they hear the wail, other walking dead will almost always converge

on its source. An early study theorized that this was a deliberate

act, that a scout used its moan to signal the others to attack. However,

we now how that it happens purely by accident. The ghoul that moans

at the detection of prey does so as an instinctive reaction, not as an alert.

 

 

G. Hunting

 

Zombies are migratory organisms, with no regard for temtory or concept

of home. They will travel miles and perhaps, given time, cross

continents in their search for food. Their hunting pattern is random.

Ghouls will feed at night and during the day. They will stumble

through an area rather than deliberately searching it. Certain zones or

structures will not he singled out as more likely to contain prey. For

example, some have been known to search farmhouses and other rural

structures while others in the same group have moved by without even

a glance. Urban zones take more time to explore, which is why the

undead remain longer in these areas, hut no building will take precedence

over another. Zombies appear to be totally unaware of their sur

roundings. They do not, for example, move their eyes in a way that

would take in the information of a new setting. Shuffling silently, with

a thousand-yard stare, they will wander aimlessly, regardless of location,

until prey is detected. As discussed earlier, the undead possess an

uncauny ability to home in on a victim's precise location. Once contact

is made, the previously silent, oblivious automaton transforms into

something more closely related to a guided missile. The head turns

immediately in the direction of its victim. The jaw drops, lips retract,

and, from the depths of its diaphragm, comes the moan. Once contact

is made, zombies cannot be distracted by any means. They will continue

to pursue their prey, stopping only if they lose contact, make a

successful kill, or are destroyed.

 

 

H. Motivation

 

Why do the undead prey upon the living? If it has been proven that

human flesh serves no nutritional purpose, why does their instinct

drive them to murder? The truth eludes us. Modem science, combined

with historical data, has shown that living humans are not the only

delights on the undead menu. Rescue teams entering an infested area

have consistently reported them stripped of all life. Any creatures, no

matter what their size or species, will he consumed by an attacking

zombie. Human flesh, however, will always he preferable to other life

forms. One experiment presented a captured specimen with two identical

cubes of meat: one human, one animal. The zombie repeatedly

chose the human. Reasons for this are still unknown. What can be confirmed,

beyond any shadow of doubt, is that instinct brought on by

Solanum drives the undead to kill and devour any living creature they

discover. There appear to be no exceptions.

 

 

I. Killing the Dead

While destroying a zombie may be simple, it is far from easy. As we

have seen, zombies require none of the physiological functions that

humans need to survive. Destruction or severe damage of the circulatory,

digestive, or respiratory system would do nothing to a member of

the walking dead, as these functions no

longer support the brain. Simply put, there

are thousands of ways to kill a humanand

only one to kill a zombie. The brain

must be obliterated, by any means possible.

 

 

J. Disposal

 

Studies have shown that Solanum can still

inhabit the body of a terminated zombie for

up to fortyeight hours. Exercise extreme

care when disposing of undead corpses.

The head in particular possesses the most

serious hazard, given its concentration of

the virus. Never handle an undead corpse

without protective clothing. Treat it as you

would any toxic, highly lethal material. Cremation is the safest, most

effective way of disposal. Despite rumors that a pile of burning corpses

will spread Solannm in a cloud of smoking plague, common sense

would dictate that any virus is unable to survive intense heat, to say

nothing of an open flame.

 

 

K. Domestication?

 

To reiterate, the zombie brain has proved, so far, to he tamper-proof.

Experiments ranging from chemicals to surgery to electromagnetic

waves have yielded negative results. Behavioral modification therapy

and other such attempts to train the living dead like some kind of pack

animal have similarly met with failure. Again, the machine cannot be

rewired. It will exist as is, or it will not exist at all.

 

 

THE VOODOO ZOMBIE

 

If zombies are the creation of a virus and not black magic, then how

does this explain the so-called "voodoo zombie," a person who has died,

been raised from his grave, and is doomed to spend eternity as a slave

of the living? Yes, it is trne that the word "zombie" originally comes

from the Kimbnndn word "nzfimbe," a term describing a dead person's

soul, and yes, zombies and zombification are integral parts of the Afro-

Caribbean religion known as voodoo. However, the origin of their name

is the only similarity between the voodoo zombie and the viral zombie.

Although it is said that voodoo houngans (priests) can turn humans into

zombies by magical means, the practice is rooted in bard, undeniable

science. "Zombie powder," the tool used by the houngan for zombification,

contains a very powerful neurotoxin (the exact ingredients are a

closely guarded secret). The toxin temporarily paralyzes the human

nervous system, creating a state of extreme hibernation. With the heart,

lungs, and all other bodily functions operating at minimal levels, it

would be understandable if an inexperienced coroner declared the paralyzed

subject to be dead. Many humans have been buried while in such

a state, only to awaken screaming in the pitch darkness of their coffin.

So what makes this living human being a zombie? The answer is simple:

brain damage. Many who are buried alive quickly use up the air

inside their coffins. Those that are recovered (if they are lucky) almost

always suffer brain damage from lack of oxygen. These poor souls

shamble about with little cognitive skills, or, indeed, free will, and are

often mistaken for the living dead. How can yon distinguish a voodoo

zombie from the genuine article? The telltale signs are obvious.

 

1. Voodoo zombies show emotion. People suffering from zombie

powder-induced brain damage are still capable of all normal human

feelings. They smile, cry, even growl with anger if hurt or otherwise

provoked (something real zombies would never do).

 

2. Voodoo zombies exhibit thought. As has been stated before, when

a real zombie encounters you it will immediately home in like a

smart bomb. A voodoo zombie will take a moment to try to figure

out who or what you are. Maybe it will come toward you, maybe it

will recoil, maybe it will continue its observation as its damaged

brain attempts to analyze the information given it. What a voodoo

zombie will not do is raise its arms, drop its jaw, unleash a hellish

moan, and stumble directly toward you.

 

3. Voodoo zombies feel pain. A voodoo zombie that trips and falls

will undoubtedly hold its bruised knee and whimper. Likewise, one

already suffering from some other wound will nurse it, or, at the

very least, be aware of the wound's existence. Voodoo zombies will

not ignore deep gashes in their bodies like a real zombie would.

 

4. Voodoo zombies recognize fire. This is not to say that they are afraid

of open flames. Some that have suffered severe brain damage may not

remember what lire is. They will stop to examine it, perhaps even reach

out to touch it, hut they will recoil once they realize it causes pain.

 

5. Voodoo zombies recognize their surroundings. Unlike real zombies,

who only recognize prey, voodoo zombies will react to sudden

changes in light, sound, taste, and smell. Voodoo zombies have been

observed watching television or brightly flashing lights, listening to

music, cringing at thunder, and even taking notice of one another.

This last fact has been critical in several cases of mis-identification.

Had the zombies in question not reacted to each other (they looked

at each other, made noises, even touched each other's faces), they

might have been accidentally exterminated.

 

6. Voodoo zombies do NOT have bypersense. A human who has suffered

the debilitating effects of zombie powder is still a sightdependent

human. He cannot operate perfectly in the dark, hear a

footstep at 500 ya~dso, r smell a living being on the wind. Voodoo

zombies can actually be surprised by someone walking up behind

them. This is not recommended, however, as a frightened zombie

might react in anger.

 

7. Voodoo zombies can communicate. While this is not always the

case, many of these individuals can respond to audiovisual signals.

Many understand words; some even comprehend simple sentences.

Many voodoo zombies possess the ability to speak, simply, of

course, and rarely for extended conversations.

 

8. Voodoo zombies can be controlled. While not always true, many

brain damaged humans have lost much of their self-realization,

making them very susceptible to suggestion. Simply shouting for a

subject to halt or even go away can he enough to get rid of a voodoo

zombie. This has created the dangerous situation of confused people

believing they could control or train true zombies. Several times

headstrong humans have insisted they could simply command their

living dead attackers to stop. As cold, rotting hands grabbed their

limbs and dirty, worn teeth bit into their flesh, these people discovered,

too late, what they were truly dealing with.

 

These guidelines should give you a good idea of how to tell a voodoo

zombie from a true zombie. One final note: Voodoo zombies are

almost always encountered in sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean,

Central and South America, and the southern United States.

Although it is not impossible to find someone who has been turned

into a zombie by a houngan elsewhere, the chances of such an

encounter are slim.

 

 

THE HOLLYWOOD ZOMBIE

Since the living dead first stepped onto the silver screen, their greatest

enemy has not been hunters, but critics. Scholars, scientists, even concerned

citizens have all argued that these movies depict the living dead

in a fantastic, unrealistic fashion. Visually stunning weapons, physically

impossible action sequences, larger-than-life human characters,

and, above all, magical, invincible, even comical ghouls have all added

their colors to the controversial rainbow that is "the Zombie Movie."

Further criticism argues that this "style over substance" approach to

somnambulist cinema teaches human viewers lessons that may get

them killed in a real encounter. These serious charges demand an

equally serious defense. While some zombie movies are based on

actual events*, their goal, indeed the goal of almost every movie in

every genre, has always been, first and foremost, to entertain. Unless

we are discussing pure documentaries (and even some of those are

"sweetened"), moviemakers must take some artistic license to make

their work more palatable to the audience. Even movies that are based

on actual events will sacrifice pure reality for good storytelling.

 

Certain characters will be an amalgam of real-life individuals. Others

may be purely fictional in order to explain certain facts, facilitate the

plotline, or simply add flavor to the scene. One might argue that the

role of the artist is to challenge, educate, and enlighten her audience.

That may be true, but try imparting knowledge to an audience who has

either left or fallen asleep within the first ten minutes of the picture.

Accept this basic rule of moviemaking and you will understand why

Hollywood zombie films stray, in some cases wildly, from the reality

on which they are based. In short, use these photo-plays as their makers

intended: as a source of temporary, lighthearted entertainment and

not a visual aid to your survival.

 

 

OUTBREAKS

 

Although each zombie attack is different, given the number, terrain,

reaction of the general populace, etc., its level of intensity can be measured

in four distinct classes.

*At the behest of the filmmakers andlor their estates, the titles of those movies based on me-life stories have been omitted.

 

CLASS 1

This is a low-level outbreak, usually in a Third World country or First

World rural area. The number of zombies in this class of outbreak

ranges between one and twenty. Total human casualties (including

those infected) range from one to fifty. The total duration, from the fist

case to the last (known), will range between twenty-four hours and

fourteen days. The infested area will be small, no larger than a twentymile

radius. In many cases, natural boundaries will determine its limits.

Response will he light, either exclusively civilian or with some

additional help from local law enforcement. Media coverage will be

light, if present at all. If the media is present, look for common stories

like homicides or "accidents." This is the most common type of outbreak

and also the easiest to go unnoticed.

 

CLASS 2

Urban or densely populated mral areas are included in this level of outbreak.

Total zombies will range between twenty and one hundred.

Total human casualties may reach as high as several hundred. The

duration of a Class 2 attack may last no longer than a Class 1 outbreak.

In some cases, the larger number of zombies will spark a more immediate

response. A rural, sparsely populated outbreak may extend to a

hundred-mile radius, while an urban outbreak may encompass only

several blocks. Suppression will almost certainly be organized. Bands

of civilians will be replaced by local, state, even federal law enforcement.

Look for an additional, if low-level, military response, the

National Guard in the United States or its equivalent abroad. Most

often, so as to ease panic, these units will take a more noncombatant

role, providing medical assistance, crowd control, and logistical support.

Class 2 outbreaks almost always attract the press. Unless the

attack occurs in a huly isolated area of the world, or one where the

media is strictly controlled, the story will he reported. This does not

mean, however, that it will be reported acc~lrately.

 

CLASS 3

A hue crisis. Class 3 outbreaks, more than any other, demonstrate the

clear threat posed by the living dead. Zombies will number in the thousands,

encompassing an area of several hundred miles. The duration of

the attack and a possible lengthy mop-up process could last as long as

several months. There will be no chance for a press blackout or coverup.

Even without media attention, the sheer magnitude of the attack will

leave too many eyewitnesses. This is a full-blown battle, with law

enforcement replaced by units of the regular military. A state of emergency

will be declared for the infested zone, as well as the neighboring

areas. Expect martial law, restricted travel, rationed supplies, federalized

services, and strictly monitored communication. All these measures,

however, will take time to implement. The initial phase will be

one of chaos as those in power come to grips with the crisis. Riots, looting,

and widespread panic will add to their difficulties, further delaying

an effective response. While this is happening, those living withm the

infested area will be at the mercy of the undead. Isolated, abandoned,

and surrounded by ghouls, they will have only themselves to depend on.

 

CLASS 4

(See "Living in an Undead World," pages 154-81.)

 

DETECTION

Every undead outbreak, regardless of its class, has a beginning. Now

that the enemy has been defined, the next step is early warning.

Knowing what a zombie is will not help if you are unable to recognize

an outbreak before it's too late. This does not entail building a "zombie

command post" in your basement, sticking pins in a map, and huddling

around the shortwave radio. All it requires is looking for signs

that would slip by the untrained mind. These signs include:

 

1. Homicides in which the victims were executed by head shots or

decapitation. It has happened many times: People recognize an outbreak

for what it is and try to take matters into their own hands.

Almost always, these people are declared murderers by the local

authorities and prosecuted as such.

 

2. Missing persons, particularly in wilderness or uninhabited areas.

Pay careful attention if one or more of the search members end up

missing. If the story is televised or photographed, watch to see what

level of armament the search parties carry. Any more than one rifle

per group could mean that this is more than just a simple rescue

operation.

 

3. Cases of "violent insanity" in which the subject attacked friends or

family without the use of weapons. Find out if the attacker bit or

tried to bite his victims. If so, are any of the victims still in the hospital?

Try to discover if any of these victims mysteriously died

within days of their bite.

 

4. Riots or other civil disturbances that began without provocation or

other logical cause. Common sense will dictate that violence on any

group level does not simply occur without a catalyst such as racial

tension, political actions, or legal decisions. Even so-called "mass

hysteria" can always be traced to a root source. If none can be

found, the answer may lie elsewhere.

 

5. Disease-based deaths in which either the cause is undetermined or

seems highly suspect. Deaths from infectious disease are rare in the

industrialized world, compared to a century ago. For this reason,

new outbreaks always make the news. Look for those cases in

which the exact nature of the disease is unexplained. Also, be on the

alert for suspicious explanations such as West Nile virus or "mad

cow" disease. Either could be examples of a cover-up.

 

6. Any of the above in which media coverage was forbidden. A total

press blackout is rare in the United States. The occurrence of one

should be regarded as an immediate red flag. Of course, there may

be many reasons other than an attack of the living dead. Then again,

any event causing a govemment as media-conscious as our own to

clamp down merits close attention. The truth, no matter what it is,

cannot be good.

 

Once an event has tripped your sensors, keep track of it. Note the

location, and its distance from you. Watch for similar incidents around

or near the original site. If, within a few days or weeks, these incidents

do occur, study them carefully. Note the response of law enforcement

and other govemment agencies. If they react more forcefully with each

occurrence, chances are that an outbreak is unfolding.

Hyperlinks are your friend. :(

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also: Can you imagine what a quote tree would look like with this baby?! :-"

 

 

I'm having trouble seeing it, personally.

 

 

No, I think... I see it now.

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Dudes, you should start by defining what a zombie is, how they spread and what its weak points are.  I see head boinking and what to use/not to use but no details.

 

For example you may want to tell the dudes if melee's a bad idea because the zombie virus/bacteria and other general infections from decaying flesh would be nasty if it gets on you from fluid contact.

 

Sorry for the formatting but im not going to type out 30 pages by hand.

 

THE UNDEAD: MYTHS AND REALITIES

 

He comes from the grave, his body a home of worms andjilth. No life in

his eyes, no warmth of his shn, no beating of his breast. His soul, as

empty and dark as the night sky. He laughs at the blade, spits at the

arrow, for they will not harm hisflesh. For eternity, he will walk the

earth, smelling the sweet blood of the living, feasting upon the bones of

the damned. Beware, for he is the living dead.

 

ZOM-BZE: (Zom'be) n. also ZOM-BIES pl. I. An animated corpse that

feeds on living humanjlesh. 2. A voodoo spell that raises the dead. 3.

A Voodoo snake god. 4. One who moves or acts in a daze "like a zombie."

[a word of West African origin]

 

What is a zombie? How are they created? What are their strengths and

weaknesses? What are their needs, their desires? Why are they hostile

to humanity? Before discussing any survival techniques, you must first

learn what you are trying to survive.

We must begin by separating fact from fiction. The walking dead

are neither a work of "black magic" nor any other supernatural force.

Their origin stems from a virus known as Solanum, a Latin word used

by Jan Vanderhaven, who fust "discovered" the disease.

 

SOLANUM: THE VIRUS

 

Solannm works by traveling through the bloodstream, from the initial

point of entry to the brain. Through means not yet fully understood,

the virus uses the cells of the frontal lobe for replication, destroying

them in the process. During this period, all bodily functions cease. By

stopping the heart, the infected subject is rendered ''dead." The brain,

however, remains alive hut dormant, while the virus mutates its cells

into a completely new organ. The most critical trait of this new organ

is its independence from oxygen. By removing the need for this allimportant

resource, the nndead brain can utilize, but is in no way

dependent upon, the complex support mechanism of the human body.

Once mutation is complete, this new organ reanimates the body into a

form that bears little resemblance (physiologically speaking) to the

original corpse. Some bodily functions remain constant, others operate

in a modified capacity, and the remainder shut down completely.

This new organism is a zombie, a member of the living dead.

 

 

1. SOURCE

U~~fortunateleyx, tensive research has yet to find an isolated example

of Solanum in nature. Water, air, and soil in all ecosystems, from all

parts of the world, have turned up negative, as have their accompanying

flora and fauna. At the time of this writing, the search continues.

 

2. SYMPTOMS

The timetable below outlines the process of an infected human (give

or take several hours, depending on the individual).

 

Hour 1: Pain and discoloration (brown-puple) of the infected area Immediate

clotting of the wound @rovided the infection came h m a wound).

Hour 5: Fever (99-103 degrees F), chills, slight dementia, vomiting,

acute pain in the joints.

Hour 8: Numbing of extremities and infected area, increased fever

(103-106 degrees F), increased dementia, loss of muscular coordination.

Hour 11: Paralysis in the lower body, overall numbness, slowed heart

rate.

Hour 16: Coma.

Hour 20: Heart stoppage. Zero brain activity

Hour 23: Reanimation.

 

 

3. TRANSFERENCE

 

Solanum is 100 percent communicahle and 100 percent fatal.

Fortunately for the human race, the virus is neither waterborne nor airborne.

Humans have never been known to contract the virus from elements

in nature. Infection can occur only through direct fluidic

contact. A zombie bite, although by far the most recognizable means

of transference, is by no means the only one. Humans have been

infected by brushing their open wounds against those of a zombie or

by being splattered by its remains after an explosion. Ingestion of

infected flesh (provided the person has no open mouth sores), however,

results in pemanent death rather than infection. Infected flesh has

proven to be highly toxic.

 

No infomation-historical, experimental, or othenvise-has surfaced

regarding the results of sexual relations with an undead specimen,

but as previously noted, the nature of Solanum suggests a high

danger of infection. Warning against such an act would be useless, as

the only people deranged enough to try would he unconcerned for their

own safety. Many have argued that, given the congealed nature of

undead bodily fluids, the chances of infection from a non-bite contact

should be low. However, it must be remembered that even one organism

is enough to begin the cycle.

 

 

4. CROSS-SPECIES INFECTION

 

Solannm is fatal to all living creatures, regardless of size, species, or

ecosystem. Reanimation, however, takes place only in humans. Studies

have shown that Solanum infecting a non-human brain will die within

hours of the death of its host, making the carcass safe to handle.

Infected animals expire before the virus can replicate throughout their

bodies. Infection from insect bites such as from mosquitoes can also

he discounted. Experiments have proven that all parasitic insects can

sense and will reject an infected host 100 percent of the time.

 

 

5. TREATMENT

 

Once a human is infected, little can be done to save him or her. Because

Solanum is a virus and not a bacteria, antibiotics have no effect.

Immunization, the only way to combat a virus, is equally useless, as even

the most minute dosage will lead to a full-blown infection. Genetic

research is under way. Goals range from stronger human antibodies to

resistant cell structure to a counter-virus designed to identify and destroy

Solanum. This and other, more radical treatments are still in the earliest

stages, with no foreseeable success in the near future. Battlefield experiences

have led to the immediate severing of the infected limb (provided

this is the location of the bite), but such treatments are dubious at best,

with less than a 10 percent success rate.

 

Chances are, the infected human

was doomed from the moment the virus entered his or her system.

Should the infected human choose suicide, he should remember that the

brain must be eliminated first. Cases have been recorded in which

recently infected subjects, deceased by means other than the virus, will

nonetheless reanimate. Such cases usually occur when the subject

expires after the fifth hour of infection. Regardless, any person killed

after being bitten or otherwise infected by the undead should be immediately

disposed of. (See "Disposal," page 19.)

 

 

6. REANIMATING THE ALREADY DECEASED

 

It has been suggested that fresh human corpses could reanimate if

Solanum were introduced after their demise. This is a fallacy. Zombies

ignore necrotic flesh and therefore could not transfer the virus.

Experiments conducted during and after World War I1 (see "Recorded

Attacks," pages 216m have proven that injecting Solanum into a

cadaver would be futile because a stagnant bloodstream could not

transport the virus to the brain. Injection directly into a dead brain

would be equally useless, as the expired cells could not respond to the

virus. Solanum does not create life-it alters it.

 

 

ZOMBIE ATTRIBUTES

 

1. PHYSICAL ABILITIES

Too often, the undead have been said to possess superhuman powers:

unusual strength, lightning speed, telepathy, etc. Stories range from

zombies flying through the air to their scaling vertical surfaces like spiders.

While these traits might make for fascinating drama, the individual

ghoul is far from a magical, omnipotent demon. Never forget that

the body of the undead is, for all practical purposes, human. What

changes do occur are in the way this new, reanimated body is used by

the now-infected brain. There is no way a zombie could fly unless the

human it used to be could fly. The same goes for projecting force

fields, telepottation, moving through solid objects, transforming into a

wolf, breathing fire, or a variety of other mystical talents amibuted to

the walking dead. Imagine the human body as a tool kit. The somnambulist

brain has those tools, and only those tools, at its disposal. It

cannot create new ones out of thin air. But it can, as you will see, use

these tools in unconventional combinations, or push their durability

beyond normal human limits.

 

 

A. Sight

 

The eyes of a zombie are no different than those of a normal human.

While still capable (given their rate of decomposition) of transmitting

visual signals to the brain, how the brain interprets these signals is

another matter. Studies are inconclusive regarding the undead's visual

abilities. They can spot prey at distances comparable to a human, but

whether they can distinguish a human from one of their own is still up

for debate. One theory suggests that the movements made by humans,

which are quicker and smoother than those of the undead, is what

causes them to stand out to the zombie eye. Experiments have been

done in which humans have attempted to confuse approaching ghouls

by mimicking their motions and adopting a shambling, awkward limp.

To date, none of these attempts have succeeded. It has been suggested

that zombies possess night vision, a fact that explains their skill at nocturnal

hunting. This theory has been debunked by the fact that all zombies

are expert night feeders, even those without eyes.

 

B. Sound

 

There is no question that zombies have excellent hearing. Not only can

they detect sound-they can determine its direction. The basic range

appears to be the same as that for humans. Experiments with extreme

high and low frequencies have yielded negative results. Tests have also

shown that zombies are attracted by any sounds, not just those made

by living creatures. It has been recorded that ghouls will notice sounds

ignored by living humans. The most likely, if unproven, explanation is

that zombies depend on all their senses equally. Humans are sightoriented

from birth, depending on other senses only if the primary one

is lost. Perhaps this is not a handicap shared by the walking dead. If

so, it would explain their ability to hunt, fight, and feed in total darkness.

 

 

C. Smell

 

Unlike with sound, the undead have a more acute sense of smell. In

both combat situations and laboratory tests, they have been able to distinguish

the smell of living prey above all others. In many cases, and

given ideal wind conditions, zomhies have been known to smell fresh

corpses from a distance of more than a mile. Again, this does not mean

that ghouls have a greater sense of smell than humans, simply that they

rely on it more. It is not known exactly what particular secretion signals

the presence of prey: sweat, pheromones, blood, etc. In the past,

people seeking to move undetected through infested areas have

attempted to "mask" their human scent with perfumes, deodorants, or

other strong-smelling chemicals. None were successful. Experiments

are now under way to synthesize the smells of living creatures as a

decoy or even repellent to the walking dead. A successful product is

still years away.

 

 

D. Taste

 

Little is known about the altered taste buds of the walking dead.

Zombies do have the ability to tell human flesh apart from that of animals,

and they prefer the former. Ghouls also have a remarkable ability

to reject carrion in favor of freshly killed meat. A human body that

has been dead longer than twelve to eighteen hours will be rejected as

food. The same goes for cadavers that have been embalmed or otherwise

preserved. Whether this has anything to do with "taste" is not yet

certain. It may have to do with smell or, perhaps, another instinct that

has not been discovered. As to exactly why human flesh is preferable,

science has yet to find an answer to this confounding, frustrating, terrifying

question.

 

 

E. Touch

 

Zombies have, literally, no physical sensations. All nerve receptors

throughout the body remain dead after reanimation. This is truly their

greatest and most temfying advantage over the living. We, as humans,

have the ability to experience physical pain as a signal of bodily damage.

Our brain classifies such sensations, matches them to the experience

that instigated them, and then files the information away for use

as a warning against future ham. It is this gift of physiology and

instinct that has allowed us to survive as a species. It is why we value

virtues such as courage, which inspires people to perform actions

despite warnings of danger. The inability to recognize and avoid pain

is what makes the waking dead so formidable. Wounds will not be

noticed and, therefore, will not deter an attack. Even if a zombie's

body is severely damaged, it will continue to attack until nothing

remains.

 

 

E Sixth Sense

 

Historical research, coupled with laboratory and field observation,

have shown that the walking dead have been known to attack even

when all their sensory organs have been damaged or completely

decomposed. Does this mean that zombies possess a sixth sense?

Perhaps. Living humans use less than 5 percent of their brain capacity.

It is possible that the virus can stimulate another sensoly ability that

has been forgotten by evolution. This theory is one of the most hotly

debated in the war against the undead. So far, no scientific evidence

has been found to suppoa either side.

 

 

G. Healing

 

Despite legends and ancient folklore, undead physiology has been

proven to possess no powers of regeneration. Cells that are damaged

stay damaged. Any wounds, no matter what their size and nature, will

remain for the duration of that body's reanimation. A variety of medical

treatments have been attempted to stimulate the healing process in

captured ghouls. None were successful. This inability to self-repair,

something that we as living beings take for granted, is a severe disadvantage

to the undead. For example, every time we physically exert

ourselves, we tear our muscles. With time, these muscles rebuild to a

stronger state than before. A ghoul's muscle mass will remain damaged,

reducing its effectiveness every time it is used.

 

 

H. Decomposition

 

The average zombie "life span"-how long it is able to function before

completely rotting away-is estimated at three to five years. As fantastic

as this sounds-a human corpse able to ward off the natural

effects of decay-its cause is rooted in basic biology. When a human

body dies, its flesh is immediately set upon by billions of microscopic

organisms. These organisms were always present, in the external environment

arid within the body itself. In life, the immune system stood

as a harrier between these organisms and their target. In death, that barrier

is removed. The organisms begin multiplying exponentially as

they proceed to eat and, thereby, break down the corpse on a cellular

level. The smell and discoloration associated with any decaying meat

are the biological process of these microbes at work. When you order

an "aged" steak, you are ordering a piece of meat that has begun to rot,

its formerly toughened flesh softened by microorganisms breaking

down its sturdy fiber. Within a short time, that steak, like a human

corpse, will dissolve to nothing, leaving behind only material too hard

or innutritious for any microbe, such as hone, teeth, nails, and hair.

This is the normal cycle of life, nature's way of recycling nutrients

back into the food chain. To halt this process, and preserve dead tissue,

it is necessary to place it in an environment unsuitable for bacteria,

such as in extreme low or high temperatures, in toxic chemicals

such as formaldehyde, or, in this case, to saturate it with Solanum.

Almost all the microbe species involved in normal human decomposition

have repeatedly rejected flesh infected by the virus, effecThe

tively embalming the zombie. Were this not the case, combating the

living dead would be as easy as avoiding them for several weeks or

even days until they rotted away to hones. Research has yet to discover

the exact cause of this condition. It has been determined that at least

some microbe species ignore the repelling effects of Solanum-otherwise,

the undead would remain perfectly preserved forever. It has also

been determined that natural conditions such as moisture and temperature

play an important role as well. Undead that prowl the bayous of

Louisiana are unlikely to last as long as those in the cold, dry Gobi

desert. Extreme situations, such as deep freezing or immersion in -

preservative fluid, could, hypothetically, allow an undead specimen to

exist indef~telyT. hese techniques have been known to allow zombies

to function for decades, if not centuries. (See "Recorded Attacks,"

pages 193ff.) Decomposition does not mean that a member of the

walking dead will simply drop. Decay may affect various parts of the

body at different times. Specimens have been found with brains intact

but nearly disintegrated bodies. Others with partially rotted brains may

control some bodily functions but be completely paalyzed in others.

A popular theory has recently circulated that attempts to explain the

story of the ancient Egyptian mummy as one of the first examples of

an embalmed zombie. The preservation techniques allowed it to fuuction

several thousand years after being entombed. Anyone with a rudimentary

knowledge of ancient Egypt would find this story almost

laughably untrue: The most important and complicated step in preparing

a pharaoh for burial was the removal of the brain!

 

 

I. Digestion

 

Recent evidence has once and for all mscounted the theory that human

flesh is the fuel for the undead. A zombie's digestive tract is completely

dormant. The complex system that processes food, extracts nutrition,

and excretes waste does not factor into a zombie's physiology. Autopsies

conducted on neutralized undead have shown that their "food" lies in its

original, undigested state at all sections of the tract. This partially

chewed, slowly rotting matter will continue to accumulate, as the zom12

hie devours more victims, until it is forced through the anus, or literally

bursts through the stomach or intestinal lining. While this more dramatic

example of non-digestion is rare, hundreds of eyewitness reports have

confirmed undead to have distended bellies. One captured and dissected

specimen was found to contain 21 1 pounds of flesh within its system!

Even rarer accounts have confirmed that zombies continue to feed long

after their digestive tracts have exploded from within.

 

 

J. Respiration

 

The lungs of the undead continue to function in that they draw air into

and expel it from the hody. This function accounts for a zombie's signature

moan. What the lungs and body chemistry fail to accomplish,

however, is to extract oxygen and remove carbon dioxide. Given that

Solanum obviates the need for both of these functions, the entire

human respiratory system is obsolete in the hody of a ghoul. This

explains how the living dead can "walk underwater" or survive in environments

lethal to humans. Their brains, as noted earlier, are oxygenindependent.

 

 

K. Circulation

 

It would be inaccurate to say that zomhies have no heart. It would not

he inaccurate, however, to say that they find no use for it. The circulatory

system of the undead is little more than a network of useless tubes

filled with congealed hlood. The same applies to the lymphatic system

as well as all other bodily fluids. Although this mutation would appear

to give the undead one more advantage over humanity, it has actually

proved to he a godsend. The lack of fluid mass prevents easy transmission

of the virus. Were this not true, hand-to-hand combat would

he nearly impossible, as the defending human would almost certainly

he splattered with hlood andlor other fluids.

 

 

L. Reproduction

 

Zombies are sterile creatures. Their sexual organs are necrotic and

impotent. Attempts have been made to fertilize zombie eggs with

human sperm and vice versa. None has been succcssful. The undead

have also shown no signs of sexual desire, either for their own

species or for the living. Until research can prove otherwise, humanity's

greatest fear-the dead reproducing the dead-is a comforting

impossibility.

 

M. Strength

 

Ghouls possess the same brute force as the living. What power can be

exerted depends greatly on the individual zombie. What muscle mass

a person has in life would be all he possesses in death. Unlike a living

body, adrenal glands have not been known to function in the dead,

denying zombies the temporary burst of power we humans enjoy. The

one solid advantage the living dead do possess is amazing stamina.

Imagine working out, or any other act of physical exertion. Chances

are that pain and exhaustion will dictate your limits. These factors do

not apply to the dead. They will continue an act, with the same

dynamic energy, until the muscles supporting it literally disintegrate.

i

f While this makes for progressively weaker ghouls, it allows for an allpowerful

first attack. Many barricades that would have exhausted three 1 or even four physically fit humans have fallen to a single determined

zombie.

 

N. Speed

 

The "walking" dead tend to move at a slouch or limp. Even without

injuries or advanced decomposition, their lack of coordination makes

for an unsteady suide. Speed is mainly determined by leg length. Taller

ghouls have longer strides than their shorter counterparts. Zombies

appear to be incapable of running. The fastest have been observed to

move at a rate of barely one step per 1.5 seconds. Again, as with

strength, the dead's advantage over the living is their tirelessness.

Humans who believe they have outrun their nndead pursuers might do

well to remember the story of the tortoise and the hare, adding, of

course, that in this instance the hare stands a good chance of being

eaten alive.

 

 

0. Agility

 

The average living human possesses a dexterity level 90 percent

greater than the strongest ghoul. Some of this comes from the general

stiffness of necrotic muscle tissue (hence their awkward stride). The

rest is due to their primitive brain functions. Zomhies have little handeye

coordination, one of their greatest weaknesses. No one has ever

observed a zombie jumping, either from one spot to another or simply

up and down. Balancing on a narrow surface is similarly beyond their

ahility. Swimming is also a skill reserved for the living. The theory has

been put forth that, if an undead corpse were to he bloated enough to

rise to the surface, it could present a floating hazard. This is rare, however,

as the slow rate of decomposition would not allow by-product gas

to accumulate. Zombies who walk or fall into bodies of water will

more likely find themselves wandering aimlessly across the bottom

until eventually dissolving. They can be successful climbers, but only

in certain circumstances. If zombies perceive prey above them, for

example, in the second story of a house, they will always attempt to

climb to it. Zombies will try to scale any surface no matter how

unfeasahle or even impossible. In all but the easiest situations, these

attempts have met with failure. Even in the case of ladders, when simple

hand-over-hand coordination is required, only one in four zombies

will succeed.

 

 

2. BEHAWOWLPA TTERNS

 

A. Intelligence

 

It has been proven, time and again, that our greatest advantage over the

undead is our ahility to think. The mental capacity of the average zombie

ranks somewhere beneath that of an insect. On no occasion have

they shown any ability to reason or employ logic. Attempting to

accomplish a task, failing, then by trial and error discovering a new

solution, is a skill shared by many members of the animal kingdom hut

lost on the walking dead. Zombies have repeatedly failed laboratory

intelligence tests set at the level of rodents. One field case showed a

human standing at one end of a collapsed bridge with several dozen

zombies on the orher side. One by one, the walking dead tumbled over

the edge in a futile attempt to reach him. At no time did any of them

realize what was happening and change their tactics in any way.

Contrruy to myth and speculation, zombies have never been observed

using tools of any kind. Even picking up a rock to use as a weapon is

beyond their grasp. This simple task would prove the basic thought

process involved in realizing that the rock is a more efficient weapon

than the naked hand. Ironically, the age of artificial intelligence has

enabled us to identify more easily with the mind of the zombie than

that of our more "primitive" ancestors. With care exceptions, even the

most advanced computers do not have the ability to think on their own.

They do what they are programmed to do, nothing more. Imagine a

computer programmed to execute one function. This function cannot

be paused, modified, or erased. No new data can be stored. No new

commands can he installed. This computer will perform that one function,

over and over, until its power source eventually shuts down. This

is the zombie brain. An instinct-driven, unitask machine that is impervious

to tampering and can only be destroyed.

 

B. Emotions

 

Feelings of any kind are not known to the walking dead. Every form

of psychological warfare, from attempts at enraging the undead to provoking

pity have all met with disaster. Joy, sadness, confidence, anxiety,

love, hatred, fear-all of these feelings and thousands more that

make up the human "heart" are as useless to the living dead as the

organ of the same name. Who knows if this is humanity's greatest

weakness or strength? The debate continues, and probably will forever.

 

 

C. Memories

 

A modem conceit is that a zombie retains the knowledge of its former

life. We hear stories of the dead returning to their places of residence

or work, operating familiar machinery, or even showing acts of mercy

to loved ones. In trnth, not a shred of proof exists to support this wishful

thinking. Zombies could not possibly retain memories of their for

mer lives in either the conscious or subconscious mind, because neither

exist! A ghoul will not be distracted by the family pet, living relatives,

familiar surroundings, etc. No matter who a person was in his

former life, that person is gone, replaced by a mindless automaton with

no instinct other than for feeding. This begs the question: Why do zombies

prefer urban areas to the countryside? First, the undead do not prefer

cities, but simply remain where they are reanimated. Second, the

main reason zomhies tend to stay in cities instead of fanning out into

the countryside is because an urban zone holds the highest concentration

of prey.

 

 

D. Physical Needs

 

Other than hunger (discussed later), the dead have shown none of the

physical wants or needs expressed in mortal life. Zombies have never

been observed to sleep or rest under any circumstances. They have not

reacted to extreme heat or cold. In harsh weather, they have never

sought shelter. Even something as simple as thirst is unknown to the

living dead. Defying all laws of science, Solanum has created what

could be described as a completely self-sufficient organism.

 

 

E. Communication

 

Zombies have no language skills. Although their vocal cords are capable

of speech, their brain is not. The only vocal ability appears to be a

deep-throated moan. This moan is released when zombies identify prey.

The sound will remain low and steady until physical contact is made. It

will then shift in tone and volume as the zombie commences its attack.

This eerie sound, so typically associated with the walking dead, serves

as a rallying cry for other zombies and, as has been recently discovered,

is a potent psychological weapon. (See "On the Defense," page 74.)

E Social Dynamics Theories have always proliferated that the

undead function as a collective

force, from an army controlled by Satan to an insect-like

pheromone-driven hive to the most recent notion that they achieve

group consensus by telepathy. The truth is that zombies have no social

organization to speak of. There is no hierarchy, no chain of command,

no drive toward any type of collectivization. A horde of the undead,

regardless of size, regardless of appearance, is simply a mass of individuals.

If several hundred ghouls converge on a victim's location, it

is because each one is drawn by its own instinct. Zombies appear to be

unaware of one another. Individuals have never been observed to react

to the sight of one another at any range. This goes back to the question

of sense: How does a zombie distinguish between one of its own and

a human or other prey at the same range? The answer has yet to he

found. Zombies do avoid one another in the same way they avoid inanimate

objects. When they hump into one another, they make no attempt

to connect or communicate. Zombies feasting on the same corpse will

tug repeatedly on the meat in question rather than shove a competitor

out of the way. The only suggestion of communal effort is seen in notorious

swarm attacks: the moan of a ghoul calling others within earshot.

Once they hear the wail, other walking dead will almost always converge

on its source. An early study theorized that this was a deliberate

act, that a scout used its moan to signal the others to attack. However,

we now how that it happens purely by accident. The ghoul that moans

at the detection of prey does so as an instinctive reaction, not as an alert.

 

 

G. Hunting

 

Zombies are migratory organisms, with no regard for temtory or concept

of home. They will travel miles and perhaps, given time, cross

continents in their search for food. Their hunting pattern is random.

Ghouls will feed at night and during the day. They will stumble

through an area rather than deliberately searching it. Certain zones or

structures will not he singled out as more likely to contain prey. For

example, some have been known to search farmhouses and other rural

structures while others in the same group have moved by without even

a glance. Urban zones take more time to explore, which is why the

undead remain longer in these areas, hut no building will take precedence

over another. Zombies appear to be totally unaware of their sur

roundings. They do not, for example, move their eyes in a way that

would take in the information of a new setting. Shuffling silently, with

a thousand-yard stare, they will wander aimlessly, regardless of location,

until prey is detected. As discussed earlier, the undead possess an

uncauny ability to home in on a victim's precise location. Once contact

is made, the previously silent, oblivious automaton transforms into

something more closely related to a guided missile. The head turns

immediately in the direction of its victim. The jaw drops, lips retract,

and, from the depths of its diaphragm, comes the moan. Once contact

is made, zombies cannot be distracted by any means. They will continue

to pursue their prey, stopping only if they lose contact, make a

successful kill, or are destroyed.

 

 

H. Motivation

 

Why do the undead prey upon the living? If it has been proven that

human flesh serves no nutritional purpose, why does their instinct

drive them to murder? The truth eludes us. Modem science, combined

with historical data, has shown that living humans are not the only

delights on the undead menu. Rescue teams entering an infested area

have consistently reported them stripped of all life. Any creatures, no

matter what their size or species, will he consumed by an attacking

zombie. Human flesh, however, will always he preferable to other life

forms. One experiment presented a captured specimen with two identical

cubes of meat: one human, one animal. The zombie repeatedly

chose the human. Reasons for this are still unknown. What can be confirmed,

beyond any shadow of doubt, is that instinct brought on by

Solanum drives the undead to kill and devour any living creature they

discover. There appear to be no exceptions.

 

 

I. Killing the Dead

While destroying a zombie may be simple, it is far from easy. As we

have seen, zombies require none of the physiological functions that

humans need to survive. Destruction or severe damage of the circulatory,

digestive, or respiratory system would do nothing to a member of

the walking dead, as these functions no

longer support the brain. Simply put, there

are thousands of ways to kill a humanand

only one to kill a zombie. The brain

must be obliterated, by any means possible.

 

 

J. Disposal

 

Studies have shown that Solanum can still

inhabit the body of a terminated zombie for

up to fortyeight hours. Exercise extreme

care when disposing of undead corpses.

The head in particular possesses the most

serious hazard, given its concentration of

the virus. Never handle an undead corpse

without protective clothing. Treat it as you

would any toxic, highly lethal material. Cremation is the safest, most

effective way of disposal. Despite rumors that a pile of burning corpses

will spread Solannm in a cloud of smoking plague, common sense

would dictate that any virus is unable to survive intense heat, to say

nothing of an open flame.

 

 

K. Domestication?

 

To reiterate, the zombie brain has proved, so far, to he tamper-proof.

Experiments ranging from chemicals to surgery to electromagnetic

waves have yielded negative results. Behavioral modification therapy

and other such attempts to train the living dead like some kind of pack

animal have similarly met with failure. Again, the machine cannot be

rewired. It will exist as is, or it will not exist at all.

 

 

THE VOODOO ZOMBIE

 

If zombies are the creation of a virus and not black magic, then how

does this explain the so-called "voodoo zombie," a person who has died,

been raised from his grave, and is doomed to spend eternity as a slave

of the living? Yes, it is trne that the word "zombie" originally comes

from the Kimbnndn word "nzfimbe," a term describing a dead person's

soul, and yes, zombies and zombification are integral parts of the Afro-

Caribbean religion known as voodoo. However, the origin of their name

is the only similarity between the voodoo zombie and the viral zombie.

Although it is said that voodoo houngans (priests) can turn humans into

zombies by magical means, the practice is rooted in bard, undeniable

science. "Zombie powder," the tool used by the houngan for zombification,

contains a very powerful neurotoxin (the exact ingredients are a

closely guarded secret). The toxin temporarily paralyzes the human

nervous system, creating a state of extreme hibernation. With the heart,

lungs, and all other bodily functions operating at minimal levels, it

would be understandable if an inexperienced coroner declared the paralyzed

subject to be dead. Many humans have been buried while in such

a state, only to awaken screaming in the pitch darkness of their coffin.

So what makes this living human being a zombie? The answer is simple:

brain damage. Many who are buried alive quickly use up the air

inside their coffins. Those that are recovered (if they are lucky) almost

always suffer brain damage from lack of oxygen. These poor souls

shamble about with little cognitive skills, or, indeed, free will, and are

often mistaken for the living dead. How can yon distinguish a voodoo

zombie from the genuine article? The telltale signs are obvious.

 

1. Voodoo zombies show emotion. People suffering from zombie

powder-induced brain damage are still capable of all normal human

feelings. They smile, cry, even growl with anger if hurt or otherwise

provoked (something real zombies would never do).

 

2. Voodoo zombies exhibit thought. As has been stated before, when

a real zombie encounters you it will immediately home in like a

smart bomb. A voodoo zombie will take a moment to try to figure

out who or what you are. Maybe it will come toward you, maybe it

will recoil, maybe it will continue its observation as its damaged

brain attempts to analyze the information given it. What a voodoo

zombie will not do is raise its arms, drop its jaw, unleash a hellish

moan, and stumble directly toward you.

 

3. Voodoo zombies feel pain. A voodoo zombie that trips and falls

will undoubtedly hold its bruised knee and whimper. Likewise, one

already suffering from some other wound will nurse it, or, at the

very least, be aware of the wound's existence. Voodoo zombies will

not ignore deep gashes in their bodies like a real zombie would.

 

4. Voodoo zombies recognize fire. This is not to say that they are afraid

of open flames. Some that have suffered severe brain damage may not

remember what lire is. They will stop to examine it, perhaps even reach

out to touch it, hut they will recoil once they realize it causes pain.

 

5. Voodoo zombies recognize their surroundings. Unlike real zombies,

who only recognize prey, voodoo zombies will react to sudden

changes in light, sound, taste, and smell. Voodoo zombies have been

observed watching television or brightly flashing lights, listening to

music, cringing at thunder, and even taking notice of one another.

This last fact has been critical in several cases of mis-identification.

Had the zombies in question not reacted to each other (they looked

at each other, made noises, even touched each other's faces), they

might have been accidentally exterminated.

 

6. Voodoo zombies do NOT have bypersense. A human who has suffered

the debilitating effects of zombie powder is still a sightdependent

human. He cannot operate perfectly in the dark, hear a

footstep at 500 ya~dso, r smell a living being on the wind. Voodoo

zombies can actually be surprised by someone walking up behind

them. This is not recommended, however, as a frightened zombie

might react in anger.

 

7. Voodoo zombies can communicate. While this is not always the

case, many of these individuals can respond to audiovisual signals.

Many understand words; some even comprehend simple sentences.

Many voodoo zombies possess the ability to speak, simply, of

course, and rarely for extended conversations.

 

8. Voodoo zombies can be controlled. While not always true, many

brain damaged humans have lost much of their self-realization,

making them very susceptible to suggestion. Simply shouting for a

subject to halt or even go away can he enough to get rid of a voodoo

zombie. This has created the dangerous situation of confused people

believing they could control or train true zombies. Several times

headstrong humans have insisted they could simply command their

living dead attackers to stop. As cold, rotting hands grabbed their

limbs and dirty, worn teeth bit into their flesh, these people discovered,

too late, what they were truly dealing with.

 

These guidelines should give you a good idea of how to tell a voodoo

zombie from a true zombie. One final note: Voodoo zombies are

almost always encountered in sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean,

Central and South America, and the southern United States.

Although it is not impossible to find someone who has been turned

into a zombie by a houngan elsewhere, the chances of such an

encounter are slim.

 

 

THE HOLLYWOOD ZOMBIE

Since the living dead first stepped onto the silver screen, their greatest

enemy has not been hunters, but critics. Scholars, scientists, even concerned

citizens have all argued that these movies depict the living dead

in a fantastic, unrealistic fashion. Visually stunning weapons, physically

impossible action sequences, larger-than-life human characters,

and, above all, magical, invincible, even comical ghouls have all added

their colors to the controversial rainbow that is "the Zombie Movie."

Further criticism argues that this "style over substance" approach to

somnambulist cinema teaches human viewers lessons that may get

them killed in a real encounter. These serious charges demand an

equally serious defense. While some zombie movies are based on

actual events*, their goal, indeed the goal of almost every movie in

every genre, has always been, first and foremost, to entertain. Unless

we are discussing pure documentaries (and even some of those are

"sweetened"), moviemakers must take some artistic license to make

their work more palatable to the audience. Even movies that are based

on actual events will sacrifice pure reality for good storytelling.

 

Certain characters will be an amalgam of real-life individuals. Others

may be purely fictional in order to explain certain facts, facilitate the

plotline, or simply add flavor to the scene. One might argue that the

role of the artist is to challenge, educate, and enlighten her audience.

That may be true, but try imparting knowledge to an audience who has

either left or fallen asleep within the first ten minutes of the picture.

Accept this basic rule of moviemaking and you will understand why

Hollywood zombie films stray, in some cases wildly, from the reality

on which they are based. In short, use these photo-plays as their makers

intended: as a source of temporary, lighthearted entertainment and

not a visual aid to your survival.

 

 

OUTBREAKS

 

Although each zombie attack is different, given the number, terrain,

reaction of the general populace, etc., its level of intensity can be measured

in four distinct classes.

*At the behest of the filmmakers andlor their estates, the titles of those movies based on me-life stories have been omitted.

 

CLASS 1

This is a low-level outbreak, usually in a Third World country or First

World rural area. The number of zombies in this class of outbreak

ranges between one and twenty. Total human casualties (including

those infected) range from one to fifty. The total duration, from the fist

case to the last (known), will range between twenty-four hours and

fourteen days. The infested area will be small, no larger than a twentymile

radius. In many cases, natural boundaries will determine its limits.

Response will he light, either exclusively civilian or with some

additional help from local law enforcement. Media coverage will be

light, if present at all. If the media is present, look for common stories

like homicides or "accidents." This is the most common type of outbreak

and also the easiest to go unnoticed.

 

CLASS 2

Urban or densely populated mral areas are included in this level of outbreak.

Total zombies will range between twenty and one hundred.

Total human casualties may reach as high as several hundred. The

duration of a Class 2 attack may last no longer than a Class 1 outbreak.

In some cases, the larger number of zombies will spark a more immediate

response. A rural, sparsely populated outbreak may extend to a

hundred-mile radius, while an urban outbreak may encompass only

several blocks. Suppression will almost certainly be organized. Bands

of civilians will be replaced by local, state, even federal law enforcement.

Look for an additional, if low-level, military response, the

National Guard in the United States or its equivalent abroad. Most

often, so as to ease panic, these units will take a more noncombatant

role, providing medical assistance, crowd control, and logistical support.

Class 2 outbreaks almost always attract the press. Unless the

attack occurs in a huly isolated area of the world, or one where the

media is strictly controlled, the story will he reported. This does not

mean, however, that it will be reported acc~lrately.

 

CLASS 3

A hue crisis. Class 3 outbreaks, more than any other, demonstrate the

clear threat posed by the living dead. Zombies will number in the thousands,

encompassing an area of several hundred miles. The duration of

the attack and a possible lengthy mop-up process could last as long as

several months. There will be no chance for a press blackout or coverup.

Even without media attention, the sheer magnitude of the attack will

leave too many eyewitnesses. This is a full-blown battle, with law

enforcement replaced by units of the regular military. A state of emergency

will be declared for the infested zone, as well as the neighboring

areas. Expect martial law, restricted travel, rationed supplies, federalized

services, and strictly monitored communication. All these measures,

however, will take time to implement. The initial phase will be

one of chaos as those in power come to grips with the crisis. Riots, looting,

and widespread panic will add to their difficulties, further delaying

an effective response. While this is happening, those living withm the

infested area will be at the mercy of the undead. Isolated, abandoned,

and surrounded by ghouls, they will have only themselves to depend on.

 

CLASS 4

(See "Living in an Undead World," pages 154-81.)

 

DETECTION

Every undead outbreak, regardless of its class, has a beginning. Now

that the enemy has been defined, the next step is early warning.

Knowing what a zombie is will not help if you are unable to recognize

an outbreak before it's too late. This does not entail building a "zombie

command post" in your basement, sticking pins in a map, and huddling

around the shortwave radio. All it requires is looking for signs

that would slip by the untrained mind. These signs include:

 

1. Homicides in which the victims were executed by head shots or

decapitation. It has happened many times: People recognize an outbreak

for what it is and try to take matters into their own hands.

Almost always, these people are declared murderers by the local

authorities and prosecuted as such.

 

2. Missing persons, particularly in wilderness or uninhabited areas.

Pay careful attention if one or more of the search members end up

missing. If the story is televised or photographed, watch to see what

level of armament the search parties carry. Any more than one rifle

per group could mean that this is more than just a simple rescue

operation.

 

3. Cases of "violent insanity" in which the subject attacked friends or

family without the use of weapons. Find out if the attacker bit or

tried to bite his victims. If so, are any of the victims still in the hospital?

Try to discover if any of these victims mysteriously died

within days of their bite.

 

4. Riots or other civil disturbances that began without provocation or

other logical cause. Common sense will dictate that violence on any

group level does not simply occur without a catalyst such as racial

tension, political actions, or legal decisions. Even so-called "mass

hysteria" can always be traced to a root source. If none can be

found, the answer may lie elsewhere.

 

5. Disease-based deaths in which either the cause is undetermined or

seems highly suspect. Deaths from infectious disease are rare in the

industrialized world, compared to a century ago. For this reason,

new outbreaks always make the news. Look for those cases in

which the exact nature of the disease is unexplained. Also, be on the

alert for suspicious explanations such as West Nile virus or "mad

cow" disease. Either could be examples of a cover-up.

 

6. Any of the above in which media coverage was forbidden. A total

press blackout is rare in the United States. The occurrence of one

should be regarded as an immediate red flag. Of course, there may

be many reasons other than an attack of the living dead. Then again,

any event causing a govemment as media-conscious as our own to

clamp down merits close attention. The truth, no matter what it is,

cannot be good.

 

Once an event has tripped your sensors, keep track of it. Note the

location, and its distance from you. Watch for similar incidents around

or near the original site. If, within a few days or weeks, these incidents

do occur, study them carefully. Note the response of law enforcement

and other govemment agencies. If they react more forcefully with each

occurrence, chances are that an outbreak is unfolding.

Hyperlinks are your friend. :(

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also: Can you imagine what a quote tree would look like with this baby?! :-"

 

 

I'm having trouble seeing it, personally.

 

 

No, I think... I see it now.

Are you sure?

 

One must be absolutely certain in these matters, for they are not to be trifled with.

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Dudes, you should start by defining what a zombie is, how they spread and what its weak points are.  I see head boinking and what to use/not to use but no details.

 

For example you may want to tell the dudes if melee's a bad idea because the zombie virus/bacteria and other general infections from decaying flesh would be nasty if it gets on you from fluid contact.

 

Sorry for the formatting but im not going to type out 30 pages by hand.

 

THE UNDEAD: MYTHS AND REALITIES

 

He comes from the grave, his body a home of worms andjilth. No life in

his eyes, no warmth of his shn, no beating of his breast. His soul, as

empty and dark as the night sky. He laughs at the blade, spits at the

arrow, for they will not harm hisflesh. For eternity, he will walk the

earth, smelling the sweet blood of the living, feasting upon the bones of

the damned. Beware, for he is the living dead.

 

ZOM-BZE: (Zom'be) n. also ZOM-BIES pl. I. An animated corpse that

feeds on living humanjlesh. 2. A voodoo spell that raises the dead. 3.

A Voodoo snake god. 4. One who moves or acts in a daze "like a zombie."

[a word of West African origin]

 

What is a zombie? How are they created? What are their strengths and

weaknesses? What are their needs, their desires? Why are they hostile

to humanity? Before discussing any survival techniques, you must first

learn what you are trying to survive.

We must begin by separating fact from fiction. The walking dead

are neither a work of "black magic" nor any other supernatural force.

Their origin stems from a virus known as Solanum, a Latin word used

by Jan Vanderhaven, who fust "discovered" the disease.

 

SOLANUM: THE VIRUS

 

Solannm works by traveling through the bloodstream, from the initial

point of entry to the brain. Through means not yet fully understood,

the virus uses the cells of the frontal lobe for replication, destroying

them in the process. During this period, all bodily functions cease. By

stopping the heart, the infected subject is rendered ''dead." The brain,

however, remains alive hut dormant, while the virus mutates its cells

into a completely new organ. The most critical trait of this new organ

is its independence from oxygen. By removing the need for this allimportant

resource, the nndead brain can utilize, but is in no way

dependent upon, the complex support mechanism of the human body.

Once mutation is complete, this new organ reanimates the body into a

form that bears little resemblance (physiologically speaking) to the

original corpse. Some bodily functions remain constant, others operate

in a modified capacity, and the remainder shut down completely.

This new organism is a zombie, a member of the living dead.

 

 

1. SOURCE

U~~fortunateleyx, tensive research has yet to find an isolated example

of Solanum in nature. Water, air, and soil in all ecosystems, from all

parts of the world, have turned up negative, as have their accompanying

flora and fauna. At the time of this writing, the search continues.

 

2. SYMPTOMS

The timetable below outlines the process of an infected human (give

or take several hours, depending on the individual).

 

Hour 1: Pain and discoloration (brown-puple) of the infected area Immediate

clotting of the wound @rovided the infection came h m a wound).

Hour 5: Fever (99-103 degrees F), chills, slight dementia, vomiting,

acute pain in the joints.

Hour 8: Numbing of extremities and infected area, increased fever

(103-106 degrees F), increased dementia, loss of muscular coordination.

Hour 11: Paralysis in the lower body, overall numbness, slowed heart

rate.

Hour 16: Coma.

Hour 20: Heart stoppage. Zero brain activity

Hour 23: Reanimation.

 

 

3. TRANSFERENCE

 

Solanum is 100 percent communicahle and 100 percent fatal.

Fortunately for the human race, the virus is neither waterborne nor airborne.

Humans have never been known to contract the virus from elements

in nature. Infection can occur only through direct fluidic

contact. A zombie bite, although by far the most recognizable means

of transference, is by no means the only one. Humans have been

infected by brushing their open wounds against those of a zombie or

by being splattered by its remains after an explosion. Ingestion of

infected flesh (provided the person has no open mouth sores), however,

results in pemanent death rather than infection. Infected flesh has

proven to be highly toxic.

 

No infomation-historical, experimental, or othenvise-has surfaced

regarding the results of sexual relations with an undead specimen,

but as previously noted, the nature of Solanum suggests a high

danger of infection. Warning against such an act would be useless, as

the only people deranged enough to try would he unconcerned for their

own safety. Many have argued that, given the congealed nature of

undead bodily fluids, the chances of infection from a non-bite contact

should be low. However, it must be remembered that even one organism

is enough to begin the cycle.

 

 

4. CROSS-SPECIES INFECTION

 

Solannm is fatal to all living creatures, regardless of size, species, or

ecosystem. Reanimation, however, takes place only in humans. Studies

have shown that Solanum infecting a non-human brain will die within

hours of the death of its host, making the carcass safe to handle.

Infected animals expire before the virus can replicate throughout their

bodies. Infection from insect bites such as from mosquitoes can also

he discounted. Experiments have proven that all parasitic insects can

sense and will reject an infected host 100 percent of the time.

 

 

5. TREATMENT

 

Once a human is infected, little can be done to save him or her. Because

Solanum is a virus and not a bacteria, antibiotics have no effect.

Immunization, the only way to combat a virus, is equally useless, as even

the most minute dosage will lead to a full-blown infection. Genetic

research is under way. Goals range from stronger human antibodies to

resistant cell structure to a counter-virus designed to identify and destroy

Solanum. This and other, more radical treatments are still in the earliest

stages, with no foreseeable success in the near future. Battlefield experiences

have led to the immediate severing of the infected limb (provided

this is the location of the bite), but such treatments are dubious at best,

with less than a 10 percent success rate.

 

Chances are, the infected human

was doomed from the moment the virus entered his or her system.

Should the infected human choose suicide, he should remember that the

brain must be eliminated first. Cases have been recorded in which

recently infected subjects, deceased by means other than the virus, will

nonetheless reanimate. Such cases usually occur when the subject

expires after the fifth hour of infection. Regardless, any person killed

after being bitten or otherwise infected by the undead should be immediately

disposed of. (See "Disposal," page 19.)

 

 

6. REANIMATING THE ALREADY DECEASED

 

It has been suggested that fresh human corpses could reanimate if

Solanum were introduced after their demise. This is a fallacy. Zombies

ignore necrotic flesh and therefore could not transfer the virus.

Experiments conducted during and after World War I1 (see "Recorded

Attacks," pages 216m have proven that injecting Solanum into a

cadaver would be futile because a stagnant bloodstream could not

transport the virus to the brain. Injection directly into a dead brain

would be equally useless, as the expired cells could not respond to the

virus. Solanum does not create life-it alters it.

 

 

ZOMBIE ATTRIBUTES

 

1. PHYSICAL ABILITIES

Too often, the undead have been said to possess superhuman powers:

unusual strength, lightning speed, telepathy, etc. Stories range from

zombies flying through the air to their scaling vertical surfaces like spiders.

While these traits might make for fascinating drama, the individual

ghoul is far from a magical, omnipotent demon. Never forget that

the body of the undead is, for all practical purposes, human. What

changes do occur are in the way this new, reanimated body is used by

the now-infected brain. There is no way a zombie could fly unless the

human it used to be could fly. The same goes for projecting force

fields, telepottation, moving through solid objects, transforming into a

wolf, breathing fire, or a variety of other mystical talents amibuted to

the walking dead. Imagine the human body as a tool kit. The somnambulist

brain has those tools, and only those tools, at its disposal. It

cannot create new ones out of thin air. But it can, as you will see, use

these tools in unconventional combinations, or push their durability

beyond normal human limits.

 

 

A. Sight

 

The eyes of a zombie are no different than those of a normal human.

While still capable (given their rate of decomposition) of transmitting

visual signals to the brain, how the brain interprets these signals is

another matter. Studies are inconclusive regarding the undead's visual

abilities. They can spot prey at distances comparable to a human, but

whether they can distinguish a human from one of their own is still up

for debate. One theory suggests that the movements made by humans,

which are quicker and smoother than those of the undead, is what

causes them to stand out to the zombie eye. Experiments have been

done in which humans have attempted to confuse approaching ghouls

by mimicking their motions and adopting a shambling, awkward limp.

To date, none of these attempts have succeeded. It has been suggested

that zombies possess night vision, a fact that explains their skill at nocturnal

hunting. This theory has been debunked by the fact that all zombies

are expert night feeders, even those without eyes.

 

B. Sound

 

There is no question that zombies have excellent hearing. Not only can

they detect sound-they can determine its direction. The basic range

appears to be the same as that for humans. Experiments with extreme

high and low frequencies have yielded negative results. Tests have also

shown that zombies are attracted by any sounds, not just those made

by living creatures. It has been recorded that ghouls will notice sounds

ignored by living humans. The most likely, if unproven, explanation is

that zombies depend on all their senses equally. Humans are sightoriented

from birth, depending on other senses only if the primary one

is lost. Perhaps this is not a handicap shared by the walking dead. If

so, it would explain their ability to hunt, fight, and feed in total darkness.

 

 

C. Smell

 

Unlike with sound, the undead have a more acute sense of smell. In

both combat situations and laboratory tests, they have been able to distinguish

the smell of living prey above all others. In many cases, and

given ideal wind conditions, zomhies have been known to smell fresh

corpses from a distance of more than a mile. Again, this does not mean

that ghouls have a greater sense of smell than humans, simply that they

rely on it more. It is not known exactly what particular secretion signals

the presence of prey: sweat, pheromones, blood, etc. In the past,

people seeking to move undetected through infested areas have

attempted to "mask" their human scent with perfumes, deodorants, or

other strong-smelling chemicals. None were successful. Experiments

are now under way to synthesize the smells of living creatures as a

decoy or even repellent to the walking dead. A successful product is

still years away.

 

 

D. Taste

 

Little is known about the altered taste buds of the walking dead.

Zombies do have the ability to tell human flesh apart from that of animals,

and they prefer the former. Ghouls also have a remarkable ability

to reject carrion in favor of freshly killed meat. A human body that

has been dead longer than twelve to eighteen hours will be rejected as

food. The same goes for cadavers that have been embalmed or otherwise

preserved. Whether this has anything to do with "taste" is not yet

certain. It may have to do with smell or, perhaps, another instinct that

has not been discovered. As to exactly why human flesh is preferable,

science has yet to find an answer to this confounding, frustrating, terrifying

question.

 

 

E. Touch

 

Zombies have, literally, no physical sensations. All nerve receptors

throughout the body remain dead after reanimation. This is truly their

greatest and most temfying advantage over the living. We, as humans,

have the ability to experience physical pain as a signal of bodily damage.

Our brain classifies such sensations, matches them to the experience

that instigated them, and then files the information away for use

as a warning against future ham. It is this gift of physiology and

instinct that has allowed us to survive as a species. It is why we value

virtues such as courage, which inspires people to perform actions

despite warnings of danger. The inability to recognize and avoid pain

is what makes the waking dead so formidable. Wounds will not be

noticed and, therefore, will not deter an attack. Even if a zombie's

body is severely damaged, it will continue to attack until nothing

remains.

 

 

E Sixth Sense

 

Historical research, coupled with laboratory and field observation,

have shown that the walking dead have been known to attack even

when all their sensory organs have been damaged or completely

decomposed. Does this mean that zombies possess a sixth sense?

Perhaps. Living humans use less than 5 percent of their brain capacity.

It is possible that the virus can stimulate another sensoly ability that

has been forgotten by evolution. This theory is one of the most hotly

debated in the war against the undead. So far, no scientific evidence

has been found to suppoa either side.

 

 

G. Healing

 

Despite legends and ancient folklore, undead physiology has been

proven to possess no powers of regeneration. Cells that are damaged

stay damaged. Any wounds, no matter what their size and nature, will

remain for the duration of that body's reanimation. A variety of medical

treatments have been attempted to stimulate the healing process in

captured ghouls. None were successful. This inability to self-repair,

something that we as living beings take for granted, is a severe disadvantage

to the undead. For example, every time we physically exert

ourselves, we tear our muscles. With time, these muscles rebuild to a

stronger state than before. A ghoul's muscle mass will remain damaged,

reducing its effectiveness every time it is used.

 

 

H. Decomposition

 

The average zombie "life span"-how long it is able to function before

completely rotting away-is estimated at three to five years. As fantastic

as this sounds-a human corpse able to ward off the natural

effects of decay-its cause is rooted in basic biology. When a human

body dies, its flesh is immediately set upon by billions of microscopic

organisms. These organisms were always present, in the external environment

arid within the body itself. In life, the immune system stood

as a harrier between these organisms and their target. In death, that barrier

is removed. The organisms begin multiplying exponentially as

they proceed to eat and, thereby, break down the corpse on a cellular

level. The smell and discoloration associated with any decaying meat

are the biological process of these microbes at work. When you order

an "aged" steak, you are ordering a piece of meat that has begun to rot,

its formerly toughened flesh softened by microorganisms breaking

down its sturdy fiber. Within a short time, that steak, like a human

corpse, will dissolve to nothing, leaving behind only material too hard

or innutritious for any microbe, such as hone, teeth, nails, and hair.

This is the normal cycle of life, nature's way of recycling nutrients

back into the food chain. To halt this process, and preserve dead tissue,

it is necessary to place it in an environment unsuitable for bacteria,

such as in extreme low or high temperatures, in toxic chemicals

such as formaldehyde, or, in this case, to saturate it with Solanum.

Almost all the microbe species involved in normal human decomposition

have repeatedly rejected flesh infected by the virus, effecThe

tively embalming the zombie. Were this not the case, combating the

living dead would be as easy as avoiding them for several weeks or

even days until they rotted away to hones. Research has yet to discover

the exact cause of this condition. It has been determined that at least

some microbe species ignore the repelling effects of Solanum-otherwise,

the undead would remain perfectly preserved forever. It has also

been determined that natural conditions such as moisture and temperature

play an important role as well. Undead that prowl the bayous of

Louisiana are unlikely to last as long as those in the cold, dry Gobi

desert. Extreme situations, such as deep freezing or immersion in -

preservative fluid, could, hypothetically, allow an undead specimen to

exist indef~telyT. hese techniques have been known to allow zombies

to function for decades, if not centuries. (See "Recorded Attacks,"

pages 193ff.) Decomposition does not mean that a member of the

walking dead will simply drop. Decay may affect various parts of the

body at different times. Specimens have been found with brains intact

but nearly disintegrated bodies. Others with partially rotted brains may

control some bodily functions but be completely paalyzed in others.

A popular theory has recently circulated that attempts to explain the

story of the ancient Egyptian mummy as one of the first examples of

an embalmed zombie. The preservation techniques allowed it to fuuction

several thousand years after being entombed. Anyone with a rudimentary

knowledge of ancient Egypt would find this story almost

laughably untrue: The most important and complicated step in preparing

a pharaoh for burial was the removal of the brain!

 

 

I. Digestion

 

Recent evidence has once and for all mscounted the theory that human

flesh is the fuel for the undead. A zombie's digestive tract is completely

dormant. The complex system that processes food, extracts nutrition,

and excretes waste does not factor into a zombie's physiology. Autopsies

conducted on neutralized undead have shown that their "food" lies in its

original, undigested state at all sections of the tract. This partially

chewed, slowly rotting matter will continue to accumulate, as the zom12

hie devours more victims, until it is forced through the anus, or literally

bursts through the stomach or intestinal lining. While this more dramatic

example of non-digestion is rare, hundreds of eyewitness reports have

confirmed undead to have distended bellies. One captured and dissected

specimen was found to contain 21 1 pounds of flesh within its system!

Even rarer accounts have confirmed that zombies continue to feed long

after their digestive tracts have exploded from within.

 

 

J. Respiration

 

The lungs of the undead continue to function in that they draw air into

and expel it from the hody. This function accounts for a zombie's signature

moan. What the lungs and body chemistry fail to accomplish,

however, is to extract oxygen and remove carbon dioxide. Given that

Solanum obviates the need for both of these functions, the entire

human respiratory system is obsolete in the hody of a ghoul. This

explains how the living dead can "walk underwater" or survive in environments

lethal to humans. Their brains, as noted earlier, are oxygenindependent.

 

 

K. Circulation

 

It would be inaccurate to say that zomhies have no heart. It would not

he inaccurate, however, to say that they find no use for it. The circulatory

system of the undead is little more than a network of useless tubes

filled with congealed hlood. The same applies to the lymphatic system

as well as all other bodily fluids. Although this mutation would appear

to give the undead one more advantage over humanity, it has actually

proved to he a godsend. The lack of fluid mass prevents easy transmission

of the virus. Were this not true, hand-to-hand combat would

he nearly impossible, as the defending human would almost certainly

he splattered with hlood andlor other fluids.

 

 

L. Reproduction

 

Zombies are sterile creatures. Their sexual organs are necrotic and

impotent. Attempts have been made to fertilize zombie eggs with

human sperm and vice versa. None has been succcssful. The undead

have also shown no signs of sexual desire, either for their own

species or for the living. Until research can prove otherwise, humanity's

greatest fear-the dead reproducing the dead-is a comforting

impossibility.

 

M. Strength

 

Ghouls possess the same brute force as the living. What power can be

exerted depends greatly on the individual zombie. What muscle mass

a person has in life would be all he possesses in death. Unlike a living

body, adrenal glands have not been known to function in the dead,

denying zombies the temporary burst of power we humans enjoy. The

one solid advantage the living dead do possess is amazing stamina.

Imagine working out, or any other act of physical exertion. Chances

are that pain and exhaustion will dictate your limits. These factors do

not apply to the dead. They will continue an act, with the same

dynamic energy, until the muscles supporting it literally disintegrate.

i

f While this makes for progressively weaker ghouls, it allows for an allpowerful

first attack. Many barricades that would have exhausted three 1 or even four physically fit humans have fallen to a single determined

zombie.

 

N. Speed

 

The "walking" dead tend to move at a slouch or limp. Even without

injuries or advanced decomposition, their lack of coordination makes

for an unsteady suide. Speed is mainly determined by leg length. Taller

ghouls have longer strides than their shorter counterparts. Zombies

appear to be incapable of running. The fastest have been observed to

move at a rate of barely one step per 1.5 seconds. Again, as with

strength, the dead's advantage over the living is their tirelessness.

Humans who believe they have outrun their nndead pursuers might do

well to remember the story of the tortoise and the hare, adding, of

course, that in this instance the hare stands a good chance of being

eaten alive.

 

 

0. Agility

 

The average living human possesses a dexterity level 90 percent

greater than the strongest ghoul. Some of this comes from the general

stiffness of necrotic muscle tissue (hence their awkward stride). The

rest is due to their primitive brain functions. Zomhies have little handeye

coordination, one of their greatest weaknesses. No one has ever

observed a zombie jumping, either from one spot to another or simply

up and down. Balancing on a narrow surface is similarly beyond their

ahility. Swimming is also a skill reserved for the living. The theory has

been put forth that, if an undead corpse were to he bloated enough to

rise to the surface, it could present a floating hazard. This is rare, however,

as the slow rate of decomposition would not allow by-product gas

to accumulate. Zombies who walk or fall into bodies of water will

more likely find themselves wandering aimlessly across the bottom

until eventually dissolving. They can be successful climbers, but only

in certain circumstances. If zombies perceive prey above them, for

example, in the second story of a house, they will always attempt to

climb to it. Zombies will try to scale any surface no matter how

unfeasahle or even impossible. In all but the easiest situations, these

attempts have met with failure. Even in the case of ladders, when simple

hand-over-hand coordination is required, only one in four zombies

will succeed.

 

 

2. BEHAWOWLPA TTERNS

 

A. Intelligence

 

It has been proven, time and again, that our greatest advantage over the

undead is our ahility to think. The mental capacity of the average zombie

ranks somewhere beneath that of an insect. On no occasion have

they shown any ability to reason or employ logic. Attempting to

accomplish a task, failing, then by trial and error discovering a new

solution, is a skill shared by many members of the animal kingdom hut

lost on the walking dead. Zombies have repeatedly failed laboratory

intelligence tests set at the level of rodents. One field case showed a

human standing at one end of a collapsed bridge with several dozen

zombies on the orher side. One by one, the walking dead tumbled over

the edge in a futile attempt to reach him. At no time did any of them

realize what was happening and change their tactics in any way.

Contrruy to myth and speculation, zombies have never been observed

using tools of any kind. Even picking up a rock to use as a weapon is

beyond their grasp. This simple task would prove the basic thought

process involved in realizing that the rock is a more efficient weapon

than the naked hand. Ironically, the age of artificial intelligence has

enabled us to identify more easily with the mind of the zombie than

that of our more "primitive" ancestors. With care exceptions, even the

most advanced computers do not have the ability to think on their own.

They do what they are programmed to do, nothing more. Imagine a

computer programmed to execute one function. This function cannot

be paused, modified, or erased. No new data can be stored. No new

commands can he installed. This computer will perform that one function,

over and over, until its power source eventually shuts down. This

is the zombie brain. An instinct-driven, unitask machine that is impervious

to tampering and can only be destroyed.

 

B. Emotions

 

Feelings of any kind are not known to the walking dead. Every form

of psychological warfare, from attempts at enraging the undead to provoking

pity have all met with disaster. Joy, sadness, confidence, anxiety,

love, hatred, fear-all of these feelings and thousands more that

make up the human "heart" are as useless to the living dead as the

organ of the same name. Who knows if this is humanity's greatest

weakness or strength? The debate continues, and probably will forever.

 

 

C. Memories

 

A modem conceit is that a zombie retains the knowledge of its former

life. We hear stories of the dead returning to their places of residence

or work, operating familiar machinery, or even showing acts of mercy

to loved ones. In trnth, not a shred of proof exists to support this wishful

thinking. Zombies could not possibly retain memories of their for

mer lives in either the conscious or subconscious mind, because neither

exist! A ghoul will not be distracted by the family pet, living relatives,

familiar surroundings, etc. No matter who a person was in his

former life, that person is gone, replaced by a mindless automaton with

no instinct other than for feeding. This begs the question: Why do zombies

prefer urban areas to the countryside? First, the undead do not prefer

cities, but simply remain where they are reanimated. Second, the

main reason zomhies tend to stay in cities instead of fanning out into

the countryside is because an urban zone holds the highest concentration

of prey.

 

 

D. Physical Needs

 

Other than hunger (discussed later), the dead have shown none of the

physical wants or needs expressed in mortal life. Zombies have never

been observed to sleep or rest under any circumstances. They have not

reacted to extreme heat or cold. In harsh weather, they have never

sought shelter. Even something as simple as thirst is unknown to the

living dead. Defying all laws of science, Solanum has created what

could be described as a completely self-sufficient organism.

 

 

E. Communication

 

Zombies have no language skills. Although their vocal cords are capable

of speech, their brain is not. The only vocal ability appears to be a

deep-throated moan. This moan is released when zombies identify prey.

The sound will remain low and steady until physical contact is made. It

will then shift in tone and volume as the zombie commences its attack.

This eerie sound, so typically associated with the walking dead, serves

as a rallying cry for other zombies and, as has been recently discovered,

is a potent psychological weapon. (See "On the Defense," page 74.)

E Social Dynamics Theories have always proliferated that the

undead function as a collective

force, from an army controlled by Satan to an insect-like

pheromone-driven hive to the most recent notion that they achieve

group consensus by telepathy. The truth is that zombies have no social

organization to speak of. There is no hierarchy, no chain of command,

no drive toward any type of collectivization. A horde of the undead,

regardless of size, regardless of appearance, is simply a mass of individuals.

If several hundred ghouls converge on a victim's location, it

is because each one is drawn by its own instinct. Zombies appear to be

unaware of one another. Individuals have never been observed to react

to the sight of one another at any range. This goes back to the question

of sense: How does a zombie distinguish between one of its own and

a human or other prey at the same range? The answer has yet to he

found. Zombies do avoid one another in the same way they avoid inanimate

objects. When they hump into one another, they make no attempt

to connect or communicate. Zombies feasting on the same corpse will

tug repeatedly on the meat in question rather than shove a competitor

out of the way. The only suggestion of communal effort is seen in notorious

swarm attacks: the moan of a ghoul calling others within earshot.

Once they hear the wail, other walking dead will almost always converge

on its source. An early study theorized that this was a deliberate

act, that a scout used its moan to signal the others to attack. However,

we now how that it happens purely by accident. The ghoul that moans

at the detection of prey does so as an instinctive reaction, not as an alert.

 

 

G. Hunting

 

Zombies are migratory organisms, with no regard for temtory or concept

of home. They will travel miles and perhaps, given time, cross

continents in their search for food. Their hunting pattern is random.

Ghouls will feed at night and during the day. They will stumble

through an area rather than deliberately searching it. Certain zones or

structures will not he singled out as more likely to contain prey. For

example, some have been known to search farmhouses and other rural

structures while others in the same group have moved by without even

a glance. Urban zones take more time to explore, which is why the

undead remain longer in these areas, hut no building will take precedence

over another. Zombies appear to be totally unaware of their sur

roundings. They do not, for example, move their eyes in a way that

would take in the information of a new setting. Shuffling silently, with

a thousand-yard stare, they will wander aimlessly, regardless of location,

until prey is detected. As discussed earlier, the undead possess an

uncauny ability to home in on a victim's precise location. Once contact

is made, the previously silent, oblivious automaton transforms into

something more closely related to a guided missile. The head turns

immediately in the direction of its victim. The jaw drops, lips retract,

and, from the depths of its diaphragm, comes the moan. Once contact

is made, zombies cannot be distracted by any means. They will continue

to pursue their prey, stopping only if they lose contact, make a

successful kill, or are destroyed.

 

 

H. Motivation

 

Why do the undead prey upon the living? If it has been proven that

human flesh serves no nutritional purpose, why does their instinct

drive them to murder? The truth eludes us. Modem science, combined

with historical data, has shown that living humans are not the only

delights on the undead menu. Rescue teams entering an infested area

have consistently reported them stripped of all life. Any creatures, no

matter what their size or species, will he consumed by an attacking

zombie. Human flesh, however, will always he preferable to other life

forms. One experiment presented a captured specimen with two identical

cubes of meat: one human, one animal. The zombie repeatedly

chose the human. Reasons for this are still unknown. What can be confirmed,

beyond any shadow of doubt, is that instinct brought on by

Solanum drives the undead to kill and devour any living creature they

discover. There appear to be no exceptions.

 

 

I. Killing the Dead

While destroying a zombie may be simple, it is far from easy. As we

have seen, zombies require none of the physiological functions that

humans need to survive. Destruction or severe damage of the circulatory,

digestive, or respiratory system would do nothing to a member of

the walking dead, as these functions no

longer support the brain. Simply put, there

are thousands of ways to kill a humanand

only one to kill a zombie. The brain

must be obliterated, by any means possible.

 

 

J. Disposal

 

Studies have shown that Solanum can still

inhabit the body of a terminated zombie for

up to fortyeight hours. Exercise extreme

care when disposing of undead corpses.

The head in particular possesses the most

serious hazard, given its concentration of

the virus. Never handle an undead corpse

without protective clothing. Treat it as you

would any toxic, highly lethal material. Cremation is the safest, most

effective way of disposal. Despite rumors that a pile of burning corpses

will spread Solannm in a cloud of smoking plague, common sense

would dictate that any virus is unable to survive intense heat, to say

nothing of an open flame.

 

 

K. Domestication?

 

To reiterate, the zombie brain has proved, so far, to he tamper-proof.

Experiments ranging from chemicals to surgery to electromagnetic

waves have yielded negative results. Behavioral modification therapy

and other such attempts to train the living dead like some kind of pack

animal have similarly met with failure. Again, the machine cannot be

rewired. It will exist as is, or it will not exist at all.

 

 

THE VOODOO ZOMBIE

 

If zombies are the creation of a virus and not black magic, then how

does this explain the so-called "voodoo zombie," a person who has died,

been raised from his grave, and is doomed to spend eternity as a slave

of the living? Yes, it is trne that the word "zombie" originally comes

from the Kimbnndn word "nzfimbe," a term describing a dead person's

soul, and yes, zombies and zombification are integral parts of the Afro-

Caribbean religion known as voodoo. However, the origin of their name

is the only similarity between the voodoo zombie and the viral zombie.

Although it is said that voodoo houngans (priests) can turn humans into

zombies by magical means, the practice is rooted in bard, undeniable

science. "Zombie powder," the tool used by the houngan for zombification,

contains a very powerful neurotoxin (the exact ingredients are a

closely guarded secret). The toxin temporarily paralyzes the human

nervous system, creating a state of extreme hibernation. With the heart,

lungs, and all other bodily functions operating at minimal levels, it

would be understandable if an inexperienced coroner declared the paralyzed

subject to be dead. Many humans have been buried while in such

a state, only to awaken screaming in the pitch darkness of their coffin.

So what makes this living human being a zombie? The answer is simple:

brain damage. Many who are buried alive quickly use up the air

inside their coffins. Those that are recovered (if they are lucky) almost

always suffer brain damage from lack of oxygen. These poor souls

shamble about with little cognitive skills, or, indeed, free will, and are

often mistaken for the living dead. How can yon distinguish a voodoo

zombie from the genuine article? The telltale signs are obvious.

 

1. Voodoo zombies show emotion. People suffering from zombie

powder-induced brain damage are still capable of all normal human

feelings. They smile, cry, even growl with anger if hurt or otherwise

provoked (something real zombies would never do).

 

2. Voodoo zombies exhibit thought. As has been stated before, when

a real zombie encounters you it will immediately home in like a

smart bomb. A voodoo zombie will take a moment to try to figure

out who or what you are. Maybe it will come toward you, maybe it

will recoil, maybe it will continue its observation as its damaged

brain attempts to analyze the information given it. What a voodoo

zombie will not do is raise its arms, drop its jaw, unleash a hellish

moan, and stumble directly toward you.

 

3. Voodoo zombies feel pain. A voodoo zombie that trips and falls

will undoubtedly hold its bruised knee and whimper. Likewise, one

already suffering from some other wound will nurse it, or, at the

very least, be aware of the wound's existence. Voodoo zombies will

not ignore deep gashes in their bodies like a real zombie would.

 

4. Voodoo zombies recognize fire. This is not to say that they are afraid

of open flames. Some that have suffered severe brain damage may not

remember what lire is. They will stop to examine it, perhaps even reach

out to touch it, hut they will recoil once they realize it causes pain.

 

5. Voodoo zombies recognize their surroundings. Unlike real zombies,

who only recognize prey, voodoo zombies will react to sudden

changes in light, sound, taste, and smell. Voodoo zombies have been

observed watching television or brightly flashing lights, listening to

music, cringing at thunder, and even taking notice of one another.

This last fact has been critical in several cases of mis-identification.

Had the zombies in question not reacted to each other (they looked

at each other, made noises, even touched each other's faces), they

might have been accidentally exterminated.

 

6. Voodoo zombies do NOT have bypersense. A human who has suffered

the debilitating effects of zombie powder is still a sightdependent

human. He cannot operate perfectly in the dark, hear a

footstep at 500 ya~dso, r smell a living being on the wind. Voodoo

zombies can actually be surprised by someone walking up behind

them. This is not recommended, however, as a frightened zombie

might react in anger.

 

7. Voodoo zombies can communicate. While this is not always the

case, many of these individuals can respond to audiovisual signals.

Many understand words; some even comprehend simple sentences.

Many voodoo zombies possess the ability to speak, simply, of

course, and rarely for extended conversations.

 

8. Voodoo zombies can be controlled. While not always true, many

brain damaged humans have lost much of their self-realization,

making them very susceptible to suggestion. Simply shouting for a

subject to halt or even go away can he enough to get rid of a voodoo

zombie. This has created the dangerous situation of confused people

believing they could control or train true zombies. Several times

headstrong humans have insisted they could simply command their

living dead attackers to stop. As cold, rotting hands grabbed their

limbs and dirty, worn teeth bit into their flesh, these people discovered,

too late, what they were truly dealing with.

 

These guidelines should give you a good idea of how to tell a voodoo

zombie from a true zombie. One final note: Voodoo zombies are

almost always encountered in sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean,

Central and South America, and the southern United States.

Although it is not impossible to find someone who has been turned

into a zombie by a houngan elsewhere, the chances of such an

encounter are slim.

 

 

THE HOLLYWOOD ZOMBIE

Since the living dead first stepped onto the silver screen, their greatest

enemy has not been hunters, but critics. Scholars, scientists, even concerned

citizens have all argued that these movies depict the living dead

in a fantastic, unrealistic fashion. Visually stunning weapons, physically

impossible action sequences, larger-than-life human characters,

and, above all, magical, invincible, even comical ghouls have all added

their colors to the controversial rainbow that is "the Zombie Movie."

Further criticism argues that this "style over substance" approach to

somnambulist cinema teaches human viewers lessons that may get

them killed in a real encounter. These serious charges demand an

equally serious defense. While some zombie movies are based on

actual events*, their goal, indeed the goal of almost every movie in

every genre, has always been, first and foremost, to entertain. Unless

we are discussing pure documentaries (and even some of those are

"sweetened"), moviemakers must take some artistic license to make

their work more palatable to the audience. Even movies that are based

on actual events will sacrifice pure reality for good storytelling.

 

Certain characters will be an amalgam of real-life individuals. Others

may be purely fictional in order to explain certain facts, facilitate the

plotline, or simply add flavor to the scene. One might argue that the

role of the artist is to challenge, educate, and enlighten her audience.

That may be true, but try imparting knowledge to an audience who has

either left or fallen asleep within the first ten minutes of the picture.

Accept this basic rule of moviemaking and you will understand why

Hollywood zombie films stray, in some cases wildly, from the reality

on which they are based. In short, use these photo-plays as their makers

intended: as a source of temporary, lighthearted entertainment and

not a visual aid to your survival.

 

 

OUTBREAKS

 

Although each zombie attack is different, given the number, terrain,

reaction of the general populace, etc., its level of intensity can be measured

in four distinct classes.

*At the behest of the filmmakers andlor their estates, the titles of those movies based on me-life stories have been omitted.

 

CLASS 1

This is a low-level outbreak, usually in a Third World country or First

World rural area. The number of zombies in this class of outbreak

ranges between one and twenty. Total human casualties (including

those infected) range from one to fifty. The total duration, from the fist

case to the last (known), will range between twenty-four hours and

fourteen days. The infested area will be small, no larger than a twentymile

radius. In many cases, natural boundaries will determine its limits.

Response will he light, either exclusively civilian or with some

additional help from local law enforcement. Media coverage will be

light, if present at all. If the media is present, look for common stories

like homicides or "accidents." This is the most common type of outbreak

and also the easiest to go unnoticed.

 

CLASS 2

Urban or densely populated mral areas are included in this level of outbreak.

Total zombies will range between twenty and one hundred.

Total human casualties may reach as high as several hundred. The

duration of a Class 2 attack may last no longer than a Class 1 outbreak.

In some cases, the larger number of zombies will spark a more immediate

response. A rural, sparsely populated outbreak may extend to a

hundred-mile radius, while an urban outbreak may encompass only

several blocks. Suppression will almost certainly be organized. Bands

of civilians will be replaced by local, state, even federal law enforcement.

Look for an additional, if low-level, military response, the

National Guard in the United States or its equivalent abroad. Most

often, so as to ease panic, these units will take a more noncombatant

role, providing medical assistance, crowd control, and logistical support.

Class 2 outbreaks almost always attract the press. Unless the

attack occurs in a huly isolated area of the world, or one where the

media is strictly controlled, the story will he reported. This does not

mean, however, that it will be reported acc~lrately.

 

CLASS 3

A hue crisis. Class 3 outbreaks, more than any other, demonstrate the

clear threat posed by the living dead. Zombies will number in the thousands,

encompassing an area of several hundred miles. The duration of

the attack and a possible lengthy mop-up process could last as long as

several months. There will be no chance for a press blackout or coverup.

Even without media attention, the sheer magnitude of the attack will

leave too many eyewitnesses. This is a full-blown battle, with law

enforcement replaced by units of the regular military. A state of emergency

will be declared for the infested zone, as well as the neighboring

areas. Expect martial law, restricted travel, rationed supplies, federalized

services, and strictly monitored communication. All these measures,

however, will take time to implement. The initial phase will be

one of chaos as those in power come to grips with the crisis. Riots, looting,

and widespread panic will add to their difficulties, further delaying

an effective response. While this is happening, those living withm the

infested area will be at the mercy of the undead. Isolated, abandoned,

and surrounded by ghouls, they will have only themselves to depend on.

 

CLASS 4

(See "Living in an Undead World," pages 154-81.)

 

DETECTION

Every undead outbreak, regardless of its class, has a beginning. Now

that the enemy has been defined, the next step is early warning.

Knowing what a zombie is will not help if you are unable to recognize

an outbreak before it's too late. This does not entail building a "zombie

command post" in your basement, sticking pins in a map, and huddling

around the shortwave radio. All it requires is looking for signs

that would slip by the untrained mind. These signs include:

 

1. Homicides in which the victims were executed by head shots or

decapitation. It has happened many times: People recognize an outbreak

for what it is and try to take matters into their own hands.

Almost always, these people are declared murderers by the local

authorities and prosecuted as such.

 

2. Missing persons, particularly in wilderness or uninhabited areas.

Pay careful attention if one or more of the search members end up

missing. If the story is televised or photographed, watch to see what

level of armament the search parties carry. Any more than one rifle

per group could mean that this is more than just a simple rescue

operation.

 

3. Cases of "violent insanity" in which the subject attacked friends or

family without the use of weapons. Find out if the attacker bit or

tried to bite his victims. If so, are any of the victims still in the hospital?

Try to discover if any of these victims mysteriously died

within days of their bite.

 

4. Riots or other civil disturbances that began without provocation or

other logical cause. Common sense will dictate that violence on any

group level does not simply occur without a catalyst such as racial

tension, political actions, or legal decisions. Even so-called "mass

hysteria" can always be traced to a root source. If none can be

found, the answer may lie elsewhere.

 

5. Disease-based deaths in which either the cause is undetermined or

seems highly suspect. Deaths from infectious disease are rare in the

industrialized world, compared to a century ago. For this reason,

new outbreaks always make the news. Look for those cases in

which the exact nature of the disease is unexplained. Also, be on the

alert for suspicious explanations such as West Nile virus or "mad

cow" disease. Either could be examples of a cover-up.

 

6. Any of the above in which media coverage was forbidden. A total

press blackout is rare in the United States. The occurrence of one

should be regarded as an immediate red flag. Of course, there may

be many reasons other than an attack of the living dead. Then again,

any event causing a govemment as media-conscious as our own to

clamp down merits close attention. The truth, no matter what it is,

cannot be good.

 

Once an event has tripped your sensors, keep track of it. Note the

location, and its distance from you. Watch for similar incidents around

or near the original site. If, within a few days or weeks, these incidents

do occur, study them carefully. Note the response of law enforcement

and other govemment agencies. If they react more forcefully with each

occurrence, chances are that an outbreak is unfolding.

Hyperlinks are your friend. :(

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also: Can you imagine what a quote tree would look like with this baby?! :-"

 

 

I'm having trouble seeing it, personally.

 

 

No, I think... I see it now.

Are you sure?

 

One must be absolutely certain in these matters, for they are not to be trifled with.

I'd just like to say...I'm sorry. :-"

I had thought that some of nature's journeymen had made men and not made them well, for they imitated humanity so abominably. - Book of Counted Sorrows

 

'Cause I won't know the man that kills me

and I don't know these men I kill

but we all wind up on the same side

'cause ain't none of us doin' god's will.

- Everlast

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Dudes, you should start by defining what a zombie is, how they spread and what its weak points are.  I see head boinking and what to use/not to use but no details.

 

For example you may want to tell the dudes if melee's a bad idea because the zombie virus/bacteria and other general infections from decaying flesh would be nasty if it gets on you from fluid contact.

 

Sorry for the formatting but im not going to type out 30 pages by hand.

 

THE UNDEAD: MYTHS AND REALITIES

 

He comes from the grave, his body a home of worms andjilth. No life in

his eyes, no warmth of his shn, no beating of his breast. His soul, as

empty and dark as the night sky. He laughs at the blade, spits at the

arrow, for they will not harm hisflesh. For eternity, he will walk the

earth, smelling the sweet blood of the living, feasting upon the bones of

the damned. Beware, for he is the living dead.

 

ZOM-BZE: (Zom'be) n. also ZOM-BIES pl. I. An animated corpse that

feeds on living humanjlesh. 2. A voodoo spell that raises the dead. 3.

A Voodoo snake god. 4. One who moves or acts in a daze "like a zombie."

[a word of West African origin]

 

What is a zombie? How are they created? What are their strengths and

weaknesses? What are their needs, their desires? Why are they hostile

to humanity? Before discussing any survival techniques, you must first

learn what you are trying to survive.

We must begin by separating fact from fiction. The walking dead

are neither a work of "black magic" nor any other supernatural force.

Their origin stems from a virus known as Solanum, a Latin word used

by Jan Vanderhaven, who fust "discovered" the disease.

 

SOLANUM: THE VIRUS

 

Solannm works by traveling through the bloodstream, from the initial

point of entry to the brain. Through means not yet fully understood,

the virus uses the cells of the frontal lobe for replication, destroying

them in the process. During this period, all bodily functions cease. By

stopping the heart, the infected subject is rendered ''dead." The brain,

however, remains alive hut dormant, while the virus mutates its cells

into a completely new organ. The most critical trait of this new organ

is its independence from oxygen. By removing the need for this allimportant

resource, the nndead brain can utilize, but is in no way

dependent upon, the complex support mechanism of the human body.

Once mutation is complete, this new organ reanimates the body into a

form that bears little resemblance (physiologically speaking) to the

original corpse. Some bodily functions remain constant, others operate

in a modified capacity, and the remainder shut down completely.

This new organism is a zombie, a member of the living dead.

 

 

1. SOURCE

U~~fortunateleyx, tensive research has yet to find an isolated example

of Solanum in nature. Water, air, and soil in all ecosystems, from all

parts of the world, have turned up negative, as have their accompanying

flora and fauna. At the time of this writing, the search continues.

 

2. SYMPTOMS

The timetable below outlines the process of an infected human (give

or take several hours, depending on the individual).

 

Hour 1: Pain and discoloration (brown-puple) of the infected area Immediate

clotting of the wound @rovided the infection came h m a wound).

Hour 5: Fever (99-103 degrees F), chills, slight dementia, vomiting,

acute pain in the joints.

Hour 8: Numbing of extremities and infected area, increased fever

(103-106 degrees F), increased dementia, loss of muscular coordination.

Hour 11: Paralysis in the lower body, overall numbness, slowed heart

rate.

Hour 16: Coma.

Hour 20: Heart stoppage. Zero brain activity

Hour 23: Reanimation.

 

 

3. TRANSFERENCE

 

Solanum is 100 percent communicahle and 100 percent fatal.

Fortunately for the human race, the virus is neither waterborne nor airborne.

Humans have never been known to contract the virus from elements

in nature. Infection can occur only through direct fluidic

contact. A zombie bite, although by far the most recognizable means

of transference, is by no means the only one. Humans have been

infected by brushing their open wounds against those of a zombie or

by being splattered by its remains after an explosion. Ingestion of

infected flesh (provided the person has no open mouth sores), however,

results in pemanent death rather than infection. Infected flesh has

proven to be highly toxic.

 

No infomation-historical, experimental, or othenvise-has surfaced

regarding the results of sexual relations with an undead specimen,

but as previously noted, the nature of Solanum suggests a high

danger of infection. Warning against such an act would be useless, as

the only people deranged enough to try would he unconcerned for their

own safety. Many have argued that, given the congealed nature of

undead bodily fluids, the chances of infection from a non-bite contact

should be low. However, it must be remembered that even one organism

is enough to begin the cycle.

 

 

4. CROSS-SPECIES INFECTION

 

Solannm is fatal to all living creatures, regardless of size, species, or

ecosystem. Reanimation, however, takes place only in humans. Studies

have shown that Solanum infecting a non-human brain will die within

hours of the death of its host, making the carcass safe to handle.

Infected animals expire before the virus can replicate throughout their

bodies. Infection from insect bites such as from mosquitoes can also

he discounted. Experiments have proven that all parasitic insects can

sense and will reject an infected host 100 percent of the time.

 

 

5. TREATMENT

 

Once a human is infected, little can be done to save him or her. Because

Solanum is a virus and not a bacteria, antibiotics have no effect.

Immunization, the only way to combat a virus, is equally useless, as even

the most minute dosage will lead to a full-blown infection. Genetic

research is under way. Goals range from stronger human antibodies to

resistant cell structure to a counter-virus designed to identify and destroy

Solanum. This and other, more radical treatments are still in the earliest

stages, with no foreseeable success in the near future. Battlefield experiences

have led to the immediate severing of the infected limb (provided

this is the location of the bite), but such treatments are dubious at best,

with less than a 10 percent success rate.

 

Chances are, the infected human

was doomed from the moment the virus entered his or her system.

Should the infected human choose suicide, he should remember that the

brain must be eliminated first. Cases have been recorded in which

recently infected subjects, deceased by means other than the virus, will

nonetheless reanimate. Such cases usually occur when the subject

expires after the fifth hour of infection. Regardless, any person killed

after being bitten or otherwise infected by the undead should be immediately

disposed of. (See "Disposal," page 19.)

 

 

6. REANIMATING THE ALREADY DECEASED

 

It has been suggested that fresh human corpses could reanimate if

Solanum were introduced after their demise. This is a fallacy. Zombies

ignore necrotic flesh and therefore could not transfer the virus.

Experiments conducted during and after World War I1 (see "Recorded

Attacks," pages 216m have proven that injecting Solanum into a

cadaver would be futile because a stagnant bloodstream could not

transport the virus to the brain. Injection directly into a dead brain

would be equally useless, as the expired cells could not respond to the

virus. Solanum does not create life-it alters it.

 

 

ZOMBIE ATTRIBUTES

 

1. PHYSICAL ABILITIES

Too often, the undead have been said to possess superhuman powers:

unusual strength, lightning speed, telepathy, etc. Stories range from

zombies flying through the air to their scaling vertical surfaces like spiders.

While these traits might make for fascinating drama, the individual

ghoul is far from a magical, omnipotent demon. Never forget that

the body of the undead is, for all practical purposes, human. What

changes do occur are in the way this new, reanimated body is used by

the now-infected brain. There is no way a zombie could fly unless the

human it used to be could fly. The same goes for projecting force

fields, telepottation, moving through solid objects, transforming into a

wolf, breathing fire, or a variety of other mystical talents amibuted to

the walking dead. Imagine the human body as a tool kit. The somnambulist

brain has those tools, and only those tools, at its disposal. It

cannot create new ones out of thin air. But it can, as you will see, use

these tools in unconventional combinations, or push their durability

beyond normal human limits.

 

 

A. Sight

 

The eyes of a zombie are no different than those of a normal human.

While still capable (given their rate of decomposition) of transmitting

visual signals to the brain, how the brain interprets these signals is

another matter. Studies are inconclusive regarding the undead's visual

abilities. They can spot prey at distances comparable to a human, but

whether they can distinguish a human from one of their own is still up

for debate. One theory suggests that the movements made by humans,

which are quicker and smoother than those of the undead, is what

causes them to stand out to the zombie eye. Experiments have been

done in which humans have attempted to confuse approaching ghouls

by mimicking their motions and adopting a shambling, awkward limp.

To date, none of these attempts have succeeded. It has been suggested

that zombies possess night vision, a fact that explains their skill at nocturnal

hunting. This theory has been debunked by the fact that all zombies

are expert night feeders, even those without eyes.

 

B. Sound

 

There is no question that zombies have excellent hearing. Not only can

they detect sound-they can determine its direction. The basic range

appears to be the same as that for humans. Experiments with extreme

high and low frequencies have yielded negative results. Tests have also

shown that zombies are attracted by any sounds, not just those made

by living creatures. It has been recorded that ghouls will notice sounds

ignored by living humans. The most likely, if unproven, explanation is

that zombies depend on all their senses equally. Humans are sightoriented

from birth, depending on other senses only if the primary one

is lost. Perhaps this is not a handicap shared by the walking dead. If

so, it would explain their ability to hunt, fight, and feed in total darkness.

 

 

C. Smell

 

Unlike with sound, the undead have a more acute sense of smell. In

both combat situations and laboratory tests, they have been able to distinguish

the smell of living prey above all others. In many cases, and

given ideal wind conditions, zomhies have been known to smell fresh

corpses from a distance of more than a mile. Again, this does not mean

that ghouls have a greater sense of smell than humans, simply that they

rely on it more. It is not known exactly what particular secretion signals

the presence of prey: sweat, pheromones, blood, etc. In the past,

people seeking to move undetected through infested areas have

attempted to "mask" their human scent with perfumes, deodorants, or

other strong-smelling chemicals. None were successful. Experiments

are now under way to synthesize the smells of living creatures as a

decoy or even repellent to the walking dead. A successful product is

still years away.

 

 

D. Taste

 

Little is known about the altered taste buds of the walking dead.

Zombies do have the ability to tell human flesh apart from that of animals,

and they prefer the former. Ghouls also have a remarkable ability

to reject carrion in favor of freshly killed meat. A human body that

has been dead longer than twelve to eighteen hours will be rejected as

food. The same goes for cadavers that have been embalmed or otherwise

preserved. Whether this has anything to do with "taste" is not yet

certain. It may have to do with smell or, perhaps, another instinct that

has not been discovered. As to exactly why human flesh is preferable,

science has yet to find an answer to this confounding, frustrating, terrifying

question.

 

 

E. Touch

 

Zombies have, literally, no physical sensations. All nerve receptors

throughout the body remain dead after reanimation. This is truly their

greatest and most temfying advantage over the living. We, as humans,

have the ability to experience physical pain as a signal of bodily damage.

Our brain classifies such sensations, matches them to the experience

that instigated them, and then files the information away for use

as a warning against future ham. It is this gift of physiology and

instinct that has allowed us to survive as a species. It is why we value

virtues such as courage, which inspires people to perform actions

despite warnings of danger. The inability to recognize and avoid pain

is what makes the waking dead so formidable. Wounds will not be

noticed and, therefore, will not deter an attack. Even if a zombie's

body is severely damaged, it will continue to attack until nothing

remains.

 

 

E Sixth Sense

 

Historical research, coupled with laboratory and field observation,

have shown that the walking dead have been known to attack even

when all their sensory organs have been damaged or completely

decomposed. Does this mean that zombies possess a sixth sense?

Perhaps. Living humans use less than 5 percent of their brain capacity.

It is possible that the virus can stimulate another sensoly ability that

has been forgotten by evolution. This theory is one of the most hotly

debated in the war against the undead. So far, no scientific evidence

has been found to suppoa either side.

 

 

G. Healing

 

Despite legends and ancient folklore, undead physiology has been

proven to possess no powers of regeneration. Cells that are damaged

stay damaged. Any wounds, no matter what their size and nature, will

remain for the duration of that body's reanimation. A variety of medical

treatments have been attempted to stimulate the healing process in

captured ghouls. None were successful. This inability to self-repair,

something that we as living beings take for granted, is a severe disadvantage

to the undead. For example, every time we physically exert

ourselves, we tear our muscles. With time, these muscles rebuild to a

stronger state than before. A ghoul's muscle mass will remain damaged,

reducing its effectiveness every time it is used.

 

 

H. Decomposition

 

The average zombie "life span"-how long it is able to function before

completely rotting away-is estimated at three to five years. As fantastic

as this sounds-a human corpse able to ward off the natural

effects of decay-its cause is rooted in basic biology. When a human

body dies, its flesh is immediately set upon by billions of microscopic

organisms. These organisms were always present, in the external environment

arid within the body itself. In life, the immune system stood

as a harrier between these organisms and their target. In death, that barrier

is removed. The organisms begin multiplying exponentially as

they proceed to eat and, thereby, break down the corpse on a cellular

level. The smell and discoloration associated with any decaying meat

are the biological process of these microbes at work. When you order

an "aged" steak, you are ordering a piece of meat that has begun to rot,

its formerly toughened flesh softened by microorganisms breaking

down its sturdy fiber. Within a short time, that steak, like a human

corpse, will dissolve to nothing, leaving behind only material too hard

or innutritious for any microbe, such as hone, teeth, nails, and hair.

This is the normal cycle of life, nature's way of recycling nutrients

back into the food chain. To halt this process, and preserve dead tissue,

it is necessary to place it in an environment unsuitable for bacteria,

such as in extreme low or high temperatures, in toxic chemicals

such as formaldehyde, or, in this case, to saturate it with Solanum.

Almost all the microbe species involved in normal human decomposition

have repeatedly rejected flesh infected by the virus, effecThe

tively embalming the zombie. Were this not the case, combating the

living dead would be as easy as avoiding them for several weeks or

even days until they rotted away to hones. Research has yet to discover

the exact cause of this condition. It has been determined that at least

some microbe species ignore the repelling effects of Solanum-otherwise,

the undead would remain perfectly preserved forever. It has also

been determined that natural conditions such as moisture and temperature

play an important role as well. Undead that prowl the bayous of

Louisiana are unlikely to last as long as those in the cold, dry Gobi

desert. Extreme situations, such as deep freezing or immersion in -

preservative fluid, could, hypothetically, allow an undead specimen to

exist indef~telyT. hese techniques have been known to allow zombies

to function for decades, if not centuries. (See "Recorded Attacks,"

pages 193ff.) Decomposition does not mean that a member of the

walking dead will simply drop. Decay may affect various parts of the

body at different times. Specimens have been found with brains intact

but nearly disintegrated bodies. Others with partially rotted brains may

control some bodily functions but be completely paalyzed in others.

A popular theory has recently circulated that attempts to explain the

story of the ancient Egyptian mummy as one of the first examples of

an embalmed zombie. The preservation techniques allowed it to fuuction

several thousand years after being entombed. Anyone with a rudimentary

knowledge of ancient Egypt would find this story almost

laughably untrue: The most important and complicated step in preparing

a pharaoh for burial was the removal of the brain!

 

 

I. Digestion

 

Recent evidence has once and for all mscounted the theory that human

flesh is the fuel for the undead. A zombie's digestive tract is completely

dormant. The complex system that processes food, extracts nutrition,

and excretes waste does not factor into a zombie's physiology. Autopsies

conducted on neutralized undead have shown that their "food" lies in its

original, undigested state at all sections of the tract. This partially

chewed, slowly rotting matter will continue to accumulate, as the zom12

hie devours more victims, until it is forced through the anus, or literally

bursts through the stomach or intestinal lining. While this more dramatic

example of non-digestion is rare, hundreds of eyewitness reports have

confirmed undead to have distended bellies. One captured and dissected

specimen was found to contain 21 1 pounds of flesh within its system!

Even rarer accounts have confirmed that zombies continue to feed long

after their digestive tracts have exploded from within.

 

 

J. Respiration

 

The lungs of the undead continue to function in that they draw air into

and expel it from the hody. This function accounts for a zombie's signature

moan. What the lungs and body chemistry fail to accomplish,

however, is to extract oxygen and remove carbon dioxide. Given that

Solanum obviates the need for both of these functions, the entire

human respiratory system is obsolete in the hody of a ghoul. This

explains how the living dead can "walk underwater" or survive in environments

lethal to humans. Their brains, as noted earlier, are oxygenindependent.

 

 

K. Circulation

 

It would be inaccurate to say that zomhies have no heart. It would not

he inaccurate, however, to say that they find no use for it. The circulatory

system of the undead is little more than a network of useless tubes

filled with congealed hlood. The same applies to the lymphatic system

as well as all other bodily fluids. Although this mutation would appear

to give the undead one more advantage over humanity, it has actually

proved to he a godsend. The lack of fluid mass prevents easy transmission

of the virus. Were this not true, hand-to-hand combat would

he nearly impossible, as the defending human would almost certainly

he splattered with hlood andlor other fluids.

 

 

L. Reproduction

 

Zombies are sterile creatures. Their sexual organs are necrotic and

impotent. Attempts have been made to fertilize zombie eggs with

human sperm and vice versa. None has been succcssful. The undead

have also shown no signs of sexual desire, either for their own

species or for the living. Until research can prove otherwise, humanity's

greatest fear-the dead reproducing the dead-is a comforting

impossibility.

 

M. Strength

 

Ghouls possess the same brute force as the living. What power can be

exerted depends greatly on the individual zombie. What muscle mass

a person has in life would be all he possesses in death. Unlike a living

body, adrenal glands have not been known to function in the dead,

denying zombies the temporary burst of power we humans enjoy. The

one solid advantage the living dead do possess is amazing stamina.

Imagine working out, or any other act of physical exertion. Chances

are that pain and exhaustion will dictate your limits. These factors do

not apply to the dead. They will continue an act, with the same

dynamic energy, until the muscles supporting it literally disintegrate.

i

f While this makes for progressively weaker ghouls, it allows for an allpowerful

first attack. Many barricades that would have exhausted three 1 or even four physically fit humans have fallen to a single determined

zombie.

 

N. Speed

 

The "walking" dead tend to move at a slouch or limp. Even without

injuries or advanced decomposition, their lack of coordination makes

for an unsteady suide. Speed is mainly determined by leg length. Taller

ghouls have longer strides than their shorter counterparts. Zombies

appear to be incapable of running. The fastest have been observed to

move at a rate of barely one step per 1.5 seconds. Again, as with

strength, the dead's advantage over the living is their tirelessness.

Humans who believe they have outrun their nndead pursuers might do

well to remember the story of the tortoise and the hare, adding, of

course, that in this instance the hare stands a good chance of being

eaten alive.

 

 

0. Agility

 

The average living human possesses a dexterity level 90 percent

greater than the strongest ghoul. Some of this comes from the general

stiffness of necrotic muscle tissue (hence their awkward stride). The

rest is due to their primitive brain functions. Zomhies have little handeye

coordination, one of their greatest weaknesses. No one has ever

observed a zombie jumping, either from one spot to another or simply

up and down. Balancing on a narrow surface is similarly beyond their

ahility. Swimming is also a skill reserved for the living. The theory has

been put forth that, if an undead corpse were to he bloated enough to

rise to the surface, it could present a floating hazard. This is rare, however,

as the slow rate of decomposition would not allow by-product gas

to accumulate. Zombies who walk or fall into bodies of water will

more likely find themselves wandering aimlessly across the bottom

until eventually dissolving. They can be successful climbers, but only

in certain circumstances. If zombies perceive prey above them, for

example, in the second story of a house, they will always attempt to

climb to it. Zombies will try to scale any surface no matter how

unfeasahle or even impossible. In all but the easiest situations, these

attempts have met with failure. Even in the case of ladders, when simple

hand-over-hand coordination is required, only one in four zombies

will succeed.

 

 

2. BEHAWOWLPA TTERNS

 

A. Intelligence

 

It has been proven, time and again, that our greatest advantage over the

undead is our ahility to think. The mental capacity of the average zombie

ranks somewhere beneath that of an insect. On no occasion have

they shown any ability to reason or employ logic. Attempting to

accomplish a task, failing, then by trial and error discovering a new

solution, is a skill shared by many members of the animal kingdom hut

lost on the walking dead. Zombies have repeatedly failed laboratory

intelligence tests set at the level of rodents. One field case showed a

human standing at one end of a collapsed bridge with several dozen

zombies on the orher side. One by one, the walking dead tumbled over

the edge in a futile attempt to reach him. At no time did any of them

realize what was happening and change their tactics in any way.

Contrruy to myth and speculation, zombies have never been observed

using tools of any kind. Even picking up a rock to use as a weapon is

beyond their grasp. This simple task would prove the basic thought

process involved in realizing that the rock is a more efficient weapon

than the naked hand. Ironically, the age of artificial intelligence has

enabled us to identify more easily with the mind of the zombie than

that of our more "primitive" ancestors. With care exceptions, even the

most advanced computers do not have the ability to think on their own.

They do what they are programmed to do, nothing more. Imagine a

computer programmed to execute one function. This function cannot

be paused, modified, or erased. No new data can be stored. No new

commands can he installed. This computer will perform that one function,

over and over, until its power source eventually shuts down. This

is the zombie brain. An instinct-driven, unitask machine that is impervious

to tampering and can only be destroyed.

 

B. Emotions

 

Feelings of any kind are not known to the walking dead. Every form

of psychological warfare, from attempts at enraging the undead to provoking

pity have all met with disaster. Joy, sadness, confidence, anxiety,

love, hatred, fear-all of these feelings and thousands more that

make up the human "heart" are as useless to the living dead as the

organ of the same name. Who knows if this is humanity's greatest

weakness or strength? The debate continues, and probably will forever.

 

 

C. Memories

 

A modem conceit is that a zombie retains the knowledge of its former

life. We hear stories of the dead returning to their places of residence

or work, operating familiar machinery, or even showing acts of mercy

to loved ones. In trnth, not a shred of proof exists to support this wishful

thinking. Zombies could not possibly retain memories of their for

mer lives in either the conscious or subconscious mind, because neither

exist! A ghoul will not be distracted by the family pet, living relatives,

familiar surroundings, etc. No matter who a person was in his

former life, that person is gone, replaced by a mindless automaton with

no instinct other than for feeding. This begs the question: Why do zombies

prefer urban areas to the countryside? First, the undead do not prefer

cities, but simply remain where they are reanimated. Second, the

main reason zomhies tend to stay in cities instead of fanning out into

the countryside is because an urban zone holds the highest concentration

of prey.

 

 

D. Physical Needs

 

Other than hunger (discussed later), the dead have shown none of the

physical wants or needs expressed in mortal life. Zombies have never

been observed to sleep or rest under any circumstances. They have not

reacted to extreme heat or cold. In harsh weather, they have never

sought shelter. Even something as simple as thirst is unknown to the

living dead. Defying all laws of science, Solanum has created what

could be described as a completely self-sufficient organism.

 

 

E. Communication

 

Zombies have no language skills. Although their vocal cords are capable

of speech, their brain is not. The only vocal ability appears to be a

deep-throated moan. This moan is released when zombies identify prey.

The sound will remain low and steady until physical contact is made. It

will then shift in tone and volume as the zombie commences its attack.

This eerie sound, so typically associated with the walking dead, serves

as a rallying cry for other zombies and, as has been recently discovered,

is a potent psychological weapon. (See "On the Defense," page 74.)

E Social Dynamics Theories have always proliferated that the

undead function as a collective

force, from an army controlled by Satan to an insect-like

pheromone-driven hive to the most recent notion that they achieve

group consensus by telepathy. The truth is that zombies have no social

organization to speak of. There is no hierarchy, no chain of command,

no drive toward any type of collectivization. A horde of the undead,

regardless of size, regardless of appearance, is simply a mass of individuals.

If several hundred ghouls converge on a victim's location, it

is because each one is drawn by its own instinct. Zombies appear to be

unaware of one another. Individuals have never been observed to react

to the sight of one another at any range. This goes back to the question

of sense: How does a zombie distinguish between one of its own and

a human or other prey at the same range? The answer has yet to he

found. Zombies do avoid one another in the same way they avoid inanimate

objects. When they hump into one another, they make no attempt

to connect or communicate. Zombies feasting on the same corpse will

tug repeatedly on the meat in question rather than shove a competitor

out of the way. The only suggestion of communal effort is seen in notorious

swarm attacks: the moan of a ghoul calling others within earshot.

Once they hear the wail, other walking dead will almost always converge

on its source. An early study theorized that this was a deliberate

act, that a scout used its moan to signal the others to attack. However,

we now how that it happens purely by accident. The ghoul that moans

at the detection of prey does so as an instinctive reaction, not as an alert.

 

 

G. Hunting

 

Zombies are migratory organisms, with no regard for temtory or concept

of home. They will travel miles and perhaps, given time, cross

continents in their search for food. Their hunting pattern is random.

Ghouls will feed at night and during the day. They will stumble

through an area rather than deliberately searching it. Certain zones or

structures will not he singled out as more likely to contain prey. For

example, some have been known to search farmhouses and other rural

structures while others in the same group have moved by without even

a glance. Urban zones take more time to explore, which is why the

undead remain longer in these areas, hut no building will take precedence

over another. Zombies appear to be totally unaware of their sur

roundings. They do not, for example, move their eyes in a way that

would take in the information of a new setting. Shuffling silently, with

a thousand-yard stare, they will wander aimlessly, regardless of location,

until prey is detected. As discussed earlier, the undead possess an

uncauny ability to home in on a victim's precise location. Once contact

is made, the previously silent, oblivious automaton transforms into

something more closely related to a guided missile. The head turns

immediately in the direction of its victim. The jaw drops, lips retract,

and, from the depths of its diaphragm, comes the moan. Once contact

is made, zombies cannot be distracted by any means. They will continue

to pursue their prey, stopping only if they lose contact, make a

successful kill, or are destroyed.

 

 

H. Motivation

 

Why do the undead prey upon the living? If it has been proven that

human flesh serves no nutritional purpose, why does their instinct

drive them to murder? The truth eludes us. Modem science, combined

with historical data, has shown that living humans are not the only

delights on the undead menu. Rescue teams entering an infested area

have consistently reported them stripped of all life. Any creatures, no

matter what their size or species, will he consumed by an attacking

zombie. Human flesh, however, will always he preferable to other life

forms. One experiment presented a captured specimen with two identical

cubes of meat: one human, one animal. The zombie repeatedly

chose the human. Reasons for this are still unknown. What can be confirmed,

beyond any shadow of doubt, is that instinct brought on by

Solanum drives the undead to kill and devour any living creature they

discover. There appear to be no exceptions.

 

 

I. Killing the Dead

While destroying a zombie may be simple, it is far from easy. As we

have seen, zombies require none of the physiological functions that

humans need to survive. Destruction or severe damage of the circulatory,

digestive, or respiratory system would do nothing to a member of

the walking dead, as these functions no

longer support the brain. Simply put, there

are thousands of ways to kill a humanand

only one to kill a zombie. The brain

must be obliterated, by any means possible.

 

 

J. Disposal

 

Studies have shown that Solanum can still

inhabit the body of a terminated zombie for

up to fortyeight hours. Exercise extreme

care when disposing of undead corpses.

The head in particular possesses the most

serious hazard, given its concentration of

the virus. Never handle an undead corpse

without protective clothing. Treat it as you

would any toxic, highly lethal material. Cremation is the safest, most

effective way of disposal. Despite rumors that a pile of burning corpses

will spread Solannm in a cloud of smoking plague, common sense

would dictate that any virus is unable to survive intense heat, to say

nothing of an open flame.

 

 

K. Domestication?

 

To reiterate, the zombie brain has proved, so far, to he tamper-proof.

Experiments ranging from chemicals to surgery to electromagnetic

waves have yielded negative results. Behavioral modification therapy

and other such attempts to train the living dead like some kind of pack

animal have similarly met with failure. Again, the machine cannot be

rewired. It will exist as is, or it will not exist at all.

 

 

THE VOODOO ZOMBIE

 

If zombies are the creation of a virus and not black magic, then how

does this explain the so-called "voodoo zombie," a person who has died,

been raised from his grave, and is doomed to spend eternity as a slave

of the living? Yes, it is trne that the word "zombie" originally comes

from the Kimbnndn word "nzfimbe," a term describing a dead person's

soul, and yes, zombies and zombification are integral parts of the Afro-

Caribbean religion known as voodoo. However, the origin of their name

is the only similarity between the voodoo zombie and the viral zombie.

Although it is said that voodoo houngans (priests) can turn humans into

zombies by magical means, the practice is rooted in bard, undeniable

science. "Zombie powder," the tool used by the houngan for zombification,

contains a very powerful neurotoxin (the exact ingredients are a

closely guarded secret). The toxin temporarily paralyzes the human

nervous system, creating a state of extreme hibernation. With the heart,

lungs, and all other bodily functions operating at minimal levels, it

would be understandable if an inexperienced coroner declared the paralyzed

subject to be dead. Many humans have been buried while in such

a state, only to awaken screaming in the pitch darkness of their coffin.

So what makes this living human being a zombie? The answer is simple:

brain damage. Many who are buried alive quickly use up the air

inside their coffins. Those that are recovered (if they are lucky) almost

always suffer brain damage from lack of oxygen. These poor souls

shamble about with little cognitive skills, or, indeed, free will, and are

often mistaken for the living dead. How can yon distinguish a voodoo

zombie from the genuine article? The telltale signs are obvious.

 

1. Voodoo zombies show emotion. People suffering from zombie

powder-induced brain damage are still capable of all normal human

feelings. They smile, cry, even growl with anger if hurt or otherwise

provoked (something real zombies would never do).

 

2. Voodoo zombies exhibit thought. As has been stated before, when

a real zombie encounters you it will immediately home in like a

smart bomb. A voodoo zombie will take a moment to try to figure

out who or what you are. Maybe it will come toward you, maybe it

will recoil, maybe it will continue its observation as its damaged

brain attempts to analyze the information given it. What a voodoo

zombie will not do is raise its arms, drop its jaw, unleash a hellish

moan, and stumble directly toward you.

 

3. Voodoo zombies feel pain. A voodoo zombie that trips and falls

will undoubtedly hold its bruised knee and whimper. Likewise, one

already suffering from some other wound will nurse it, or, at the

very least, be aware of the wound's existence. Voodoo zombies will

not ignore deep gashes in their bodies like a real zombie would.

 

4. Voodoo zombies recognize fire. This is not to say that they are afraid

of open flames. Some that have suffered severe brain damage may not

remember what lire is. They will stop to examine it, perhaps even reach

out to touch it, hut they will recoil once they realize it causes pain.

 

5. Voodoo zombies recognize their surroundings. Unlike real zombies,

who only recognize prey, voodoo zombies will react to sudden

changes in light, sound, taste, and smell. Voodoo zombies have been

observed watching television or brightly flashing lights, listening to

music, cringing at thunder, and even taking notice of one another.

This last fact has been critical in several cases of mis-identification.

Had the zombies in question not reacted to each other (they looked

at each other, made noises, even touched each other's faces), they

might have been accidentally exterminated.

 

6. Voodoo zombies do NOT have bypersense. A human who has suffered

the debilitating effects of zombie powder is still a sightdependent

human. He cannot operate perfectly in the dark, hear a

footstep at 500 ya~dso, r smell a living being on the wind. Voodoo

zombies can actually be surprised by someone walking up behind

them. This is not recommended, however, as a frightened zombie

might react in anger.

 

7. Voodoo zombies can communicate. While this is not always the

case, many of these individuals can respond to audiovisual signals.

Many understand words; some even comprehend simple sentences.

Many voodoo zombies possess the ability to speak, simply, of

course, and rarely for extended conversations.

 

8. Voodoo zombies can be controlled. While not always true, many

brain damaged humans have lost much of their self-realization,

making them very susceptible to suggestion. Simply shouting for a

subject to halt or even go away can he enough to get rid of a voodoo

zombie. This has created the dangerous situation of confused people

believing they could control or train true zombies. Several times

headstrong humans have insisted they could simply command their

living dead attackers to stop. As cold, rotting hands grabbed their

limbs and dirty, worn teeth bit into their flesh, these people discovered,

too late, what they were truly dealing with.

 

These guidelines should give you a good idea of how to tell a voodoo

zombie from a true zombie. One final note: Voodoo zombies are

almost always encountered in sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean,

Central and South America, and the southern United States.

Although it is not impossible to find someone who has been turned

into a zombie by a houngan elsewhere, the chances of such an

encounter are slim.

 

 

THE HOLLYWOOD ZOMBIE

Since the living dead first stepped onto the silver screen, their greatest

enemy has not been hunters, but critics. Scholars, scientists, even concerned

citizens have all argued that these movies depict the living dead

in a fantastic, unrealistic fashion. Visually stunning weapons, physically

impossible action sequences, larger-than-life human characters,

and, above all, magical, invincible, even comical ghouls have all added

their colors to the controversial rainbow that is "the Zombie Movie."

Further criticism argues that this "style over substance" approach to

somnambulist cinema teaches human viewers lessons that may get

them killed in a real encounter. These serious charges demand an

equally serious defense. While some zombie movies are based on

actual events*, their goal, indeed the goal of almost every movie in

every genre, has always been, first and foremost, to entertain. Unless

we are discussing pure documentaries (and even some of those are

"sweetened"), moviemakers must take some artistic license to make

their work more palatable to the audience. Even movies that are based

on actual events will sacrifice pure reality for good storytelling.

 

Certain characters will be an amalgam of real-life individuals. Others

may be purely fictional in order to explain certain facts, facilitate the

plotline, or simply add flavor to the scene. One might argue that the

role of the artist is to challenge, educate, and enlighten her audience.

That may be true, but try imparting knowledge to an audience who has

either left or fallen asleep within the first ten minutes of the picture.

Accept this basic rule of moviemaking and you will understand why

Hollywood zombie films stray, in some cases wildly, from the reality

on which they are based. In short, use these photo-plays as their makers

intended: as a source of temporary, lighthearted entertainment and

not a visual aid to your survival.

 

 

OUTBREAKS

 

Although each zombie attack is different, given the number, terrain,

reaction of the general populace, etc., its level of intensity can be measured

in four distinct classes.

*At the behest of the filmmakers andlor their estates, the titles of those movies based on me-life stories have been omitted.

 

CLASS 1

This is a low-level outbreak, usually in a Third World country or First

World rural area. The number of zombies in this class of outbreak

ranges between one and twenty. Total human casualties (including

those infected) range from one to fifty. The total duration, from the fist

case to the last (known), will range between twenty-four hours and

fourteen days. The infested area will be small, no larger than a twentymile

radius. In many cases, natural boundaries will determine its limits.

Response will he light, either exclusively civilian or with some

additional help from local law enforcement. Media coverage will be

light, if present at all. If the media is present, look for common stories

like homicides or "accidents." This is the most common type of outbreak

and also the easiest to go unnoticed.

 

CLASS 2

Urban or densely populated mral areas are included in this level of outbreak.

Total zombies will range between twenty and one hundred.

Total human casualties may reach as high as several hundred. The

duration of a Class 2 attack may last no longer than a Class 1 outbreak.

In some cases, the larger number of zombies will spark a more immediate

response. A rural, sparsely populated outbreak may extend to a

hundred-mile radius, while an urban outbreak may encompass only

several blocks. Suppression will almost certainly be organized. Bands

of civilians will be replaced by local, state, even federal law enforcement.

Look for an additional, if low-level, military response, the

National Guard in the United States or its equivalent abroad. Most

often, so as to ease panic, these units will take a more noncombatant

role, providing medical assistance, crowd control, and logistical support.

Class 2 outbreaks almost always attract the press. Unless the

attack occurs in a huly isolated area of the world, or one where the

media is strictly controlled, the story will he reported. This does not

mean, however, that it will be reported acc~lrately.

 

CLASS 3

A hue crisis. Class 3 outbreaks, more than any other, demonstrate the

clear threat posed by the living dead. Zombies will number in the thousands,

encompassing an area of several hundred miles. The duration of

the attack and a possible lengthy mop-up process could last as long as

several months. There will be no chance for a press blackout or coverup.

Even without media attention, the sheer magnitude of the attack will

leave too many eyewitnesses. This is a full-blown battle, with law

enforcement replaced by units of the regular military. A state of emergency

will be declared for the infested zone, as well as the neighboring

areas. Expect martial law, restricted travel, rationed supplies, federalized

services, and strictly monitored communication. All these measures,

however, will take time to implement. The initial phase will be

one of chaos as those in power come to grips with the crisis. Riots, looting,

and widespread panic will add to their difficulties, further delaying

an effective response. While this is happening, those living withm the

infested area will be at the mercy of the undead. Isolated, abandoned,

and surrounded by ghouls, they will have only themselves to depend on.

 

CLASS 4

(See "Living in an Undead World," pages 154-81.)

 

DETECTION

Every undead outbreak, regardless of its class, has a beginning. Now

that the enemy has been defined, the next step is early warning.

Knowing what a zombie is will not help if you are unable to recognize

an outbreak before it's too late. This does not entail building a "zombie

command post" in your basement, sticking pins in a map, and huddling

around the shortwave radio. All it requires is looking for signs

that would slip by the untrained mind. These signs include:

 

1. Homicides in which the victims were executed by head shots or

decapitation. It has happened many times: People recognize an outbreak

for what it is and try to take matters into their own hands.

Almost always, these people are declared murderers by the local

authorities and prosecuted as such.

 

2. Missing persons, particularly in wilderness or uninhabited areas.

Pay careful attention if one or more of the search members end up

missing. If the story is televised or photographed, watch to see what

level of armament the search parties carry. Any more than one rifle

per group could mean that this is more than just a simple rescue

operation.

 

3. Cases of "violent insanity" in which the subject attacked friends or

family without the use of weapons. Find out if the attacker bit or

tried to bite his victims. If so, are any of the victims still in the hospital?

Try to discover if any of these victims mysteriously died

within days of their bite.

 

4. Riots or other civil disturbances that began without provocation or

other logical cause. Common sense will dictate that violence on any

group level does not simply occur without a catalyst such as racial

tension, political actions, or legal decisions. Even so-called "mass

hysteria" can always be traced to a root source. If none can be

found, the answer may lie elsewhere.

 

5. Disease-based deaths in which either the cause is undetermined or

seems highly suspect. Deaths from infectious disease are rare in the

industrialized world, compared to a century ago. For this reason,

new outbreaks always make the news. Look for those cases in

which the exact nature of the disease is unexplained. Also, be on the

alert for suspicious explanations such as West Nile virus or "mad

cow" disease. Either could be examples of a cover-up.

 

6. Any of the above in which media coverage was forbidden. A total

press blackout is rare in the United States. The occurrence of one

should be regarded as an immediate red flag. Of course, there may

be many reasons other than an attack of the living dead. Then again,

any event causing a govemment as media-conscious as our own to

clamp down merits close attention. The truth, no matter what it is,

cannot be good.

 

Once an event has tripped your sensors, keep track of it. Note the

location, and its distance from you. Watch for similar incidents around

or near the original site. If, within a few days or weeks, these incidents

do occur, study them carefully. Note the response of law enforcement

and other govemment agencies. If they react more forcefully with each

occurrence, chances are that an outbreak is unfolding.

Hyperlinks are your friend. :(

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also: Can you imagine what a quote tree would look like with this baby?! :-"

 

 

I'm having trouble seeing it, personally.

 

 

No, I think... I see it now.

Are you sure?

 

One must be absolutely certain in these matters, for they are not to be trifled with.

I'd just like to say...I'm sorry. :-"

Oh, you're quite forgiven LoneWolf.

 

It is Christmas after all!

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Dudes, you should start by defining what a zombie is, how they spread and what its weak points are.  I see head boinking and what to use/not to use but no details.

 

For example you may want to tell the dudes if melee's a bad idea because the zombie virus/bacteria and other general infections from decaying flesh would be nasty if it gets on you from fluid contact.

 

Sorry for the formatting but im not going to type out 30 pages by hand.

 

THE UNDEAD: MYTHS AND REALITIES

 

He comes from the grave, his body a home of worms andjilth. No life in

his eyes, no warmth of his shn, no beating of his breast. His soul, as

empty and dark as the night sky. He laughs at the blade, spits at the

arrow, for they will not harm hisflesh. For eternity, he will walk the

earth, smelling the sweet blood of the living, feasting upon the bones of

the damned. Beware, for he is the living dead.

 

ZOM-BZE: (Zom'be) n. also ZOM-BIES pl. I. An animated corpse that

feeds on living humanjlesh. 2. A voodoo spell that raises the dead. 3.

A Voodoo snake god. 4. One who moves or acts in a daze "like a zombie."

[a word of West African origin]

 

What is a zombie? How are they created? What are their strengths and

weaknesses? What are their needs, their desires? Why are they hostile

to humanity? Before discussing any survival techniques, you must first

learn what you are trying to survive.

We must begin by separating fact from fiction. The walking dead

are neither a work of "black magic" nor any other supernatural force.

Their origin stems from a virus known as Solanum, a Latin word used

by Jan Vanderhaven, who fust "discovered" the disease.

 

SOLANUM: THE VIRUS

 

Solannm works by traveling through the bloodstream, from the initial

point of entry to the brain. Through means not yet fully understood,

the virus uses the cells of the frontal lobe for replication, destroying

them in the process. During this period, all bodily functions cease. By

stopping the heart, the infected subject is rendered ''dead." The brain,

however, remains alive hut dormant, while the virus mutates its cells

into a completely new organ. The most critical trait of this new organ

is its independence from oxygen. By removing the need for this allimportant

resource, the nndead brain can utilize, but is in no way

dependent upon, the complex support mechanism of the human body.

Once mutation is complete, this new organ reanimates the body into a

form that bears little resemblance (physiologically speaking) to the

original corpse. Some bodily functions remain constant, others operate

in a modified capacity, and the remainder shut down completely.

This new organism is a zombie, a member of the living dead.

 

 

1. SOURCE

U~~fortunateleyx, tensive research has yet to find an isolated example

of Solanum in nature. Water, air, and soil in all ecosystems, from all

parts of the world, have turned up negative, as have their accompanying

flora and fauna. At the time of this writing, the search continues.

 

2. SYMPTOMS

The timetable below outlines the process of an infected human (give

or take several hours, depending on the individual).

 

Hour 1: Pain and discoloration (brown-puple) of the infected area Immediate

clotting of the wound @rovided the infection came h m a wound).

Hour 5: Fever (99-103 degrees F), chills, slight dementia, vomiting,

acute pain in the joints.

Hour 8: Numbing of extremities and infected area, increased fever

(103-106 degrees F), increased dementia, loss of muscular coordination.

Hour 11: Paralysis in the lower body, overall numbness, slowed heart

rate.

Hour 16: Coma.

Hour 20: Heart stoppage. Zero brain activity

Hour 23: Reanimation.

 

 

3. TRANSFERENCE

 

Solanum is 100 percent communicahle and 100 percent fatal.

Fortunately for the human race, the virus is neither waterborne nor airborne.

Humans have never been known to contract the virus from elements

in nature. Infection can occur only through direct fluidic

contact. A zombie bite, although by far the most recognizable means

of transference, is by no means the only one. Humans have been

infected by brushing their open wounds against those of a zombie or

by being splattered by its remains after an explosion. Ingestion of

infected flesh (provided the person has no open mouth sores), however,

results in pemanent death rather than infection. Infected flesh has

proven to be highly toxic.

 

No infomation-historical, experimental, or othenvise-has surfaced

regarding the results of sexual relations with an undead specimen,

but as previously noted, the nature of Solanum suggests a high

danger of infection. Warning against such an act would be useless, as

the only people deranged enough to try would he unconcerned for their

own safety. Many have argued that, given the congealed nature of

undead bodily fluids, the chances of infection from a non-bite contact

should be low. However, it must be remembered that even one organism

is enough to begin the cycle.

 

 

4. CROSS-SPECIES INFECTION

 

Solannm is fatal to all living creatures, regardless of size, species, or

ecosystem. Reanimation, however, takes place only in humans. Studies

have shown that Solanum infecting a non-human brain will die within

hours of the death of its host, making the carcass safe to handle.

Infected animals expire before the virus can replicate throughout their

bodies. Infection from insect bites such as from mosquitoes can also

he discounted. Experiments have proven that all parasitic insects can

sense and will reject an infected host 100 percent of the time.

 

 

5. TREATMENT

 

Once a human is infected, little can be done to save him or her. Because

Solanum is a virus and not a bacteria, antibiotics have no effect.

Immunization, the only way to combat a virus, is equally useless, as even

the most minute dosage will lead to a full-blown infection. Genetic

research is under way. Goals range from stronger human antibodies to

resistant cell structure to a counter-virus designed to identify and destroy

Solanum. This and other, more radical treatments are still in the earliest

stages, with no foreseeable success in the near future. Battlefield experiences

have led to the immediate severing of the infected limb (provided

this is the location of the bite), but such treatments are dubious at best,

with less than a 10 percent success rate.

 

Chances are, the infected human

was doomed from the moment the virus entered his or her system.

Should the infected human choose suicide, he should remember that the

brain must be eliminated first. Cases have been recorded in which

recently infected subjects, deceased by means other than the virus, will

nonetheless reanimate. Such cases usually occur when the subject

expires after the fifth hour of infection. Regardless, any person killed

after being bitten or otherwise infected by the undead should be immediately

disposed of. (See "Disposal," page 19.)

 

 

6. REANIMATING THE ALREADY DECEASED

 

It has been suggested that fresh human corpses could reanimate if

Solanum were introduced after their demise. This is a fallacy. Zombies

ignore necrotic flesh and therefore could not transfer the virus.

Experiments conducted during and after World War I1 (see "Recorded

Attacks," pages 216m have proven that injecting Solanum into a

cadaver would be futile because a stagnant bloodstream could not

transport the virus to the brain. Injection directly into a dead brain

would be equally useless, as the expired cells could not respond to the

virus. Solanum does not create life-it alters it.

 

 

ZOMBIE ATTRIBUTES

 

1. PHYSICAL ABILITIES

Too often, the undead have been said to possess superhuman powers:

unusual strength, lightning speed, telepathy, etc. Stories range from

zombies flying through the air to their scaling vertical surfaces like spiders.

While these traits might make for fascinating drama, the individual

ghoul is far from a magical, omnipotent demon. Never forget that

the body of the undead is, for all practical purposes, human. What

changes do occur are in the way this new, reanimated body is used by

the now-infected brain. There is no way a zombie could fly unless the

human it used to be could fly. The same goes for projecting force

fields, telepottation, moving through solid objects, transforming into a

wolf, breathing fire, or a variety of other mystical talents amibuted to

the walking dead. Imagine the human body as a tool kit. The somnambulist

brain has those tools, and only those tools, at its disposal. It

cannot create new ones out of thin air. But it can, as you will see, use

these tools in unconventional combinations, or push their durability

beyond normal human limits.

 

 

A. Sight

 

The eyes of a zombie are no different than those of a normal human.

While still capable (given their rate of decomposition) of transmitting

visual signals to the brain, how the brain interprets these signals is

another matter. Studies are inconclusive regarding the undead's visual

abilities. They can spot prey at distances comparable to a human, but

whether they can distinguish a human from one of their own is still up

for debate. One theory suggests that the movements made by humans,

which are quicker and smoother than those of the undead, is what

causes them to stand out to the zombie eye. Experiments have been

done in which humans have attempted to confuse approaching ghouls

by mimicking their motions and adopting a shambling, awkward limp.

To date, none of these attempts have succeeded. It has been suggested

that zombies possess night vision, a fact that explains their skill at nocturnal

hunting. This theory has been debunked by the fact that all zombies

are expert night feeders, even those without eyes.

 

B. Sound

 

There is no question that zombies have excellent hearing. Not only can

they detect sound-they can determine its direction. The basic range

appears to be the same as that for humans. Experiments with extreme

high and low frequencies have yielded negative results. Tests have also

shown that zombies are attracted by any sounds, not just those made

by living creatures. It has been recorded that ghouls will notice sounds

ignored by living humans. The most likely, if unproven, explanation is

that zombies depend on all their senses equally. Humans are sightoriented

from birth, depending on other senses only if the primary one

is lost. Perhaps this is not a handicap shared by the walking dead. If

so, it would explain their ability to hunt, fight, and feed in total darkness.

 

 

C. Smell

 

Unlike with sound, the undead have a more acute sense of smell. In

both combat situations and laboratory tests, they have been able to distinguish

the smell of living prey above all others. In many cases, and

given ideal wind conditions, zomhies have been known to smell fresh

corpses from a distance of more than a mile. Again, this does not mean

that ghouls have a greater sense of smell than humans, simply that they

rely on it more. It is not known exactly what particular secretion signals

the presence of prey: sweat, pheromones, blood, etc. In the past,

people seeking to move undetected through infested areas have

attempted to "mask" their human scent with perfumes, deodorants, or

other strong-smelling chemicals. None were successful. Experiments

are now under way to synthesize the smells of living creatures as a

decoy or even repellent to the walking dead. A successful product is

still years away.

 

 

D. Taste

 

Little is known about the altered taste buds of the walking dead.

Zombies do have the ability to tell human flesh apart from that of animals,

and they prefer the former. Ghouls also have a remarkable ability

to reject carrion in favor of freshly killed meat. A human body that

has been dead longer than twelve to eighteen hours will be rejected as

food. The same goes for cadavers that have been embalmed or otherwise

preserved. Whether this has anything to do with "taste" is not yet

certain. It may have to do with smell or, perhaps, another instinct that

has not been discovered. As to exactly why human flesh is preferable,

science has yet to find an answer to this confounding, frustrating, terrifying

question.

 

 

E. Touch

 

Zombies have, literally, no physical sensations. All nerve receptors

throughout the body remain dead after reanimation. This is truly their

greatest and most temfying advantage over the living. We, as humans,

have the ability to experience physical pain as a signal of bodily damage.

Our brain classifies such sensations, matches them to the experience

that instigated them, and then files the information away for use

as a warning against future ham. It is this gift of physiology and

instinct that has allowed us to survive as a species. It is why we value

virtues such as courage, which inspires people to perform actions

despite warnings of danger. The inability to recognize and avoid pain

is what makes the waking dead so formidable. Wounds will not be

noticed and, therefore, will not deter an attack. Even if a zombie's

body is severely damaged, it will continue to attack until nothing

remains.

 

 

E Sixth Sense

 

Historical research, coupled with laboratory and field observation,

have shown that the walking dead have been known to attack even

when all their sensory organs have been damaged or completely

decomposed. Does this mean that zombies possess a sixth sense?

Perhaps. Living humans use less than 5 percent of their brain capacity.

It is possible that the virus can stimulate another sensoly ability that

has been forgotten by evolution. This theory is one of the most hotly

debated in the war against the undead. So far, no scientific evidence

has been found to suppoa either side.

 

 

G. Healing

 

Despite legends and ancient folklore, undead physiology has been

proven to possess no powers of regeneration. Cells that are damaged

stay damaged. Any wounds, no matter what their size and nature, will

remain for the duration of that body's reanimation. A variety of medical

treatments have been attempted to stimulate the healing process in

captured ghouls. None were successful. This inability to self-repair,

something that we as living beings take for granted, is a severe disadvantage

to the undead. For example, every time we physically exert

ourselves, we tear our muscles. With time, these muscles rebuild to a

stronger state than before. A ghoul's muscle mass will remain damaged,

reducing its effectiveness every time it is used.

 

 

H. Decomposition

 

The average zombie "life span"-how long it is able to function before

completely rotting away-is estimated at three to five years. As fantastic

as this sounds-a human corpse able to ward off the natural

effects of decay-its cause is rooted in basic biology. When a human

body dies, its flesh is immediately set upon by billions of microscopic

organisms. These organisms were always present, in the external environment

arid within the body itself. In life, the immune system stood

as a harrier between these organisms and their target. In death, that barrier

is removed. The organisms begin multiplying exponentially as

they proceed to eat and, thereby, break down the corpse on a cellular

level. The smell and discoloration associated with any decaying meat

are the biological process of these microbes at work. When you order

an "aged" steak, you are ordering a piece of meat that has begun to rot,

its formerly toughened flesh softened by microorganisms breaking

down its sturdy fiber. Within a short time, that steak, like a human

corpse, will dissolve to nothing, leaving behind only material too hard

or innutritious for any microbe, such as hone, teeth, nails, and hair.

This is the normal cycle of life, nature's way of recycling nutrients

back into the food chain. To halt this process, and preserve dead tissue,

it is necessary to place it in an environment unsuitable for bacteria,

such as in extreme low or high temperatures, in toxic chemicals

such as formaldehyde, or, in this case, to saturate it with Solanum.

Almost all the microbe species involved in normal human decomposition

have repeatedly rejected flesh infected by the virus, effecThe

tively embalming the zombie. Were this not the case, combating the

living dead would be as easy as avoiding them for several weeks or

even days until they rotted away to hones. Research has yet to discover

the exact cause of this condition. It has been determined that at least

some microbe species ignore the repelling effects of Solanum-otherwise,

the undead would remain perfectly preserved forever. It has also

been determined that natural conditions such as moisture and temperature

play an important role as well. Undead that prowl the bayous of

Louisiana are unlikely to last as long as those in the cold, dry Gobi

desert. Extreme situations, such as deep freezing or immersion in -

preservative fluid, could, hypothetically, allow an undead specimen to

exist indef~telyT. hese techniques have been known to allow zombies

to function for decades, if not centuries. (See "Recorded Attacks,"

pages 193ff.) Decomposition does not mean that a member of the

walking dead will simply drop. Decay may affect various parts of the

body at different times. Specimens have been found with brains intact

but nearly disintegrated bodies. Others with partially rotted brains may

control some bodily functions but be completely paalyzed in others.

A popular theory has recently circulated that attempts to explain the

story of the ancient Egyptian mummy as one of the first examples of

an embalmed zombie. The preservation techniques allowed it to fuuction

several thousand years after being entombed. Anyone with a rudimentary

knowledge of ancient Egypt would find this story almost

laughably untrue: The most important and complicated step in preparing

a pharaoh for burial was the removal of the brain!

 

 

I. Digestion

 

Recent evidence has once and for all mscounted the theory that human

flesh is the fuel for the undead. A zombie's digestive tract is completely

dormant. The complex system that processes food, extracts nutrition,

and excretes waste does not factor into a zombie's physiology. Autopsies

conducted on neutralized undead have shown that their "food" lies in its

original, undigested state at all sections of the tract. This partially

chewed, slowly rotting matter will continue to accumulate, as the zom12

hie devours more victims, until it is forced through the anus, or literally

bursts through the stomach or intestinal lining. While this more dramatic

example of non-digestion is rare, hundreds of eyewitness reports have

confirmed undead to have distended bellies. One captured and dissected

specimen was found to contain 21 1 pounds of flesh within its system!

Even rarer accounts have confirmed that zombies continue to feed long

after their digestive tracts have exploded from within.

 

 

J. Respiration

 

The lungs of the undead continue to function in that they draw air into

and expel it from the hody. This function accounts for a zombie's signature

moan. What the lungs and body chemistry fail to accomplish,

however, is to extract oxygen and remove carbon dioxide. Given that

Solanum obviates the need for both of these functions, the entire

human respiratory system is obsolete in the hody of a ghoul. This

explains how the living dead can "walk underwater" or survive in environments

lethal to humans. Their brains, as noted earlier, are oxygenindependent.

 

 

K. Circulation

 

It would be inaccurate to say that zomhies have no heart. It would not

he inaccurate, however, to say that they find no use for it. The circulatory

system of the undead is little more than a network of useless tubes

filled with congealed hlood. The same applies to the lymphatic system

as well as all other bodily fluids. Although this mutation would appear

to give the undead one more advantage over humanity, it has actually

proved to he a godsend. The lack of fluid mass prevents easy transmission

of the virus. Were this not true, hand-to-hand combat would

he nearly impossible, as the defending human would almost certainly

he splattered with hlood andlor other fluids.

 

 

L. Reproduction

 

Zombies are sterile creatures. Their sexual organs are necrotic and

impotent. Attempts have been made to fertilize zombie eggs with

human sperm and vice versa. None has been succcssful. The undead

have also shown no signs of sexual desire, either for their own

species or for the living. Until research can prove otherwise, humanity's

greatest fear-the dead reproducing the dead-is a comforting

impossibility.

 

M. Strength

 

Ghouls possess the same brute force as the living. What power can be

exerted depends greatly on the individual zombie. What muscle mass

a person has in life would be all he possesses in death. Unlike a living

body, adrenal glands have not been known to function in the dead,

denying zombies the temporary burst of power we humans enjoy. The

one solid advantage the living dead do possess is amazing stamina.

Imagine working out, or any other act of physical exertion. Chances

are that pain and exhaustion will dictate your limits. These factors do

not apply to the dead. They will continue an act, with the same

dynamic energy, until the muscles supporting it literally disintegrate.

i

f While this makes for progressively weaker ghouls, it allows for an allpowerful

first attack. Many barricades that would have exhausted three 1 or even four physically fit humans have fallen to a single determined

zombie.

 

N. Speed

 

The "walking" dead tend to move at a slouch or limp. Even without

injuries or advanced decomposition, their lack of coordination makes

for an unsteady suide. Speed is mainly determined by leg length. Taller

ghouls have longer strides than their shorter counterparts. Zombies

appear to be incapable of running. The fastest have been observed to

move at a rate of barely one step per 1.5 seconds. Again, as with

strength, the dead's advantage over the living is their tirelessness.

Humans who believe they have outrun their nndead pursuers might do

well to remember the story of the tortoise and the hare, adding, of

course, that in this instance the hare stands a good chance of being

eaten alive.

 

 

0. Agility

 

The average living human possesses a dexterity level 90 percent

greater than the strongest ghoul. Some of this comes from the general

stiffness of necrotic muscle tissue (hence their awkward stride). The

rest is due to their primitive brain functions. Zomhies have little handeye

coordination, one of their greatest weaknesses. No one has ever

observed a zombie jumping, either from one spot to another or simply

up and down. Balancing on a narrow surface is similarly beyond their

ahility. Swimming is also a skill reserved for the living. The theory has

been put forth that, if an undead corpse were to he bloated enough to

rise to the surface, it could present a floating hazard. This is rare, however,

as the slow rate of decomposition would not allow by-product gas

to accumulate. Zombies who walk or fall into bodies of water will

more likely find themselves wandering aimlessly across the bottom

until eventually dissolving. They can be successful climbers, but only

in certain circumstances. If zombies perceive prey above them, for

example, in the second story of a house, they will always attempt to

climb to it. Zombies will try to scale any surface no matter how

unfeasahle or even impossible. In all but the easiest situations, these

attempts have met with failure. Even in the case of ladders, when simple

hand-over-hand coordination is required, only one in four zombies

will succeed.

 

 

2. BEHAWOWLPA TTERNS

 

A. Intelligence

 

It has been proven, time and again, that our greatest advantage over the

undead is our ahility to think. The mental capacity of the average zombie

ranks somewhere beneath that of an insect. On no occasion have

they shown any ability to reason or employ logic. Attempting to

accomplish a task, failing, then by trial and error discovering a new

solution, is a skill shared by many members of the animal kingdom hut

lost on the walking dead. Zombies have repeatedly failed laboratory

intelligence tests set at the level of rodents. One field case showed a

human standing at one end of a collapsed bridge with several dozen

zombies on the orher side. One by one, the walking dead tumbled over

the edge in a futile attempt to reach him. At no time did any of them

realize what was happening and change their tactics in any way.

Contrruy to myth and speculation, zombies have never been observed

using tools of any kind. Even picking up a rock to use as a weapon is

beyond their grasp. This simple task would prove the basic thought

process involved in realizing that the rock is a more efficient weapon

than the naked hand. Ironically, the age of artificial intelligence has

enabled us to identify more easily with the mind of the zombie than

that of our more "primitive" ancestors. With care exceptions, even the

most advanced computers do not have the ability to think on their own.

They do what they are programmed to do, nothing more. Imagine a

computer programmed to execute one function. This function cannot

be paused, modified, or erased. No new data can be stored. No new

commands can he installed. This computer will perform that one function,

over and over, until its power source eventually shuts down. This

is the zombie brain. An instinct-driven, unitask machine that is impervious

to tampering and can only be destroyed.

 

B. Emotions

 

Feelings of any kind are not known to the walking dead. Every form

of psychological warfare, from attempts at enraging the undead to provoking

pity have all met with disaster. Joy, sadness, confidence, anxiety,

love, hatred, fear-all of these feelings and thousands more that

make up the human "heart" are as useless to the living dead as the

organ of the same name. Who knows if this is humanity's greatest

weakness or strength? The debate continues, and probably will forever.

 

 

C. Memories

 

A modem conceit is that a zombie retains the knowledge of its former

life. We hear stories of the dead returning to their places of residence

or work, operating familiar machinery, or even showing acts of mercy

to loved ones. In trnth, not a shred of proof exists to support this wishful

thinking. Zombies could not possibly retain memories of their for

mer lives in either the conscious or subconscious mind, because neither

exist! A ghoul will not be distracted by the family pet, living relatives,

familiar surroundings, etc. No matter who a person was in his

former life, that person is gone, replaced by a mindless automaton with

no instinct other than for feeding. This begs the question: Why do zombies

prefer urban areas to the countryside? First, the undead do not prefer

cities, but simply remain where they are reanimated. Second, the

main reason zomhies tend to stay in cities instead of fanning out into

the countryside is because an urban zone holds the highest concentration

of prey.

 

 

D. Physical Needs

 

Other than hunger (discussed later), the dead have shown none of the

physical wants or needs expressed in mortal life. Zombies have never

been observed to sleep or rest under any circumstances. They have not

reacted to extreme heat or cold. In harsh weather, they have never

sought shelter. Even something as simple as thirst is unknown to the

living dead. Defying all laws of science, Solanum has created what

could be described as a completely self-sufficient organism.

 

 

E. Communication

 

Zombies have no language skills. Although their vocal cords are capable

of speech, their brain is not. The only vocal ability appears to be a

deep-throated moan. This moan is released when zombies identify prey.

The sound will remain low and steady until physical contact is made. It

will then shift in tone and volume as the zombie commences its attack.

This eerie sound, so typically associated with the walking dead, serves

as a rallying cry for other zombies and, as has been recently discovered,

is a potent psychological weapon. (See "On the Defense," page 74.)

E Social Dynamics Theories have always proliferated that the

undead function as a collective

force, from an army controlled by Satan to an insect-like

pheromone-driven hive to the most recent notion that they achieve

group consensus by telepathy. The truth is that zombies have no social

organization to speak of. There is no hierarchy, no chain of command,

no drive toward any type of collectivization. A horde of the undead,

regardless of size, regardless of appearance, is simply a mass of individuals.

If several hundred ghouls converge on a victim's location, it

is because each one is drawn by its own instinct. Zombies appear to be

unaware of one another. Individuals have never been observed to react

to the sight of one another at any range. This goes back to the question

of sense: How does a zombie distinguish between one of its own and

a human or other prey at the same range? The answer has yet to he

found. Zombies do avoid one another in the same way they avoid inanimate

objects. When they hump into one another, they make no attempt

to connect or communicate. Zombies feasting on the same corpse will

tug repeatedly on the meat in question rather than shove a competitor

out of the way. The only suggestion of communal effort is seen in notorious

swarm attacks: the moan of a ghoul calling others within earshot.

Once they hear the wail, other walking dead will almost always converge

on its source. An early study theorized that this was a deliberate

act, that a scout used its moan to signal the others to attack. However,

we now how that it happens purely by accident. The ghoul that moans

at the detection of prey does so as an instinctive reaction, not as an alert.

 

 

G. Hunting

 

Zombies are migratory organisms, with no regard for temtory or concept

of home. They will travel miles and perhaps, given time, cross

continents in their search for food. Their hunting pattern is random.

Ghouls will feed at night and during the day. They will stumble

through an area rather than deliberately searching it. Certain zones or

structures will not he singled out as more likely to contain prey. For

example, some have been known to search farmhouses and other rural

structures while others in the same group have moved by without even

a glance. Urban zones take more time to explore, which is why the

undead remain longer in these areas, hut no building will take precedence

over another. Zombies appear to be totally unaware of their sur

roundings. They do not, for example, move their eyes in a way that

would take in the information of a new setting. Shuffling silently, with

a thousand-yard stare, they will wander aimlessly, regardless of location,

until prey is detected. As discussed earlier, the undead possess an

uncauny ability to home in on a victim's precise location. Once contact

is made, the previously silent, oblivious automaton transforms into

something more closely related to a guided missile. The head turns

immediately in the direction of its victim. The jaw drops, lips retract,

and, from the depths of its diaphragm, comes the moan. Once contact

is made, zombies cannot be distracted by any means. They will continue

to pursue their prey, stopping only if they lose contact, make a

successful kill, or are destroyed.

 

 

H. Motivation

 

Why do the undead prey upon the living? If it has been proven that

human flesh serves no nutritional purpose, why does their instinct

drive them to murder? The truth eludes us. Modem science, combined

with historical data, has shown that living humans are not the only

delights on the undead menu. Rescue teams entering an infested area

have consistently reported them stripped of all life. Any creatures, no

matter what their size or species, will he consumed by an attacking

zombie. Human flesh, however, will always he preferable to other life

forms. One experiment presented a captured specimen with two identical

cubes of meat: one human, one animal. The zombie repeatedly

chose the human. Reasons for this are still unknown. What can be confirmed,

beyond any shadow of doubt, is that instinct brought on by

Solanum drives the undead to kill and devour any living creature they

discover. There appear to be no exceptions.

 

 

I. Killing the Dead

While destroying a zombie may be simple, it is far from easy. As we

have seen, zombies require none of the physiological functions that

humans need to survive. Destruction or severe damage of the circulatory,

digestive, or respiratory system would do nothing to a member of

the walking dead, as these functions no

longer support the brain. Simply put, there

are thousands of ways to kill a humanand

only one to kill a zombie. The brain

must be obliterated, by any means possible.

 

 

J. Disposal

 

Studies have shown that Solanum can still

inhabit the body of a terminated zombie for

up to fortyeight hours. Exercise extreme

care when disposing of undead corpses.

The head in particular possesses the most

serious hazard, given its concentration of

the virus. Never handle an undead corpse

without protective clothing. Treat it as you

would any toxic, highly lethal material. Cremation is the safest, most

effective way of disposal. Despite rumors that a pile of burning corpses

will spread Solannm in a cloud of smoking plague, common sense

would dictate that any virus is unable to survive intense heat, to say

nothing of an open flame.

 

 

K. Domestication?

 

To reiterate, the zombie brain has proved, so far, to he tamper-proof.

Experiments ranging from chemicals to surgery to electromagnetic

waves have yielded negative results. Behavioral modification therapy

and other such attempts to train the living dead like some kind of pack

animal have similarly met with failure. Again, the machine cannot be

rewired. It will exist as is, or it will not exist at all.

 

 

THE VOODOO ZOMBIE

 

If zombies are the creation of a virus and not black magic, then how

does this explain the so-called "voodoo zombie," a person who has died,

been raised from his grave, and is doomed to spend eternity as a slave

of the living? Yes, it is trne that the word "zombie" originally comes

from the Kimbnndn word "nzfimbe," a term describing a dead person's

soul, and yes, zombies and zombification are integral parts of the Afro-

Caribbean religion known as voodoo. However, the origin of their name

is the only similarity between the voodoo zombie and the viral zombie.

Although it is said that voodoo houngans (priests) can turn humans into

zombies by magical means, the practice is rooted in bard, undeniable

science. "Zombie powder," the tool used by the houngan for zombification,

contains a very powerful neurotoxin (the exact ingredients are a

closely guarded secret). The toxin temporarily paralyzes the human

nervous system, creating a state of extreme hibernation. With the heart,

lungs, and all other bodily functions operating at minimal levels, it

would be understandable if an inexperienced coroner declared the paralyzed

subject to be dead. Many humans have been buried while in such

a state, only to awaken screaming in the pitch darkness of their coffin.

So what makes this living human being a zombie? The answer is simple:

brain damage. Many who are buried alive quickly use up the air

inside their coffins. Those that are recovered (if they are lucky) almost

always suffer brain damage from lack of oxygen. These poor souls

shamble about with little cognitive skills, or, indeed, free will, and are

often mistaken for the living dead. How can yon distinguish a voodoo

zombie from the genuine article? The telltale signs are obvious.

 

1. Voodoo zombies show emotion. People suffering from zombie

powder-induced brain damage are still capable of all normal human

feelings. They smile, cry, even growl with anger if hurt or otherwise

provoked (something real zombies would never do).

 

2. Voodoo zombies exhibit thought. As has been stated before, when

a real zombie encounters you it will immediately home in like a

smart bomb. A voodoo zombie will take a moment to try to figure

out who or what you are. Maybe it will come toward you, maybe it

will recoil, maybe it will continue its observation as its damaged

brain attempts to analyze the information given it. What a voodoo

zombie will not do is raise its arms, drop its jaw, unleash a hellish

moan, and stumble directly toward you.

 

3. Voodoo zombies feel pain. A voodoo zombie that trips and falls

will undoubtedly hold its bruised knee and whimper. Likewise, one

already suffering from some other wound will nurse it, or, at the

very least, be aware of the wound's existence. Voodoo zombies will

not ignore deep gashes in their bodies like a real zombie would.

 

4. Voodoo zombies recognize fire. This is not to say that they are afraid

of open flames. Some that have suffered severe brain damage may not

remember what lire is. They will stop to examine it, perhaps even reach

out to touch it, hut they will recoil once they realize it causes pain.

 

5. Voodoo zombies recognize their surroundings. Unlike real zombies,

who only recognize prey, voodoo zombies will react to sudden

changes in light, sound, taste, and smell. Voodoo zombies have been

observed watching television or brightly flashing lights, listening to

music, cringing at thunder, and even taking notice of one another.

This last fact has been critical in several cases of mis-identification.

Had the zombies in question not reacted to each other (they looked

at each other, made noises, even touched each other's faces), they

might have been accidentally exterminated.

 

6. Voodoo zombies do NOT have bypersense. A human who has suffered

the debilitating effects of zombie powder is still a sightdependent

human. He cannot operate perfectly in the dark, hear a

footstep at 500 ya~dso, r smell a living being on the wind. Voodoo

zombies can actually be surprised by someone walking up behind

them. This is not recommended, however, as a frightened zombie

might react in anger.

 

7. Voodoo zombies can communicate. While this is not always the

case, many of these individuals can respond to audiovisual signals.

Many understand words; some even comprehend simple sentences.

Many voodoo zombies possess the ability to speak, simply, of

course, and rarely for extended conversations.

 

8. Voodoo zombies can be controlled. While not always true, many

brain damaged humans have lost much of their self-realization,

making them very susceptible to suggestion. Simply shouting for a

subject to halt or even go away can he enough to get rid of a voodoo

zombie. This has created the dangerous situation of confused people

believing they could control or train true zombies. Several times

headstrong humans have insisted they could simply command their

living dead attackers to stop. As cold, rotting hands grabbed their

limbs and dirty, worn teeth bit into their flesh, these people discovered,

too late, what they were truly dealing with.

 

These guidelines should give you a good idea of how to tell a voodoo

zombie from a true zombie. One final note: Voodoo zombies are

almost always encountered in sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean,

Central and South America, and the southern United States.

Although it is not impossible to find someone who has been turned

into a zombie by a houngan elsewhere, the chances of such an

encounter are slim.

 

 

THE HOLLYWOOD ZOMBIE

Since the living dead first stepped onto the silver screen, their greatest

enemy has not been hunters, but critics. Scholars, scientists, even concerned

citizens have all argued that these movies depict the living dead

in a fantastic, unrealistic fashion. Visually stunning weapons, physically

impossible action sequences, larger-than-life human characters,

and, above all, magical, invincible, even comical ghouls have all added

their colors to the controversial rainbow that is "the Zombie Movie."

Further criticism argues that this "style over substance" approach to

somnambulist cinema teaches human viewers lessons that may get

them killed in a real encounter. These serious charges demand an

equally serious defense. While some zombie movies are based on

actual events*, their goal, indeed the goal of almost every movie in

every genre, has always been, first and foremost, to entertain. Unless

we are discussing pure documentaries (and even some of those are

"sweetened"), moviemakers must take some artistic license to make

their work more palatable to the audience. Even movies that are based

on actual events will sacrifice pure reality for good storytelling.

 

Certain characters will be an amalgam of real-life individuals. Others

may be purely fictional in order to explain certain facts, facilitate the

plotline, or simply add flavor to the scene. One might argue that the

role of the artist is to challenge, educate, and enlighten her audience.

That may be true, but try imparting knowledge to an audience who has

either left or fallen asleep within the first ten minutes of the picture.

Accept this basic rule of moviemaking and you will understand why

Hollywood zombie films stray, in some cases wildly, from the reality

on which they are based. In short, use these photo-plays as their makers

intended: as a source of temporary, lighthearted entertainment and

not a visual aid to your survival.

 

 

OUTBREAKS

 

Although each zombie attack is different, given the number, terrain,

reaction of the general populace, etc., its level of intensity can be measured

in four distinct classes.

*At the behest of the filmmakers andlor their estates, the titles of those movies based on me-life stories have been omitted.

 

CLASS 1

This is a low-level outbreak, usually in a Third World country or First

World rural area. The number of zombies in this class of outbreak

ranges between one and twenty. Total human casualties (including

those infected) range from one to fifty. The total duration, from the fist

case to the last (known), will range between twenty-four hours and

fourteen days. The infested area will be small, no larger than a twentymile

radius. In many cases, natural boundaries will determine its limits.

Response will he light, either exclusively civilian or with some

additional help from local law enforcement. Media coverage will be

light, if present at all. If the media is present, look for common stories

like homicides or "accidents." This is the most common type of outbreak

and also the easiest to go unnoticed.

 

CLASS 2

Urban or densely populated mral areas are included in this level of outbreak.

Total zombies will range between twenty and one hundred.

Total human casualties may reach as high as several hundred. The

duration of a Class 2 attack may last no longer than a Class 1 outbreak.

In some cases, the larger number of zombies will spark a more immediate

response. A rural, sparsely populated outbreak may extend to a

hundred-mile radius, while an urban outbreak may encompass only

several blocks. Suppression will almost certainly be organized. Bands

of civilians will be replaced by local, state, even federal law enforcement.

Look for an additional, if low-level, military response, the

National Guard in the United States or its equivalent abroad. Most

often, so as to ease panic, these units will take a more noncombatant

role, providing medical assistance, crowd control, and logistical support.

Class 2 outbreaks almost always attract the press. Unless the

attack occurs in a huly isolated area of the world, or one where the

media is strictly controlled, the story will he reported. This does not

mean, however, that it will be reported acc~lrately.

 

CLASS 3

A hue crisis. Class 3 outbreaks, more than any other, demonstrate the

clear threat posed by the living dead. Zombies will number in the thousands,

encompassing an area of several hundred miles. The duration of

the attack and a possible lengthy mop-up process could last as long as

several months. There will be no chance for a press blackout or coverup.

Even without media attention, the sheer magnitude of the attack will

leave too many eyewitnesses. This is a full-blown battle, with law

enforcement replaced by units of the regular military. A state of emergency

will be declared for the infested zone, as well as the neighboring

areas. Expect martial law, restricted travel, rationed supplies, federalized

services, and strictly monitored communication. All these measures,

however, will take time to implement. The initial phase will be

one of chaos as those in power come to grips with the crisis. Riots, looting,

and widespread panic will add to their difficulties, further delaying

an effective response. While this is happening, those living withm the

infested area will be at the mercy of the undead. Isolated, abandoned,

and surrounded by ghouls, they will have only themselves to depend on.

 

CLASS 4

(See "Living in an Undead World," pages 154-81.)

 

DETECTION

Every undead outbreak, regardless of its class, has a beginning. Now

that the enemy has been defined, the next step is early warning.

Knowing what a zombie is will not help if you are unable to recognize

an outbreak before it's too late. This does not entail building a "zombie

command post" in your basement, sticking pins in a map, and huddling

around the shortwave radio. All it requires is looking for signs

that would slip by the untrained mind. These signs include:

 

1. Homicides in which the victims were executed by head shots or

decapitation. It has happened many times: People recognize an outbreak

for what it is and try to take matters into their own hands.

Almost always, these people are declared murderers by the local

authorities and prosecuted as such.

 

2. Missing persons, particularly in wilderness or uninhabited areas.

Pay careful attention if one or more of the search members end up

missing. If the story is televised or photographed, watch to see what

level of armament the search parties carry. Any more than one rifle

per group could mean that this is more than just a simple rescue

operation.

 

3. Cases of "violent insanity" in which the subject attacked friends or

family without the use of weapons. Find out if the attacker bit or

tried to bite his victims. If so, are any of the victims still in the hospital?

Try to discover if any of these victims mysteriously died

within days of their bite.

 

4. Riots or other civil disturbances that began without provocation or

other logical cause. Common sense will dictate that violence on any

group level does not simply occur without a catalyst such as racial

tension, political actions, or legal decisions. Even so-called "mass

hysteria" can always be traced to a root source. If none can be

found, the answer may lie elsewhere.

 

5. Disease-based deaths in which either the cause is undetermined or

seems highly suspect. Deaths from infectious disease are rare in the

industrialized world, compared to a century ago. For this reason,

new outbreaks always make the news. Look for those cases in

which the exact nature of the disease is unexplained. Also, be on the

alert for suspicious explanations such as West Nile virus or "mad

cow" disease. Either could be examples of a cover-up.

 

6. Any of the above in which media coverage was forbidden. A total

press blackout is rare in the United States. The occurrence of one

should be regarded as an immediate red flag. Of course, there may

be many reasons other than an attack of the living dead. Then again,

any event causing a govemment as media-conscious as our own to

clamp down merits close attention. The truth, no matter what it is,

cannot be good.

 

Once an event has tripped your sensors, keep track of it. Note the

location, and its distance from you. Watch for similar incidents around

or near the original site. If, within a few days or weeks, these incidents

do occur, study them carefully. Note the response of law enforcement

and other govemment agencies. If they react more forcefully with each

occurrence, chances are that an outbreak is unfolding.

Hyperlinks are your friend. :(

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also: Can you imagine what a quote tree would look like with this baby?! :-"

 

 

I'm having trouble seeing it, personally.

 

 

No, I think... I see it now.

Are you sure?

 

One must be absolutely certain in these matters, for they are not to be trifled with.

I'd just like to say...I'm sorry. :-"

Oh, you're quite forgiven LoneWolf.

 

It is Christmas after all!

 

I agree.

This post is not to be enjoyed, discussed, or referenced on company time.

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Dudes, you should start by defining what a zombie is, how they spread and what its weak points are.  I see head boinking and what to use/not to use but no details.

 

For example you may want to tell the dudes if melee's a bad idea because the zombie virus/bacteria and other general infections from decaying flesh would be nasty if it gets on you from fluid contact.

 

Sorry for the formatting but im not going to type out 30 pages by hand.

 

THE UNDEAD: MYTHS AND REALITIES

 

He comes from the grave, his body a home of worms andjilth. No life in

his eyes, no warmth of his shn, no beating of his breast. His soul, as

empty and dark as the night sky. He laughs at the blade, spits at the

arrow, for they will not harm hisflesh. For eternity, he will walk the

earth, smelling the sweet blood of the living, feasting upon the bones of

the damned. Beware, for he is the living dead.

 

ZOM-BZE: (Zom'be) n. also ZOM-BIES pl. I. An animated corpse that

feeds on living humanjlesh. 2. A voodoo spell that raises the dead. 3.

A Voodoo snake god. 4. One who moves or acts in a daze "like a zombie."

[a word of West African origin]

 

What is a zombie? How are they created? What are their strengths and

weaknesses? What are their needs, their desires? Why are they hostile

to humanity? Before discussing any survival techniques, you must first

learn what you are trying to survive.

We must begin by separating fact from fiction. The walking dead

are neither a work of "black magic" nor any other supernatural force.

Their origin stems from a virus known as Solanum, a Latin word used

by Jan Vanderhaven, who fust "discovered" the disease.

 

SOLANUM: THE VIRUS

 

Solannm works by traveling through the bloodstream, from the initial

point of entry to the brain. Through means not yet fully understood,

the virus uses the cells of the frontal lobe for replication, destroying

them in the process. During this period, all bodily functions cease. By

stopping the heart, the infected subject is rendered ''dead." The brain,

however, remains alive hut dormant, while the virus mutates its cells

into a completely new organ. The most critical trait of this new organ

is its independence from oxygen. By removing the need for this allimportant

resource, the nndead brain can utilize, but is in no way

dependent upon, the complex support mechanism of the human body.

Once mutation is complete, this new organ reanimates the body into a

form that bears little resemblance (physiologically speaking) to the

original corpse. Some bodily functions remain constant, others operate

in a modified capacity, and the remainder shut down completely.

This new organism is a zombie, a member of the living dead.

 

 

1. SOURCE

U~~fortunateleyx, tensive research has yet to find an isolated example

of Solanum in nature. Water, air, and soil in all ecosystems, from all

parts of the world, have turned up negative, as have their accompanying

flora and fauna. At the time of this writing, the search continues.

 

2. SYMPTOMS

The timetable below outlines the process of an infected human (give

or take several hours, depending on the individual).

 

Hour 1: Pain and discoloration (brown-puple) of the infected area Immediate

clotting of the wound @rovided the infection came h m a wound).

Hour 5: Fever (99-103 degrees F), chills, slight dementia, vomiting,

acute pain in the joints.

Hour 8: Numbing of extremities and infected area, increased fever

(103-106 degrees F), increased dementia, loss of muscular coordination.

Hour 11: Paralysis in the lower body, overall numbness, slowed heart

rate.

Hour 16: Coma.

Hour 20: Heart stoppage. Zero brain activity

Hour 23: Reanimation.

 

 

3. TRANSFERENCE

 

Solanum is 100 percent communicahle and 100 percent fatal.

Fortunately for the human race, the virus is neither waterborne nor airborne.

Humans have never been known to contract the virus from elements

in nature. Infection can occur only through direct fluidic

contact. A zombie bite, although by far the most recognizable means

of transference, is by no means the only one. Humans have been

infected by brushing their open wounds against those of a zombie or

by being splattered by its remains after an explosion. Ingestion of

infected flesh (provided the person has no open mouth sores), however,

results in pemanent death rather than infection. Infected flesh has

proven to be highly toxic.

 

No infomation-historical, experimental, or othenvise-has surfaced

regarding the results of sexual relations with an undead specimen,

but as previously noted, the nature of Solanum suggests a high

danger of infection. Warning against such an act would be useless, as

the only people deranged enough to try would he unconcerned for their

own safety. Many have argued that, given the congealed nature of

undead bodily fluids, the chances of infection from a non-bite contact

should be low. However, it must be remembered that even one organism

is enough to begin the cycle.

 

 

4. CROSS-SPECIES INFECTION

 

Solannm is fatal to all living creatures, regardless of size, species, or

ecosystem. Reanimation, however, takes place only in humans. Studies

have shown that Solanum infecting a non-human brain will die within

hours of the death of its host, making the carcass safe to handle.

Infected animals expire before the virus can replicate throughout their

bodies. Infection from insect bites such as from mosquitoes can also

he discounted. Experiments have proven that all parasitic insects can

sense and will reject an infected host 100 percent of the time.

 

 

5. TREATMENT

 

Once a human is infected, little can be done to save him or her. Because

Solanum is a virus and not a bacteria, antibiotics have no effect.

Immunization, the only way to combat a virus, is equally useless, as even

the most minute dosage will lead to a full-blown infection. Genetic

research is under way. Goals range from stronger human antibodies to

resistant cell structure to a counter-virus designed to identify and destroy

Solanum. This and other, more radical treatments are still in the earliest

stages, with no foreseeable success in the near future. Battlefield experiences

have led to the immediate severing of the infected limb (provided

this is the location of the bite), but such treatments are dubious at best,

with less than a 10 percent success rate.

 

Chances are, the infected human

was doomed from the moment the virus entered his or her system.

Should the infected human choose suicide, he should remember that the

brain must be eliminated first. Cases have been recorded in which

recently infected subjects, deceased by means other than the virus, will

nonetheless reanimate. Such cases usually occur when the subject

expires after the fifth hour of infection. Regardless, any person killed

after being bitten or otherwise infected by the undead should be immediately

disposed of. (See "Disposal," page 19.)

 

 

6. REANIMATING THE ALREADY DECEASED

 

It has been suggested that fresh human corpses could reanimate if

Solanum were introduced after their demise. This is a fallacy. Zombies

ignore necrotic flesh and therefore could not transfer the virus.

Experiments conducted during and after World War I1 (see "Recorded

Attacks," pages 216m have proven that injecting Solanum into a

cadaver would be futile because a stagnant bloodstream could not

transport the virus to the brain. Injection directly into a dead brain

would be equally useless, as the expired cells could not respond to the

virus. Solanum does not create life-it alters it.

 

 

ZOMBIE ATTRIBUTES

 

1. PHYSICAL ABILITIES

Too often, the undead have been said to possess superhuman powers:

unusual strength, lightning speed, telepathy, etc. Stories range from

zombies flying through the air to their scaling vertical surfaces like spiders.

While these traits might make for fascinating drama, the individual

ghoul is far from a magical, omnipotent demon. Never forget that

the body of the undead is, for all practical purposes, human. What

changes do occur are in the way this new, reanimated body is used by

the now-infected brain. There is no way a zombie could fly unless the

human it used to be could fly. The same goes for projecting force

fields, telepottation, moving through solid objects, transforming into a

wolf, breathing fire, or a variety of other mystical talents amibuted to

the walking dead. Imagine the human body as a tool kit. The somnambulist

brain has those tools, and only those tools, at its disposal. It

cannot create new ones out of thin air. But it can, as you will see, use

these tools in unconventional combinations, or push their durability

beyond normal human limits.

 

 

A. Sight

 

The eyes of a zombie are no different than those of a normal human.

While still capable (given their rate of decomposition) of transmitting

visual signals to the brain, how the brain interprets these signals is

another matter. Studies are inconclusive regarding the undead's visual

abilities. They can spot prey at distances comparable to a human, but

whether they can distinguish a human from one of their own is still up

for debate. One theory suggests that the movements made by humans,

which are quicker and smoother than those of the undead, is what

causes them to stand out to the zombie eye. Experiments have been

done in which humans have attempted to confuse approaching ghouls

by mimicking their motions and adopting a shambling, awkward limp.

To date, none of these attempts have succeeded. It has been suggested

that zombies possess night vision, a fact that explains their skill at nocturnal

hunting. This theory has been debunked by the fact that all zombies

are expert night feeders, even those without eyes.

 

B. Sound

 

There is no question that zombies have excellent hearing. Not only can

they detect sound-they can determine its direction. The basic range

appears to be the same as that for humans. Experiments with extreme

high and low frequencies have yielded negative results. Tests have also

shown that zombies are attracted by any sounds, not just those made

by living creatures. It has been recorded that ghouls will notice sounds

ignored by living humans. The most likely, if unproven, explanation is

that zombies depend on all their senses equally. Humans are sightoriented

from birth, depending on other senses only if the primary one

is lost. Perhaps this is not a handicap shared by the walking dead. If

so, it would explain their ability to hunt, fight, and feed in total darkness.

 

 

C. Smell

 

Unlike with sound, the undead have a more acute sense of smell. In

both combat situations and laboratory tests, they have been able to distinguish

the smell of living prey above all others. In many cases, and

given ideal wind conditions, zomhies have been known to smell fresh

corpses from a distance of more than a mile. Again, this does not mean

that ghouls have a greater sense of smell than humans, simply that they

rely on it more. It is not known exactly what particular secretion signals

the presence of prey: sweat, pheromones, blood, etc. In the past,

people seeking to move undetected through infested areas have

attempted to "mask" their human scent with perfumes, deodorants, or

other strong-smelling chemicals. None were successful. Experiments

are now under way to synthesize the smells of living creatures as a

decoy or even repellent to the walking dead. A successful product is

still years away.

 

 

D. Taste

 

Little is known about the altered taste buds of the walking dead.

Zombies do have the ability to tell human flesh apart from that of animals,

and they prefer the former. Ghouls also have a remarkable ability

to reject carrion in favor of freshly killed meat. A human body that

has been dead longer than twelve to eighteen hours will be rejected as

food. The same goes for cadavers that have been embalmed or otherwise

preserved. Whether this has anything to do with "taste" is not yet

certain. It may have to do with smell or, perhaps, another instinct that

has not been discovered. As to exactly why human flesh is preferable,

science has yet to find an answer to this confounding, frustrating, terrifying

question.

 

 

E. Touch

 

Zombies have, literally, no physical sensations. All nerve receptors

throughout the body remain dead after reanimation. This is truly their

greatest and most temfying advantage over the living. We, as humans,

have the ability to experience physical pain as a signal of bodily damage.

Our brain classifies such sensations, matches them to the experience

that instigated them, and then files the information away for use

as a warning against future ham. It is this gift of physiology and

instinct that has allowed us to survive as a species. It is why we value

virtues such as courage, which inspires people to perform actions

despite warnings of danger. The inability to recognize and avoid pain

is what makes the waking dead so formidable. Wounds will not be

noticed and, therefore, will not deter an attack. Even if a zombie's

body is severely damaged, it will continue to attack until nothing

remains.

 

 

E Sixth Sense

 

Historical research, coupled with laboratory and field observation,

have shown that the walking dead have been known to attack even

when all their sensory organs have been damaged or completely

decomposed. Does this mean that zombies possess a sixth sense?

Perhaps. Living humans use less than 5 percent of their brain capacity.

It is possible that the virus can stimulate another sensoly ability that

has been forgotten by evolution. This theory is one of the most hotly

debated in the war against the undead. So far, no scientific evidence

has been found to suppoa either side.

 

 

G. Healing

 

Despite legends and ancient folklore, undead physiology has been

proven to possess no powers of regeneration. Cells that are damaged

stay damaged. Any wounds, no matter what their size and nature, will

remain for the duration of that body's reanimation. A variety of medical

treatments have been attempted to stimulate the healing process in

captured ghouls. None were successful. This inability to self-repair,

something that we as living beings take for granted, is a severe disadvantage

to the undead. For example, every time we physically exert

ourselves, we tear our muscles. With time, these muscles rebuild to a

stronger state than before. A ghoul's muscle mass will remain damaged,

reducing its effectiveness every time it is used.

 

 

H. Decomposition

 

The average zombie "life span"-how long it is able to function before

completely rotting away-is estimated at three to five years. As fantastic

as this sounds-a human corpse able to ward off the natural

effects of decay-its cause is rooted in basic biology. When a human

body dies, its flesh is immediately set upon by billions of microscopic

organisms. These organisms were always present, in the external environment

arid within the body itself. In life, the immune system stood

as a harrier between these organisms and their target. In death, that barrier

is removed. The organisms begin multiplying exponentially as

they proceed to eat and, thereby, break down the corpse on a cellular

level. The smell and discoloration associated with any decaying meat

are the biological process of these microbes at work. When you order

an "aged" steak, you are ordering a piece of meat that has begun to rot,

its formerly toughened flesh softened by microorganisms breaking

down its sturdy fiber. Within a short time, that steak, like a human

corpse, will dissolve to nothing, leaving behind only material too hard

or innutritious for any microbe, such as hone, teeth, nails, and hair.

This is the normal cycle of life, nature's way of recycling nutrients

back into the food chain. To halt this process, and preserve dead tissue,

it is necessary to place it in an environment unsuitable for bacteria,

such as in extreme low or high temperatures, in toxic chemicals

such as formaldehyde, or, in this case, to saturate it with Solanum.

Almost all the microbe species involved in normal human decomposition

have repeatedly rejected flesh infected by the virus, effecThe

tively embalming the zombie. Were this not the case, combating the

living dead would be as easy as avoiding them for several weeks or

even days until they rotted away to hones. Research has yet to discover

the exact cause of this condition. It has been determined that at least

some microbe species ignore the repelling effects of Solanum-otherwise,

the undead would remain perfectly preserved forever. It has also

been determined that natural conditions such as moisture and temperature

play an important role as well. Undead that prowl the bayous of

Louisiana are unlikely to last as long as those in the cold, dry Gobi

desert. Extreme situations, such as deep freezing or immersion in -

preservative fluid, could, hypothetically, allow an undead specimen to

exist indef~telyT. hese techniques have been known to allow zombies

to function for decades, if not centuries. (See "Recorded Attacks,"

pages 193ff.) Decomposition does not mean that a member of the

walking dead will simply drop. Decay may affect various parts of the

body at different times. Specimens have been found with brains intact

but nearly disintegrated bodies. Others with partially rotted brains may

control some bodily functions but be completely paalyzed in others.

A popular theory has recently circulated that attempts to explain the

story of the ancient Egyptian mummy as one of the first examples of

an embalmed zombie. The preservation techniques allowed it to fuuction

several thousand years after being entombed. Anyone with a rudimentary

knowledge of ancient Egypt would find this story almost

laughably untrue: The most important and complicated step in preparing

a pharaoh for burial was the removal of the brain!

 

 

I. Digestion

 

Recent evidence has once and for all mscounted the theory that human

flesh is the fuel for the undead. A zombie's digestive tract is completely

dormant. The complex system that processes food, extracts nutrition,

and excretes waste does not factor into a zombie's physiology. Autopsies

conducted on neutralized undead have shown that their "food" lies in its

original, undigested state at all sections of the tract. This partially

chewed, slowly rotting matter will continue to accumulate, as the zom12

hie devours more victims, until it is forced through the anus, or literally

bursts through the stomach or intestinal lining. While this more dramatic

example of non-digestion is rare, hundreds of eyewitness reports have

confirmed undead to have distended bellies. One captured and dissected

specimen was found to contain 21 1 pounds of flesh within its system!

Even rarer accounts have confirmed that zombies continue to feed long

after their digestive tracts have exploded from within.

 

 

J. Respiration

 

The lungs of the undead continue to function in that they draw air into

and expel it from the hody. This function accounts for a zombie's signature

moan. What the lungs and body chemistry fail to accomplish,

however, is to extract oxygen and remove carbon dioxide. Given that

Solanum obviates the need for both of these functions, the entire

human respiratory system is obsolete in the hody of a ghoul. This

explains how the living dead can "walk underwater" or survive in environments

lethal to humans. Their brains, as noted earlier, are oxygenindependent.

 

 

K. Circulation

 

It would be inaccurate to say that zomhies have no heart. It would not

he inaccurate, however, to say that they find no use for it. The circulatory

system of the undead is little more than a network of useless tubes

filled with congealed hlood. The same applies to the lymphatic system

as well as all other bodily fluids. Although this mutation would appear

to give the undead one more advantage over humanity, it has actually

proved to he a godsend. The lack of fluid mass prevents easy transmission

of the virus. Were this not true, hand-to-hand combat would

he nearly impossible, as the defending human would almost certainly

he splattered with hlood andlor other fluids.

 

 

L. Reproduction

 

Zombies are sterile creatures. Their sexual organs are necrotic and

impotent. Attempts have been made to fertilize zombie eggs with

human sperm and vice versa. None has been succcssful. The undead

have also shown no signs of sexual desire, either for their own

species or for the living. Until research can prove otherwise, humanity's

greatest fear-the dead reproducing the dead-is a comforting

impossibility.

 

M. Strength

 

Ghouls possess the same brute force as the living. What power can be

exerted depends greatly on the individual zombie. What muscle mass

a person has in life would be all he possesses in death. Unlike a living

body, adrenal glands have not been known to function in the dead,

denying zombies the temporary burst of power we humans enjoy. The

one solid advantage the living dead do possess is amazing stamina.

Imagine working out, or any other act of physical exertion. Chances

are that pain and exhaustion will dictate your limits. These factors do

not apply to the dead. They will continue an act, with the same

dynamic energy, until the muscles supporting it literally disintegrate.

i

f While this makes for progressively weaker ghouls, it allows for an allpowerful

first attack. Many barricades that would have exhausted three 1 or even four physically fit humans have fallen to a single determined

zombie.

 

N. Speed

 

The "walking" dead tend to move at a slouch or limp. Even without

injuries or advanced decomposition, their lack of coordination makes

for an unsteady suide. Speed is mainly determined by leg length. Taller

ghouls have longer strides than their shorter counterparts. Zombies

appear to be incapable of running. The fastest have been observed to

move at a rate of barely one step per 1.5 seconds. Again, as with

strength, the dead's advantage over the living is their tirelessness.

Humans who believe they have outrun their nndead pursuers might do

well to remember the story of the tortoise and the hare, adding, of

course, that in this instance the hare stands a good chance of being

eaten alive.

 

 

0. Agility

 

The average living human possesses a dexterity level 90 percent

greater than the strongest ghoul. Some of this comes from the general

stiffness of necrotic muscle tissue (hence their awkward stride). The

rest is due to their primitive brain functions. Zomhies have little handeye

coordination, one of their greatest weaknesses. No one has ever

observed a zombie jumping, either from one spot to another or simply

up and down. Balancing on a narrow surface is similarly beyond their

ahility. Swimming is also a skill reserved for the living. The theory has

been put forth that, if an undead corpse were to he bloated enough to

rise to the surface, it could present a floating hazard. This is rare, however,

as the slow rate of decomposition would not allow by-product gas

to accumulate. Zombies who walk or fall into bodies of water will

more likely find themselves wandering aimlessly across the bottom

until eventually dissolving. They can be successful climbers, but only

in certain circumstances. If zombies perceive prey above them, for

example, in the second story of a house, they will always attempt to

climb to it. Zombies will try to scale any surface no matter how

unfeasahle or even impossible. In all but the easiest situations, these

attempts have met with failure. Even in the case of ladders, when simple

hand-over-hand coordination is required, only one in four zombies

will succeed.

 

 

2. BEHAWOWLPA TTERNS

 

A. Intelligence

 

It has been proven, time and again, that our greatest advantage over the

undead is our ahility to think. The mental capacity of the average zombie

ranks somewhere beneath that of an insect. On no occasion have

they shown any ability to reason or employ logic. Attempting to

accomplish a task, failing, then by trial and error discovering a new

solution, is a skill shared by many members of the animal kingdom hut

lost on the walking dead. Zombies have repeatedly failed laboratory

intelligence tests set at the level of rodents. One field case showed a

human standing at one end of a collapsed bridge with several dozen

zombies on the orher side. One by one, the walking dead tumbled over

the edge in a futile attempt to reach him. At no time did any of them

realize what was happening and change their tactics in any way.

Contrruy to myth and speculation, zombies have never been observed

using tools of any kind. Even picking up a rock to use as a weapon is

beyond their grasp. This simple task would prove the basic thought

process involved in realizing that the rock is a more efficient weapon

than the naked hand. Ironically, the age of artificial intelligence has

enabled us to identify more easily with the mind of the zombie than

that of our more "primitive" ancestors. With care exceptions, even the

most advanced computers do not have the ability to think on their own.

They do what they are programmed to do, nothing more. Imagine a

computer programmed to execute one function. This function cannot

be paused, modified, or erased. No new data can be stored. No new

commands can he installed. This computer will perform that one function,

over and over, until its power source eventually shuts down. This

is the zombie brain. An instinct-driven, unitask machine that is impervious

to tampering and can only be destroyed.

 

B. Emotions

 

Feelings of any kind are not known to the walking dead. Every form

of psychological warfare, from attempts at enraging the undead to provoking

pity have all met with disaster. Joy, sadness, confidence, anxiety,

love, hatred, fear-all of these feelings and thousands more that

make up the human "heart" are as useless to the living dead as the

organ of the same name. Who knows if this is humanity's greatest

weakness or strength? The debate continues, and probably will forever.

 

 

C. Memories

 

A modem conceit is that a zombie retains the knowledge of its former

life. We hear stories of the dead returning to their places of residence

or work, operating familiar machinery, or even showing acts of mercy

to loved ones. In trnth, not a shred of proof exists to support this wishful

thinking. Zombies could not possibly retain memories of their for

mer lives in either the conscious or subconscious mind, because neither

exist! A ghoul will not be distracted by the family pet, living relatives,

familiar surroundings, etc. No matter who a person was in his

former life, that person is gone, replaced by a mindless automaton with

no instinct other than for feeding. This begs the question: Why do zombies

prefer urban areas to the countryside? First, the undead do not prefer

cities, but simply remain where they are reanimated. Second, the

main reason zomhies tend to stay in cities instead of fanning out into

the countryside is because an urban zone holds the highest concentration

of prey.

 

 

D. Physical Needs

 

Other than hunger (discussed later), the dead have shown none of the

physical wants or needs expressed in mortal life. Zombies have never

been observed to sleep or rest under any circumstances. They have not

reacted to extreme heat or cold. In harsh weather, they have never

sought shelter. Even something as simple as thirst is unknown to the

living dead. Defying all laws of science, Solanum has created what

could be described as a completely self-sufficient organism.

 

 

E. Communication

 

Zombies have no language skills. Although their vocal cords are capable

of speech, their brain is not. The only vocal ability appears to be a

deep-throated moan. This moan is released when zombies identify prey.

The sound will remain low and steady until physical contact is made. It

will then shift in tone and volume as the zombie commences its attack.

This eerie sound, so typically associated with the walking dead, serves

as a rallying cry for other zombies and, as has been recently discovered,

is a potent psychological weapon. (See "On the Defense," page 74.)

E Social Dynamics Theories have always proliferated that the

undead function as a collective

force, from an army controlled by Satan to an insect-like

pheromone-driven hive to the most recent notion that they achieve

group consensus by telepathy. The truth is that zombies have no social

organization to speak of. There is no hierarchy, no chain of command,

no drive toward any type of collectivization. A horde of the undead,

regardless of size, regardless of appearance, is simply a mass of individuals.

If several hundred ghouls converge on a victim's location, it

is because each one is drawn by its own instinct. Zombies appear to be

unaware of one another. Individuals have never been observed to react

to the sight of one another at any range. This goes back to the question

of sense: How does a zombie distinguish between one of its own and

a human or other prey at the same range? The answer has yet to he

found. Zombies do avoid one another in the same way they avoid inanimate

objects. When they hump into one another, they make no attempt

to connect or communicate. Zombies feasting on the same corpse will

tug repeatedly on the meat in question rather than shove a competitor

out of the way. The only suggestion of communal effort is seen in notorious

swarm attacks: the moan of a ghoul calling others within earshot.

Once they hear the wail, other walking dead will almost always converge

on its source. An early study theorized that this was a deliberate

act, that a scout used its moan to signal the others to attack. However,

we now how that it happens purely by accident. The ghoul that moans

at the detection of prey does so as an instinctive reaction, not as an alert.

 

 

G. Hunting

 

Zombies are migratory organisms, with no regard for temtory or concept

of home. They will travel miles and perhaps, given time, cross

continents in their search for food. Their hunting pattern is random.

Ghouls will feed at night and during the day. They will stumble

through an area rather than deliberately searching it. Certain zones or

structures will not he singled out as more likely to contain prey. For

example, some have been known to search farmhouses and other rural

structures while others in the same group have moved by without even

a glance. Urban zones take more time to explore, which is why the

undead remain longer in these areas, hut no building will take precedence

over another. Zombies appear to be totally unaware of their sur

roundings. They do not, for example, move their eyes in a way that

would take in the information of a new setting. Shuffling silently, with

a thousand-yard stare, they will wander aimlessly, regardless of location,

until prey is detected. As discussed earlier, the undead possess an

uncauny ability to home in on a victim's precise location. Once contact

is made, the previously silent, oblivious automaton transforms into

something more closely related to a guided missile. The head turns

immediately in the direction of its victim. The jaw drops, lips retract,

and, from the depths of its diaphragm, comes the moan. Once contact

is made, zombies cannot be distracted by any means. They will continue

to pursue their prey, stopping only if they lose contact, make a

successful kill, or are destroyed.

 

 

H. Motivation

 

Why do the undead prey upon the living? If it has been proven that

human flesh serves no nutritional purpose, why does their instinct

drive them to murder? The truth eludes us. Modem science, combined

with historical data, has shown that living humans are not the only

delights on the undead menu. Rescue teams entering an infested area

have consistently reported them stripped of all life. Any creatures, no

matter what their size or species, will he consumed by an attacking

zombie. Human flesh, however, will always he preferable to other life

forms. One experiment presented a captured specimen with two identical

cubes of meat: one human, one animal. The zombie repeatedly

chose the human. Reasons for this are still unknown. What can be confirmed,

beyond any shadow of doubt, is that instinct brought on by

Solanum drives the undead to kill and devour any living creature they

discover. There appear to be no exceptions.

 

 

I. Killing the Dead

While destroying a zombie may be simple, it is far from easy. As we

have seen, zombies require none of the physiological functions that

humans need to survive. Destruction or severe damage of the circulatory,

digestive, or respiratory system would do nothing to a member of

the walking dead, as these functions no

longer support the brain. Simply put, there

are thousands of ways to kill a humanand

only one to kill a zombie. The brain

must be obliterated, by any means possible.

 

 

J. Disposal

 

Studies have shown that Solanum can still

inhabit the body of a terminated zombie for

up to fortyeight hours. Exercise extreme

care when disposing of undead corpses.

The head in particular possesses the most

serious hazard, given its concentration of

the virus. Never handle an undead corpse

without protective clothing. Treat it as you

would any toxic, highly lethal material. Cremation is the safest, most

effective way of disposal. Despite rumors that a pile of burning corpses

will spread Solannm in a cloud of smoking plague, common sense

would dictate that any virus is unable to survive intense heat, to say

nothing of an open flame.

 

 

K. Domestication?

 

To reiterate, the zombie brain has proved, so far, to he tamper-proof.

Experiments ranging from chemicals to surgery to electromagnetic

waves have yielded negative results. Behavioral modification therapy

and other such attempts to train the living dead like some kind of pack

animal have similarly met with failure. Again, the machine cannot be

rewired. It will exist as is, or it will not exist at all.

 

 

THE VOODOO ZOMBIE

 

If zombies are the creation of a virus and not black magic, then how

does this explain the so-called "voodoo zombie," a person who has died,

been raised from his grave, and is doomed to spend eternity as a slave

of the living? Yes, it is trne that the word "zombie" originally comes

from the Kimbnndn word "nzfimbe," a term describing a dead person's

soul, and yes, zombies and zombification are integral parts of the Afro-

Caribbean religion known as voodoo. However, the origin of their name

is the only similarity between the voodoo zombie and the viral zombie.

Although it is said that voodoo houngans (priests) can turn humans into

zombies by magical means, the practice is rooted in bard, undeniable

science. "Zombie powder," the tool used by the houngan for zombification,

contains a very powerful neurotoxin (the exact ingredients are a

closely guarded secret). The toxin temporarily paralyzes the human

nervous system, creating a state of extreme hibernation. With the heart,

lungs, and all other bodily functions operating at minimal levels, it

would be understandable if an inexperienced coroner declared the paralyzed

subject to be dead. Many humans have been buried while in such

a state, only to awaken screaming in the pitch darkness of their coffin.

So what makes this living human being a zombie? The answer is simple:

brain damage. Many who are buried alive quickly use up the air

inside their coffins. Those that are recovered (if they are lucky) almost

always suffer brain damage from lack of oxygen. These poor souls

shamble about with little cognitive skills, or, indeed, free will, and are

often mistaken for the living dead. How can yon distinguish a voodoo

zombie from the genuine article? The telltale signs are obvious.

 

1. Voodoo zombies show emotion. People suffering from zombie

powder-induced brain damage are still capable of all normal human

feelings. They smile, cry, even growl with anger if hurt or otherwise

provoked (something real zombies would never do).

 

2. Voodoo zombies exhibit thought. As has been stated before, when

a real zombie encounters you it will immediately home in like a

smart bomb. A voodoo zombie will take a moment to try to figure

out who or what you are. Maybe it will come toward you, maybe it

will recoil, maybe it will continue its observation as its damaged

brain attempts to analyze the information given it. What a voodoo

zombie will not do is raise its arms, drop its jaw, unleash a hellish

moan, and stumble directly toward you.

 

3. Voodoo zombies feel pain. A voodoo zombie that trips and falls

will undoubtedly hold its bruised knee and whimper. Likewise, one

already suffering from some other wound will nurse it, or, at the

very least, be aware of the wound's existence. Voodoo zombies will

not ignore deep gashes in their bodies like a real zombie would.

 

4. Voodoo zombies recognize fire. This is not to say that they are afraid

of open flames. Some that have suffered severe brain damage may not

remember what lire is. They will stop to examine it, perhaps even reach

out to touch it, hut they will recoil once they realize it causes pain.

 

5. Voodoo zombies recognize their surroundings. Unlike real zombies,

who only recognize prey, voodoo zombies will react to sudden

changes in light, sound, taste, and smell. Voodoo zombies have been

observed watching television or brightly flashing lights, listening to

music, cringing at thunder, and even taking notice of one another.

This last fact has been critical in several cases of mis-identification.

Had the zombies in question not reacted to each other (they looked

at each other, made noises, even touched each other's faces), they

might have been accidentally exterminated.

 

6. Voodoo zombies do NOT have bypersense. A human who has suffered

the debilitating effects of zombie powder is still a sightdependent

human. He cannot operate perfectly in the dark, hear a

footstep at 500 ya~dso, r smell a living being on the wind. Voodoo

zombies can actually be surprised by someone walking up behind

them. This is not recommended, however, as a frightened zombie

might react in anger.

 

7. Voodoo zombies can communicate. While this is not always the

case, many of these individuals can respond to audiovisual signals.

Many understand words; some even comprehend simple sentences.

Many voodoo zombies possess the ability to speak, simply, of

course, and rarely for extended conversations.

 

8. Voodoo zombies can be controlled. While not always true, many

brain damaged humans have lost much of their self-realization,

making them very susceptible to suggestion. Simply shouting for a

subject to halt or even go away can he enough to get rid of a voodoo

zombie. This has created the dangerous situation of confused people

believing they could control or train true zombies. Several times

headstrong humans have insisted they could simply command their

living dead attackers to stop. As cold, rotting hands grabbed their

limbs and dirty, worn teeth bit into their flesh, these people discovered,

too late, what they were truly dealing with.

 

These guidelines should give you a good idea of how to tell a voodoo

zombie from a true zombie. One final note: Voodoo zombies are

almost always encountered in sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean,

Central and South America, and the southern United States.

Although it is not impossible to find someone who has been turned

into a zombie by a houngan elsewhere, the chances of such an

encounter are slim.

 

 

THE HOLLYWOOD ZOMBIE

Since the living dead first stepped onto the silver screen, their greatest

enemy has not been hunters, but critics. Scholars, scientists, even concerned

citizens have all argued that these movies depict the living dead

in a fantastic, unrealistic fashion. Visually stunning weapons, physically

impossible action sequences, larger-than-life human characters,

and, above all, magical, invincible, even comical ghouls have all added

their colors to the controversial rainbow that is "the Zombie Movie."

Further criticism argues that this "style over substance" approach to

somnambulist cinema teaches human viewers lessons that may get

them killed in a real encounter. These serious charges demand an

equally serious defense. While some zombie movies are based on

actual events*, their goal, indeed the goal of almost every movie in

every genre, has always been, first and foremost, to entertain. Unless

we are discussing pure documentaries (and even some of those are

"sweetened"), moviemakers must take some artistic license to make

their work more palatable to the audience. Even movies that are based

on actual events will sacrifice pure reality for good storytelling.

 

Certain characters will be an amalgam of real-life individuals. Others

may be purely fictional in order to explain certain facts, facilitate the

plotline, or simply add flavor to the scene. One might argue that the

role of the artist is to challenge, educate, and enlighten her audience.

That may be true, but try imparting knowledge to an audience who has

either left or fallen asleep within the first ten minutes of the picture.

Accept this basic rule of moviemaking and you will understand why

Hollywood zombie films stray, in some cases wildly, from the reality

on which they are based. In short, use these photo-plays as their makers

intended: as a source of temporary, lighthearted entertainment and

not a visual aid to your survival.

 

 

OUTBREAKS

 

Although each zombie attack is different, given the number, terrain,

reaction of the general populace, etc., its level of intensity can be measured

in four distinct classes.

*At the behest of the filmmakers andlor their estates, the titles of those movies based on me-life stories have been omitted.

 

CLASS 1

This is a low-level outbreak, usually in a Third World country or First

World rural area. The number of zombies in this class of outbreak

ranges between one and twenty. Total human casualties (including

those infected) range from one to fifty. The total duration, from the fist

case to the last (known), will range between twenty-four hours and

fourteen days. The infested area will be small, no larger than a twentymile

radius. In many cases, natural boundaries will determine its limits.

Response will he light, either exclusively civilian or with some

additional help from local law enforcement. Media coverage will be

light, if present at all. If the media is present, look for common stories

like homicides or "accidents." This is the most common type of outbreak

and also the easiest to go unnoticed.

 

CLASS 2

Urban or densely populated mral areas are included in this level of outbreak.

Total zombies will range between twenty and one hundred.

Total human casualties may reach as high as several hundred. The

duration of a Class 2 attack may last no longer than a Class 1 outbreak.

In some cases, the larger number of zombies will spark a more immediate

response. A rural, sparsely populated outbreak may extend to a

hundred-mile radius, while an urban outbreak may encompass only

several blocks. Suppression will almost certainly be organized. Bands

of civilians will be replaced by local, state, even federal law enforcement.

Look for an additional, if low-level, military response, the

National Guard in the United States or its equivalent abroad. Most

often, so as to ease panic, these units will take a more noncombatant

role, providing medical assistance, crowd control, and logistical support.

Class 2 outbreaks almost always attract the press. Unless the

attack occurs in a huly isolated area of the world, or one where the

media is strictly controlled, the story will he reported. This does not

mean, however, that it will be reported acc~lrately.

 

CLASS 3

A hue crisis. Class 3 outbreaks, more than any other, demonstrate the

clear threat posed by the living dead. Zombies will number in the thousands,

encompassing an area of several hundred miles. The duration of

the attack and a possible lengthy mop-up process could last as long as

several months. There will be no chance for a press blackout or coverup.

Even without media attention, the sheer magnitude of the attack will

leave too many eyewitnesses. This is a full-blown battle, with law

enforcement replaced by units of the regular military. A state of emergency

will be declared for the infested zone, as well as the neighboring

areas. Expect martial law, restricted travel, rationed supplies, federalized

services, and strictly monitored communication. All these measures,

however, will take time to implement. The initial phase will be

one of chaos as those in power come to grips with the crisis. Riots, looting,

and widespread panic will add to their difficulties, further delaying

an effective response. While this is happening, those living withm the

infested area will be at the mercy of the undead. Isolated, abandoned,

and surrounded by ghouls, they will have only themselves to depend on.

 

CLASS 4

(See "Living in an Undead World," pages 154-81.)

 

DETECTION

Every undead outbreak, regardless of its class, has a beginning. Now

that the enemy has been defined, the next step is early warning.

Knowing what a zombie is will not help if you are unable to recognize

an outbreak before it's too late. This does not entail building a "zombie

command post" in your basement, sticking pins in a map, and huddling

around the shortwave radio. All it requires is looking for signs

that would slip by the untrained mind. These signs include:

 

1. Homicides in which the victims were executed by head shots or

decapitation. It has happened many times: People recognize an outbreak

for what it is and try to take matters into their own hands.

Almost always, these people are declared murderers by the local

authorities and prosecuted as such.

 

2. Missing persons, particularly in wilderness or uninhabited areas.

Pay careful attention if one or more of the search members end up

missing. If the story is televised or photographed, watch to see what

level of armament the search parties carry. Any more than one rifle

per group could mean that this is more than just a simple rescue

operation.

 

3. Cases of "violent insanity" in which the subject attacked friends or

family without the use of weapons. Find out if the attacker bit or

tried to bite his victims. If so, are any of the victims still in the hospital?

Try to discover if any of these victims mysteriously died

within days of their bite.

 

4. Riots or other civil disturbances that began without provocation or

other logical cause. Common sense will dictate that violence on any

group level does not simply occur without a catalyst such as racial

tension, political actions, or legal decisions. Even so-called "mass

hysteria" can always be traced to a root source. If none can be

found, the answer may lie elsewhere.

 

5. Disease-based deaths in which either the cause is undetermined or

seems highly suspect. Deaths from infectious disease are rare in the

industrialized world, compared to a century ago. For this reason,

new outbreaks always make the news. Look for those cases in

which the exact nature of the disease is unexplained. Also, be on the

alert for suspicious explanations such as West Nile virus or "mad

cow" disease. Either could be examples of a cover-up.

 

6. Any of the above in which media coverage was forbidden. A total

press blackout is rare in the United States. The occurrence of one

should be regarded as an immediate red flag. Of course, there may

be many reasons other than an attack of the living dead. Then again,

any event causing a govemment as media-conscious as our own to

clamp down merits close attention. The truth, no matter what it is,

cannot be good.

 

Once an event has tripped your sensors, keep track of it. Note the

location, and its distance from you. Watch for similar incidents around

or near the original site. If, within a few days or weeks, these incidents

do occur, study them carefully. Note the response of law enforcement

and other govemment agencies. If they react more forcefully with each

occurrence, chances are that an outbreak is unfolding.

Hyperlinks are your friend. :(

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also: Can you imagine what a quote tree would look like with this baby?! :-"

 

 

I'm having trouble seeing it, personally.

 

 

No, I think... I see it now.

Are you sure?

 

One must be absolutely certain in these matters, for they are not to be trifled with.

I'd just like to say...I'm sorry. :-"

Oh, you're quite forgiven LoneWolf.

 

It is Christmas after all!

 

I agree.

And when Kiro-San speaks, ninjas, pirates, monkeys and robots all listen!

 

Zombies BEWARE! If the quote-tree doesn't kill you, Kiro's ph4t skillz0rz will.

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Dudes, you should start by defining what a zombie is, how they spread and what its weak points are.  I see head boinking and what to use/not to use but no details.

 

For example you may want to tell the dudes if melee's a bad idea because the zombie virus/bacteria and other general infections from decaying flesh would be nasty if it gets on you from fluid contact.

 

Sorry for the formatting but im not going to type out 30 pages by hand.

 

THE UNDEAD: MYTHS AND REALITIES

 

He comes from the grave, his body a home of worms andjilth. No life in

his eyes, no warmth of his shn, no beating of his breast. His soul, as

empty and dark as the night sky. He laughs at the blade, spits at the

arrow, for they will not harm hisflesh. For eternity, he will walk the

earth, smelling the sweet blood of the living, feasting upon the bones of

the damned. Beware, for he is the living dead.

 

ZOM-BZE: (Zom'be) n. also ZOM-BIES pl. I. An animated corpse that

feeds on living humanjlesh. 2. A voodoo spell that raises the dead. 3.

A Voodoo snake god. 4. One who moves or acts in a daze "like a zombie."

[a word of West African origin]

 

What is a zombie? How are they created? What are their strengths and

weaknesses? What are their needs, their desires? Why are they hostile

to humanity? Before discussing any survival techniques, you must first

learn what you are trying to survive.

We must begin by separating fact from fiction. The walking dead

are neither a work of "black magic" nor any other supernatural force.

Their origin stems from a virus known as Solanum, a Latin word used

by Jan Vanderhaven, who fust "discovered" the disease.

 

SOLANUM: THE VIRUS

 

Solannm works by traveling through the bloodstream, from the initial

point of entry to the brain. Through means not yet fully understood,

the virus uses the cells of the frontal lobe for replication, destroying

them in the process. During this period, all bodily functions cease. By

stopping the heart, the infected subject is rendered ''dead." The brain,

however, remains alive hut dormant, while the virus mutates its cells

into a completely new organ. The most critical trait of this new organ

is its independence from oxygen. By removing the need for this allimportant

resource, the nndead brain can utilize, but is in no way

dependent upon, the complex support mechanism of the human body.

Once mutation is complete, this new organ reanimates the body into a

form that bears little resemblance (physiologically speaking) to the

original corpse. Some bodily functions remain constant, others operate

in a modified capacity, and the remainder shut down completely.

This new organism is a zombie, a member of the living dead.

 

 

1. SOURCE

U~~fortunateleyx, tensive research has yet to find an isolated example

of Solanum in nature. Water, air, and soil in all ecosystems, from all

parts of the world, have turned up negative, as have their accompanying

flora and fauna. At the time of this writing, the search continues.

 

2. SYMPTOMS

The timetable below outlines the process of an infected human (give

or take several hours, depending on the individual).

 

Hour 1: Pain and discoloration (brown-puple) of the infected area Immediate

clotting of the wound @rovided the infection came h m a wound).

Hour 5: Fever (99-103 degrees F), chills, slight dementia, vomiting,

acute pain in the joints.

Hour 8: Numbing of extremities and infected area, increased fever

(103-106 degrees F), increased dementia, loss of muscular coordination.

Hour 11: Paralysis in the lower body, overall numbness, slowed heart

rate.

Hour 16: Coma.

Hour 20: Heart stoppage. Zero brain activity

Hour 23: Reanimation.

 

 

3. TRANSFERENCE

 

Solanum is 100 percent communicahle and 100 percent fatal.

Fortunately for the human race, the virus is neither waterborne nor airborne.

Humans have never been known to contract the virus from elements

in nature. Infection can occur only through direct fluidic

contact. A zombie bite, although by far the most recognizable means

of transference, is by no means the only one. Humans have been

infected by brushing their open wounds against those of a zombie or

by being splattered by its remains after an explosion. Ingestion of

infected flesh (provided the person has no open mouth sores), however,

results in pemanent death rather than infection. Infected flesh has

proven to be highly toxic.

 

No infomation-historical, experimental, or othenvise-has surfaced

regarding the results of sexual relations with an undead specimen,

but as previously noted, the nature of Solanum suggests a high

danger of infection. Warning against such an act would be useless, as

the only people deranged enough to try would he unconcerned for their

own safety. Many have argued that, given the congealed nature of

undead bodily fluids, the chances of infection from a non-bite contact

should be low. However, it must be remembered that even one organism

is enough to begin the cycle.

 

 

4. CROSS-SPECIES INFECTION

 

Solannm is fatal to all living creatures, regardless of size, species, or

ecosystem. Reanimation, however, takes place only in humans. Studies

have shown that Solanum infecting a non-human brain will die within

hours of the death of its host, making the carcass safe to handle.

Infected animals expire before the virus can replicate throughout their

bodies. Infection from insect bites such as from mosquitoes can also

he discounted. Experiments have proven that all parasitic insects can

sense and will reject an infected host 100 percent of the time.

 

 

5. TREATMENT

 

Once a human is infected, little can be done to save him or her. Because

Solanum is a virus and not a bacteria, antibiotics have no effect.

Immunization, the only way to combat a virus, is equally useless, as even

the most minute dosage will lead to a full-blown infection. Genetic

research is under way. Goals range from stronger human antibodies to

resistant cell structure to a counter-virus designed to identify and destroy

Solanum. This and other, more radical treatments are still in the earliest

stages, with no foreseeable success in the near future. Battlefield experiences

have led to the immediate severing of the infected limb (provided

this is the location of the bite), but such treatments are dubious at best,

with less than a 10 percent success rate.

 

Chances are, the infected human

was doomed from the moment the virus entered his or her system.

Should the infected human choose suicide, he should remember that the

brain must be eliminated first. Cases have been recorded in which

recently infected subjects, deceased by means other than the virus, will

nonetheless reanimate. Such cases usually occur when the subject

expires after the fifth hour of infection. Regardless, any person killed

after being bitten or otherwise infected by the undead should be immediately

disposed of. (See "Disposal," page 19.)

 

 

6. REANIMATING THE ALREADY DECEASED

 

It has been suggested that fresh human corpses could reanimate if

Solanum were introduced after their demise. This is a fallacy. Zombies

ignore necrotic flesh and therefore could not transfer the virus.

Experiments conducted during and after World War I1 (see "Recorded

Attacks," pages 216m have proven that injecting Solanum into a

cadaver would be futile because a stagnant bloodstream could not

transport the virus to the brain. Injection directly into a dead brain

would be equally useless, as the expired cells could not respond to the

virus. Solanum does not create life-it alters it.

 

 

ZOMBIE ATTRIBUTES

 

1. PHYSICAL ABILITIES

Too often, the undead have been said to possess superhuman powers:

unusual strength, lightning speed, telepathy, etc. Stories range from

zombies flying through the air to their scaling vertical surfaces like spiders.

While these traits might make for fascinating drama, the individual

ghoul is far from a magical, omnipotent demon. Never forget that

the body of the undead is, for all practical purposes, human. What

changes do occur are in the way this new, reanimated body is used by

the now-infected brain. There is no way a zombie could fly unless the

human it used to be could fly. The same goes for projecting force

fields, telepottation, moving through solid objects, transforming into a

wolf, breathing fire, or a variety of other mystical talents amibuted to

the walking dead. Imagine the human body as a tool kit. The somnambulist

brain has those tools, and only those tools, at its disposal. It

cannot create new ones out of thin air. But it can, as you will see, use

these tools in unconventional combinations, or push their durability

beyond normal human limits.

 

 

A. Sight

 

The eyes of a zombie are no different than those of a normal human.

While still capable (given their rate of decomposition) of transmitting

visual signals to the brain, how the brain interprets these signals is

another matter. Studies are inconclusive regarding the undead's visual

abilities. They can spot prey at distances comparable to a human, but

whether they can distinguish a human from one of their own is still up

for debate. One theory suggests that the movements made by humans,

which are quicker and smoother than those of the undead, is what

causes them to stand out to the zombie eye. Experiments have been

done in which humans have attempted to confuse approaching ghouls

by mimicking their motions and adopting a shambling, awkward limp.

To date, none of these attempts have succeeded. It has been suggested

that zombies possess night vision, a fact that explains their skill at nocturnal

hunting. This theory has been debunked by the fact that all zombies

are expert night feeders, even those without eyes.

 

B. Sound

 

There is no question that zombies have excellent hearing. Not only can

they detect sound-they can determine its direction. The basic range

appears to be the same as that for humans. Experiments with extreme

high and low frequencies have yielded negative results. Tests have also

shown that zombies are attracted by any sounds, not just those made

by living creatures. It has been recorded that ghouls will notice sounds

ignored by living humans. The most likely, if unproven, explanation is

that zombies depend on all their senses equally. Humans are sightoriented

from birth, depending on other senses only if the primary one

is lost. Perhaps this is not a handicap shared by the walking dead. If

so, it would explain their ability to hunt, fight, and feed in total darkness.

 

 

C. Smell

 

Unlike with sound, the undead have a more acute sense of smell. In

both combat situations and laboratory tests, they have been able to distinguish

the smell of living prey above all others. In many cases, and

given ideal wind conditions, zomhies have been known to smell fresh

corpses from a distance of more than a mile. Again, this does not mean

that ghouls have a greater sense of smell than humans, simply that they

rely on it more. It is not known exactly what particular secretion signals

the presence of prey: sweat, pheromones, blood, etc. In the past,

people seeking to move undetected through infested areas have

attempted to "mask" their human scent with perfumes, deodorants, or

other strong-smelling chemicals. None were successful. Experiments

are now under way to synthesize the smells of living creatures as a

decoy or even repellent to the walking dead. A successful product is

still years away.

 

 

D. Taste

 

Little is known about the altered taste buds of the walking dead.

Zombies do have the ability to tell human flesh apart from that of animals,

and they prefer the former. Ghouls also have a remarkable ability

to reject carrion in favor of freshly killed meat. A human body that

has been dead longer than twelve to eighteen hours will be rejected as

food. The same goes for cadavers that have been embalmed or otherwise

preserved. Whether this has anything to do with "taste" is not yet

certain. It may have to do with smell or, perhaps, another instinct that

has not been discovered. As to exactly why human flesh is preferable,

science has yet to find an answer to this confounding, frustrating, terrifying

question.

 

 

E. Touch

 

Zombies have, literally, no physical sensations. All nerve receptors

throughout the body remain dead after reanimation. This is truly their

greatest and most temfying advantage over the living. We, as humans,

have the ability to experience physical pain as a signal of bodily damage.

Our brain classifies such sensations, matches them to the experience

that instigated them, and then files the information away for use

as a warning against future ham. It is this gift of physiology and

instinct that has allowed us to survive as a species. It is why we value

virtues such as courage, which inspires people to perform actions

despite warnings of danger. The inability to recognize and avoid pain

is what makes the waking dead so formidable. Wounds will not be

noticed and, therefore, will not deter an attack. Even if a zombie's

body is severely damaged, it will continue to attack until nothing

remains.

 

 

E Sixth Sense

 

Historical research, coupled with laboratory and field observation,

have shown that the walking dead have been known to attack even

when all their sensory organs have been damaged or completely

decomposed. Does this mean that zombies possess a sixth sense?

Perhaps. Living humans use less than 5 percent of their brain capacity.

It is possible that the virus can stimulate another sensoly ability that

has been forgotten by evolution. This theory is one of the most hotly

debated in the war against the undead. So far, no scientific evidence

has been found to suppoa either side.

 

 

G. Healing

 

Despite legends and ancient folklore, undead physiology has been

proven to possess no powers of regeneration. Cells that are damaged

stay damaged. Any wounds, no matter what their size and nature, will

remain for the duration of that body's reanimation. A variety of medical

treatments have been attempted to stimulate the healing process in

captured ghouls. None were successful. This inability to self-repair,

something that we as living beings take for granted, is a severe disadvantage

to the undead. For example, every time we physically exert

ourselves, we tear our muscles. With time, these muscles rebuild to a

stronger state than before. A ghoul's muscle mass will remain damaged,

reducing its effectiveness every time it is used.

 

 

H. Decomposition

 

The average zombie "life span"-how long it is able to function before

completely rotting away-is estimated at three to five years. As fantastic

as this sounds-a human corpse able to ward off the natural

effects of decay-its cause is rooted in basic biology. When a human

body dies, its flesh is immediately set upon by billions of microscopic

organisms. These organisms were always present, in the external environment

arid within the body itself. In life, the immune system stood

as a harrier between these organisms and their target. In death, that barrier

is removed. The organisms begin multiplying exponentially as

they proceed to eat and, thereby, break down the corpse on a cellular

level. The smell and discoloration associated with any decaying meat

are the biological process of these microbes at work. When you order

an "aged" steak, you are ordering a piece of meat that has begun to rot,

its formerly toughened flesh softened by microorganisms breaking

down its sturdy fiber. Within a short time, that steak, like a human

corpse, will dissolve to nothing, leaving behind only material too hard

or innutritious for any microbe, such as hone, teeth, nails, and hair.

This is the normal cycle of life, nature's way of recycling nutrients

back into the food chain. To halt this process, and preserve dead tissue,

it is necessary to place it in an environment unsuitable for bacteria,

such as in extreme low or high temperatures, in toxic chemicals

such as formaldehyde, or, in this case, to saturate it with Solanum.

Almost all the microbe species involved in normal human decomposition

have repeatedly rejected flesh infected by the virus, effecThe

tively embalming the zombie. Were this not the case, combating the

living dead would be as easy as avoiding them for several weeks or

even days until they rotted away to hones. Research has yet to discover

the exact cause of this condition. It has been determined that at least

some microbe species ignore the repelling effects of Solanum-otherwise,

the undead would remain perfectly preserved forever. It has also

been determined that natural conditions such as moisture and temperature

play an important role as well. Undead that prowl the bayous of

Louisiana are unlikely to last as long as those in the cold, dry Gobi

desert. Extreme situations, such as deep freezing or immersion in -

preservative fluid, could, hypothetically, allow an undead specimen to

exist indef~telyT. hese techniques have been known to allow zombies

to function for decades, if not centuries. (See "Recorded Attacks,"

pages 193ff.) Decomposition does not mean that a member of the

walking dead will simply drop. Decay may affect various parts of the

body at different times. Specimens have been found with brains intact

but nearly disintegrated bodies. Others with partially rotted brains may

control some bodily functions but be completely paalyzed in others.

A popular theory has recently circulated that attempts to explain the

story of the ancient Egyptian mummy as one of the first examples of

an embalmed zombie. The preservation techniques allowed it to fuuction

several thousand years after being entombed. Anyone with a rudimentary

knowledge of ancient Egypt would find this story almost

laughably untrue: The most important and complicated step in preparing

a pharaoh for burial was the removal of the brain!

 

 

I. Digestion

 

Recent evidence has once and for all mscounted the theory that human

flesh is the fuel for the undead. A zombie's digestive tract is completely

dormant. The complex system that processes food, extracts nutrition,

and excretes waste does not factor into a zombie's physiology. Autopsies

conducted on neutralized undead have shown that their "food" lies in its

original, undigested state at all sections of the tract. This partially

chewed, slowly rotting matter will continue to accumulate, as the zom12

hie devours more victims, until it is forced through the anus, or literally

bursts through the stomach or intestinal lining. While this more dramatic

example of non-digestion is rare, hundreds of eyewitness reports have

confirmed undead to have distended bellies. One captured and dissected

specimen was found to contain 21 1 pounds of flesh within its system!

Even rarer accounts have confirmed that zombies continue to feed long

after their digestive tracts have exploded from within.

 

 

J. Respiration

 

The lungs of the undead continue to function in that they draw air into

and expel it from the hody. This function accounts for a zombie's signature

moan. What the lungs and body chemistry fail to accomplish,

however, is to extract oxygen and remove carbon dioxide. Given that

Solanum obviates the need for both of these functions, the entire

human respiratory system is obsolete in the hody of a ghoul. This

explains how the living dead can "walk underwater" or survive in environments

lethal to humans. Their brains, as noted earlier, are oxygenindependent.

 

 

K. Circulation

 

It would be inaccurate to say that zomhies have no heart. It would not

he inaccurate, however, to say that they find no use for it. The circulatory

system of the undead is little more than a network of useless tubes

filled with congealed hlood. The same applies to the lymphatic system

as well as all other bodily fluids. Although this mutation would appear

to give the undead one more advantage over humanity, it has actually

proved to he a godsend. The lack of fluid mass prevents easy transmission

of the virus. Were this not true, hand-to-hand combat would

he nearly impossible, as the defending human would almost certainly

he splattered with hlood andlor other fluids.

 

 

L. Reproduction

 

Zombies are sterile creatures. Their sexual organs are necrotic and

impotent. Attempts have been made to fertilize zombie eggs with

human sperm and vice versa. None has been succcssful. The undead

have also shown no signs of sexual desire, either for their own

species or for the living. Until research can prove otherwise, humanity's

greatest fear-the dead reproducing the dead-is a comforting

impossibility.

 

M. Strength

 

Ghouls possess the same brute force as the living. What power can be

exerted depends greatly on the individual zombie. What muscle mass

a person has in life would be all he possesses in death. Unlike a living

body, adrenal glands have not been known to function in the dead,

denying zombies the temporary burst of power we humans enjoy. The

one solid advantage the living dead do possess is amazing stamina.

Imagine working out, or any other act of physical exertion. Chances

are that pain and exhaustion will dictate your limits. These factors do

not apply to the dead. They will continue an act, with the same

dynamic energy, until the muscles supporting it literally disintegrate.

i

f While this makes for progressively weaker ghouls, it allows for an allpowerful

first attack. Many barricades that would have exhausted three 1 or even four physically fit humans have fallen to a single determined

zombie.

 

N. Speed

 

The "walking" dead tend to move at a slouch or limp. Even without

injuries or advanced decomposition, their lack of coordination makes

for an unsteady suide. Speed is mainly determined by leg length. Taller

ghouls have longer strides than their shorter counterparts. Zombies

appear to be incapable of running. The fastest have been observed to

move at a rate of barely one step per 1.5 seconds. Again, as with

strength, the dead's advantage over the living is their tirelessness.

Humans who believe they have outrun their nndead pursuers might do

well to remember the story of the tortoise and the hare, adding, of

course, that in this instance the hare stands a good chance of being

eaten alive.

 

 

0. Agility

 

The average living human possesses a dexterity level 90 percent

greater than the strongest ghoul. Some of this comes from the general

stiffness of necrotic muscle tissue (hence their awkward stride). The

rest is due to their primitive brain functions. Zomhies have little handeye

coordination, one of their greatest weaknesses. No one has ever

observed a zombie jumping, either from one spot to another or simply

up and down. Balancing on a narrow surface is similarly beyond their

ahility. Swimming is also a skill reserved for the living. The theory has

been put forth that, if an undead corpse were to he bloated enough to

rise to the surface, it could present a floating hazard. This is rare, however,

as the slow rate of decomposition would not allow by-product gas

to accumulate. Zombies who walk or fall into bodies of water will

more likely find themselves wandering aimlessly across the bottom

until eventually dissolving. They can be successful climbers, but only

in certain circumstances. If zombies perceive prey above them, for

example, in the second story of a house, they will always attempt to

climb to it. Zombies will try to scale any surface no matter how

unfeasahle or even impossible. In all but the easiest situations, these

attempts have met with failure. Even in the case of ladders, when simple

hand-over-hand coordination is required, only one in four zombies

will succeed.

 

 

2. BEHAWOWLPA TTERNS

 

A. Intelligence

 

It has been proven, time and again, that our greatest advantage over the

undead is our ahility to think. The mental capacity of the average zombie

ranks somewhere beneath that of an insect. On no occasion have

they shown any ability to reason or employ logic. Attempting to

accomplish a task, failing, then by trial and error discovering a new

solution, is a skill shared by many members of the animal kingdom hut

lost on the walking dead. Zombies have repeatedly failed laboratory

intelligence tests set at the level of rodents. One field case showed a

human standing at one end of a collapsed bridge with several dozen

zombies on the orher side. One by one, the walking dead tumbled over

the edge in a futile attempt to reach him. At no time did any of them

realize what was happening and change their tactics in any way.

Contrruy to myth and speculation, zombies have never been observed

using tools of any kind. Even picking up a rock to use as a weapon is

beyond their grasp. This simple task would prove the basic thought

process involved in realizing that the rock is a more efficient weapon

than the naked hand. Ironically, the age of artificial intelligence has

enabled us to identify more easily with the mind of the zombie than

that of our more "primitive" ancestors. With care exceptions, even the

most advanced computers do not have the ability to think on their own.

They do what they are programmed to do, nothing more. Imagine a

computer programmed to execute one function. This function cannot

be paused, modified, or erased. No new data can be stored. No new

commands can he installed. This computer will perform that one function,

over and over, until its power source eventually shuts down. This

is the zombie brain. An instinct-driven, unitask machine that is impervious

to tampering and can only be destroyed.

 

B. Emotions

 

Feelings of any kind are not known to the walking dead. Every form

of psychological warfare, from attempts at enraging the undead to provoking

pity have all met with disaster. Joy, sadness, confidence, anxiety,

love, hatred, fear-all of these feelings and thousands more that

make up the human "heart" are as useless to the living dead as the

organ of the same name. Who knows if this is humanity's greatest

weakness or strength? The debate continues, and probably will forever.

 

 

C. Memories

 

A modem conceit is that a zombie retains the knowledge of its former

life. We hear stories of the dead returning to their places of residence

or work, operating familiar machinery, or even showing acts of mercy

to loved ones. In trnth, not a shred of proof exists to support this wishful

thinking. Zombies could not possibly retain memories of their for

mer lives in either the conscious or subconscious mind, because neither

exist! A ghoul will not be distracted by the family pet, living relatives,

familiar surroundings, etc. No matter who a person was in his

former life, that person is gone, replaced by a mindless automaton with

no instinct other than for feeding. This begs the question: Why do zombies

prefer urban areas to the countryside? First, the undead do not prefer

cities, but simply remain where they are reanimated. Second, the

main reason zomhies tend to stay in cities instead of fanning out into

the countryside is because an urban zone holds the highest concentration

of prey.

 

 

D. Physical Needs

 

Other than hunger (discussed later), the dead have shown none of the

physical wants or needs expressed in mortal life. Zombies have never

been observed to sleep or rest under any circumstances. They have not

reacted to extreme heat or cold. In harsh weather, they have never

sought shelter. Even something as simple as thirst is unknown to the

living dead. Defying all laws of science, Solanum has created what

could be described as a completely self-sufficient organism.

 

 

E. Communication

 

Zombies have no language skills. Although their vocal cords are capable

of speech, their brain is not. The only vocal ability appears to be a

deep-throated moan. This moan is released when zombies identify prey.

The sound will remain low and steady until physical contact is made. It

will then shift in tone and volume as the zombie commences its attack.

This eerie sound, so typically associated with the walking dead, serves

as a rallying cry for other zombies and, as has been recently discovered,

is a potent psychological weapon. (See "On the Defense," page 74.)

E Social Dynamics Theories have always proliferated that the

undead function as a collective

force, from an army controlled by Satan to an insect-like

pheromone-driven hive to the most recent notion that they achieve

group consensus by telepathy. The truth is that zombies have no social

organization to speak of. There is no hierarchy, no chain of command,

no drive toward any type of collectivization. A horde of the undead,

regardless of size, regardless of appearance, is simply a mass of individuals.

If several hundred ghouls converge on a victim's location, it

is because each one is drawn by its own instinct. Zombies appear to be

unaware of one another. Individuals have never been observed to react

to the sight of one another at any range. This goes back to the question

of sense: How does a zombie distinguish between one of its own and

a human or other prey at the same range? The answer has yet to he

found. Zombies do avoid one another in the same way they avoid inanimate

objects. When they hump into one another, they make no attempt

to connect or communicate. Zombies feasting on the same corpse will

tug repeatedly on the meat in question rather than shove a competitor

out of the way. The only suggestion of communal effort is seen in notorious

swarm attacks: the moan of a ghoul calling others within earshot.

Once they hear the wail, other walking dead will almost always converge

on its source. An early study theorized that this was a deliberate

act, that a scout used its moan to signal the others to attack. However,

we now how that it happens purely by accident. The ghoul that moans

at the detection of prey does so as an instinctive reaction, not as an alert.

 

 

G. Hunting

 

Zombies are migratory organisms, with no regard for temtory or concept

of home. They will travel miles and perhaps, given time, cross

continents in their search for food. Their hunting pattern is random.

Ghouls will feed at night and during the day. They will stumble

through an area rather than deliberately searching it. Certain zones or

structures will not he singled out as more likely to contain prey. For

example, some have been known to search farmhouses and other rural

structures while others in the same group have moved by without even

a glance. Urban zones take more time to explore, which is why the

undead remain longer in these areas, hut no building will take precedence

over another. Zombies appear to be totally unaware of their sur

roundings. They do not, for example, move their eyes in a way that

would take in the information of a new setting. Shuffling silently, with

a thousand-yard stare, they will wander aimlessly, regardless of location,

until prey is detected. As discussed earlier, the undead possess an

uncauny ability to home in on a victim's precise location. Once contact

is made, the previously silent, oblivious automaton transforms into

something more closely related to a guided missile. The head turns

immediately in the direction of its victim. The jaw drops, lips retract,

and, from the depths of its diaphragm, comes the moan. Once contact

is made, zombies cannot be distracted by any means. They will continue

to pursue their prey, stopping only if they lose contact, make a

successful kill, or are destroyed.

 

 

H. Motivation

 

Why do the undead prey upon the living? If it has been proven that

human flesh serves no nutritional purpose, why does their instinct

drive them to murder? The truth eludes us. Modem science, combined

with historical data, has shown that living humans are not the only

delights on the undead menu. Rescue teams entering an infested area

have consistently reported them stripped of all life. Any creatures, no

matter what their size or species, will he consumed by an attacking

zombie. Human flesh, however, will always he preferable to other life

forms. One experiment presented a captured specimen with two identical

cubes of meat: one human, one animal. The zombie repeatedly

chose the human. Reasons for this are still unknown. What can be confirmed,

beyond any shadow of doubt, is that instinct brought on by

Solanum drives the undead to kill and devour any living creature they

discover. There appear to be no exceptions.

 

 

I. Killing the Dead

While destroying a zombie may be simple, it is far from easy. As we

have seen, zombies require none of the physiological functions that

humans need to survive. Destruction or severe damage of the circulatory,

digestive, or respiratory system would do nothing to a member of

the walking dead, as these functions no

longer support the brain. Simply put, there

are thousands of ways to kill a humanand

only one to kill a zombie. The brain

must be obliterated, by any means possible.

 

 

J. Disposal

 

Studies have shown that Solanum can still

inhabit the body of a terminated zombie for

up to fortyeight hours. Exercise extreme

care when disposing of undead corpses.

The head in particular possesses the most

serious hazard, given its concentration of

the virus. Never handle an undead corpse

without protective clothing. Treat it as you

would any toxic, highly lethal material. Cremation is the safest, most

effective way of disposal. Despite rumors that a pile of burning corpses

will spread Solannm in a cloud of smoking plague, common sense

would dictate that any virus is unable to survive intense heat, to say

nothing of an open flame.

 

 

K. Domestication?

 

To reiterate, the zombie brain has proved, so far, to he tamper-proof.

Experiments ranging from chemicals to surgery to electromagnetic

waves have yielded negative results. Behavioral modification therapy

and other such attempts to train the living dead like some kind of pack

animal have similarly met with failure. Again, the machine cannot be

rewired. It will exist as is, or it will not exist at all.

 

 

THE VOODOO ZOMBIE

 

If zombies are the creation of a virus and not black magic, then how

does this explain the so-called "voodoo zombie," a person who has died,

been raised from his grave, and is doomed to spend eternity as a slave

of the living? Yes, it is trne that the word "zombie" originally comes

from the Kimbnndn word "nzfimbe," a term describing a dead person's

soul, and yes, zombies and zombification are integral parts of the Afro-

Caribbean religion known as voodoo. However, the origin of their name

is the only similarity between the voodoo zombie and the viral zombie.

Although it is said that voodoo houngans (priests) can turn humans into

zombies by magical means, the practice is rooted in bard, undeniable

science. "Zombie powder," the tool used by the houngan for zombification,

contains a very powerful neurotoxin (the exact ingredients are a

closely guarded secret). The toxin temporarily paralyzes the human

nervous system, creating a state of extreme hibernation. With the heart,

lungs, and all other bodily functions operating at minimal levels, it

would be understandable if an inexperienced coroner declared the paralyzed

subject to be dead. Many humans have been buried while in such

a state, only to awaken screaming in the pitch darkness of their coffin.

So what makes this living human being a zombie? The answer is simple:

brain damage. Many who are buried alive quickly use up the air

inside their coffins. Those that are recovered (if they are lucky) almost

always suffer brain damage from lack of oxygen. These poor souls

shamble about with little cognitive skills, or, indeed, free will, and are

often mistaken for the living dead. How can yon distinguish a voodoo

zombie from the genuine article? The telltale signs are obvious.

 

1. Voodoo zombies show emotion. People suffering from zombie

powder-induced brain damage are still capable of all normal human

feelings. They smile, cry, even growl with anger if hurt or otherwise

provoked (something real zombies would never do).

 

2. Voodoo zombies exhibit thought. As has been stated before, when

a real zombie encounters you it will immediately home in like a

smart bomb. A voodoo zombie will take a moment to try to figure

out who or what you are. Maybe it will come toward you, maybe it

will recoil, maybe it will continue its observation as its damaged

brain attempts to analyze the information given it. What a voodoo

zombie will not do is raise its arms, drop its jaw, unleash a hellish

moan, and stumble directly toward you.

 

3. Voodoo zombies feel pain. A voodoo zombie that trips and falls

will undoubtedly hold its bruised knee and whimper. Likewise, one

already suffering from some other wound will nurse it, or, at the

very least, be aware of the wound's existence. Voodoo zombies will

not ignore deep gashes in their bodies like a real zombie would.

 

4. Voodoo zombies recognize fire. This is not to say that they are afraid

of open flames. Some that have suffered severe brain damage may not

remember what lire is. They will stop to examine it, perhaps even reach

out to touch it, hut they will recoil once they realize it causes pain.

 

5. Voodoo zombies recognize their surroundings. Unlike real zombies,

who only recognize prey, voodoo zombies will react to sudden

changes in light, sound, taste, and smell. Voodoo zombies have been

observed watching television or brightly flashing lights, listening to

music, cringing at thunder, and even taking notice of one another.

This last fact has been critical in several cases of mis-identification.

Had the zombies in question not reacted to each other (they looked

at each other, made noises, even touched each other's faces), they

might have been accidentally exterminated.

 

6. Voodoo zombies do NOT have bypersense. A human who has suffered

the debilitating effects of zombie powder is still a sightdependent

human. He cannot operate perfectly in the dark, hear a

footstep at 500 ya~dso, r smell a living being on the wind. Voodoo

zombies can actually be surprised by someone walking up behind

them. This is not recommended, however, as a frightened zombie

might react in anger.

 

7. Voodoo zombies can communicate. While this is not always the

case, many of these individuals can respond to audiovisual signals.

Many understand words; some even comprehend simple sentences.

Many voodoo zombies possess the ability to speak, simply, of

course, and rarely for extended conversations.

 

8. Voodoo zombies can be controlled. While not always true, many

brain damaged humans have lost much of their self-realization,

making them very susceptible to suggestion. Simply shouting for a

subject to halt or even go away can he enough to get rid of a voodoo

zombie. This has created the dangerous situation of confused people

believing they could control or train true zombies. Several times

headstrong humans have insisted they could simply command their

living dead attackers to stop. As cold, rotting hands grabbed their

limbs and dirty, worn teeth bit into their flesh, these people discovered,

too late, what they were truly dealing with.

 

These guidelines should give you a good idea of how to tell a voodoo

zombie from a true zombie. One final note: Voodoo zombies are

almost always encountered in sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean,

Central and South America, and the southern United States.

Although it is not impossible to find someone who has been turned

into a zombie by a houngan elsewhere, the chances of such an

encounter are slim.

 

 

THE HOLLYWOOD ZOMBIE

Since the living dead first stepped onto the silver screen, their greatest

enemy has not been hunters, but critics. Scholars, scientists, even concerned

citizens have all argued that these movies depict the living dead

in a fantastic, unrealistic fashion. Visually stunning weapons, physically

impossible action sequences, larger-than-life human characters,

and, above all, magical, invincible, even comical ghouls have all added

their colors to the controversial rainbow that is "the Zombie Movie."

Further criticism argues that this "style over substance" approach to

somnambulist cinema teaches human viewers lessons that may get

them killed in a real encounter. These serious charges demand an

equally serious defense. While some zombie movies are based on

actual events*, their goal, indeed the goal of almost every movie in

every genre, has always been, first and foremost, to entertain. Unless

we are discussing pure documentaries (and even some of those are

"sweetened"), moviemakers must take some artistic license to make

their work more palatable to the audience. Even movies that are based

on actual events will sacrifice pure reality for good storytelling.

 

Certain characters will be an amalgam of real-life individuals. Others

may be purely fictional in order to explain certain facts, facilitate the

plotline, or simply add flavor to the scene. One might argue that the

role of the artist is to challenge, educate, and enlighten her audience.

That may be true, but try imparting knowledge to an audience who has

either left or fallen asleep within the first ten minutes of the picture.

Accept this basic rule of moviemaking and you will understand why

Hollywood zombie films stray, in some cases wildly, from the reality

on which they are based. In short, use these photo-plays as their makers

intended: as a source of temporary, lighthearted entertainment and

not a visual aid to your survival.

 

 

OUTBREAKS

 

Although each zombie attack is different, given the number, terrain,

reaction of the general populace, etc., its level of intensity can be measured

in four distinct classes.

*At the behest of the filmmakers andlor their estates, the titles of those movies based on me-life stories have been omitted.

 

CLASS 1

This is a low-level outbreak, usually in a Third World country or First

World rural area. The number of zombies in this class of outbreak

ranges between one and twenty. Total human casualties (including

those infected) range from one to fifty. The total duration, from the fist

case to the last (known), will range between twenty-four hours and

fourteen days. The infested area will be small, no larger than a twentymile

radius. In many cases, natural boundaries will determine its limits.

Response will he light, either exclusively civilian or with some

additional help from local law enforcement. Media coverage will be

light, if present at all. If the media is present, look for common stories

like homicides or "accidents." This is the most common type of outbreak

and also the easiest to go unnoticed.

 

CLASS 2

Urban or densely populated mral areas are included in this level of outbreak.

Total zombies will range between twenty and one hundred.

Total human casualties may reach as high as several hundred. The

duration of a Class 2 attack may last no longer than a Class 1 outbreak.

In some cases, the larger number of zombies will spark a more immediate

response. A rural, sparsely populated outbreak may extend to a

hundred-mile radius, while an urban outbreak may encompass only

several blocks. Suppression will almost certainly be organized. Bands

of civilians will be replaced by local, state, even federal law enforcement.

Look for an additional, if low-level, military response, the

National Guard in the United States or its equivalent abroad. Most

often, so as to ease panic, these units will take a more noncombatant

role, providing medical assistance, crowd control, and logistical support.

Class 2 outbreaks almost always attract the press. Unless the

attack occurs in a huly isolated area of the world, or one where the

media is strictly controlled, the story will he reported. This does not

mean, however, that it will be reported acc~lrately.

 

CLASS 3

A hue crisis. Class 3 outbreaks, more than any other, demonstrate the

clear threat posed by the living dead. Zombies will number in the thousands,

encompassing an area of several hundred miles. The duration of

the attack and a possible lengthy mop-up process could last as long as

several months. There will be no chance for a press blackout or coverup.

Even without media attention, the sheer magnitude of the attack will

leave too many eyewitnesses. This is a full-blown battle, with law

enforcement replaced by units of the regular military. A state of emergency

will be declared for the infested zone, as well as the neighboring

areas. Expect martial law, restricted travel, rationed supplies, federalized

services, and strictly monitored communication. All these measures,

however, will take time to implement. The initial phase will be

one of chaos as those in power come to grips with the crisis. Riots, looting,

and widespread panic will add to their difficulties, further delaying

an effective response. While this is happening, those living withm the

infested area will be at the mercy of the undead. Isolated, abandoned,

and surrounded by ghouls, they will have only themselves to depend on.

 

CLASS 4

(See "Living in an Undead World," pages 154-81.)

 

DETECTION

Every undead outbreak, regardless of its class, has a beginning. Now

that the enemy has been defined, the next step is early warning.

Knowing what a zombie is will not help if you are unable to recognize

an outbreak before it's too late. This does not entail building a "zombie

command post" in your basement, sticking pins in a map, and huddling

around the shortwave radio. All it requires is looking for signs

that would slip by the untrained mind. These signs include:

 

1. Homicides in which the victims were executed by head shots or

decapitation. It has happened many times: People recognize an outbreak

for what it is and try to take matters into their own hands.

Almost always, these people are declared murderers by the local

authorities and prosecuted as such.

 

2. Missing persons, particularly in wilderness or uninhabited areas.

Pay careful attention if one or more of the search members end up

missing. If the story is televised or photographed, watch to see what

level of armament the search parties carry. Any more than one rifle

per group could mean that this is more than just a simple rescue

operation.

 

3. Cases of "violent insanity" in which the subject attacked friends or

family without the use of weapons. Find out if the attacker bit or

tried to bite his victims. If so, are any of the victims still in the hospital?

Try to discover if any of these victims mysteriously died

within days of their bite.

 

4. Riots or other civil disturbances that began without provocation or

other logical cause. Common sense will dictate that violence on any

group level does not simply occur without a catalyst such as racial

tension, political actions, or legal decisions. Even so-called "mass

hysteria" can always be traced to a root source. If none can be

found, the answer may lie elsewhere.

 

5. Disease-based deaths in which either the cause is undetermined or

seems highly suspect. Deaths from infectious disease are rare in the

industrialized world, compared to a century ago. For this reason,

new outbreaks always make the news. Look for those cases in

which the exact nature of the disease is unexplained. Also, be on the

alert for suspicious explanations such as West Nile virus or "mad

cow" disease. Either could be examples of a cover-up.

 

6. Any of the above in which media coverage was forbidden. A total

press blackout is rare in the United States. The occurrence of one

should be regarded as an immediate red flag. Of course, there may

be many reasons other than an attack of the living dead. Then again,

any event causing a govemment as media-conscious as our own to

clamp down merits close attention. The truth, no matter what it is,

cannot be good.

 

Once an event has tripped your sensors, keep track of it. Note the

location, and its distance from you. Watch for similar incidents around

or near the original site. If, within a few days or weeks, these incidents

do occur, study them carefully. Note the response of law enforcement

and other govemment agencies. If they react more forcefully with each

occurrence, chances are that an outbreak is unfolding.

Hyperlinks are your friend. :p

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also: Can you imagine what a quote tree would look like with this baby?! :shifty:"

 

 

I'm having trouble seeing it, personally.

 

 

No, I think... I see it now.

Are you sure?

 

One must be absolutely certain in these matters, for they are not to be trifled with.

I'd just like to say...I'm sorry. :-"

Oh, you're quite forgiven LoneWolf.

 

It is Christmas after all!

 

I agree.

And when Kiro-San speaks, ninjas, pirates, monkeys and robots all listen!

 

Zombies BEWARE! If the quote-tree doesn't kill you, Kiro's ph4t skillz0rz will.

 

I learned from teh best. :*

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Dudes, you should start by defining what a zombie is, how they spread and what its weak points are.  I see head boinking and what to use/not to use but no details.

 

For example you may want to tell the dudes if melee's a bad idea because the zombie virus/bacteria and other general infections from decaying flesh would be nasty if it gets on you from fluid contact.

 

Sorry for the formatting but im not going to type out 30 pages by hand.

 

THE UNDEAD: MYTHS AND REALITIES

 

He comes from the grave, his body a home of worms andjilth. No life in

his eyes, no warmth of his shn, no beating of his breast. His soul, as

empty and dark as the night sky. He laughs at the blade, spits at the

arrow, for they will not harm hisflesh. For eternity, he will walk the

earth, smelling the sweet blood of the living, feasting upon the bones of

the damned. Beware, for he is the living dead.

 

ZOM-BZE: (Zom'be) n. also ZOM-BIES pl. I. An animated corpse that

feeds on living humanjlesh. 2. A voodoo spell that raises the dead. 3.

A Voodoo snake god. 4. One who moves or acts in a daze "like a zombie."

[a word of West African origin]

 

What is a zombie? How are they created? What are their strengths and

weaknesses? What are their needs, their desires? Why are they hostile

to humanity? Before discussing any survival techniques, you must first

learn what you are trying to survive.

We must begin by separating fact from fiction. The walking dead

are neither a work of "black magic" nor any other supernatural force.

Their origin stems from a virus known as Solanum, a Latin word used

by Jan Vanderhaven, who fust "discovered" the disease.

 

SOLANUM: THE VIRUS

 

Solannm works by traveling through the bloodstream, from the initial

point of entry to the brain. Through means not yet fully understood,

the virus uses the cells of the frontal lobe for replication, destroying

them in the process. During this period, all bodily functions cease. By

stopping the heart, the infected subject is rendered ''dead." The brain,

however, remains alive hut dormant, while the virus mutates its cells

into a completely new organ. The most critical trait of this new organ

is its independence from oxygen. By removing the need for this allimportant

resource, the nndead brain can utilize, but is in no way

dependent upon, the complex support mechanism of the human body.

Once mutation is complete, this new organ reanimates the body into a

form that bears little resemblance (physiologically speaking) to the

original corpse. Some bodily functions remain constant, others operate

in a modified capacity, and the remainder shut down completely.

This new organism is a zombie, a member of the living dead.

 

 

1. SOURCE

U~~fortunateleyx, tensive research has yet to find an isolated example

of Solanum in nature. Water, air, and soil in all ecosystems, from all

parts of the world, have turned up negative, as have their accompanying

flora and fauna. At the time of this writing, the search continues.

 

2. SYMPTOMS

The timetable below outlines the process of an infected human (give

or take several hours, depending on the individual).

 

Hour 1: Pain and discoloration (brown-puple) of the infected area Immediate

clotting of the wound @rovided the infection came h m a wound).

Hour 5: Fever (99-103 degrees F), chills, slight dementia, vomiting,

acute pain in the joints.

Hour 8: Numbing of extremities and infected area, increased fever

(103-106 degrees F), increased dementia, loss of muscular coordination.

Hour 11: Paralysis in the lower body, overall numbness, slowed heart

rate.

Hour 16: Coma.

Hour 20: Heart stoppage. Zero brain activity

Hour 23: Reanimation.

 

 

3. TRANSFERENCE

 

Solanum is 100 percent communicahle and 100 percent fatal.

Fortunately for the human race, the virus is neither waterborne nor airborne.

Humans have never been known to contract the virus from elements

in nature. Infection can occur only through direct fluidic

contact. A zombie bite, although by far the most recognizable means

of transference, is by no means the only one. Humans have been

infected by brushing their open wounds against those of a zombie or

by being splattered by its remains after an explosion. Ingestion of

infected flesh (provided the person has no open mouth sores), however,

results in pemanent death rather than infection. Infected flesh has

proven to be highly toxic.

 

No infomation-historical, experimental, or othenvise-has surfaced

regarding the results of sexual relations with an undead specimen,

but as previously noted, the nature of Solanum suggests a high

danger of infection. Warning against such an act would be useless, as

the only people deranged enough to try would he unconcerned for their

own safety. Many have argued that, given the congealed nature of

undead bodily fluids, the chances of infection from a non-bite contact

should be low. However, it must be remembered that even one organism

is enough to begin the cycle.

 

 

4. CROSS-SPECIES INFECTION

 

Solannm is fatal to all living creatures, regardless of size, species, or

ecosystem. Reanimation, however, takes place only in humans. Studies

have shown that Solanum infecting a non-human brain will die within

hours of the death of its host, making the carcass safe to handle.

Infected animals expire before the virus can replicate throughout their

bodies. Infection from insect bites such as from mosquitoes can also

he discounted. Experiments have proven that all parasitic insects can

sense and will reject an infected host 100 percent of the time.

 

 

5. TREATMENT

 

Once a human is infected, little can be done to save him or her. Because

Solanum is a virus and not a bacteria, antibiotics have no effect.

Immunization, the only way to combat a virus, is equally useless, as even

the most minute dosage will lead to a full-blown infection. Genetic

research is under way. Goals range from stronger human antibodies to

resistant cell structure to a counter-virus designed to identify and destroy

Solanum. This and other, more radical treatments are still in the earliest

stages, with no foreseeable success in the near future. Battlefield experiences

have led to the immediate severing of the infected limb (provided

this is the location of the bite), but such treatments are dubious at best,

with less than a 10 percent success rate.

 

Chances are, the infected human

was doomed from the moment the virus entered his or her system.

Should the infected human choose suicide, he should remember that the

brain must be eliminated first. Cases have been recorded in which

recently infected subjects, deceased by means other than the virus, will

nonetheless reanimate. Such cases usually occur when the subject

expires after the fifth hour of infection. Regardless, any person killed

after being bitten or otherwise infected by the undead should be immediately

disposed of. (See "Disposal," page 19.)

 

 

6. REANIMATING THE ALREADY DECEASED

 

It has been suggested that fresh human corpses could reanimate if

Solanum were introduced after their demise. This is a fallacy. Zombies

ignore necrotic flesh and therefore could not transfer the virus.

Experiments conducted during and after World War I1 (see "Recorded

Attacks," pages 216m have proven that injecting Solanum into a

cadaver would be futile because a stagnant bloodstream could not

transport the virus to the brain. Injection directly into a dead brain

would be equally useless, as the expired cells could not respond to the

virus. Solanum does not create life-it alters it.

 

 

ZOMBIE ATTRIBUTES

 

1. PHYSICAL ABILITIES

Too often, the undead have been said to possess superhuman powers:

unusual strength, lightning speed, telepathy, etc. Stories range from

zombies flying through the air to their scaling vertical surfaces like spiders.

While these traits might make for fascinating drama, the individual

ghoul is far from a magical, omnipotent demon. Never forget that

the body of the undead is, for all practical purposes, human. What

changes do occur are in the way this new, reanimated body is used by

the now-infected brain. There is no way a zombie could fly unless the

human it used to be could fly. The same goes for projecting force

fields, telepottation, moving through solid objects, transforming into a

wolf, breathing fire, or a variety of other mystical talents amibuted to

the walking dead. Imagine the human body as a tool kit. The somnambulist

brain has those tools, and only those tools, at its disposal. It

cannot create new ones out of thin air. But it can, as you will see, use

these tools in unconventional combinations, or push their durability

beyond normal human limits.

 

 

A. Sight

 

The eyes of a zombie are no different than those of a normal human.

While still capable (given their rate of decomposition) of transmitting

visual signals to the brain, how the brain interprets these signals is

another matter. Studies are inconclusive regarding the undead's visual

abilities. They can spot prey at distances comparable to a human, but

whether they can distinguish a human from one of their own is still up

for debate. One theory suggests that the movements made by humans,

which are quicker and smoother than those of the undead, is what

causes them to stand out to the zombie eye. Experiments have been

done in which humans have attempted to confuse approaching ghouls

by mimicking their motions and adopting a shambling, awkward limp.

To date, none of these attempts have succeeded. It has been suggested

that zombies possess night vision, a fact that explains their skill at nocturnal

hunting. This theory has been debunked by the fact that all zombies

are expert night feeders, even those without eyes.

 

B. Sound

 

There is no question that zombies have excellent hearing. Not only can

they detect sound-they can determine its direction. The basic range

appears to be the same as that for humans. Experiments with extreme

high and low frequencies have yielded negative results. Tests have also

shown that zombies are attracted by any sounds, not just those made

by living creatures. It has been recorded that ghouls will notice sounds

ignored by living humans. The most likely, if unproven, explanation is

that zombies depend on all their senses equally. Humans are sightoriented

from birth, depending on other senses only if the primary one

is lost. Perhaps this is not a handicap shared by the walking dead. If

so, it would explain their ability to hunt, fight, and feed in total darkness.

 

 

C. Smell

 

Unlike with sound, the undead have a more acute sense of smell. In

both combat situations and laboratory tests, they have been able to distinguish

the smell of living prey above all others. In many cases, and

given ideal wind conditions, zomhies have been known to smell fresh

corpses from a distance of more than a mile. Again, this does not mean

that ghouls have a greater sense of smell than humans, simply that they

rely on it more. It is not known exactly what particular secretion signals

the presence of prey: sweat, pheromones, blood, etc. In the past,

people seeking to move undetected through infested areas have

attempted to "mask" their human scent with perfumes, deodorants, or

other strong-smelling chemicals. None were successful. Experiments

are now under way to synthesize the smells of living creatures as a

decoy or even repellent to the walking dead. A successful product is

still years away.

 

 

D. Taste

 

Little is known about the altered taste buds of the walking dead.

Zombies do have the ability to tell human flesh apart from that of animals,

and they prefer the former. Ghouls also have a remarkable ability

to reject carrion in favor of freshly killed meat. A human body that

has been dead longer than twelve to eighteen hours will be rejected as

food. The same goes for cadavers that have been embalmed or otherwise

preserved. Whether this has anything to do with "taste" is not yet

certain. It may have to do with smell or, perhaps, another instinct that

has not been discovered. As to exactly why human flesh is preferable,

science has yet to find an answer to this confounding, frustrating, terrifying

question.

 

 

E. Touch

 

Zombies have, literally, no physical sensations. All nerve receptors

throughout the body remain dead after reanimation. This is truly their

greatest and most temfying advantage over the living. We, as humans,

have the ability to experience physical pain as a signal of bodily damage.

Our brain classifies such sensations, matches them to the experience

that instigated them, and then files the information away for use

as a warning against future ham. It is this gift of physiology and

instinct that has allowed us to survive as a species. It is why we value

virtues such as courage, which inspires people to perform actions

despite warnings of danger. The inability to recognize and avoid pain

is what makes the waking dead so formidable. Wounds will not be

noticed and, therefore, will not deter an attack. Even if a zombie's

body is severely damaged, it will continue to attack until nothing

remains.

 

 

E Sixth Sense

 

Historical research, coupled with laboratory and field observation,

have shown that the walking dead have been known to attack even

when all their sensory organs have been damaged or completely

decomposed. Does this mean that zombies possess a sixth sense?

Perhaps. Living humans use less than 5 percent of their brain capacity.

It is possible that the virus can stimulate another sensoly ability that

has been forgotten by evolution. This theory is one of the most hotly

debated in the war against the undead. So far, no scientific evidence

has been found to suppoa either side.

 

 

G. Healing

 

Despite legends and ancient folklore, undead physiology has been

proven to possess no powers of regeneration. Cells that are damaged

stay damaged. Any wounds, no matter what their size and nature, will

remain for the duration of that body's reanimation. A variety of medical

treatments have been attempted to stimulate the healing process in

captured ghouls. None were successful. This inability to self-repair,

something that we as living beings take for granted, is a severe disadvantage

to the undead. For example, every time we physically exert

ourselves, we tear our muscles. With time, these muscles rebuild to a

stronger state than before. A ghoul's muscle mass will remain damaged,

reducing its effectiveness every time it is used.

 

 

H. Decomposition

 

The average zombie "life span"-how long it is able to function before

completely rotting away-is estimated at three to five years. As fantastic

as this sounds-a human corpse able to ward off the natural

effects of decay-its cause is rooted in basic biology. When a human

body dies, its flesh is immediately set upon by billions of microscopic

organisms. These organisms were always present, in the external environment

arid within the body itself. In life, the immune system stood

as a harrier between these organisms and their target. In death, that barrier

is removed. The organisms begin multiplying exponentially as

they proceed to eat and, thereby, break down the corpse on a cellular

level. The smell and discoloration associated with any decaying meat

are the biological process of these microbes at work. When you order

an "aged" steak, you are ordering a piece of meat that has begun to rot,

its formerly toughened flesh softened by microorganisms breaking

down its sturdy fiber. Within a short time, that steak, like a human

corpse, will dissolve to nothing, leaving behind only material too hard

or innutritious for any microbe, such as hone, teeth, nails, and hair.

This is the normal cycle of life, nature's way of recycling nutrients

back into the food chain. To halt this process, and preserve dead tissue,

it is necessary to place it in an environment unsuitable for bacteria,

such as in extreme low or high temperatures, in toxic chemicals

such as formaldehyde, or, in this case, to saturate it with Solanum.

Almost all the microbe species involved in normal human decomposition

have repeatedly rejected flesh infected by the virus, effecThe

tively embalming the zombie. Were this not the case, combating the

living dead would be as easy as avoiding them for several weeks or

even days until they rotted away to hones. Research has yet to discover

the exact cause of this condition. It has been determined that at least

some microbe species ignore the repelling effects of Solanum-otherwise,

the undead would remain perfectly preserved forever. It has also

been determined that natural conditions such as moisture and temperature

play an important role as well. Undead that prowl the bayous of

Louisiana are unlikely to last as long as those in the cold, dry Gobi

desert. Extreme situations, such as deep freezing or immersion in -

preservative fluid, could, hypothetically, allow an undead specimen to

exist indef~telyT. hese techniques have been known to allow zombies

to function for decades, if not centuries. (See "Recorded Attacks,"

pages 193ff.) Decomposition does not mean that a member of the

walking dead will simply drop. Decay may affect various parts of the

body at different times. Specimens have been found with brains intact

but nearly disintegrated bodies. Others with partially rotted brains may

control some bodily functions but be completely paalyzed in others.

A popular theory has recently circulated that attempts to explain the

story of the ancient Egyptian mummy as one of the first examples of

an embalmed zombie. The preservation techniques allowed it to fuuction

several thousand years after being entombed. Anyone with a rudimentary

knowledge of ancient Egypt would find this story almost

laughably untrue: The most important and complicated step in preparing

a pharaoh for burial was the removal of the brain!

 

 

I. Digestion

 

Recent evidence has once and for all mscounted the theory that human

flesh is the fuel for the undead. A zombie's digestive tract is completely

dormant. The complex system that processes food, extracts nutrition,

and excretes waste does not factor into a zombie's physiology. Autopsies

conducted on neutralized undead have shown that their "food" lies in its

original, undigested state at all sections of the tract. This partially

chewed, slowly rotting matter will continue to accumulate, as the zom12

hie devours more victims, until it is forced through the anus, or literally

bursts through the stomach or intestinal lining. While this more dramatic

example of non-digestion is rare, hundreds of eyewitness reports have

confirmed undead to have distended bellies. One captured and dissected

specimen was found to contain 21 1 pounds of flesh within its system!

Even rarer accounts have confirmed that zombies continue to feed long

after their digestive tracts have exploded from within.

 

 

J. Respiration

 

The lungs of the undead continue to function in that they draw air into

and expel it from the hody. This function accounts for a zombie's signature

moan. What the lungs and body chemistry fail to accomplish,

however, is to extract oxygen and remove carbon dioxide. Given that

Solanum obviates the need for both of these functions, the entire

human respiratory system is obsolete in the hody of a ghoul. This

explains how the living dead can "walk underwater" or survive in environments

lethal to humans. Their brains, as noted earlier, are oxygenindependent.

 

 

K. Circulation

 

It would be inaccurate to say that zomhies have no heart. It would not

he inaccurate, however, to say that they find no use for it. The circulatory

system of the undead is little more than a network of useless tubes

filled with congealed hlood. The same applies to the lymphatic system

as well as all other bodily fluids. Although this mutation would appear

to give the undead one more advantage over humanity, it has actually

proved to he a godsend. The lack of fluid mass prevents easy transmission

of the virus. Were this not true, hand-to-hand combat would

he nearly impossible, as the defending human would almost certainly

he splattered with hlood andlor other fluids.

 

 

L. Reproduction

 

Zombies are sterile creatures. Their sexual organs are necrotic and

impotent. Attempts have been made to fertilize zombie eggs with

human sperm and vice versa. None has been succcssful. The undead

have also shown no signs of sexual desire, either for their own

species or for the living. Until research can prove otherwise, humanity's

greatest fear-the dead reproducing the dead-is a comforting

impossibility.

 

M. Strength

 

Ghouls possess the same brute force as the living. What power can be

exerted depends greatly on the individual zombie. What muscle mass

a person has in life would be all he possesses in death. Unlike a living

body, adrenal glands have not been known to function in the dead,

denying zombies the temporary burst of power we humans enjoy. The

one solid advantage the living dead do possess is amazing stamina.

Imagine working out, or any other act of physical exertion. Chances

are that pain and exhaustion will dictate your limits. These factors do

not apply to the dead. They will continue an act, with the same

dynamic energy, until the muscles supporting it literally disintegrate.

i

f While this makes for progressively weaker ghouls, it allows for an allpowerful

first attack. Many barricades that would have exhausted three 1 or even four physically fit humans have fallen to a single determined

zombie.

 

N. Speed

 

The "walking" dead tend to move at a slouch or limp. Even without

injuries or advanced decomposition, their lack of coordination makes

for an unsteady suide. Speed is mainly determined by leg length. Taller

ghouls have longer strides than their shorter counterparts. Zombies

appear to be incapable of running. The fastest have been observed to

move at a rate of barely one step per 1.5 seconds. Again, as with

strength, the dead's advantage over the living is their tirelessness.

Humans who believe they have outrun their nndead pursuers might do

well to remember the story of the tortoise and the hare, adding, of

course, that in this instance the hare stands a good chance of being

eaten alive.

 

 

0. Agility

 

The average living human possesses a dexterity level 90 percent

greater than the strongest ghoul. Some of this comes from the general

stiffness of necrotic muscle tissue (hence their awkward stride). The

rest is due to their primitive brain functions. Zomhies have little handeye

coordination, one of their greatest weaknesses. No one has ever

observed a zombie jumping, either from one spot to another or simply

up and down. Balancing on a narrow surface is similarly beyond their

ahility. Swimming is also a skill reserved for the living. The theory has

been put forth that, if an undead corpse were to he bloated enough to

rise to the surface, it could present a floating hazard. This is rare, however,

as the slow rate of decomposition would not allow by-product gas

to accumulate. Zombies who walk or fall into bodies of water will

more likely find themselves wandering aimlessly across the bottom

until eventually dissolving. They can be successful climbers, but only

in certain circumstances. If zombies perceive prey above them, for

example, in the second story of a house, they will always attempt to

climb to it. Zombies will try to scale any surface no matter how

unfeasahle or even impossible. In all but the easiest situations, these

attempts have met with failure. Even in the case of ladders, when simple

hand-over-hand coordination is required, only one in four zombies

will succeed.

 

 

2. BEHAWOWLPA TTERNS

 

A. Intelligence

 

It has been proven, time and again, that our greatest advantage over the

undead is our ahility to think. The mental capacity of the average zombie

ranks somewhere beneath that of an insect. On no occasion have

they shown any ability to reason or employ logic. Attempting to

accomplish a task, failing, then by trial and error discovering a new

solution, is a skill shared by many members of the animal kingdom hut

lost on the walking dead. Zombies have repeatedly failed laboratory

intelligence tests set at the level of rodents. One field case showed a

human standing at one end of a collapsed bridge with several dozen

zombies on the orher side. One by one, the walking dead tumbled over

the edge in a futile attempt to reach him. At no time did any of them

realize what was happening and change their tactics in any way.

Contrruy to myth and speculation, zombies have never been observed

using tools of any kind. Even picking up a rock to use as a weapon is

beyond their grasp. This simple task would prove the basic thought

process involved in realizing that the rock is a more efficient weapon

than the naked hand. Ironically, the age of artificial intelligence has

enabled us to identify more easily with the mind of the zombie than

that of our more "primitive" ancestors. With care exceptions, even the

most advanced computers do not have the ability to think on their own.

They do what they are programmed to do, nothing more. Imagine a

computer programmed to execute one function. This function cannot

be paused, modified, or erased. No new data can be stored. No new

commands can he installed. This computer will perform that one function,

over and over, until its power source eventually shuts down. This

is the zombie brain. An instinct-driven, unitask machine that is impervious

to tampering and can only be destroyed.

 

B. Emotions

 

Feelings of any kind are not known to the walking dead. Every form

of psychological warfare, from attempts at enraging the undead to provoking

pity have all met with disaster. Joy, sadness, confidence, anxiety,

love, hatred, fear-all of these feelings and thousands more that

make up the human "heart" are as useless to the living dead as the

organ of the same name. Who knows if this is humanity's greatest

weakness or strength? The debate continues, and probably will forever.

 

 

C. Memories

 

A modem conceit is that a zombie retains the knowledge of its former

life. We hear stories of the dead returning to their places of residence

or work, operating familiar machinery, or even showing acts of mercy

to loved ones. In trnth, not a shred of proof exists to support this wishful

thinking. Zombies could not possibly retain memories of their for

mer lives in either the conscious or subconscious mind, because neither

exist! A ghoul will not be distracted by the family pet, living relatives,

familiar surroundings, etc. No matter who a person was in his

former life, that person is gone, replaced by a mindless automaton with

no instinct other than for feeding. This begs the question: Why do zombies

prefer urban areas to the countryside? First, the undead do not prefer

cities, but simply remain where they are reanimated. Second, the

main reason zomhies tend to stay in cities instead of fanning out into

the countryside is because an urban zone holds the highest concentration

of prey.

 

 

D. Physical Needs

 

Other than hunger (discussed later), the dead have shown none of the

physical wants or needs expressed in mortal life. Zombies have never

been observed to sleep or rest under any circumstances. They have not

reacted to extreme heat or cold. In harsh weather, they have never

sought shelter. Even something as simple as thirst is unknown to the

living dead. Defying all laws of science, Solanum has created what

could be described as a completely self-sufficient organism.

 

 

E. Communication

 

Zombies have no language skills. Although their vocal cords are capable

of speech, their brain is not. The only vocal ability appears to be a

deep-throated moan. This moan is released when zombies identify prey.

The sound will remain low and steady until physical contact is made. It

will then shift in tone and volume as the zombie commences its attack.

This eerie sound, so typically associated with the walking dead, serves

as a rallying cry for other zombies and, as has been recently discovered,

is a potent psychological weapon. (See "On the Defense," page 74.)

E Social Dynamics Theories have always proliferated that the

undead function as a collective

force, from an army controlled by Satan to an insect-like

pheromone-driven hive to the most recent notion that they achieve

group consensus by telepathy. The truth is that zombies have no social

organization to speak of. There is no hierarchy, no chain of command,

no drive toward any type of collectivization. A horde of the undead,

regardless of size, regardless of appearance, is simply a mass of individuals.

If several hundred ghouls converge on a victim's location, it

is because each one is drawn by its own instinct. Zombies appear to be

unaware of one another. Individuals have never been observed to react

to the sight of one another at any range. This goes back to the question

of sense: How does a zombie distinguish between one of its own and

a human or other prey at the same range? The answer has yet to he

found. Zombies do avoid one another in the same way they avoid inanimate

objects. When they hump into one another, they make no attempt

to connect or communicate. Zombies feasting on the same corpse will

tug repeatedly on the meat in question rather than shove a competitor

out of the way. The only suggestion of communal effort is seen in notorious

swarm attacks: the moan of a ghoul calling others within earshot.

Once they hear the wail, other walking dead will almost always converge

on its source. An early study theorized that this was a deliberate

act, that a scout used its moan to signal the others to attack. However,

we now how that it happens purely by accident. The ghoul that moans

at the detection of prey does so as an instinctive reaction, not as an alert.

 

 

G. Hunting

 

Zombies are migratory organisms, with no regard for temtory or concept

of home. They will travel miles and perhaps, given time, cross

continents in their search for food. Their hunting pattern is random.

Ghouls will feed at night and during the day. They will stumble

through an area rather than deliberately searching it. Certain zones or

structures will not he singled out as more likely to contain prey. For

example, some have been known to search farmhouses and other rural

structures while others in the same group have moved by without even

a glance. Urban zones take more time to explore, which is why the

undead remain longer in these areas, hut no building will take precedence

over another. Zombies appear to be totally unaware of their sur

roundings. They do not, for example, move their eyes in a way that

would take in the information of a new setting. Shuffling silently, with

a thousand-yard stare, they will wander aimlessly, regardless of location,

until prey is detected. As discussed earlier, the undead possess an

uncauny ability to home in on a victim's precise location. Once contact

is made, the previously silent, oblivious automaton transforms into

something more closely related to a guided missile. The head turns

immediately in the direction of its victim. The jaw drops, lips retract,

and, from the depths of its diaphragm, comes the moan. Once contact

is made, zombies cannot be distracted by any means. They will continue

to pursue their prey, stopping only if they lose contact, make a

successful kill, or are destroyed.

 

 

H. Motivation

 

Why do the undead prey upon the living? If it has been proven that

human flesh serves no nutritional purpose, why does their instinct

drive them to murder? The truth eludes us. Modem science, combined

with historical data, has shown that living humans are not the only

delights on the undead menu. Rescue teams entering an infested area

have consistently reported them stripped of all life. Any creatures, no

matter what their size or species, will he consumed by an attacking

zombie. Human flesh, however, will always he preferable to other life

forms. One experiment presented a captured specimen with two identical

cubes of meat: one human, one animal. The zombie repeatedly

chose the human. Reasons for this are still unknown. What can be confirmed,

beyond any shadow of doubt, is that instinct brought on by

Solanum drives the undead to kill and devour any living creature they

discover. There appear to be no exceptions.

 

 

I. Killing the Dead

While destroying a zombie may be simple, it is far from easy. As we

have seen, zombies require none of the physiological functions that

humans need to survive. Destruction or severe damage of the circulatory,

digestive, or respiratory system would do nothing to a member of

the walking dead, as these functions no

longer support the brain. Simply put, there

are thousands of ways to kill a humanand

only one to kill a zombie. The brain

must be obliterated, by any means possible.

 

 

J. Disposal

 

Studies have shown that Solanum can still

inhabit the body of a terminated zombie for

up to fortyeight hours. Exercise extreme

care when disposing of undead corpses.

The head in particular possesses the most

serious hazard, given its concentration of

the virus. Never handle an undead corpse

without protective clothing. Treat it as you

would any toxic, highly lethal material. Cremation is the safest, most

effective way of disposal. Despite rumors that a pile of burning corpses

will spread Solannm in a cloud of smoking plague, common sense

would dictate that any virus is unable to survive intense heat, to say

nothing of an open flame.

 

 

K. Domestication?

 

To reiterate, the zombie brain has proved, so far, to he tamper-proof.

Experiments ranging from chemicals to surgery to electromagnetic

waves have yielded negative results. Behavioral modification therapy

and other such attempts to train the living dead like some kind of pack

animal have similarly met with failure. Again, the machine cannot be

rewired. It will exist as is, or it will not exist at all.

 

 

THE VOODOO ZOMBIE

 

If zombies are the creation of a virus and not black magic, then how

does this explain the so-called "voodoo zombie," a person who has died,

been raised from his grave, and is doomed to spend eternity as a slave

of the living? Yes, it is trne that the word "zombie" originally comes

from the Kimbnndn word "nzfimbe," a term describing a dead person's

soul, and yes, zombies and zombification are integral parts of the Afro-

Caribbean religion known as voodoo. However, the origin of their name

is the only similarity between the voodoo zombie and the viral zombie.

Although it is said that voodoo houngans (priests) can turn humans into

zombies by magical means, the practice is rooted in bard, undeniable

science. "Zombie powder," the tool used by the houngan for zombification,

contains a very powerful neurotoxin (the exact ingredients are a

closely guarded secret). The toxin temporarily paralyzes the human

nervous system, creating a state of extreme hibernation. With the heart,

lungs, and all other bodily functions operating at minimal levels, it

would be understandable if an inexperienced coroner declared the paralyzed

subject to be dead. Many humans have been buried while in such

a state, only to awaken screaming in the pitch darkness of their coffin.

So what makes this living human being a zombie? The answer is simple:

brain damage. Many who are buried alive quickly use up the air

inside their coffins. Those that are recovered (if they are lucky) almost

always suffer brain damage from lack of oxygen. These poor souls

shamble about with little cognitive skills, or, indeed, free will, and are

often mistaken for the living dead. How can yon distinguish a voodoo

zombie from the genuine article? The telltale signs are obvious.

 

1. Voodoo zombies show emotion. People suffering from zombie

powder-induced brain damage are still capable of all normal human

feelings. They smile, cry, even growl with anger if hurt or otherwise

provoked (something real zombies would never do).

 

2. Voodoo zombies exhibit thought. As has been stated before, when

a real zombie encounters you it will immediately home in like a

smart bomb. A voodoo zombie will take a moment to try to figure

out who or what you are. Maybe it will come toward you, maybe it

will recoil, maybe it will continue its observation as its damaged

brain attempts to analyze the information given it. What a voodoo

zombie will not do is raise its arms, drop its jaw, unleash a hellish

moan, and stumble directly toward you.

 

3. Voodoo zombies feel pain. A voodoo zombie that trips and falls

will undoubtedly hold its bruised knee and whimper. Likewise, one

already suffering from some other wound will nurse it, or, at the

very least, be aware of the wound's existence. Voodoo zombies will

not ignore deep gashes in their bodies like a real zombie would.

 

4. Voodoo zombies recognize fire. This is not to say that they are afraid

of open flames. Some that have suffered severe brain damage may not

remember what lire is. They will stop to examine it, perhaps even reach

out to touch it, hut they will recoil once they realize it causes pain.

 

5. Voodoo zombies recognize their surroundings. Unlike real zombies,

who only recognize prey, voodoo zombies will react to sudden

changes in light, sound, taste, and smell. Voodoo zombies have been

observed watching television or brightly flashing lights, listening to

music, cringing at thunder, and even taking notice of one another.

This last fact has been critical in several cases of mis-identification.

Had the zombies in question not reacted to each other (they looked

at each other, made noises, even touched each other's faces), they

might have been accidentally exterminated.

 

6. Voodoo zombies do NOT have bypersense. A human who has suffered

the debilitating effects of zombie powder is still a sightdependent

human. He cannot operate perfectly in the dark, hear a

footstep at 500 ya~dso, r smell a living being on the wind. Voodoo

zombies can actually be surprised by someone walking up behind

them. This is not recommended, however, as a frightened zombie

might react in anger.

 

7. Voodoo zombies can communicate. While this is not always the

case, many of these individuals can respond to audiovisual signals.

Many understand words; some even comprehend simple sentences.

Many voodoo zombies possess the ability to speak, simply, of

course, and rarely for extended conversations.

 

8. Voodoo zombies can be controlled. While not always true, many

brain damaged humans have lost much of their self-realization,

making them very susceptible to suggestion. Simply shouting for a

subject to halt or even go away can he enough to get rid of a voodoo

zombie. This has created the dangerous situation of confused people

believing they could control or train true zombies. Several times

headstrong humans have insisted they could simply command their

living dead attackers to stop. As cold, rotting hands grabbed their

limbs and dirty, worn teeth bit into their flesh, these people discovered,

too late, what they were truly dealing with.

 

These guidelines should give you a good idea of how to tell a voodoo

zombie from a true zombie. One final note: Voodoo zombies are

almost always encountered in sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean,

Central and South America, and the southern United States.

Although it is not impossible to find someone who has been turned

into a zombie by a houngan elsewhere, the chances of such an

encounter are slim.

 

 

THE HOLLYWOOD ZOMBIE

Since the living dead first stepped onto the silver screen, their greatest

enemy has not been hunters, but critics. Scholars, scientists, even concerned

citizens have all argued that these movies depict the living dead

in a fantastic, unrealistic fashion. Visually stunning weapons, physically

impossible action sequences, larger-than-life human characters,

and, above all, magical, invincible, even comical ghouls have all added

their colors to the controversial rainbow that is "the Zombie Movie."

Further criticism argues that this "style over substance" approach to

somnambulist cinema teaches human viewers lessons that may get

them killed in a real encounter. These serious charges demand an

equally serious defense. While some zombie movies are based on

actual events*, their goal, indeed the goal of almost every movie in

every genre, has always been, first and foremost, to entertain. Unless

we are discussing pure documentaries (and even some of those are

"sweetened"), moviemakers must take some artistic license to make

their work more palatable to the audience. Even movies that are based

on actual events will sacrifice pure reality for good storytelling.

 

Certain characters will be an amalgam of real-life individuals. Others

may be purely fictional in order to explain certain facts, facilitate the

plotline, or simply add flavor to the scene. One might argue that the

role of the artist is to challenge, educate, and enlighten her audience.

That may be true, but try imparting knowledge to an audience who has

either left or fallen asleep within the first ten minutes of the picture.

Accept this basic rule of moviemaking and you will understand why

Hollywood zombie films stray, in some cases wildly, from the reality

on which they are based. In short, use these photo-plays as their makers

intended: as a source of temporary, lighthearted entertainment and

not a visual aid to your survival.

 

 

OUTBREAKS

 

Although each zombie attack is different, given the number, terrain,

reaction of the general populace, etc., its level of intensity can be measured

in four distinct classes.

*At the behest of the filmmakers andlor their estates, the titles of those movies based on me-life stories have been omitted.

 

CLASS 1

This is a low-level outbreak, usually in a Third World country or First

World rural area. The number of zombies in this class of outbreak

ranges between one and twenty. Total human casualties (including

those infected) range from one to fifty. The total duration, from the fist

case to the last (known), will range between twenty-four hours and

fourteen days. The infested area will be small, no larger than a twentymile

radius. In many cases, natural boundaries will determine its limits.

Response will he light, either exclusively civilian or with some

additional help from local law enforcement. Media coverage will be

light, if present at all. If the media is present, look for common stories

like homicides or "accidents." This is the most common type of outbreak

and also the easiest to go unnoticed.

 

CLASS 2

Urban or densely populated mral areas are included in this level of outbreak.

Total zombies will range between twenty and one hundred.

Total human casualties may reach as high as several hundred. The

duration of a Class 2 attack may last no longer than a Class 1 outbreak.

In some cases, the larger number of zombies will spark a more immediate

response. A rural, sparsely populated outbreak may extend to a

hundred-mile radius, while an urban outbreak may encompass only

several blocks. Suppression will almost certainly be organized. Bands

of civilians will be replaced by local, state, even federal law enforcement.

Look for an additional, if low-level, military response, the

National Guard in the United States or its equivalent abroad. Most

often, so as to ease panic, these units will take a more noncombatant

role, providing medical assistance, crowd control, and logistical support.

Class 2 outbreaks almost always attract the press. Unless the

attack occurs in a huly isolated area of the world, or one where the

media is strictly controlled, the story will he reported. This does not

mean, however, that it will be reported acc~lrately.

 

CLASS 3

A hue crisis. Class 3 outbreaks, more than any other, demonstrate the

clear threat posed by the living dead. Zombies will number in the thousands,

encompassing an area of several hundred miles. The duration of

the attack and a possible lengthy mop-up process could last as long as

several months. There will be no chance for a press blackout or coverup.

Even without media attention, the sheer magnitude of the attack will

leave too many eyewitnesses. This is a full-blown battle, with law

enforcement replaced by units of the regular military. A state of emergency

will be declared for the infested zone, as well as the neighboring

areas. Expect martial law, restricted travel, rationed supplies, federalized

services, and strictly monitored communication. All these measures,

however, will take time to implement. The initial phase will be

one of chaos as those in power come to grips with the crisis. Riots, looting,

and widespread panic will add to their difficulties, further delaying

an effective response. While this is happening, those living withm the

infested area will be at the mercy of the undead. Isolated, abandoned,

and surrounded by ghouls, they will have only themselves to depend on.

 

CLASS 4

(See "Living in an Undead World," pages 154-81.)

 

DETECTION

Every undead outbreak, regardless of its class, has a beginning. Now

that the enemy has been defined, the next step is early warning.

Knowing what a zombie is will not help if you are unable to recognize

an outbreak before it's too late. This does not entail building a "zombie

command post" in your basement, sticking pins in a map, and huddling

around the shortwave radio. All it requires is looking for signs

that would slip by the untrained mind. These signs include:

 

1. Homicides in which the victims were executed by head shots or

decapitation. It has happened many times: People recognize an outbreak

for what it is and try to take matters into their own hands.

Almost always, these people are declared murderers by the local

authorities and prosecuted as such.

 

2. Missing persons, particularly in wilderness or uninhabited areas.

Pay careful attention if one or more of the search members end up

missing. If the story is televised or photographed, watch to see what

level of armament the search parties carry. Any more than one rifle

per group could mean that this is more than just a simple rescue

operation.

 

3. Cases of "violent insanity" in which the subject attacked friends or

family without the use of weapons. Find out if the attacker bit or

tried to bite his victims. If so, are any of the victims still in the hospital?

Try to discover if any of these victims mysteriously died

within days of their bite.

 

4. Riots or other civil disturbances that began without provocation or

other logical cause. Common sense will dictate that violence on any

group level does not simply occur without a catalyst such as racial

tension, political actions, or legal decisions. Even so-called "mass

hysteria" can always be traced to a root source. If none can be

found, the answer may lie elsewhere.

 

5. Disease-based deaths in which either the cause is undetermined or

seems highly suspect. Deaths from infectious disease are rare in the

industrialized world, compared to a century ago. For this reason,

new outbreaks always make the news. Look for those cases in

which the exact nature of the disease is unexplained. Also, be on the

alert for suspicious explanations such as West Nile virus or "mad

cow" disease. Either could be examples of a cover-up.

 

6. Any of the above in which media coverage was forbidden. A total

press blackout is rare in the United States. The occurrence of one

should be regarded as an immediate red flag. Of course, there may

be many reasons other than an attack of the living dead. Then again,

any event causing a govemment as media-conscious as our own to

clamp down merits close attention. The truth, no matter what it is,

cannot be good.

 

Once an event has tripped your sensors, keep track of it. Note the

location, and its distance from you. Watch for similar incidents around

or near the original site. If, within a few days or weeks, these incidents

do occur, study them carefully. Note the response of law enforcement

and other govemment agencies. If they react more forcefully with each

occurrence, chances are that an outbreak is unfolding.

Hyperlinks are your friend. :p

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also: Can you imagine what a quote tree would look like with this baby?! :-"

 

 

I'm having trouble seeing it, personally.

 

 

No, I think... I see it now.

Are you sure?

 

One must be absolutely certain in these matters, for they are not to be trifled with.

I'd just like to say...I'm sorry. :*"

Oh, you're quite forgiven LoneWolf.

 

It is Christmas after all!

 

I agree.

And when Kiro-San speaks, ninjas, pirates, monkeys and robots all listen!

 

Zombies BEWARE! If the quote-tree doesn't kill you, Kiro's ph4t skillz0rz will.

 

I learned from teh best. :*

Did somebody say ninjas? :shifty:

Facts:

 

1. Ninjas are mammals.

 

2. Ninjas fight ALL the time.

 

3. The purpose of the ninja is to flip out and kill people.

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Dudes, you should start by defining what a zombie is, how they spread and what its weak points are. I see head boinking and what to use/not to use but no details.

 

For example you may want to tell the dudes if melee's a bad idea because the zombie virus/bacteria and other general infections from decaying flesh would be nasty if it gets on you from fluid contact.

 

Sorry for the formatting but im not going to type out 30 pages by hand.

 

THE UNDEAD: MYTHS AND REALITIES

 

He comes from the grave, his body a home of worms andjilth. No life in

his eyes, no warmth of his shn, no beating of his breast. His soul, as

empty and dark as the night sky. He laughs at the blade, spits at the

arrow, for they will not harm hisflesh. For eternity, he will walk the

earth, smelling the sweet blood of the living, feasting upon the bones of

the damned. Beware, for he is the living dead.

 

ZOM-BZE: (Zom'be) n. also ZOM-BIES pl. I. An animated corpse that

feeds on living humanjlesh. 2. A voodoo spell that raises the dead. 3.

A Voodoo snake god. 4. One who moves or acts in a daze "like a zombie."

[a word of West African origin]

 

What is a zombie? How are they created? What are their strengths and

weaknesses? What are their needs, their desires? Why are they hostile

to humanity? Before discussing any survival techniques, you must first

learn what you are trying to survive.

We must begin by separating fact from fiction. The walking dead

are neither a work of "black magic" nor any other supernatural force.

Their origin stems from a virus known as Solanum, a Latin word used

by Jan Vanderhaven, who fust "discovered" the disease.

 

SOLANUM: THE VIRUS

 

Solannm works by traveling through the bloodstream, from the initial

point of entry to the brain. Through means not yet fully understood,

the virus uses the cells of the frontal lobe for replication, destroying

them in the process. During this period, all bodily functions cease. By

stopping the heart, the infected subject is rendered ''dead." The brain,

however, remains alive hut dormant, while the virus mutates its cells

into a completely new organ. The most critical trait of this new organ

is its independence from oxygen. By removing the need for this allimportant

resource, the nndead brain can utilize, but is in no way

dependent upon, the complex support mechanism of the human body.

Once mutation is complete, this new organ reanimates the body into a

form that bears little resemblance (physiologically speaking) to the

original corpse. Some bodily functions remain constant, others operate

in a modified capacity, and the remainder shut down completely.

This new organism is a zombie, a member of the living dead.

 

 

1. SOURCE

U~~fortunateleyx, tensive research has yet to find an isolated example

of Solanum in nature. Water, air, and soil in all ecosystems, from all

parts of the world, have turned up negative, as have their accompanying

flora and fauna. At the time of this writing, the search continues.

 

2. SYMPTOMS

The timetable below outlines the process of an infected human (give

or take several hours, depending on the individual).

 

Hour 1: Pain and discoloration (brown-puple) of the infected area Immediate

clotting of the wound @rovided the infection came h m a wound).

Hour 5: Fever (99-103 degrees F), chills, slight dementia, vomiting,

acute pain in the joints.

Hour 8: Numbing of extremities and infected area, increased fever

(103-106 degrees F), increased dementia, loss of muscular coordination.

Hour 11: Paralysis in the lower body, overall numbness, slowed heart

rate.

Hour 16: Coma.

Hour 20: Heart stoppage. Zero brain activity

Hour 23: Reanimation.

 

 

3. TRANSFERENCE

 

Solanum is 100 percent communicahle and 100 percent fatal.

Fortunately for the human race, the virus is neither waterborne nor airborne.

Humans have never been known to contract the virus from elements

in nature. Infection can occur only through direct fluidic

contact. A zombie bite, although by far the most recognizable means

of transference, is by no means the only one. Humans have been

infected by brushing their open wounds against those of a zombie or

by being splattered by its remains after an explosion. Ingestion of

infected flesh (provided the person has no open mouth sores), however,

results in pemanent death rather than infection. Infected flesh has

proven to be highly toxic.

 

No infomation-historical, experimental, or othenvise-has surfaced

regarding the results of sexual relations with an undead specimen,

but as previously noted, the nature of Solanum suggests a high

danger of infection. Warning against such an act would be useless, as

the only people deranged enough to try would he unconcerned for their

own safety. Many have argued that, given the congealed nature of

undead bodily fluids, the chances of infection from a non-bite contact

should be low. However, it must be remembered that even one organism

is enough to begin the cycle.

 

 

4. CROSS-SPECIES INFECTION

 

Solannm is fatal to all living creatures, regardless of size, species, or

ecosystem. Reanimation, however, takes place only in humans. Studies

have shown that Solanum infecting a non-human brain will die within

hours of the death of its host, making the carcass safe to handle.

Infected animals expire before the virus can replicate throughout their

bodies. Infection from insect bites such as from mosquitoes can also

he discounted. Experiments have proven that all parasitic insects can

sense and will reject an infected host 100 percent of the time.

 

 

5. TREATMENT

 

Once a human is infected, little can be done to save him or her. Because

Solanum is a virus and not a bacteria, antibiotics have no effect.

Immunization, the only way to combat a virus, is equally useless, as even

the most minute dosage will lead to a full-blown infection. Genetic

research is under way. Goals range from stronger human antibodies to

resistant cell structure to a counter-virus designed to identify and destroy

Solanum. This and other, more radical treatments are still in the earliest

stages, with no foreseeable success in the near future. Battlefield experiences

have led to the immediate severing of the infected limb (provided

this is the location of the bite), but such treatments are dubious at best,

with less than a 10 percent success rate.

 

Chances are, the infected human

was doomed from the moment the virus entered his or her system.

Should the infected human choose suicide, he should remember that the

brain must be eliminated first. Cases have been recorded in which

recently infected subjects, deceased by means other than the virus, will

nonetheless reanimate. Such cases usually occur when the subject

expires after the fifth hour of infection. Regardless, any person killed

after being bitten or otherwise infected by the undead should be immediately

disposed of. (See "Disposal," page 19.)

 

 

6. REANIMATING THE ALREADY DECEASED

 

It has been suggested that fresh human corpses could reanimate if

Solanum were introduced after their demise. This is a fallacy. Zombies

ignore necrotic flesh and therefore could not transfer the virus.

Experiments conducted during and after World War I1 (see "Recorded

Attacks," pages 216m have proven that injecting Solanum into a

cadaver would be futile because a stagnant bloodstream could not

transport the virus to the brain. Injection directly into a dead brain

would be equally useless, as the expired cells could not respond to the

virus. Solanum does not create life-it alters it.

 

 

ZOMBIE ATTRIBUTES

 

1. PHYSICAL ABILITIES

Too often, the undead have been said to possess superhuman powers:

unusual strength, lightning speed, telepathy, etc. Stories range from

zombies flying through the air to their scaling vertical surfaces like spiders.

While these traits might make for fascinating drama, the individual

ghoul is far from a magical, omnipotent demon. Never forget that

the body of the undead is, for all practical purposes, human. What

changes do occur are in the way this new, reanimated body is used by

the now-infected brain. There is no way a zombie could fly unless the

human it used to be could fly. The same goes for projecting force

fields, telepottation, moving through solid objects, transforming into a

wolf, breathing fire, or a variety of other mystical talents amibuted to

the walking dead. Imagine the human body as a tool kit. The somnambulist

brain has those tools, and only those tools, at its disposal. It

cannot create new ones out of thin air. But it can, as you will see, use

these tools in unconventional combinations, or push their durability

beyond normal human limits.

 

 

A. Sight

 

The eyes of a zombie are no different than those of a normal human.

While still capable (given their rate of decomposition) of transmitting

visual signals to the brain, how the brain interprets these signals is

another matter. Studies are inconclusive regarding the undead's visual

abilities. They can spot prey at distances comparable to a human, but

whether they can distinguish a human from one of their own is still up

for debate. One theory suggests that the movements made by humans,

which are quicker and smoother than those of the undead, is what

causes them to stand out to the zombie eye. Experiments have been

done in which humans have attempted to confuse approaching ghouls

by mimicking their motions and adopting a shambling, awkward limp.

To date, none of these attempts have succeeded. It has been suggested

that zombies possess night vision, a fact that explains their skill at nocturnal

hunting. This theory has been debunked by the fact that all zombies

are expert night feeders, even those without eyes.

 

B. Sound

 

There is no question that zombies have excellent hearing. Not only can

they detect sound-they can determine its direction. The basic range

appears to be the same as that for humans. Experiments with extreme

high and low frequencies have yielded negative results. Tests have also

shown that zombies are attracted by any sounds, not just those made

by living creatures. It has been recorded that ghouls will notice sounds

ignored by living humans. The most likely, if unproven, explanation is

that zombies depend on all their senses equally. Humans are sightoriented

from birth, depending on other senses only if the primary one

is lost. Perhaps this is not a handicap shared by the walking dead. If

so, it would explain their ability to hunt, fight, and feed in total darkness.

 

 

C. Smell

 

Unlike with sound, the undead have a more acute sense of smell. In

both combat situations and laboratory tests, they have been able to distinguish

the smell of living prey above all others. In many cases, and

given ideal wind conditions, zomhies have been known to smell fresh

corpses from a distance of more than a mile. Again, this does not mean

that ghouls have a greater sense of smell than humans, simply that they

rely on it more. It is not known exactly what particular secretion signals

the presence of prey: sweat, pheromones, blood, etc. In the past,

people seeking to move undetected through infested areas have

attempted to "mask" their human scent with perfumes, deodorants, or

other strong-smelling chemicals. None were successful. Experiments

are now under way to synthesize the smells of living creatures as a

decoy or even repellent to the walking dead. A successful product is

still years away.

 

 

D. Taste

 

Little is known about the altered taste buds of the walking dead.

Zombies do have the ability to tell human flesh apart from that of animals,

and they prefer the former. Ghouls also have a remarkable ability

to reject carrion in favor of freshly killed meat. A human body that

has been dead longer than twelve to eighteen hours will be rejected as

food. The same goes for cadavers that have been embalmed or otherwise

preserved. Whether this has anything to do with "taste" is not yet

certain. It may have to do with smell or, perhaps, another instinct that

has not been discovered. As to exactly why human flesh is preferable,

science has yet to find an answer to this confounding, frustrating, terrifying

question.

 

 

E. Touch

 

Zombies have, literally, no physical sensations. All nerve receptors

throughout the body remain dead after reanimation. This is truly their

greatest and most temfying advantage over the living. We, as humans,

have the ability to experience physical pain as a signal of bodily damage.

Our brain classifies such sensations, matches them to the experience

that instigated them, and then files the information away for use

as a warning against future ham. It is this gift of physiology and

instinct that has allowed us to survive as a species. It is why we value

virtues such as courage, which inspires people to perform actions

despite warnings of danger. The inability to recognize and avoid pain

is what makes the waking dead so formidable. Wounds will not be

noticed and, therefore, will not deter an attack. Even if a zombie's

body is severely damaged, it will continue to attack until nothing

remains.

 

 

E Sixth Sense

 

Historical research, coupled with laboratory and field observation,

have shown that the walking dead have been known to attack even

when all their sensory organs have been damaged or completely

decomposed. Does this mean that zombies possess a sixth sense?

Perhaps. Living humans use less than 5 percent of their brain capacity.

It is possible that the virus can stimulate another sensoly ability that

has been forgotten by evolution. This theory is one of the most hotly

debated in the war against the undead. So far, no scientific evidence

has been found to suppoa either side.

 

 

G. Healing

 

Despite legends and ancient folklore, undead physiology has been

proven to possess no powers of regeneration. Cells that are damaged

stay damaged. Any wounds, no matter what their size and nature, will

remain for the duration of that body's reanimation. A variety of medical

treatments have been attempted to stimulate the healing process in

captured ghouls. None were successful. This inability to self-repair,

something that we as living beings take for granted, is a severe disadvantage

to the undead. For example, every time we physically exert

ourselves, we tear our muscles. With time, these muscles rebuild to a

stronger state than before. A ghoul's muscle mass will remain damaged,

reducing its effectiveness every time it is used.

 

 

H. Decomposition

 

The average zombie "life span"-how long it is able to function before

completely rotting away-is estimated at three to five years. As fantastic

as this sounds-a human corpse able to ward off the natural

effects of decay-its cause is rooted in basic biology. When a human

body dies, its flesh is immediately set upon by billions of microscopic

organisms. These organisms were always present, in the external environment

arid within the body itself. In life, the immune system stood

as a harrier between these organisms and their target. In death, that barrier

is removed. The organisms begin multiplying exponentially as

they proceed to eat and, thereby, break down the corpse on a cellular

level. The smell and discoloration associated with any decaying meat

are the biological process of these microbes at work. When you order

an "aged" steak, you are ordering a piece of meat that has begun to rot,

its formerly toughened flesh softened by microorganisms breaking

down its sturdy fiber. Within a short time, that steak, like a human

corpse, will dissolve to nothing, leaving behind only material too hard

or innutritious for any microbe, such as hone, teeth, nails, and hair.

This is the normal cycle of life, nature's way of recycling nutrients

back into the food chain. To halt this process, and preserve dead tissue,

it is necessary to place it in an environment unsuitable for bacteria,

such as in extreme low or high temperatures, in toxic chemicals

such as formaldehyde, or, in this case, to saturate it with Solanum.

Almost all the microbe species involved in normal human decomposition

have repeatedly rejected flesh infected by the virus, effecThe

tively embalming the zombie. Were this not the case, combating the

living dead would be as easy as avoiding them for several weeks or

even days until they rotted away to hones. Research has yet to discover

the exact cause of this condition. It has been determined that at least

some microbe species ignore the repelling effects of Solanum-otherwise,

the undead would remain perfectly preserved forever. It has also

been determined that natural conditions such as moisture and temperature

play an important role as well. Undead that prowl the bayous of

Louisiana are unlikely to last as long as those in the cold, dry Gobi

desert. Extreme situations, such as deep freezing or immersion in -

preservative fluid, could, hypothetically, allow an undead specimen to

exist indef~telyT. hese techniques have been known to allow zombies

to function for decades, if not centuries. (See "Recorded Attacks,"

pages 193ff.) Decomposition does not mean that a member of the

walking dead will simply drop. Decay may affect various parts of the

body at different times. Specimens have been found with brains intact

but nearly disintegrated bodies. Others with partially rotted brains may

control some bodily functions but be completely paalyzed in others.

A popular theory has recently circulated that attempts to explain the

story of the ancient Egyptian mummy as one of the first examples of

an embalmed zombie. The preservation techniques allowed it to fuuction

several thousand years after being entombed. Anyone with a rudimentary

knowledge of ancient Egypt would find this story almost

laughably untrue: The most important and complicated step in preparing

a pharaoh for burial was the removal of the brain!

 

 

I. Digestion

 

Recent evidence has once and for all mscounted the theory that human

flesh is the fuel for the undead. A zombie's digestive tract is completely

dormant. The complex system that processes food, extracts nutrition,

and excretes waste does not factor into a zombie's physiology. Autopsies

conducted on neutralized undead have shown that their "food" lies in its

original, undigested state at all sections of the tract. This partially

chewed, slowly rotting matter will continue to accumulate, as the zom12

hie devours more victims, until it is forced through the anus, or literally

bursts through the stomach or intestinal lining. While this more dramatic

example of non-digestion is rare, hundreds of eyewitness reports have

confirmed undead to have distended bellies. One captured and dissected

specimen was found to contain 21 1 pounds of flesh within its system!

Even rarer accounts have confirmed that zombies continue to feed long

after their digestive tracts have exploded from within.

 

 

J. Respiration

 

The lungs of the undead continue to function in that they draw air into

and expel it from the hody. This function accounts for a zombie's signature

moan. What the lungs and body chemistry fail to accomplish,

however, is to extract oxygen and remove carbon dioxide. Given that

Solanum obviates the need for both of these functions, the entire

human respiratory system is obsolete in the hody of a ghoul. This

explains how the living dead can "walk underwater" or survive in environments

lethal to humans. Their brains, as noted earlier, are oxygenindependent.

 

 

K. Circulation

 

It would be inaccurate to say that zomhies have no heart. It would not

he inaccurate, however, to say that they find no use for it. The circulatory

system of the undead is little more than a network of useless tubes

filled with congealed hlood. The same applies to the lymphatic system

as well as all other bodily fluids. Although this mutation would appear

to give the undead one more advantage over humanity, it has actually

proved to he a godsend. The lack of fluid mass prevents easy transmission

of the virus. Were this not true, hand-to-hand combat would

he nearly impossible, as the defending human would almost certainly

he splattered with hlood andlor other fluids.

 

 

L. Reproduction

 

Zombies are sterile creatures. Their sexual organs are necrotic and

impotent. Attempts have been made to fertilize zombie eggs with

human sperm and vice versa. None has been succcssful. The undead

have also shown no signs of sexual desire, either for their own

species or for the living. Until research can prove otherwise, humanity's

greatest fear-the dead reproducing the dead-is a comforting

impossibility.

 

M. Strength

 

Ghouls possess the same brute force as the living. What power can be

exerted depends greatly on the individual zombie. What muscle mass

a person has in life would be all he possesses in death. Unlike a living

body, adrenal glands have not been known to function in the dead,

denying zombies the temporary burst of power we humans enjoy. The

one solid advantage the living dead do possess is amazing stamina.

Imagine working out, or any other act of physical exertion. Chances

are that pain and exhaustion will dictate your limits. These factors do

not apply to the dead. They will continue an act, with the same

dynamic energy, until the muscles supporting it literally disintegrate.

i

f While this makes for progressively weaker ghouls, it allows for an allpowerful

first attack. Many barricades that would have exhausted three 1 or even four physically fit humans have fallen to a single determined

zombie.

 

N. Speed

 

The "walking" dead tend to move at a slouch or limp. Even without

injuries or advanced decomposition, their lack of coordination makes

for an unsteady suide. Speed is mainly determined by leg length. Taller

ghouls have longer strides than their shorter counterparts. Zombies

appear to be incapable of running. The fastest have been observed to

move at a rate of barely one step per 1.5 seconds. Again, as with

strength, the dead's advantage over the living is their tirelessness.

Humans who believe they have outrun their nndead pursuers might do

well to remember the story of the tortoise and the hare, adding, of

course, that in this instance the hare stands a good chance of being

eaten alive.

 

 

0. Agility

 

The average living human possesses a dexterity level 90 percent

greater than the strongest ghoul. Some of this comes from the general

stiffness of necrotic muscle tissue (hence their awkward stride). The

rest is due to their primitive brain functions. Zomhies have little handeye

coordination, one of their greatest weaknesses. No one has ever

observed a zombie jumping, either from one spot to another or simply

up and down. Balancing on a narrow surface is similarly beyond their

ahility. Swimming is also a skill reserved for the living. The theory has

been put forth that, if an undead corpse were to he bloated enough to

rise to the surface, it could present a floating hazard. This is rare, however,

as the slow rate of decomposition would not allow by-product gas

to accumulate. Zombies who walk or fall into bodies of water will

more likely find themselves wandering aimlessly across the bottom

until eventually dissolving. They can be successful climbers, but only

in certain circumstances. If zombies perceive prey above them, for

example, in the second story of a house, they will always attempt to

climb to it. Zombies will try to scale any surface no matter how

unfeasahle or even impossible. In all but the easiest situations, these

attempts have met with failure. Even in the case of ladders, when simple

hand-over-hand coordination is required, only one in four zombies

will succeed.

 

 

2. BEHAWOWLPA TTERNS

 

A. Intelligence

 

It has been proven, time and again, that our greatest advantage over the

undead is our ahility to think. The mental capacity of the average zombie

ranks somewhere beneath that of an insect. On no occasion have

they shown any ability to reason or employ logic. Attempting to

accomplish a task, failing, then by trial and error discovering a new

solution, is a skill shared by many members of the animal kingdom hut

lost on the walking dead. Zombies have repeatedly failed laboratory

intelligence tests set at the level of rodents. One field case showed a

human standing at one end of a collapsed bridge with several dozen

zombies on the orher side. One by one, the walking dead tumbled over

the edge in a futile attempt to reach him. At no time did any of them

realize what was happening and change their tactics in any way.

Contrruy to myth and speculation, zombies have never been observed

using tools of any kind. Even picking up a rock to use as a weapon is

beyond their grasp. This simple task would prove the basic thought

process involved in realizing that the rock is a more efficient weapon

than the naked hand. Ironically, the age of artificial intelligence has

enabled us to identify more easily with the mind of the zombie than

that of our more "primitive" ancestors. With care exceptions, even the

most advanced computers do not have the ability to think on their own.

They do what they are programmed to do, nothing more. Imagine a

computer programmed to execute one function. This function cannot

be paused, modified, or erased. No new data can be stored. No new

commands can he installed. This computer will perform that one function,

over and over, until its power source eventually shuts down. This

is the zombie brain. An instinct-driven, unitask machine that is impervious

to tampering and can only be destroyed.

 

B. Emotions

 

Feelings of any kind are not known to the walking dead. Every form

of psychological warfare, from attempts at enraging the undead to provoking

pity have all met with disaster. Joy, sadness, confidence, anxiety,

love, hatred, fear-all of these feelings and thousands more that

make up the human "heart" are as useless to the living dead as the

organ of the same name. Who knows if this is humanity's greatest

weakness or strength? The debate continues, and probably will forever.

 

 

C. Memories

 

A modem conceit is that a zombie retains the knowledge of its former

life. We hear stories of the dead returning to their places of residence

or work, operating familiar machinery, or even showing acts of mercy

to loved ones. In trnth, not a shred of proof exists to support this wishful

thinking. Zombies could not possibly retain memories of their for

mer lives in either the conscious or subconscious mind, because neither

exist! A ghoul will not be distracted by the family pet, living relatives,

familiar surroundings, etc. No matter who a person was in his

former life, that person is gone, replaced by a mindless automaton with

no instinct other than for feeding. This begs the question: Why do zombies

prefer urban areas to the countryside? First, the undead do not prefer

cities, but simply remain where they are reanimated. Second, the

main reason zomhies tend to stay in cities instead of fanning out into

the countryside is because an urban zone holds the highest concentration

of prey.

 

 

D. Physical Needs

 

Other than hunger (discussed later), the dead have shown none of the

physical wants or needs expressed in mortal life. Zombies have never

been observed to sleep or rest under any circumstances. They have not

reacted to extreme heat or cold. In harsh weather, they have never

sought shelter. Even something as simple as thirst is unknown to the

living dead. Defying all laws of science, Solanum has created what

could be described as a completely self-sufficient organism.

 

 

E. Communication

 

Zombies have no language skills. Although their vocal cords are capable

of speech, their brain is not. The only vocal ability appears to be a

deep-throated moan. This moan is released when zombies identify prey.

The sound will remain low and steady until physical contact is made. It

will then shift in tone and volume as the zombie commences its attack.

This eerie sound, so typically associated with the walking dead, serves

as a rallying cry for other zombies and, as has been recently discovered,

is a potent psychological weapon. (See "On the Defense," page 74.)

E Social Dynamics Theories have always proliferated that the

undead function as a collective

force, from an army controlled by Satan to an insect-like

pheromone-driven hive to the most recent notion that they achieve

group consensus by telepathy. The truth is that zombies have no social

organization to speak of. There is no hierarchy, no chain of command,

no drive toward any type of collectivization. A horde of the undead,

regardless of size, regardless of appearance, is simply a mass of individuals.

If several hundred ghouls converge on a victim's location, it

is because each one is drawn by its own instinct. Zombies appear to be

unaware of one another. Individuals have never been observed to react

to the sight of one another at any range. This goes back to the question

of sense: How does a zombie distinguish between one of its own and

a human or other prey at the same range? The answer has yet to he

found. Zombies do avoid one another in the same way they avoid inanimate

objects. When they hump into one another, they make no attempt

to connect or communicate. Zombies feasting on the same corpse will

tug repeatedly on the meat in question rather than shove a competitor

out of the way. The only suggestion of communal effort is seen in notorious

swarm attacks: the moan of a ghoul calling others within earshot.

Once they hear the wail, other walking dead will almost always converge

on its source. An early study theorized that this was a deliberate

act, that a scout used its moan to signal the others to attack. However,

we now how that it happens purely by accident. The ghoul that moans

at the detection of prey does so as an instinctive reaction, not as an alert.

 

 

G. Hunting

 

Zombies are migratory organisms, with no regard for temtory or concept

of home. They will travel miles and perhaps, given time, cross

continents in their search for food. Their hunting pattern is random.

Ghouls will feed at night and during the day. They will stumble

through an area rather than deliberately searching it. Certain zones or

structures will not he singled out as more likely to contain prey. For

example, some have been known to search farmhouses and other rural

structures while others in the same group have moved by without even

a glance. Urban zones take more time to explore, which is why the

undead remain longer in these areas, hut no building will take precedence

over another. Zombies appear to be totally unaware of their sur

roundings. They do not, for example, move their eyes in a way that

would take in the information of a new setting. Shuffling silently, with

a thousand-yard stare, they will wander aimlessly, regardless of location,

until prey is detected. As discussed earlier, the undead possess an

uncauny ability to home in on a victim's precise location. Once contact

is made, the previously silent, oblivious automaton transforms into

something more closely related to a guided missile. The head turns

immediately in the direction of its victim. The jaw drops, lips retract,

and, from the depths of its diaphragm, comes the moan. Once contact

is made, zombies cannot be distracted by any means. They will continue

to pursue their prey, stopping only if they lose contact, make a

successful kill, or are destroyed.

 

 

H. Motivation

 

Why do the undead prey upon the living? If it has been proven that

human flesh serves no nutritional purpose, why does their instinct

drive them to murder? The truth eludes us. Modem science, combined

with historical data, has shown that living humans are not the only

delights on the undead menu. Rescue teams entering an infested area

have consistently reported them stripped of all life. Any creatures, no

matter what their size or species, will he consumed by an attacking

zombie. Human flesh, however, will always he preferable to other life

forms. One experiment presented a captured specimen with two identical

cubes of meat: one human, one animal. The zombie repeatedly

chose the human. Reasons for this are still unknown. What can be confirmed,

beyond any shadow of doubt, is that instinct brought on by

Solanum drives the undead to kill and devour any living creature they

discover. There appear to be no exceptions.

 

 

I. Killing the Dead

While destroying a zombie may be simple, it is far from easy. As we

have seen, zombies require none of the physiological functions that

humans need to survive. Destruction or severe damage of the circulatory,

digestive, or respiratory system would do nothing to a member of

the walking dead, as these functions no

longer support the brain. Simply put, there

are thousands of ways to kill a humanand

only one to kill a zombie. The brain

must be obliterated, by any means possible.

 

 

J. Disposal

 

Studies have shown that Solanum can still

inhabit the body of a terminated zombie for

up to fortyeight hours. Exercise extreme

care when disposing of undead corpses.

The head in particular possesses the most

serious hazard, given its concentration of

the virus. Never handle an undead corpse

without protective clothing. Treat it as you

would any toxic, highly lethal material. Cremation is the safest, most

effective way of disposal. Despite rumors that a pile of burning corpses

will spread Solannm in a cloud of smoking plague, common sense

would dictate that any virus is unable to survive intense heat, to say

nothing of an open flame.

 

 

K. Domestication?

 

To reiterate, the zombie brain has proved, so far, to he tamper-proof.

Experiments ranging from chemicals to surgery to electromagnetic

waves have yielded negative results. Behavioral modification therapy

and other such attempts to train the living dead like some kind of pack

animal have similarly met with failure. Again, the machine cannot be

rewired. It will exist as is, or it will not exist at all.

 

 

THE VOODOO ZOMBIE

 

If zombies are the creation of a virus and not black magic, then how

does this explain the so-called "voodoo zombie," a person who has died,

been raised from his grave, and is doomed to spend eternity as a slave

of the living? Yes, it is trne that the word "zombie" originally comes

from the Kimbnndn word "nzfimbe," a term describing a dead person's

soul, and yes, zombies and zombification are integral parts of the Afro-

Caribbean religion known as voodoo. However, the origin of their name

is the only similarity between the voodoo zombie and the viral zombie.

Although it is said that voodoo houngans (priests) can turn humans into

zombies by magical means, the practice is rooted in bard, undeniable

science. "Zombie powder," the tool used by the houngan for zombification,

contains a very powerful neurotoxin (the exact ingredients are a

closely guarded secret). The toxin temporarily paralyzes the human

nervous system, creating a state of extreme hibernation. With the heart,

lungs, and all other bodily functions operating at minimal levels, it

would be understandable if an inexperienced coroner declared the paralyzed

subject to be dead. Many humans have been buried while in such

a state, only to awaken screaming in the pitch darkness of their coffin.

So what makes this living human being a zombie? The answer is simple:

brain damage. Many who are buried alive quickly use up the air

inside their coffins. Those that are recovered (if they are lucky) almost

always suffer brain damage from lack of oxygen. These poor souls

shamble about with little cognitive skills, or, indeed, free will, and are

often mistaken for the living dead. How can yon distinguish a voodoo

zombie from the genuine article? The telltale signs are obvious.

 

1. Voodoo zombies show emotion. People suffering from zombie

powder-induced brain damage are still capable of all normal human

feelings. They smile, cry, even growl with anger if hurt or otherwise

provoked (something real zombies would never do).

 

2. Voodoo zombies exhibit thought. As has been stated before, when

a real zombie encounters you it will immediately home in like a

smart bomb. A voodoo zombie will take a moment to try to figure

out who or what you are. Maybe it will come toward you, maybe it

will recoil, maybe it will continue its observation as its damaged

brain attempts to analyze the information given it. What a voodoo

zombie will not do is raise its arms, drop its jaw, unleash a hellish

moan, and stumble directly toward you.

 

3. Voodoo zombies feel pain. A voodoo zombie that trips and falls

will undoubtedly hold its bruised knee and whimper. Likewise, one

already suffering from some other wound will nurse it, or, at the

very least, be aware of the wound's existence. Voodoo zombies will

not ignore deep gashes in their bodies like a real zombie would.

 

4. Voodoo zombies recognize fire. This is not to say that they are afraid

of open flames. Some that have suffered severe brain damage may not

remember what lire is. They will stop to examine it, perhaps even reach

out to touch it, hut they will recoil once they realize it causes pain.

 

5. Voodoo zombies recognize their surroundings. Unlike real zombies,

who only recognize prey, voodoo zombies will react to sudden

changes in light, sound, taste, and smell. Voodoo zombies have been

observed watching television or brightly flashing lights, listening to

music, cringing at thunder, and even taking notice of one another.

This last fact has been critical in several cases of mis-identification.

Had the zombies in question not reacted to each other (they looked

at each other, made noises, even touched each other's faces), they

might have been accidentally exterminated.

 

6. Voodoo zombies do NOT have bypersense. A human who has suffered

the debilitating effects of zombie powder is still a sightdependent

human. He cannot operate perfectly in the dark, hear a

footstep at 500 ya~dso, r smell a living being on the wind. Voodoo

zombies can actually be surprised by someone walking up behind

them. This is not recommended, however, as a frightened zombie

might react in anger.

 

7. Voodoo zombies can communicate. While this is not always the

case, many of these individuals can respond to audiovisual signals.

Many understand words; some even comprehend simple sentences.

Many voodoo zombies possess the ability to speak, simply, of

course, and rarely for extended conversations.

 

8. Voodoo zombies can be controlled. While not always true, many

brain damaged humans have lost much of their self-realization,

making them very susceptible to suggestion. Simply shouting for a

subject to halt or even go away can he enough to get rid of a voodoo

zombie. This has created the dangerous situation of confused people

believing they could control or train true zombies. Several times

headstrong humans have insisted they could simply command their

living dead attackers to stop. As cold, rotting hands grabbed their

limbs and dirty, worn teeth bit into their flesh, these people discovered,

too late, what they were truly dealing with.

 

These guidelines should give you a good idea of how to tell a voodoo

zombie from a true zombie. One final note: Voodoo zombies are

almost always encountered in sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean,

Central and South America, and the southern United States.

Although it is not impossible to find someone who has been turned

into a zombie by a houngan elsewhere, the chances of such an

encounter are slim.

 

 

THE HOLLYWOOD ZOMBIE

Since the living dead first stepped onto the silver screen, their greatest

enemy has not been hunters, but critics. Scholars, scientists, even concerned

citizens have all argued that these movies depict the living dead

in a fantastic, unrealistic fashion. Visually stunning weapons, physically

impossible action sequences, larger-than-life human characters,

and, above all, magical, invincible, even comical ghouls have all added

their colors to the controversial rainbow that is "the Zombie Movie."

Further criticism argues that this "style over substance" approach to

somnambulist cinema teaches human viewers lessons that may get

them killed in a real encounter. These serious charges demand an

equally serious defense. While some zombie movies are based on

actual events*, their goal, indeed the goal of almost every movie in

every genre, has always been, first and foremost, to entertain. Unless

we are discussing pure documentaries (and even some of those are

"sweetened"), moviemakers must take some artistic license to make

their work more palatable to the audience. Even movies that are based

on actual events will sacrifice pure reality for good storytelling.

 

Certain characters will be an amalgam of real-life individuals. Others

may be purely fictional in order to explain certain facts, facilitate the

plotline, or simply add flavor to the scene. One might argue that the

role of the artist is to challenge, educate, and enlighten her audience.

That may be true, but try imparting knowledge to an audience who has

either left or fallen asleep within the first ten minutes of the picture.

Accept this basic rule of moviemaking and you will understand why

Hollywood zombie films stray, in some cases wildly, from the reality

on which they are based. In short, use these photo-plays as their makers

intended: as a source of temporary, lighthearted entertainment and

not a visual aid to your survival.

 

 

OUTBREAKS

 

Although each zombie attack is different, given the number, terrain,

reaction of the general populace, etc., its level of intensity can be measured

in four distinct classes.

*At the behest of the filmmakers andlor their estates, the titles of those movies based on me-life stories have been omitted.

 

CLASS 1

This is a low-level outbreak, usually in a Third World country or First

World rural area. The number of zombies in this class of outbreak

ranges between one and twenty. Total human casualties (including

those infected) range from one to fifty. The total duration, from the fist

case to the last (known), will range between twenty-four hours and

fourteen days. The infested area will be small, no larger than a twentymile

radius. In many cases, natural boundaries will determine its limits.

Response will he light, either exclusively civilian or with some

additional help from local law enforcement. Media coverage will be

light, if present at all. If the media is present, look for common stories

like homicides or "accidents." This is the most common type of outbreak

and also the easiest to go unnoticed.

 

CLASS 2

Urban or densely populated mral areas are included in this level of outbreak.

Total zombies will range between twenty and one hundred.

Total human casualties may reach as high as several hundred. The

duration of a Class 2 attack may last no longer than a Class 1 outbreak.

In some cases, the larger number of zombies will spark a more immediate

response. A rural, sparsely populated outbreak may extend to a

hundred-mile radius, while an urban outbreak may encompass only

several blocks. Suppression will almost certainly be organized. Bands

of civilians will be replaced by local, state, even federal law enforcement.

Look for an additional, if low-level, military response, the

National Guard in the United States or its equivalent abroad. Most

often, so as to ease panic, these units will take a more noncombatant

role, providing medical assistance, crowd control, and logistical support.

Class 2 outbreaks almost always attract the press. Unless the

attack occurs in a huly isolated area of the world, or one where the

media is strictly controlled, the story will he reported. This does not

mean, however, that it will be reported acc~lrately.

 

CLASS 3

A hue crisis. Class 3 outbreaks, more than any other, demonstrate the

clear threat posed by the living dead. Zombies will number in the thousands,

encompassing an area of several hundred miles. The duration of

the attack and a possible lengthy mop-up process could last as long as

several months. There will be no chance for a press blackout or coverup.

Even without media attention, the sheer magnitude of the attack will

leave too many eyewitnesses. This is a full-blown battle, with law

enforcement replaced by units of the regular military. A state of emergency

will be declared for the infested zone, as well as the neighboring

areas. Expect martial law, restricted travel, rationed supplies, federalized

services, and strictly monitored communication. All these measures,

however, will take time to implement. The initial phase will be

one of chaos as those in power come to grips with the crisis. Riots, looting,

and widespread panic will add to their difficulties, further delaying

an effective response. While this is happening, those living withm the

infested area will be at the mercy of the undead. Isolated, abandoned,

and surrounded by ghouls, they will have only themselves to depend on.

 

CLASS 4

(See "Living in an Undead World," pages 154-81.)

 

DETECTION

Every undead outbreak, regardless of its class, has a beginning. Now

that the enemy has been defined, the next step is early warning.

Knowing what a zombie is will not help if you are unable to recognize

an outbreak before it's too late. This does not entail building a "zombie

command post" in your basement, sticking pins in a map, and huddling

around the shortwave radio. All it requires is looking for signs

that would slip by the untrained mind. These signs include:

 

1. Homicides in which the victims were executed by head shots or

decapitation. It has happened many times: People recognize an outbreak

for what it is and try to take matters into their own hands.

Almost always, these people are declared murderers by the local

authorities and prosecuted as such.

 

2. Missing persons, particularly in wilderness or uninhabited areas.

Pay careful attention if one or more of the search members end up

missing. If the story is televised or photographed, watch to see what

level of armament the search parties carry. Any more than one rifle

per group could mean that this is more than just a simple rescue

operation.

 

3. Cases of "violent insanity" in which the subject attacked friends or

family without the use of weapons. Find out if the attacker bit or

tried to bite his victims. If so, are any of the victims still in the hospital?

Try to discover if any of these victims mysteriously died

within days of their bite.

 

4. Riots or other civil disturbances that began without provocation or

other logical cause. Common sense will dictate that violence on any

group level does not simply occur without a catalyst such as racial

tension, political actions, or legal decisions. Even so-called "mass

hysteria" can always be traced to a root source. If none can be

found, the answer may lie elsewhere.

 

5. Disease-based deaths in which either the cause is undetermined or

seems highly suspect. Deaths from infectious disease are rare in the

industrialized world, compared to a century ago. For this reason,

new outbreaks always make the news. Look for those cases in

which the exact nature of the disease is unexplained. Also, be on the

alert for suspicious explanations such as West Nile virus or "mad

cow" disease. Either could be examples of a cover-up.

 

6. Any of the above in which media coverage was forbidden. A total

press blackout is rare in the United States. The occurrence of one

should be regarded as an immediate red flag. Of course, there may

be many reasons other than an attack of the living dead. Then again,

any event causing a govemment as media-conscious as our own to

clamp down merits close attention. The truth, no matter what it is,

cannot be good.

 

Once an event has tripped your sensors, keep track of it. Note the

location, and its distance from you. Watch for similar incidents around

or near the original site. If, within a few days or weeks, these incidents

do occur, study them carefully. Note the response of law enforcement

and other govemment agencies. If they react more forcefully with each

occurrence, chances are that an outbreak is unfolding.

Hyperlinks are your friend. :p

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also: Can you imagine what a quote tree would look like with this baby?! :-"

 

 

I'm having trouble seeing it, personally.

 

 

No, I think... I see it now.

Are you sure?

 

One must be absolutely certain in these matters, for they are not to be trifled with.

I'd just like to say...I'm sorry. :*"

Oh, you're quite forgiven LoneWolf.

 

It is Christmas after all!

 

I agree.

And when Kiro-San speaks, ninjas, pirates, monkeys and robots all listen!

 

Zombies BEWARE! If the quote-tree doesn't kill you, Kiro's ph4t skillz0rz will.

 

I learned from teh best. :*

Did somebody say ninjas? :shifty:

I think it broke.

Edited by Tale
"Show me a man who "plays fair" and I'll show you a very talented cheater."
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Dudes, you should start by defining what a zombie is, how they spread and what its weak points are. I see head boinking and what to use/not to use but no details.

 

For example you may want to tell the dudes if melee's a bad idea because the zombie virus/bacteria and other general infections from decaying flesh would be nasty if it gets on you from fluid contact.

 

Sorry for the formatting but im not going to type out 30 pages by hand.

 

THE UNDEAD: MYTHS AND REALITIES

 

He comes from the grave, his body a home of worms andjilth. No life in

his eyes, no warmth of his shn, no beating of his breast. His soul, as

empty and dark as the night sky. He laughs at the blade, spits at the

arrow, for they will not harm hisflesh. For eternity, he will walk the

earth, smelling the sweet blood of the living, feasting upon the bones of

the damned. Beware, for he is the living dead.

 

ZOM-BZE: (Zom'be) n. also ZOM-BIES pl. I. An animated corpse that

feeds on living humanjlesh. 2. A voodoo spell that raises the dead. 3.

A Voodoo snake god. 4. One who moves or acts in a daze "like a zombie."

[a word of West African origin]

 

What is a zombie? How are they created? What are their strengths and

weaknesses? What are their needs, their desires? Why are they hostile

to humanity? Before discussing any survival techniques, you must first

learn what you are trying to survive.

We must begin by separating fact from fiction. The walking dead

are neither a work of "black magic" nor any other supernatural force.

Their origin stems from a virus known as Solanum, a Latin word used

by Jan Vanderhaven, who fust "discovered" the disease.

 

SOLANUM: THE VIRUS

 

Solannm works by traveling through the bloodstream, from the initial

point of entry to the brain. Through means not yet fully understood,

the virus uses the cells of the frontal lobe for replication, destroying

them in the process. During this period, all bodily functions cease. By

stopping the heart, the infected subject is rendered ''dead." The brain,

however, remains alive hut dormant, while the virus mutates its cells

into a completely new organ. The most critical trait of this new organ

is its independence from oxygen. By removing the need for this allimportant

resource, the nndead brain can utilize, but is in no way

dependent upon, the complex support mechanism of the human body.

Once mutation is complete, this new organ reanimates the body into a

form that bears little resemblance (physiologically speaking) to the

original corpse. Some bodily functions remain constant, others operate

in a modified capacity, and the remainder shut down completely.

This new organism is a zombie, a member of the living dead.

 

 

1. SOURCE

U~~fortunateleyx, tensive research has yet to find an isolated example

of Solanum in nature. Water, air, and soil in all ecosystems, from all

parts of the world, have turned up negative, as have their accompanying

flora and fauna. At the time of this writing, the search continues.

 

2. SYMPTOMS

The timetable below outlines the process of an infected human (give

or take several hours, depending on the individual).

 

Hour 1: Pain and discoloration (brown-puple) of the infected area Immediate

clotting of the wound @rovided the infection came h m a wound).

Hour 5: Fever (99-103 degrees F), chills, slight dementia, vomiting,

acute pain in the joints.

Hour 8: Numbing of extremities and infected area, increased fever

(103-106 degrees F), increased dementia, loss of muscular coordination.

Hour 11: Paralysis in the lower body, overall numbness, slowed heart

rate.

Hour 16: Coma.

Hour 20: Heart stoppage. Zero brain activity

Hour 23: Reanimation.

 

 

3. TRANSFERENCE

 

Solanum is 100 percent communicahle and 100 percent fatal.

Fortunately for the human race, the virus is neither waterborne nor airborne.

Humans have never been known to contract the virus from elements

in nature. Infection can occur only through direct fluidic

contact. A zombie bite, although by far the most recognizable means

of transference, is by no means the only one. Humans have been

infected by brushing their open wounds against those of a zombie or

by being splattered by its remains after an explosion. Ingestion of

infected flesh (provided the person has no open mouth sores), however,

results in pemanent death rather than infection. Infected flesh has

proven to be highly toxic.

 

No infomation-historical, experimental, or othenvise-has surfaced

regarding the results of sexual relations with an undead specimen,

but as previously noted, the nature of Solanum suggests a high

danger of infection. Warning against such an act would be useless, as

the only people deranged enough to try would he unconcerned for their

own safety. Many have argued that, given the congealed nature of

undead bodily fluids, the chances of infection from a non-bite contact

should be low. However, it must be remembered that even one organism

is enough to begin the cycle.

 

 

4. CROSS-SPECIES INFECTION

 

Solannm is fatal to all living creatures, regardless of size, species, or

ecosystem. Reanimation, however, takes place only in humans. Studies

have shown that Solanum infecting a non-human brain will die within

hours of the death of its host, making the carcass safe to handle.

Infected animals expire before the virus can replicate throughout their

bodies. Infection from insect bites such as from mosquitoes can also

he discounted. Experiments have proven that all parasitic insects can

sense and will reject an infected host 100 percent of the time.

 

 

5. TREATMENT

 

Once a human is infected, little can be done to save him or her. Because

Solanum is a virus and not a bacteria, antibiotics have no effect.

Immunization, the only way to combat a virus, is equally useless, as even

the most minute dosage will lead to a full-blown infection. Genetic

research is under way. Goals range from stronger human antibodies to

resistant cell structure to a counter-virus designed to identify and destroy

Solanum. This and other, more radical treatments are still in the earliest

stages, with no foreseeable success in the near future. Battlefield experiences

have led to the immediate severing of the infected limb (provided

this is the location of the bite), but such treatments are dubious at best,

with less than a 10 percent success rate.

 

Chances are, the infected human

was doomed from the moment the virus entered his or her system.

Should the infected human choose suicide, he should remember that the

brain must be eliminated first. Cases have been recorded in which

recently infected subjects, deceased by means other than the virus, will

nonetheless reanimate. Such cases usually occur when the subject

expires after the fifth hour of infection. Regardless, any person killed

after being bitten or otherwise infected by the undead should be immediately

disposed of. (See "Disposal," page 19.)

 

 

6. REANIMATING THE ALREADY DECEASED

 

It has been suggested that fresh human corpses could reanimate if

Solanum were introduced after their demise. This is a fallacy. Zombies

ignore necrotic flesh and therefore could not transfer the virus.

Experiments conducted during and after World War I1 (see "Recorded

Attacks," pages 216m have proven that injecting Solanum into a

cadaver would be futile because a stagnant bloodstream could not

transport the virus to the brain. Injection directly into a dead brain

would be equally useless, as the expired cells could not respond to the

virus. Solanum does not create life-it alters it.

 

 

ZOMBIE ATTRIBUTES

 

1. PHYSICAL ABILITIES

Too often, the undead have been said to possess superhuman powers:

unusual strength, lightning speed, telepathy, etc. Stories range from

zombies flying through the air to their scaling vertical surfaces like spiders.

While these traits might make for fascinating drama, the individual

ghoul is far from a magical, omnipotent demon. Never forget that

the body of the undead is, for all practical purposes, human. What

changes do occur are in the way this new, reanimated body is used by

the now-infected brain. There is no way a zombie could fly unless the

human it used to be could fly. The same goes for projecting force

fields, telepottation, moving through solid objects, transforming into a

wolf, breathing fire, or a variety of other mystical talents amibuted to

the walking dead. Imagine the human body as a tool kit. The somnambulist

brain has those tools, and only those tools, at its disposal. It

cannot create new ones out of thin air. But it can, as you will see, use

these tools in unconventional combinations, or push their durability

beyond normal human limits.

 

 

A. Sight

 

The eyes of a zombie are no different than those of a normal human.

While still capable (given their rate of decomposition) of transmitting

visual signals to the brain, how the brain interprets these signals is

another matter. Studies are inconclusive regarding the undead's visual

abilities. They can spot prey at distances comparable to a human, but

whether they can distinguish a human from one of their own is still up

for debate. One theory suggests that the movements made by humans,

which are quicker and smoother than those of the undead, is what

causes them to stand out to the zombie eye. Experiments have been

done in which humans have attempted to confuse approaching ghouls

by mimicking their motions and adopting a shambling, awkward limp.

To date, none of these attempts have succeeded. It has been suggested

that zombies possess night vision, a fact that explains their skill at nocturnal

hunting. This theory has been debunked by the fact that all zombies

are expert night feeders, even those without eyes.

 

B. Sound

 

There is no question that zombies have excellent hearing. Not only can

they detect sound-they can determine its direction. The basic range

appears to be the same as that for humans. Experiments with extreme

high and low frequencies have yielded negative results. Tests have also

shown that zombies are attracted by any sounds, not just those made

by living creatures. It has been recorded that ghouls will notice sounds

ignored by living humans. The most likely, if unproven, explanation is

that zombies depend on all their senses equally. Humans are sightoriented

from birth, depending on other senses only if the primary one

is lost. Perhaps this is not a handicap shared by the walking dead. If

so, it would explain their ability to hunt, fight, and feed in total darkness.

 

 

C. Smell

 

Unlike with sound, the undead have a more acute sense of smell. In

both combat situations and laboratory tests, they have been able to distinguish

the smell of living prey above all others. In many cases, and

given ideal wind conditions, zomhies have been known to smell fresh

corpses from a distance of more than a mile. Again, this does not mean

that ghouls have a greater sense of smell than humans, simply that they

rely on it more. It is not known exactly what particular secretion signals

the presence of prey: sweat, pheromones, blood, etc. In the past,

people seeking to move undetected through infested areas have

attempted to "mask" their human scent with perfumes, deodorants, or

other strong-smelling chemicals. None were successful. Experiments

are now under way to synthesize the smells of living creatures as a

decoy or even repellent to the walking dead. A successful product is

still years away.

 

 

D. Taste

 

Little is known about the altered taste buds of the walking dead.

Zombies do have the ability to tell human flesh apart from that of animals,

and they prefer the former. Ghouls also have a remarkable ability

to reject carrion in favor of freshly killed meat. A human body that

has been dead longer than twelve to eighteen hours will be rejected as

food. The same goes for cadavers that have been embalmed or otherwise

preserved. Whether this has anything to do with "taste" is not yet

certain. It may have to do with smell or, perhaps, another instinct that

has not been discovered. As to exactly why human flesh is preferable,

science has yet to find an answer to this confounding, frustrating, terrifying

question.

 

 

E. Touch

 

Zombies have, literally, no physical sensations. All nerve receptors

throughout the body remain dead after reanimation. This is truly their

greatest and most temfying advantage over the living. We, as humans,

have the ability to experience physical pain as a signal of bodily damage.

Our brain classifies such sensations, matches them to the experience

that instigated them, and then files the information away for use

as a warning against future ham. It is this gift of physiology and

instinct that has allowed us to survive as a species. It is why we value

virtues such as courage, which inspires people to perform actions

despite warnings of danger. The inability to recognize and avoid pain

is what makes the waking dead so formidable. Wounds will not be

noticed and, therefore, will not deter an attack. Even if a zombie's

body is severely damaged, it will continue to attack until nothing

remains.

 

 

E Sixth Sense

 

Historical research, coupled with laboratory and field observation,

have shown that the walking dead have been known to attack even

when all their sensory organs have been damaged or completely

decomposed. Does this mean that zombies possess a sixth sense?

Perhaps. Living humans use less than 5 percent of their brain capacity.

It is possible that the virus can stimulate another sensoly ability that

has been forgotten by evolution. This theory is one of the most hotly

debated in the war against the undead. So far, no scientific evidence

has been found to suppoa either side.

 

 

G. Healing

 

Despite legends and ancient folklore, undead physiology has been

proven to possess no powers of regeneration. Cells that are damaged

stay damaged. Any wounds, no matter what their size and nature, will

remain for the duration of that body's reanimation. A variety of medical

treatments have been attempted to stimulate the healing process in

captured ghouls. None were successful. This inability to self-repair,

something that we as living beings take for granted, is a severe disadvantage

to the undead. For example, every time we physically exert

ourselves, we tear our muscles. With time, these muscles rebuild to a

stronger state than before. A ghoul's muscle mass will remain damaged,

reducing its effectiveness every time it is used.

 

 

H. Decomposition

 

The average zombie "life span"-how long it is able to function before

completely rotting away-is estimated at three to five years. As fantastic

as this sounds-a human corpse able to ward off the natural

effects of decay-its cause is rooted in basic biology. When a human

body dies, its flesh is immediately set upon by billions of microscopic

organisms. These organisms were always present, in the external environment

arid within the body itself. In life, the immune system stood

as a harrier between these organisms and their target. In death, that barrier

is removed. The organisms begin multiplying exponentially as

they proceed to eat and, thereby, break down the corpse on a cellular

level. The smell and discoloration associated with any decaying meat

are the biological process of these microbes at work. When you order

an "aged" steak, you are ordering a piece of meat that has begun to rot,

its formerly toughened flesh softened by microorganisms breaking

down its sturdy fiber. Within a short time, that steak, like a human

corpse, will dissolve to nothing, leaving behind only material too hard

or innutritious for any microbe, such as hone, teeth, nails, and hair.

This is the normal cycle of life, nature's way of recycling nutrients

back into the food chain. To halt this process, and preserve dead tissue,

it is necessary to place it in an environment unsuitable for bacteria,

such as in extreme low or high temperatures, in toxic chemicals

such as formaldehyde, or, in this case, to saturate it with Solanum.

Almost all the microbe species involved in normal human decomposition

have repeatedly rejected flesh infected by the virus, effecThe

tively embalming the zombie. Were this not the case, combating the

living dead would be as easy as avoiding them for several weeks or

even days until they rotted away to hones. Research has yet to discover

the exact cause of this condition. It has been determined that at least

some microbe species ignore the repelling effects of Solanum-otherwise,

the undead would remain perfectly preserved forever. It has also

been determined that natural conditions such as moisture and temperature

play an important role as well. Undead that prowl the bayous of

Louisiana are unlikely to last as long as those in the cold, dry Gobi

desert. Extreme situations, such as deep freezing or immersion in -

preservative fluid, could, hypothetically, allow an undead specimen to

exist indef~telyT. hese techniques have been known to allow zombies

to function for decades, if not centuries. (See "Recorded Attacks,"

pages 193ff.) Decomposition does not mean that a member of the

walking dead will simply drop. Decay may affect various parts of the

body at different times. Specimens have been found with brains intact

but nearly disintegrated bodies. Others with partially rotted brains may

control some bodily functions but be completely paalyzed in others.

A popular theory has recently circulated that attempts to explain the

story of the ancient Egyptian mummy as one of the first examples of

an embalmed zombie. The preservation techniques allowed it to fuuction

several thousand years after being entombed. Anyone with a rudimentary

knowledge of ancient Egypt would find this story almost

laughably untrue: The most important and complicated step in preparing

a pharaoh for burial was the removal of the brain!

 

 

I. Digestion

 

Recent evidence has once and for all mscounted the theory that human

flesh is the fuel for the undead. A zombie's digestive tract is completely

dormant. The complex system that processes food, extracts nutrition,

and excretes waste does not factor into a zombie's physiology. Autopsies

conducted on neutralized undead have shown that their "food" lies in its

original, undigested state at all sections of the tract. This partially

chewed, slowly rotting matter will continue to accumulate, as the zom12

hie devours more victims, until it is forced through the anus, or literally

bursts through the stomach or intestinal lining. While this more dramatic

example of non-digestion is rare, hundreds of eyewitness reports have

confirmed undead to have distended bellies. One captured and dissected

specimen was found to contain 21 1 pounds of flesh within its system!

Even rarer accounts have confirmed that zombies continue to feed long

after their digestive tracts have exploded from within.

 

 

J. Respiration

 

The lungs of the undead continue to function in that they draw air into

and expel it from the hody. This function accounts for a zombie's signature

moan. What the lungs and body chemistry fail to accomplish,

however, is to extract oxygen and remove carbon dioxide. Given that

Solanum obviates the need for both of these functions, the entire

human respiratory system is obsolete in the hody of a ghoul. This

explains how the living dead can "walk underwater" or survive in environments

lethal to humans. Their brains, as noted earlier, are oxygenindependent.

 

 

K. Circulation

 

It would be inaccurate to say that zomhies have no heart. It would not

he inaccurate, however, to say that they find no use for it. The circulatory

system of the undead is little more than a network of useless tubes

filled with congealed hlood. The same applies to the lymphatic system

as well as all other bodily fluids. Although this mutation would appear

to give the undead one more advantage over humanity, it has actually

proved to he a godsend. The lack of fluid mass prevents easy transmission

of the virus. Were this not true, hand-to-hand combat would

he nearly impossible, as the defending human would almost certainly

he splattered with hlood andlor other fluids.

 

 

L. Reproduction

 

Zombies are sterile creatures. Their sexual organs are necrotic and

impotent. Attempts have been made to fertilize zombie eggs with

human sperm and vice versa. None has been succcssful. The undead

have also shown no signs of sexual desire, either for their own

species or for the living. Until research can prove otherwise, humanity's

greatest fear-the dead reproducing the dead-is a comforting

impossibility.

 

M. Strength

 

Ghouls possess the same brute force as the living. What power can be

exerted depends greatly on the individual zombie. What muscle mass

a person has in life would be all he possesses in death. Unlike a living

body, adrenal glands have not been known to function in the dead,

denying zombies the temporary burst of power we humans enjoy. The

one solid advantage the living dead do possess is amazing stamina.

Imagine working out, or any other act of physical exertion. Chances

are that pain and exhaustion will dictate your limits. These factors do

not apply to the dead. They will continue an act, with the same

dynamic energy, until the muscles supporting it literally disintegrate.

i

f While this makes for progressively weaker ghouls, it allows for an allpowerful

first attack. Many barricades that would have exhausted three 1 or even four physically fit humans have fallen to a single determined

zombie.

 

N. Speed

 

The "walking" dead tend to move at a slouch or limp. Even without

injuries or advanced decomposition, their lack of coordination makes

for an unsteady suide. Speed is mainly determined by leg length. Taller

ghouls have longer strides than their shorter counterparts. Zombies

appear to be incapable of running. The fastest have been observed to

move at a rate of barely one step per 1.5 seconds. Again, as with

strength, the dead's advantage over the living is their tirelessness.

Humans who believe they have outrun their nndead pursuers might do

well to remember the story of the tortoise and the hare, adding, of

course, that in this instance the hare stands a good chance of being

eaten alive.

 

 

0. Agility

 

The average living human possesses a dexterity level 90 percent

greater than the strongest ghoul. Some of this comes from the general

stiffness of necrotic muscle tissue (hence their awkward stride). The

rest is due to their primitive brain functions. Zomhies have little handeye

coordination, one of their greatest weaknesses. No one has ever

observed a zombie jumping, either from one spot to another or simply

up and down. Balancing on a narrow surface is similarly beyond their

ahility. Swimming is also a skill reserved for the living. The theory has

been put forth that, if an undead corpse were to he bloated enough to

rise to the surface, it could present a floating hazard. This is rare, however,

as the slow rate of decomposition would not allow by-product gas

to accumulate. Zombies who walk or fall into bodies of water will

more likely find themselves wandering aimlessly across the bottom

until eventually dissolving. They can be successful climbers, but only

in certain circumstances. If zombies perceive prey above them, for

example, in the second story of a house, they will always attempt to

climb to it. Zombies will try to scale any surface no matter how

unfeasahle or even impossible. In all but the easiest situations, these

attempts have met with failure. Even in the case of ladders, when simple

hand-over-hand coordination is required, only one in four zombies

will succeed.

 

 

2. BEHAWOWLPA TTERNS

 

A. Intelligence

 

It has been proven, time and again, that our greatest advantage over the

undead is our ahility to think. The mental capacity of the average zombie

ranks somewhere beneath that of an insect. On no occasion have

they shown any ability to reason or employ logic. Attempting to

accomplish a task, failing, then by trial and error discovering a new

solution, is a skill shared by many members of the animal kingdom hut

lost on the walking dead. Zombies have repeatedly failed laboratory

intelligence tests set at the level of rodents. One field case showed a

human standing at one end of a collapsed bridge with several dozen

zombies on the orher side. One by one, the walking dead tumbled over

the edge in a futile attempt to reach him. At no time did any of them

realize what was happening and change their tactics in any way.

Contrruy to myth and speculation, zombies have never been observed

using tools of any kind. Even picking up a rock to use as a weapon is

beyond their grasp. This simple task would prove the basic thought

process involved in realizing that the rock is a more efficient weapon

than the naked hand. Ironically, the age of artificial intelligence has

enabled us to identify more easily with the mind of the zombie than

that of our more "primitive" ancestors. With care exceptions, even the

most advanced computers do not have the ability to think on their own.

They do what they are programmed to do, nothing more. Imagine a

computer programmed to execute one function. This function cannot

be paused, modified, or erased. No new data can be stored. No new

commands can he installed. This computer will perform that one function,

over and over, until its power source eventually shuts down. This

is the zombie brain. An instinct-driven, unitask machine that is impervious

to tampering and can only be destroyed.

 

B. Emotions

 

Feelings of any kind are not known to the walking dead. Every form

of psychological warfare, from attempts at enraging the undead to provoking

pity have all met with disaster. Joy, sadness, confidence, anxiety,

love, hatred, fear-all of these feelings and thousands more that

make up the human "heart" are as useless to the living dead as the

organ of the same name. Who knows if this is humanity's greatest

weakness or strength? The debate continues, and probably will forever.

 

 

C. Memories

 

A modem conceit is that a zombie retains the knowledge of its former

life. We hear stories of the dead returning to their places of residence

or work, operating familiar machinery, or even showing acts of mercy

to loved ones. In trnth, not a shred of proof exists to support this wishful

thinking. Zombies could not possibly retain memories of their for

mer lives in either the conscious or subconscious mind, because neither

exist! A ghoul will not be distracted by the family pet, living relatives,

familiar surroundings, etc. No matter who a person was in his

former life, that person is gone, replaced by a mindless automaton with

no instinct other than for feeding. This begs the question: Why do zombies

prefer urban areas to the countryside? First, the undead do not prefer

cities, but simply remain where they are reanimated. Second, the

main reason zomhies tend to stay in cities instead of fanning out into

the countryside is because an urban zone holds the highest concentration

of prey.

 

 

D. Physical Needs

 

Other than hunger (discussed later), the dead have shown none of the

physical wants or needs expressed in mortal life. Zombies have never

been observed to sleep or rest under any circumstances. They have not

reacted to extreme heat or cold. In harsh weather, they have never

sought shelter. Even something as simple as thirst is unknown to the

living dead. Defying all laws of science, Solanum has created what

could be described as a completely self-sufficient organism.

 

 

E. Communication

 

Zombies have no language skills. Although their vocal cords are capable

of speech, their brain is not. The only vocal ability appears to be a

deep-throated moan. This moan is released when zombies identify prey.

The sound will remain low and steady until physical contact is made. It

will then shift in tone and volume as the zombie commences its attack.

This eerie sound, so typically associated with the walking dead, serves

as a rallying cry for other zombies and, as has been recently discovered,

is a potent psychological weapon. (See "On the Defense," page 74.)

E Social Dynamics Theories have always proliferated that the

undead function as a collective

force, from an army controlled by Satan to an insect-like

pheromone-driven hive to the most recent notion that they achieve

group consensus by telepathy. The truth is that zombies have no social

organization to speak of. There is no hierarchy, no chain of command,

no drive toward any type of collectivization. A horde of the undead,

regardless of size, regardless of appearance, is simply a mass of individuals.

If several hundred ghouls converge on a victim's location, it

is because each one is drawn by its own instinct. Zombies appear to be

unaware of one another. Individuals have never been observed to react

to the sight of one another at any range. This goes back to the question

of sense: How does a zombie distinguish between one of its own and

a human or other prey at the same range? The answer has yet to he

found. Zombies do avoid one another in the same way they avoid inanimate

objects. When they hump into one another, they make no attempt

to connect or communicate. Zombies feasting on the same corpse will

tug repeatedly on the meat in question rather than shove a competitor

out of the way. The only suggestion of communal effort is seen in notorious

swarm attacks: the moan of a ghoul calling others within earshot.

Once they hear the wail, other walking dead will almost always converge

on its source. An early study theorized that this was a deliberate

act, that a scout used its moan to signal the others to attack. However,

we now how that it happens purely by accident. The ghoul that moans

at the detection of prey does so as an instinctive reaction, not as an alert.

 

 

G. Hunting

 

Zombies are migratory organisms, with no regard for temtory or concept

of home. They will travel miles and perhaps, given time, cross

continents in their search for food. Their hunting pattern is random.

Ghouls will feed at night and during the day. They will stumble

through an area rather than deliberately searching it. Certain zones or

structures will not he singled out as more likely to contain prey. For

example, some have been known to search farmhouses and other rural

structures while others in the same group have moved by without even

a glance. Urban zones take more time to explore, which is why the

undead remain longer in these areas, hut no building will take precedence

over another. Zombies appear to be totally unaware of their sur

roundings. They do not, for example, move their eyes in a way that

would take in the information of a new setting. Shuffling silently, with

a thousand-yard stare, they will wander aimlessly, regardless of location,

until prey is detected. As discussed earlier, the undead possess an

uncauny ability to home in on a victim's precise location. Once contact

is made, the previously silent, oblivious automaton transforms into

something more closely related to a guided missile. The head turns

immediately in the direction of its victim. The jaw drops, lips retract,

and, from the depths of its diaphragm, comes the moan. Once contact

is made, zombies cannot be distracted by any means. They will continue

to pursue their prey, stopping only if they lose contact, make a

successful kill, or are destroyed.

 

 

H. Motivation

 

Why do the undead prey upon the living? If it has been proven that

human flesh serves no nutritional purpose, why does their instinct

drive them to murder? The truth eludes us. Modem science, combined

with historical data, has shown that living humans are not the only

delights on the undead menu. Rescue teams entering an infested area

have consistently reported them stripped of all life. Any creatures, no

matter what their size or species, will he consumed by an attacking

zombie. Human flesh, however, will always he preferable to other life

forms. One experiment presented a captured specimen with two identical

cubes of meat: one human, one animal. The zombie repeatedly

chose the human. Reasons for this are still unknown. What can be confirmed,

beyond any shadow of doubt, is that instinct brought on by

Solanum drives the undead to kill and devour any living creature they

discover. There appear to be no exceptions.

 

 

I. Killing the Dead

While destroying a zombie may be simple, it is far from easy. As we

have seen, zombies require none of the physiological functions that

humans need to survive. Destruction or severe damage of the circulatory,

digestive, or respiratory system would do nothing to a member of

the walking dead, as these functions no

longer support the brain. Simply put, there

are thousands of ways to kill a humanand

only one to kill a zombie. The brain

must be obliterated, by any means possible.

 

 

J. Disposal

 

Studies have shown that Solanum can still

inhabit the body of a terminated zombie for

up to fortyeight hours. Exercise extreme

care when disposing of undead corpses.

The head in particular possesses the most

serious hazard, given its concentration of

the virus. Never handle an undead corpse

without protective clothing. Treat it as you

would any toxic, highly lethal material. Cremation is the safest, most

effective way of disposal. Despite rumors that a pile of burning corpses

will spread Solannm in a cloud of smoking plague, common sense

would dictate that any virus is unable to survive intense heat, to say

nothing of an open flame.

 

 

K. Domestication?

 

To reiterate, the zombie brain has proved, so far, to he tamper-proof.

Experiments ranging from chemicals to surgery to electromagnetic

waves have yielded negative results. Behavioral modification therapy

and other such attempts to train the living dead like some kind of pack

animal have similarly met with failure. Again, the machine cannot be

rewired. It will exist as is, or it will not exist at all.

 

 

THE VOODOO ZOMBIE

 

If zombies are the creation of a virus and not black magic, then how

does this explain the so-called "voodoo zombie," a person who has died,

been raised from his grave, and is doomed to spend eternity as a slave

of the living? Yes, it is trne that the word "zombie" originally comes

from the Kimbnndn word "nzfimbe," a term describing a dead person's

soul, and yes, zombies and zombification are integral parts of the Afro-

Caribbean religion known as voodoo. However, the origin of their name

is the only similarity between the voodoo zombie and the viral zombie.

Although it is said that voodoo houngans (priests) can turn humans into

zombies by magical means, the practice is rooted in bard, undeniable

science. "Zombie powder," the tool used by the houngan for zombification,

contains a very powerful neurotoxin (the exact ingredients are a

closely guarded secret). The toxin temporarily paralyzes the human

nervous system, creating a state of extreme hibernation. With the heart,

lungs, and all other bodily functions operating at minimal levels, it

would be understandable if an inexperienced coroner declared the paralyzed

subject to be dead. Many humans have been buried while in such

a state, only to awaken screaming in the pitch darkness of their coffin.

So what makes this living human being a zombie? The answer is simple:

brain damage. Many who are buried alive quickly use up the air

inside their coffins. Those that are recovered (if they are lucky) almost

always suffer brain damage from lack of oxygen. These poor souls

shamble about with little cognitive skills, or, indeed, free will, and are

often mistaken for the living dead. How can yon distinguish a voodoo

zombie from the genuine article? The telltale signs are obvious.

 

1. Voodoo zombies show emotion. People suffering from zombie

powder-induced brain damage are still capable of all normal human

feelings. They smile, cry, even growl with anger if hurt or otherwise

provoked (something real zombies would never do).

 

2. Voodoo zombies exhibit thought. As has been stated before, when

a real zombie encounters you it will immediately home in like a

smart bomb. A voodoo zombie will take a moment to try to figure

out who or what you are. Maybe it will come toward you, maybe it

will recoil, maybe it will continue its observation as its damaged

brain attempts to analyze the information given it. What a voodoo

zombie will not do is raise its arms, drop its jaw, unleash a hellish

moan, and stumble directly toward you.

 

3. Voodoo zombies feel pain. A voodoo zombie that trips and falls

will undoubtedly hold its bruised knee and whimper. Likewise, one

already suffering from some other wound will nurse it, or, at the

very least, be aware of the wound's existence. Voodoo zombies will

not ignore deep gashes in their bodies like a real zombie would.

 

4. Voodoo zombies recognize fire. This is not to say that they are afraid

of open flames. Some that have suffered severe brain damage may not

remember what lire is. They will stop to examine it, perhaps even reach

out to touch it, hut they will recoil once they realize it causes pain.

 

5. Voodoo zombies recognize their surroundings. Unlike real zombies,

who only recognize prey, voodoo zombies will react to sudden

changes in light, sound, taste, and smell. Voodoo zombies have been

observed watching television or brightly flashing lights, listening to

music, cringing at thunder, and even taking notice of one another.

This last fact has been critical in several cases of mis-identification.

Had the zombies in question not reacted to each other (they looked

at each other, made noises, even touched each other's faces), they

might have been accidentally exterminated.

 

6. Voodoo zombies do NOT have bypersense. A human who has suffered

the debilitating effects of zombie powder is still a sightdependent

human. He cannot operate perfectly in the dark, hear a

footstep at 500 ya~dso, r smell a living being on the wind. Voodoo

zombies can actually be surprised by someone walking up behind

them. This is not recommended, however, as a frightened zombie

might react in anger.

 

7. Voodoo zombies can communicate. While this is not always the

case, many of these individuals can respond to audiovisual signals.

Many understand words; some even comprehend simple sentences.

Many voodoo zombies possess the ability to speak, simply, of

course, and rarely for extended conversations.

 

8. Voodoo zombies can be controlled. While not always true, many

brain damaged humans have lost much of their self-realization,

making them very susceptible to suggestion. Simply shouting for a

subject to halt or even go away can he enough to get rid of a voodoo

zombie. This has created the dangerous situation of confused people

believing they could control or train true zombies. Several times

headstrong humans have insisted they could simply command their

living dead attackers to stop. As cold, rotting hands grabbed their

limbs and dirty, worn teeth bit into their flesh, these people discovered,

too late, what they were truly dealing with.

 

These guidelines should give you a good idea of how to tell a voodoo

zombie from a true zombie. One final note: Voodoo zombies are

almost always encountered in sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean,

Central and South America, and the southern United States.

Although it is not impossible to find someone who has been turned

into a zombie by a houngan elsewhere, the chances of such an

encounter are slim.

 

 

THE HOLLYWOOD ZOMBIE

Since the living dead first stepped onto the silver screen, their greatest

enemy has not been hunters, but critics. Scholars, scientists, even concerned

citizens have all argued that these movies depict the living dead

in a fantastic, unrealistic fashion. Visually stunning weapons, physically

impossible action sequences, larger-than-life human characters,

and, above all, magical, invincible, even comical ghouls have all added

their colors to the controversial rainbow that is "the Zombie Movie."

Further criticism argues that this "style over substance" approach to

somnambulist cinema teaches human viewers lessons that may get

them killed in a real encounter. These serious charges demand an

equally serious defense. While some zombie movies are based on

actual events*, their goal, indeed the goal of almost every movie in

every genre, has always been, first and foremost, to entertain. Unless

we are discussing pure documentaries (and even some of those are

"sweetened"), moviemakers must take some artistic license to make

their work more palatable to the audience. Even movies that are based

on actual events will sacrifice pure reality for good storytelling.

 

Certain characters will be an amalgam of real-life individuals. Others

may be purely fictional in order to explain certain facts, facilitate the

plotline, or simply add flavor to the scene. One might argue that the

role of the artist is to challenge, educate, and enlighten her audience.

That may be true, but try imparting knowledge to an audience who has

either left or fallen asleep within the first ten minutes of the picture.

Accept this basic rule of moviemaking and you will understand why

Hollywood zombie films stray, in some cases wildly, from the reality

on which they are based. In short, use these photo-plays as their makers

intended: as a source of temporary, lighthearted entertainment and

not a visual aid to your survival.

 

 

OUTBREAKS

 

Although each zombie attack is different, given the number, terrain,

reaction of the general populace, etc., its level of intensity can be measured

in four distinct classes.

*At the behest of the filmmakers andlor their estates, the titles of those movies based on me-life stories have been omitted.

 

CLASS 1

This is a low-level outbreak, usually in a Third World country or First

World rural area. The number of zombies in this class of outbreak

ranges between one and twenty. Total human casualties (including

those infected) range from one to fifty. The total duration, from the fist

case to the last (known), will range between twenty-four hours and

fourteen days. The infested area will be small, no larger than a twentymile

radius. In many cases, natural boundaries will determine its limits.

Response will he light, either exclusively civilian or with some

additional help from local law enforcement. Media coverage will be

light, if present at all. If the media is present, look for common stories

like homicides or "accidents." This is the most common type of outbreak

and also the easiest to go unnoticed.

 

CLASS 2

Urban or densely populated mral areas are included in this level of outbreak.

Total zombies will range between twenty and one hundred.

Total human casualties may reach as high as several hundred. The

duration of a Class 2 attack may last no longer than a Class 1 outbreak.

In some cases, the larger number of zombies will spark a more immediate

response. A rural, sparsely populated outbreak may extend to a

hundred-mile radius, while an urban outbreak may encompass only

several blocks. Suppression will almost certainly be organized. Bands

of civilians will be replaced by local, state, even federal law enforcement.

Look for an additional, if low-level, military response, the

National Guard in the United States or its equivalent abroad. Most

often, so as to ease panic, these units will take a more noncombatant

role, providing medical assistance, crowd control, and logistical support.

Class 2 outbreaks almost always attract the press. Unless the

attack occurs in a huly isolated area of the world, or one where the

media is strictly controlled, the story will he reported. This does not

mean, however, that it will be reported acc~lrately.

 

CLASS 3

A hue crisis. Class 3 outbreaks, more than any other, demonstrate the

clear threat posed by the living dead. Zombies will number in the thousands,

encompassing an area of several hundred miles. The duration of

the attack and a possible lengthy mop-up process could last as long as

several months. There will be no chance for a press blackout or coverup.

Even without media attention, the sheer magnitude of the attack will

leave too many eyewitnesses. This is a full-blown battle, with law

enforcement replaced by units of the regular military. A state of emergency

will be declared for the infested zone, as well as the neighboring

areas. Expect martial law, restricted travel, rationed supplies, federalized

services, and strictly monitored communication. All these measures,

however, will take time to implement. The initial phase will be

one of chaos as those in power come to grips with the crisis. Riots, looting,

and widespread panic will add to their difficulties, further delaying

an effective response. While this is happening, those living withm the

infested area will be at the mercy of the undead. Isolated, abandoned,

and surrounded by ghouls, they will have only themselves to depend on.

 

CLASS 4

(See "Living in an Undead World," pages 154-81.)

 

DETECTION

Every undead outbreak, regardless of its class, has a beginning. Now

that the enemy has been defined, the next step is early warning.

Knowing what a zombie is will not help if you are unable to recognize

an outbreak before it's too late. This does not entail building a "zombie

command post" in your basement, sticking pins in a map, and huddling

around the shortwave radio. All it requires is looking for signs

that would slip by the untrained mind. These signs include:

 

1. Homicides in which the victims were executed by head shots or

decapitation. It has happened many times: People recognize an outbreak

for what it is and try to take matters into their own hands.

Almost always, these people are declared murderers by the local

authorities and prosecuted as such.

 

2. Missing persons, particularly in wilderness or uninhabited areas.

Pay careful attention if one or more of the search members end up

missing. If the story is televised or photographed, watch to see what

level of armament the search parties carry. Any more than one rifle

per group could mean that this is more than just a simple rescue

operation.

 

3. Cases of "violent insanity" in which the subject attacked friends or

family without the use of weapons. Find out if the attacker bit or

tried to bite his victims. If so, are any of the victims still in the hospital?

Try to discover if any of these victims mysteriously died

within days of their bite.

 

4. Riots or other civil disturbances that began without provocation or

other logical cause. Common sense will dictate that violence on any

group level does not simply occur without a catalyst such as racial

tension, political actions, or legal decisions. Even so-called "mass

hysteria" can always be traced to a root source. If none can be

found, the answer may lie elsewhere.

 

5. Disease-based deaths in which either the cause is undetermined or

seems highly suspect. Deaths from infectious disease are rare in the

industrialized world, compared to a century ago. For this reason,

new outbreaks always make the news. Look for those cases in

which the exact nature of the disease is unexplained. Also, be on the

alert for suspicious explanations such as West Nile virus or "mad

cow" disease. Either could be examples of a cover-up.

 

6. Any of the above in which media coverage was forbidden. A total

press blackout is rare in the United States. The occurrence of one

should be regarded as an immediate red flag. Of course, there may

be many reasons other than an attack of the living dead. Then again,

any event causing a govemment as media-conscious as our own to

clamp down merits close attention. The truth, no matter what it is,

cannot be good.

 

Once an event has tripped your sensors, keep track of it. Note the

location, and its distance from you. Watch for similar incidents around

or near the original site. If, within a few days or weeks, these incidents

do occur, study them carefully. Note the response of law enforcement

and other govemment agencies. If they react more forcefully with each

occurrence, chances are that an outbreak is unfolding.

Hyperlinks are your friend. :(

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also: Can you imagine what a quote tree would look like with this baby?! :-"

 

 

I'm having trouble seeing it, personally.

 

 

No, I think... I see it now.

Are you sure?

 

One must be absolutely certain in these matters, for they are not to be trifled with.

I'd just like to say...I'm sorry. :-"

Oh, you're quite forgiven LoneWolf.

 

It is Christmas after all!

 

I agree.

And when Kiro-San speaks, ninjas, pirates, monkeys and robots all listen!

 

Zombies BEWARE! If the quote-tree doesn't kill you, Kiro's ph4t skillz0rz will.

 

I learned from teh best. :*

Did somebody say ninjas? :ninja:

I think it broke.

 

Yeah, I can see it jag.

 

Way to go Tales, tripping the Passive Forum Defense Systems.

 

 

Damn rookie.

Edited by Nartwak
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Dudes, you should start by defining what a zombie is, how they spread and what its weak points are. I see head boinking and what to use/not to use but no details.

 

For example you may want to tell the dudes if melee's a bad idea because the zombie virus/bacteria and other general infections from decaying flesh would be nasty if it gets on you from fluid contact.

 

Sorry for the formatting but im not going to type out 30 pages by hand.

 

THE UNDEAD: MYTHS AND REALITIES

 

He comes from the grave, his body a home of worms andjilth. No life in

his eyes, no warmth of his shn, no beating of his breast. His soul, as

empty and dark as the night sky. He laughs at the blade, spits at the

arrow, for they will not harm hisflesh. For eternity, he will walk the

earth, smelling the sweet blood of the living, feasting upon the bones of

the damned. Beware, for he is the living dead.

 

ZOM-BZE: (Zom'be) n. also ZOM-BIES pl. I. An animated corpse that

feeds on living humanjlesh. 2. A voodoo spell that raises the dead. 3.

A Voodoo snake god. 4. One who moves or acts in a daze "like a zombie."

[a word of West African origin]

 

What is a zombie? How are they created? What are their strengths and

weaknesses? What are their needs, their desires? Why are they hostile

to humanity? Before discussing any survival techniques, you must first

learn what you are trying to survive.

We must begin by separating fact from fiction. The walking dead

are neither a work of "black magic" nor any other supernatural force.

Their origin stems from a virus known as Solanum, a Latin word used

by Jan Vanderhaven, who fust "discovered" the disease.

 

SOLANUM: THE VIRUS

 

Solannm works by traveling through the bloodstream, from the initial

point of entry to the brain. Through means not yet fully understood,

the virus uses the cells of the frontal lobe for replication, destroying

them in the process. During this period, all bodily functions cease. By

stopping the heart, the infected subject is rendered ''dead." The brain,

however, remains alive hut dormant, while the virus mutates its cells

into a completely new organ. The most critical trait of this new organ

is its independence from oxygen. By removing the need for this allimportant

resource, the nndead brain can utilize, but is in no way

dependent upon, the complex support mechanism of the human body.

Once mutation is complete, this new organ reanimates the body into a

form that bears little resemblance (physiologically speaking) to the

original corpse. Some bodily functions remain constant, others operate

in a modified capacity, and the remainder shut down completely.

This new organism is a zombie, a member of the living dead.

 

 

1. SOURCE

U~~fortunateleyx, tensive research has yet to find an isolated example

of Solanum in nature. Water, air, and soil in all ecosystems, from all

parts of the world, have turned up negative, as have their accompanying

flora and fauna. At the time of this writing, the search continues.

 

2. SYMPTOMS

The timetable below outlines the process of an infected human (give

or take several hours, depending on the individual).

 

Hour 1: Pain and discoloration (brown-puple) of the infected area Immediate

clotting of the wound @rovided the infection came h m a wound).

Hour 5: Fever (99-103 degrees F), chills, slight dementia, vomiting,

acute pain in the joints.

Hour 8: Numbing of extremities and infected area, increased fever

(103-106 degrees F), increased dementia, loss of muscular coordination.

Hour 11: Paralysis in the lower body, overall numbness, slowed heart

rate.

Hour 16: Coma.

Hour 20: Heart stoppage. Zero brain activity

Hour 23: Reanimation.

 

 

3. TRANSFERENCE

 

Solanum is 100 percent communicahle and 100 percent fatal.

Fortunately for the human race, the virus is neither waterborne nor airborne.

Humans have never been known to contract the virus from elements

in nature. Infection can occur only through direct fluidic

contact. A zombie bite, although by far the most recognizable means

of transference, is by no means the only one. Humans have been

infected by brushing their open wounds against those of a zombie or

by being splattered by its remains after an explosion. Ingestion of

infected flesh (provided the person has no open mouth sores), however,

results in pemanent death rather than infection. Infected flesh has

proven to be highly toxic.

 

No infomation-historical, experimental, or othenvise-has surfaced

regarding the results of sexual relations with an undead specimen,

but as previously noted, the nature of Solanum suggests a high

danger of infection. Warning against such an act would be useless, as

the only people deranged enough to try would he unconcerned for their

own safety. Many have argued that, given the congealed nature of

undead bodily fluids, the chances of infection from a non-bite contact

should be low. However, it must be remembered that even one organism

is enough to begin the cycle.

 

 

4. CROSS-SPECIES INFECTION

 

Solannm is fatal to all living creatures, regardless of size, species, or

ecosystem. Reanimation, however, takes place only in humans. Studies

have shown that Solanum infecting a non-human brain will die within

hours of the death of its host, making the carcass safe to handle.

Infected animals expire before the virus can replicate throughout their

bodies. Infection from insect bites such as from mosquitoes can also

he discounted. Experiments have proven that all parasitic insects can

sense and will reject an infected host 100 percent of the time.

 

 

5. TREATMENT

 

Once a human is infected, little can be done to save him or her. Because

Solanum is a virus and not a bacteria, antibiotics have no effect.

Immunization, the only way to combat a virus, is equally useless, as even

the most minute dosage will lead to a full-blown infection. Genetic

research is under way. Goals range from stronger human antibodies to

resistant cell structure to a counter-virus designed to identify and destroy

Solanum. This and other, more radical treatments are still in the earliest

stages, with no foreseeable success in the near future. Battlefield experiences

have led to the immediate severing of the infected limb (provided

this is the location of the bite), but such treatments are dubious at best,

with less than a 10 percent success rate.

 

Chances are, the infected human

was doomed from the moment the virus entered his or her system.

Should the infected human choose suicide, he should remember that the

brain must be eliminated first. Cases have been recorded in which

recently infected subjects, deceased by means other than the virus, will

nonetheless reanimate. Such cases usually occur when the subject

expires after the fifth hour of infection. Regardless, any person killed

after being bitten or otherwise infected by the undead should be immediately

disposed of. (See "Disposal," page 19.)

 

 

6. REANIMATING THE ALREADY DECEASED

 

It has been suggested that fresh human corpses could reanimate if

Solanum were introduced after their demise. This is a fallacy. Zombies

ignore necrotic flesh and therefore could not transfer the virus.

Experiments conducted during and after World War I1 (see "Recorded

Attacks," pages 216m have proven that injecting Solanum into a

cadaver would be futile because a stagnant bloodstream could not

transport the virus to the brain. Injection directly into a dead brain

would be equally useless, as the expired cells could not respond to the

virus. Solanum does not create life-it alters it.

 

 

ZOMBIE ATTRIBUTES

 

1. PHYSICAL ABILITIES

Too often, the undead have been said to possess superhuman powers:

unusual strength, lightning speed, telepathy, etc. Stories range from

zombies flying through the air to their scaling vertical surfaces like spiders.

While these traits might make for fascinating drama, the individual

ghoul is far from a magical, omnipotent demon. Never forget that

the body of the undead is, for all practical purposes, human. What

changes do occur are in the way this new, reanimated body is used by

the now-infected brain. There is no way a zombie could fly unless the

human it used to be could fly. The same goes for projecting force

fields, telepottation, moving through solid objects, transforming into a

wolf, breathing fire, or a variety of other mystical talents amibuted to

the walking dead. Imagine the human body as a tool kit. The somnambulist

brain has those tools, and only those tools, at its disposal. It

cannot create new ones out of thin air. But it can, as you will see, use

these tools in unconventional combinations, or push their durability

beyond normal human limits.

 

 

A. Sight

 

The eyes of a zombie are no different than those of a normal human.

While still capable (given their rate of decomposition) of transmitting

visual signals to the brain, how the brain interprets these signals is

another matter. Studies are inconclusive regarding the undead's visual

abilities. They can spot prey at distances comparable to a human, but

whether they can distinguish a human from one of their own is still up

for debate. One theory suggests that the movements made by humans,

which are quicker and smoother than those of the undead, is what

causes them to stand out to the zombie eye. Experiments have been

done in which humans have attempted to confuse approaching ghouls

by mimicking their motions and adopting a shambling, awkward limp.

To date, none of these attempts have succeeded. It has been suggested

that zombies possess night vision, a fact that explains their skill at nocturnal

hunting. This theory has been debunked by the fact that all zombies

are expert night feeders, even those without eyes.

 

B. Sound

 

There is no question that zombies have excellent hearing. Not only can

they detect sound-they can determine its direction. The basic range

appears to be the same as that for humans. Experiments with extreme

high and low frequencies have yielded negative results. Tests have also

shown that zombies are attracted by any sounds, not just those made

by living creatures. It has been recorded that ghouls will notice sounds

ignored by living humans. The most likely, if unproven, explanation is

that zombies depend on all their senses equally. Humans are sightoriented

from birth, depending on other senses only if the primary one

is lost. Perhaps this is not a handicap shared by the walking dead. If

so, it would explain their ability to hunt, fight, and feed in total darkness.

 

 

C. Smell

 

Unlike with sound, the undead have a more acute sense of smell. In

both combat situations and laboratory tests, they have been able to distinguish

the smell of living prey above all others. In many cases, and

given ideal wind conditions, zomhies have been known to smell fresh

corpses from a distance of more than a mile. Again, this does not mean

that ghouls have a greater sense of smell than humans, simply that they

rely on it more. It is not known exactly what particular secretion signals

the presence of prey: sweat, pheromones, blood, etc. In the past,

people seeking to move undetected through infested areas have

attempted to "mask" their human scent with perfumes, deodorants, or

other strong-smelling chemicals. None were successful. Experiments

are now under way to synthesize the smells of living creatures as a

decoy or even repellent to the walking dead. A successful product is

still years away.

 

 

D. Taste

 

Little is known about the altered taste buds of the walking dead.

Zombies do have the ability to tell human flesh apart from that of animals,

and they prefer the former. Ghouls also have a remarkable ability

to reject carrion in favor of freshly killed meat. A human body that

has been dead longer than twelve to eighteen hours will be rejected as

food. The same goes for cadavers that have been embalmed or otherwise

preserved. Whether this has anything to do with "taste" is not yet

certain. It may have to do with smell or, perhaps, another instinct that

has not been discovered. As to exactly why human flesh is preferable,

science has yet to find an answer to this confounding, frustrating, terrifying

question.

 

 

E. Touch

 

Zombies have, literally, no physical sensations. All nerve receptors

throughout the body remain dead after reanimation. This is truly their

greatest and most temfying advantage over the living. We, as humans,

have the ability to experience physical pain as a signal of bodily damage.

Our brain classifies such sensations, matches them to the experience

that instigated them, and then files the information away for use

as a warning against future ham. It is this gift of physiology and

instinct that has allowed us to survive as a species. It is why we value

virtues such as courage, which inspires people to perform actions

despite warnings of danger. The inability to recognize and avoid pain

is what makes the waking dead so formidable. Wounds will not be

noticed and, therefore, will not deter an attack. Even if a zombie's

body is severely damaged, it will continue to attack until nothing

remains.

 

 

E Sixth Sense

 

Historical research, coupled with laboratory and field observation,

have shown that the walking dead have been known to attack even

when all their sensory organs have been damaged or completely

decomposed. Does this mean that zombies possess a sixth sense?

Perhaps. Living humans use less than 5 percent of their brain capacity.

It is possible that the virus can stimulate another sensoly ability that

has been forgotten by evolution. This theory is one of the most hotly

debated in the war against the undead. So far, no scientific evidence

has been found to suppoa either side.

 

 

G. Healing

 

Despite legends and ancient folklore, undead physiology has been

proven to possess no powers of regeneration. Cells that are damaged

stay damaged. Any wounds, no matter what their size and nature, will

remain for the duration of that body's reanimation. A variety of medical

treatments have been attempted to stimulate the healing process in

captured ghouls. None were successful. This inability to self-repair,

something that we as living beings take for granted, is a severe disadvantage

to the undead. For example, every time we physically exert

ourselves, we tear our muscles. With time, these muscles rebuild to a

stronger state than before. A ghoul's muscle mass will remain damaged,

reducing its effectiveness every time it is used.

 

 

H. Decomposition

 

The average zombie "life span"-how long it is able to function before

completely rotting away-is estimated at three to five years. As fantastic

as this sounds-a human corpse able to ward off the natural

effects of decay-its cause is rooted in basic biology. When a human

body dies, its flesh is immediately set upon by billions of microscopic

organisms. These organisms were always present, in the external environment

arid within the body itself. In life, the immune system stood

as a harrier between these organisms and their target. In death, that barrier

is removed. The organisms begin multiplying exponentially as

they proceed to eat and, thereby, break down the corpse on a cellular

level. The smell and discoloration associated with any decaying meat

are the biological process of these microbes at work. When you order

an "aged" steak, you are ordering a piece of meat that has begun to rot,

its formerly toughened flesh softened by microorganisms breaking

down its sturdy fiber. Within a short time, that steak, like a human

corpse, will dissolve to nothing, leaving behind only material too hard

or innutritious for any microbe, such as hone, teeth, nails, and hair.

This is the normal cycle of life, nature's way of recycling nutrients

back into the food chain. To halt this process, and preserve dead tissue,

it is necessary to place it in an environment unsuitable for bacteria,

such as in extreme low or high temperatures, in toxic chemicals

such as formaldehyde, or, in this case, to saturate it with Solanum.

Almost all the microbe species involved in normal human decomposition

have repeatedly rejected flesh infected by the virus, effecThe

tively embalming the zombie. Were this not the case, combating the

living dead would be as easy as avoiding them for several weeks or

even days until they rotted away to hones. Research has yet to discover

the exact cause of this condition. It has been determined that at least

some microbe species ignore the repelling effects of Solanum-otherwise,

the undead would remain perfectly preserved forever. It has also

been determined that natural conditions such as moisture and temperature

play an important role as well. Undead that prowl the bayous of

Louisiana are unlikely to last as long as those in the cold, dry Gobi

desert. Extreme situations, such as deep freezing or immersion in -

preservative fluid, could, hypothetically, allow an undead specimen to

exist indef~telyT. hese techniques have been known to allow zombies

to function for decades, if not centuries. (See "Recorded Attacks,"

pages 193ff.) Decomposition does not mean that a member of the

walking dead will simply drop. Decay may affect various parts of the

body at different times. Specimens have been found with brains intact

but nearly disintegrated bodies. Others with partially rotted brains may

control some bodily functions but be completely paalyzed in others.

A popular theory has recently circulated that attempts to explain the

story of the ancient Egyptian mummy as one of the first examples of

an embalmed zombie. The preservation techniques allowed it to fuuction

several thousand years after being entombed. Anyone with a rudimentary

knowledge of ancient Egypt would find this story almost

laughably untrue: The most important and complicated step in preparing

a pharaoh for burial was the removal of the brain!

 

 

I. Digestion

 

Recent evidence has once and for all mscounted the theory that human

flesh is the fuel for the undead. A zombie's digestive tract is completely

dormant. The complex system that processes food, extracts nutrition,

and excretes waste does not factor into a zombie's physiology. Autopsies

conducted on neutralized undead have shown that their "food" lies in its

original, undigested state at all sections of the tract. This partially

chewed, slowly rotting matter will continue to accumulate, as the zom12

hie devours more victims, until it is forced through the anus, or literally

bursts through the stomach or intestinal lining. While this more dramatic

example of non-digestion is rare, hundreds of eyewitness reports have

confirmed undead to have distended bellies. One captured and dissected

specimen was found to contain 21 1 pounds of flesh within its system!

Even rarer accounts have confirmed that zombies continue to feed long

after their digestive tracts have exploded from within.

 

 

J. Respiration

 

The lungs of the undead continue to function in that they draw air into

and expel it from the hody. This function accounts for a zombie's signature

moan. What the lungs and body chemistry fail to accomplish,

however, is to extract oxygen and remove carbon dioxide. Given that

Solanum obviates the need for both of these functions, the entire

human respiratory system is obsolete in the hody of a ghoul. This

explains how the living dead can "walk underwater" or survive in environments

lethal to humans. Their brains, as noted earlier, are oxygenindependent.

 

 

K. Circulation

 

It would be inaccurate to say that zomhies have no heart. It would not

he inaccurate, however, to say that they find no use for it. The circulatory

system of the undead is little more than a network of useless tubes

filled with congealed hlood. The same applies to the lymphatic system

as well as all other bodily fluids. Although this mutation would appear

to give the undead one more advantage over humanity, it has actually

proved to he a godsend. The lack of fluid mass prevents easy transmission

of the virus. Were this not true, hand-to-hand combat would

he nearly impossible, as the defending human would almost certainly

he splattered with hlood andlor other fluids.

 

 

L. Reproduction

 

Zombies are sterile creatures. Their sexual organs are necrotic and

impotent. Attempts have been made to fertilize zombie eggs with

human sperm and vice versa. None has been succcssful. The undead

have also shown no signs of sexual desire, either for their own

species or for the living. Until research can prove otherwise, humanity's

greatest fear-the dead reproducing the dead-is a comforting

impossibility.

 

M. Strength

 

Ghouls possess the same brute force as the living. What power can be

exerted depends greatly on the individual zombie. What muscle mass

a person has in life would be all he possesses in death. Unlike a living

body, adrenal glands have not been known to function in the dead,

denying zombies the temporary burst of power we humans enjoy. The

one solid advantage the living dead do possess is amazing stamina.

Imagine working out, or any other act of physical exertion. Chances

are that pain and exhaustion will dictate your limits. These factors do

not apply to the dead. They will continue an act, with the same

dynamic energy, until the muscles supporting it literally disintegrate.

i

f While this makes for progressively weaker ghouls, it allows for an allpowerful

first attack. Many barricades that would have exhausted three 1 or even four physically fit humans have fallen to a single determined

zombie.

 

N. Speed

 

The "walking" dead tend to move at a slouch or limp. Even without

injuries or advanced decomposition, their lack of coordination makes

for an unsteady suide. Speed is mainly determined by leg length. Taller

ghouls have longer strides than their shorter counterparts. Zombies

appear to be incapable of running. The fastest have been observed to

move at a rate of barely one step per 1.5 seconds. Again, as with

strength, the dead's advantage over the living is their tirelessness.

Humans who believe they have outrun their nndead pursuers might do

well to remember the story of the tortoise and the hare, adding, of

course, that in this instance the hare stands a good chance of being

eaten alive.

 

 

0. Agility

 

The average living human possesses a dexterity level 90 percent

greater than the strongest ghoul. Some of this comes from the general

stiffness of necrotic muscle tissue (hence their awkward stride). The

rest is due to their primitive brain functions. Zomhies have little handeye

coordination, one of their greatest weaknesses. No one has ever

observed a zombie jumping, either from one spot to another or simply

up and down. Balancing on a narrow surface is similarly beyond their

ahility. Swimming is also a skill reserved for the living. The theory has

been put forth that, if an undead corpse were to he bloated enough to

rise to the surface, it could present a floating hazard. This is rare, however,

as the slow rate of decomposition would not allow by-product gas

to accumulate. Zombies who walk or fall into bodies of water will

more likely find themselves wandering aimlessly across the bottom

until eventually dissolving. They can be successful climbers, but only

in certain circumstances. If zombies perceive prey above them, for

example, in the second story of a house, they will always attempt to

climb to it. Zombies will try to scale any surface no matter how

unfeasahle or even impossible. In all but the easiest situations, these

attempts have met with failure. Even in the case of ladders, when simple

hand-over-hand coordination is required, only one in four zombies

will succeed.

 

 

2. BEHAWOWLPA TTERNS

 

A. Intelligence

 

It has been proven, time and again, that our greatest advantage over the

undead is our ahility to think. The mental capacity of the average zombie

ranks somewhere beneath that of an insect. On no occasion have

they shown any ability to reason or employ logic. Attempting to

accomplish a task, failing, then by trial and error discovering a new

solution, is a skill shared by many members of the animal kingdom hut

lost on the walking dead. Zombies have repeatedly failed laboratory

intelligence tests set at the level of rodents. One field case showed a

human standing at one end of a collapsed bridge with several dozen

zombies on the orher side. One by one, the walking dead tumbled over

the edge in a futile attempt to reach him. At no time did any of them

realize what was happening and change their tactics in any way.

Contrruy to myth and speculation, zombies have never been observed

using tools of any kind. Even picking up a rock to use as a weapon is

beyond their grasp. This simple task would prove the basic thought

process involved in realizing that the rock is a more efficient weapon

than the naked hand. Ironically, the age of artificial intelligence has

enabled us to identify more easily with the mind of the zombie than

that of our more "primitive" ancestors. With care exceptions, even the

most advanced computers do not have the ability to think on their own.

They do what they are programmed to do, nothing more. Imagine a

computer programmed to execute one function. This function cannot

be paused, modified, or erased. No new data can be stored. No new

commands can he installed. This computer will perform that one function,

over and over, until its power source eventually shuts down. This

is the zombie brain. An instinct-driven, unitask machine that is impervious

to tampering and can only be destroyed.

 

B. Emotions

 

Feelings of any kind are not known to the walking dead. Every form

of psychological warfare, from attempts at enraging the undead to provoking

pity have all met with disaster. Joy, sadness, confidence, anxiety,

love, hatred, fear-all of these feelings and thousands more that

make up the human "heart" are as useless to the living dead as the

organ of the same name. Who knows if this is humanity's greatest

weakness or strength? The debate continues, and probably will forever.

 

 

C. Memories

 

A modem conceit is that a zombie retains the knowledge of its former

life. We hear stories of the dead returning to their places of residence

or work, operating familiar machinery, or even showing acts of mercy

to loved ones. In trnth, not a shred of proof exists to support this wishful

thinking. Zombies could not possibly retain memories of their for

mer lives in either the conscious or subconscious mind, because neither

exist! A ghoul will not be distracted by the family pet, living relatives,

familiar surroundings, etc. No matter who a person was in his

former life, that person is gone, replaced by a mindless automaton with

no instinct other than for feeding. This begs the question: Why do zombies

prefer urban areas to the countryside? First, the undead do not prefer

cities, but simply remain where they are reanimated. Second, the

main reason zomhies tend to stay in cities instead of fanning out into

the countryside is because an urban zone holds the highest concentration

of prey.

 

 

D. Physical Needs

 

Other than hunger (discussed later), the dead have shown none of the

physical wants or needs expressed in mortal life. Zombies have never

been observed to sleep or rest under any circumstances. They have not

reacted to extreme heat or cold. In harsh weather, they have never

sought shelter. Even something as simple as thirst is unknown to the

living dead. Defying all laws of science, Solanum has created what

could be described as a completely self-sufficient organism.

 

 

E. Communication

 

Zombies have no language skills. Although their vocal cords are capable

of speech, their brain is not. The only vocal ability appears to be a

deep-throated moan. This moan is released when zombies identify prey.

The sound will remain low and steady until physical contact is made. It

will then shift in tone and volume as the zombie commences its attack.

This eerie sound, so typically associated with the walking dead, serves

as a rallying cry for other zombies and, as has been recently discovered,

is a potent psychological weapon. (See "On the Defense," page 74.)

E Social Dynamics Theories have always proliferated that the

undead function as a collective

force, from an army controlled by Satan to an insect-like

pheromone-driven hive to the most recent notion that they achieve

group consensus by telepathy. The truth is that zombies have no social

organization to speak of. There is no hierarchy, no chain of command,

no drive toward any type of collectivization. A horde of the undead,

regardless of size, regardless of appearance, is simply a mass of individuals.

If several hundred ghouls converge on a victim's location, it

is because each one is drawn by its own instinct. Zombies appear to be

unaware of one another. Individuals have never been observed to react

to the sight of one another at any range. This goes back to the question

of sense: How does a zombie distinguish between one of its own and

a human or other prey at the same range? The answer has yet to he

found. Zombies do avoid one another in the same way they avoid inanimate

objects. When they hump into one another, they make no attempt

to connect or communicate. Zombies feasting on the same corpse will

tug repeatedly on the meat in question rather than shove a competitor

out of the way. The only suggestion of communal effort is seen in notorious

swarm attacks: the moan of a ghoul calling others within earshot.

Once they hear the wail, other walking dead will almost always converge

on its source. An early study theorized that this was a deliberate

act, that a scout used its moan to signal the others to attack. However,

we now how that it happens purely by accident. The ghoul that moans

at the detection of prey does so as an instinctive reaction, not as an alert.

 

 

G. Hunting

 

Zombies are migratory organisms, with no regard for temtory or concept

of home. They will travel miles and perhaps, given time, cross

continents in their search for food. Their hunting pattern is random.

Ghouls will feed at night and during the day. They will stumble

through an area rather than deliberately searching it. Certain zones or

structures will not he singled out as more likely to contain prey. For

example, some have been known to search farmhouses and other rural

structures while others in the same group have moved by without even

a glance. Urban zones take more time to explore, which is why the

undead remain longer in these areas, hut no building will take precedence

over another. Zombies appear to be totally unaware of their sur

roundings. They do not, for example, move their eyes in a way that

would take in the information of a new setting. Shuffling silently, with

a thousand-yard stare, they will wander aimlessly, regardless of location,

until prey is detected. As discussed earlier, the undead possess an

uncauny ability to home in on a victim's precise location. Once contact

is made, the previously silent, oblivious automaton transforms into

something more closely related to a guided missile. The head turns

immediately in the direction of its victim. The jaw drops, lips retract,

and, from the depths of its diaphragm, comes the moan. Once contact

is made, zombies cannot be distracted by any means. They will continue

to pursue their prey, stopping only if they lose contact, make a

successful kill, or are destroyed.

 

 

H. Motivation

 

Why do the undead prey upon the living? If it has been proven that

human flesh serves no nutritional purpose, why does their instinct

drive them to murder? The truth eludes us. Modem science, combined

with historical data, has shown that living humans are not the only

delights on the undead menu. Rescue teams entering an infested area

have consistently reported them stripped of all life. Any creatures, no

matter what their size or species, will he consumed by an attacking

zombie. Human flesh, however, will always he preferable to other life

forms. One experiment presented a captured specimen with two identical

cubes of meat: one human, one animal. The zombie repeatedly

chose the human. Reasons for this are still unknown. What can be confirmed,

beyond any shadow of doubt, is that instinct brought on by

Solanum drives the undead to kill and devour any living creature they

discover. There appear to be no exceptions.

 

 

I. Killing the Dead

While destroying a zombie may be simple, it is far from easy. As we

have seen, zombies require none of the physiological functions that

humans need to survive. Destruction or severe damage of the circulatory,

digestive, or respiratory system would do nothing to a member of

the walking dead, as these functions no

longer support the brain. Simply put, there

are thousands of ways to kill a humanand

only one to kill a zombie. The brain

must be obliterated, by any means possible.

 

 

J. Disposal

 

Studies have shown that Solanum can still

inhabit the body of a terminated zombie for

up to fortyeight hours. Exercise extreme

care when disposing of undead corpses.

The head in particular possesses the most

serious hazard, given its concentration of

the virus. Never handle an undead corpse

without protective clothing. Treat it as you

would any toxic, highly lethal material. Cremation is the safest, most

effective way of disposal. Despite rumors that a pile of burning corpses

will spread Solannm in a cloud of smoking plague, common sense

would dictate that any virus is unable to survive intense heat, to say

nothing of an open flame.

 

 

K. Domestication?

 

To reiterate, the zombie brain has proved, so far, to he tamper-proof.

Experiments ranging from chemicals to surgery to electromagnetic

waves have yielded negative results. Behavioral modification therapy

and other such attempts to train the living dead like some kind of pack

animal have similarly met with failure. Again, the machine cannot be

rewired. It will exist as is, or it will not exist at all.

 

 

THE VOODOO ZOMBIE

 

If zombies are the creation of a virus and not black magic, then how

does this explain the so-called "voodoo zombie," a person who has died,

been raised from his grave, and is doomed to spend eternity as a slave

of the living? Yes, it is trne that the word "zombie" originally comes

from the Kimbnndn word "nzfimbe," a term describing a dead person's

soul, and yes, zombies and zombification are integral parts of the Afro-

Caribbean religion known as voodoo. However, the origin of their name

is the only similarity between the voodoo zombie and the viral zombie.

Although it is said that voodoo houngans (priests) can turn humans into

zombies by magical means, the practice is rooted in bard, undeniable

science. "Zombie powder," the tool used by the houngan for zombification,

contains a very powerful neurotoxin (the exact ingredients are a

closely guarded secret). The toxin temporarily paralyzes the human

nervous system, creating a state of extreme hibernation. With the heart,

lungs, and all other bodily functions operating at minimal levels, it

would be understandable if an inexperienced coroner declared the paralyzed

subject to be dead. Many humans have been buried while in such

a state, only to awaken screaming in the pitch darkness of their coffin.

So what makes this living human being a zombie? The answer is simple:

brain damage. Many who are buried alive quickly use up the air

inside their coffins. Those that are recovered (if they are lucky) almost

always suffer brain damage from lack of oxygen. These poor souls

shamble about with little cognitive skills, or, indeed, free will, and are

often mistaken for the living dead. How can yon distinguish a voodoo

zombie from the genuine article? The telltale signs are obvious.

 

1. Voodoo zombies show emotion. People suffering from zombie

powder-induced brain damage are still capable of all normal human

feelings. They smile, cry, even growl with anger if hurt or otherwise

provoked (something real zombies would never do).

 

2. Voodoo zombies exhibit thought. As has been stated before, when

a real zombie encounters you it will immediately home in like a

smart bomb. A voodoo zombie will take a moment to try to figure

out who or what you are. Maybe it will come toward you, maybe it

will recoil, maybe it will continue its observation as its damaged

brain attempts to analyze the information given it. What a voodoo

zombie will not do is raise its arms, drop its jaw, unleash a hellish

moan, and stumble directly toward you.

 

3. Voodoo zombies feel pain. A voodoo zombie that trips and falls

will undoubtedly hold its bruised knee and whimper. Likewise, one

already suffering from some other wound will nurse it, or, at the

very least, be aware of the wound's existence. Voodoo zombies will

not ignore deep gashes in their bodies like a real zombie would.

 

4. Voodoo zombies recognize fire. This is not to say that they are afraid

of open flames. Some that have suffered severe brain damage may not

remember what lire is. They will stop to examine it, perhaps even reach

out to touch it, hut they will recoil once they realize it causes pain.

 

5. Voodoo zombies recognize their surroundings. Unlike real zombies,

who only recognize prey, voodoo zombies will react to sudden

changes in light, sound, taste, and smell. Voodoo zombies have been

observed watching television or brightly flashing lights, listening to

music, cringing at thunder, and even taking notice of one another.

This last fact has been critical in several cases of mis-identification.

Had the zombies in question not reacted to each other (they looked

at each other, made noises, even touched each other's faces), they

might have been accidentally exterminated.

 

6. Voodoo zombies do NOT have bypersense. A human who has suffered

the debilitating effects of zombie powder is still a sightdependent

human. He cannot operate perfectly in the dark, hear a

footstep at 500 ya~dso, r smell a living being on the wind. Voodoo

zombies can actually be surprised by someone walking up behind

them. This is not recommended, however, as a frightened zombie

might react in anger.

 

7. Voodoo zombies can communicate. While this is not always the

case, many of these individuals can respond to audiovisual signals.

Many understand words; some even comprehend simple sentences.

Many voodoo zombies possess the ability to speak, simply, of

course, and rarely for extended conversations.

 

8. Voodoo zombies can be controlled. While not always true, many

brain damaged humans have lost much of their self-realization,

making them very susceptible to suggestion. Simply shouting for a

subject to halt or even go away can he enough to get rid of a voodoo

zombie. This has created the dangerous situation of confused people

believing they could control or train true zombies. Several times

headstrong humans have insisted they could simply command their

living dead attackers to stop. As cold, rotting hands grabbed their

limbs and dirty, worn teeth bit into their flesh, these people discovered,

too late, what they were truly dealing with.

 

These guidelines should give you a good idea of how to tell a voodoo

zombie from a true zombie. One final note: Voodoo zombies are

almost always encountered in sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean,

Central and South America, and the southern United States.

Although it is not impossible to find someone who has been turned

into a zombie by a houngan elsewhere, the chances of such an

encounter are slim.

 

 

THE HOLLYWOOD ZOMBIE

Since the living dead first stepped onto the silver screen, their greatest

enemy has not been hunters, but critics. Scholars, scientists, even concerned

citizens have all argued that these movies depict the living dead

in a fantastic, unrealistic fashion. Visually stunning weapons, physically

impossible action sequences, larger-than-life human characters,

and, above all, magical, invincible, even comical ghouls have all added

their colors to the controversial rainbow that is "the Zombie Movie."

Further criticism argues that this "style over substance" approach to

somnambulist cinema teaches human viewers lessons that may get

them killed in a real encounter. These serious charges demand an

equally serious defense. While some zombie movies are based on

actual events*, their goal, indeed the goal of almost every movie in

every genre, has always been, first and foremost, to entertain. Unless

we are discussing pure documentaries (and even some of those are

"sweetened"), moviemakers must take some artistic license to make

their work more palatable to the audience. Even movies that are based

on actual events will sacrifice pure reality for good storytelling.

 

Certain characters will be an amalgam of real-life individuals. Others

may be purely fictional in order to explain certain facts, facilitate the

plotline, or simply add flavor to the scene. One might argue that the

role of the artist is to challenge, educate, and enlighten her audience.

That may be true, but try imparting knowledge to an audience who has

either left or fallen asleep within the first ten minutes of the picture.

Accept this basic rule of moviemaking and you will understand why

Hollywood zombie films stray, in some cases wildly, from the reality

on which they are based. In short, use these photo-plays as their makers

intended: as a source of temporary, lighthearted entertainment and

not a visual aid to your survival.

 

 

OUTBREAKS

 

Although each zombie attack is different, given the number, terrain,

reaction of the general populace, etc., its level of intensity can be measured

in four distinct classes.

*At the behest of the filmmakers andlor their estates, the titles of those movies based on me-life stories have been omitted.

 

CLASS 1

This is a low-level outbreak, usually in a Third World country or First

World rural area. The number of zombies in this class of outbreak

ranges between one and twenty. Total human casualties (including

those infected) range from one to fifty. The total duration, from the fist

case to the last (known), will range between twenty-four hours and

fourteen days. The infested area will be small, no larger than a twentymile

radius. In many cases, natural boundaries will determine its limits.

Response will he light, either exclusively civilian or with some

additional help from local law enforcement. Media coverage will be

light, if present at all. If the media is present, look for common stories

like homicides or "accidents." This is the most common type of outbreak

and also the easiest to go unnoticed.

 

CLASS 2

Urban or densely populated mral areas are included in this level of outbreak.

Total zombies will range between twenty and one hundred.

Total human casualties may reach as high as several hundred. The

duration of a Class 2 attack may last no longer than a Class 1 outbreak.

In some cases, the larger number of zombies will spark a more immediate

response. A rural, sparsely populated outbreak may extend to a

hundred-mile radius, while an urban outbreak may encompass only

several blocks. Suppression will almost certainly be organized. Bands

of civilians will be replaced by local, state, even federal law enforcement.

Look for an additional, if low-level, military response, the

National Guard in the United States or its equivalent abroad. Most

often, so as to ease panic, these units will take a more noncombatant

role, providing medical assistance, crowd control, and logistical support.

Class 2 outbreaks almost always attract the press. Unless the

attack occurs in a huly isolated area of the world, or one where the

media is strictly controlled, the story will he reported. This does not

mean, however, that it will be reported acc~lrately.

 

CLASS 3

A hue crisis. Class 3 outbreaks, more than any other, demonstrate the

clear threat posed by the living dead. Zombies will number in the thousands,

encompassing an area of several hundred miles. The duration of

the attack and a possible lengthy mop-up process could last as long as

several months. There will be no chance for a press blackout or coverup.

Even without media attention, the sheer magnitude of the attack will

leave too many eyewitnesses. This is a full-blown battle, with law

enforcement replaced by units of the regular military. A state of emergency

will be declared for the infested zone, as well as the neighboring

areas. Expect martial law, restricted travel, rationed supplies, federalized

services, and strictly monitored communication. All these measures,

however, will take time to implement. The initial phase will be

one of chaos as those in power come to grips with the crisis. Riots, looting,

and widespread panic will add to their difficulties, further delaying

an effective response. While this is happening, those living withm the

infested area will be at the mercy of the undead. Isolated, abandoned,

and surrounded by ghouls, they will have only themselves to depend on.

 

CLASS 4

(See "Living in an Undead World," pages 154-81.)

 

DETECTION

Every undead outbreak, regardless of its class, has a beginning. Now

that the enemy has been defined, the next step is early warning.

Knowing what a zombie is will not help if you are unable to recognize

an outbreak before it's too late. This does not entail building a "zombie

command post" in your basement, sticking pins in a map, and huddling

around the shortwave radio. All it requires is looking for signs

that would slip by the untrained mind. These signs include:

 

1. Homicides in which the victims were executed by head shots or

decapitation. It has happened many times: People recognize an outbreak

for what it is and try to take matters into their own hands.

Almost always, these people are declared murderers by the local

authorities and prosecuted as such.

 

2. Missing persons, particularly in wilderness or uninhabited areas.

Pay careful attention if one or more of the search members end up

missing. If the story is televised or photographed, watch to see what

level of armament the search parties carry. Any more than one rifle

per group could mean that this is more than just a simple rescue

operation.

 

3. Cases of "violent insanity" in which the subject attacked friends or

family without the use of weapons. Find out if the attacker bit or

tried to bite his victims. If so, are any of the victims still in the hospital?

Try to discover if any of these victims mysteriously died

within days of their bite.

 

4. Riots or other civil disturbances that began without provocation or

other logical cause. Common sense will dictate that violence on any

group level does not simply occur without a catalyst such as racial

tension, political actions, or legal decisions. Even so-called "mass

hysteria" can always be traced to a root source. If none can be

found, the answer may lie elsewhere.

 

5. Disease-based deaths in which either the cause is undetermined or

seems highly suspect. Deaths from infectious disease are rare in the

industrialized world, compared to a century ago. For this reason,

new outbreaks always make the news. Look for those cases in

which the exact nature of the disease is unexplained. Also, be on the

alert for suspicious explanations such as West Nile virus or "mad

cow" disease. Either could be examples of a cover-up.

 

6. Any of the above in which media coverage was forbidden. A total

press blackout is rare in the United States. The occurrence of one

should be regarded as an immediate red flag. Of course, there may

be many reasons other than an attack of the living dead. Then again,

any event causing a govemment as media-conscious as our own to

clamp down merits close attention. The truth, no matter what it is,

cannot be good.

 

Once an event has tripped your sensors, keep track of it. Note the

location, and its distance from you. Watch for similar incidents around

or near the original site. If, within a few days or weeks, these incidents

do occur, study them carefully. Note the response of law enforcement

and other govemment agencies. If they react more forcefully with each

occurrence, chances are that an outbreak is unfolding.

Hyperlinks are your friend. :(

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also: Can you imagine what a quote tree would look like with this baby?! :-"

 

 

I'm having trouble seeing it, personally.

 

 

No, I think... I see it now.

Are you sure?

 

One must be absolutely certain in these matters, for they are not to be trifled with.

I'd just like to say...I'm sorry. :-"

Oh, you're quite forgiven LoneWolf.

 

It is Christmas after all!

 

I agree.

And when Kiro-San speaks, ninjas, pirates, monkeys and robots all listen!

 

Zombies BEWARE! If the quote-tree doesn't kill you, Kiro's ph4t skillz0rz will.

 

I learned from teh best. :*

Did somebody say ninjas? :ninja:

I think it broke.

 

Yeah, I can see it jag.

 

Way to go Tales, tripping the Passive Forum Defense Systems.

 

 

Damn rookie.

Pfft.

 

He's broken it alright. But really, can we expect anything less from a noober?

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Dudes, you should start by defining what a zombie is, how they spread and what its weak points are. I see head boinking and what to use/not to use but no details.

 

For example you may want to tell the dudes if melee's a bad idea because the zombie virus/bacteria and other general infections from decaying flesh would be nasty if it gets on you from fluid contact.

 

Sorry for the formatting but im not going to type out 30 pages by hand.

 

THE UNDEAD: MYTHS AND REALITIES

 

He comes from the grave, his body a home of worms andjilth. No life in

his eyes, no warmth of his shn, no beating of his breast. His soul, as

empty and dark as the night sky. He laughs at the blade, spits at the

arrow, for they will not harm hisflesh. For eternity, he will walk the

earth, smelling the sweet blood of the living, feasting upon the bones of

the damned. Beware, for he is the living dead.

 

ZOM-BZE: (Zom'be) n. also ZOM-BIES pl. I. An animated corpse that

feeds on living humanjlesh. 2. A voodoo spell that raises the dead. 3.

A Voodoo snake god. 4. One who moves or acts in a daze "like a zombie."

[a word of West African origin]

 

What is a zombie? How are they created? What are their strengths and

weaknesses? What are their needs, their desires? Why are they hostile

to humanity? Before discussing any survival techniques, you must first

learn what you are trying to survive.

We must begin by separating fact from fiction. The walking dead

are neither a work of "black magic" nor any other supernatural force.

Their origin stems from a virus known as Solanum, a Latin word used

by Jan Vanderhaven, who fust "discovered" the disease.

 

SOLANUM: THE VIRUS

 

Solannm works by traveling through the bloodstream, from the initial

point of entry to the brain. Through means not yet fully understood,

the virus uses the cells of the frontal lobe for replication, destroying

them in the process. During this period, all bodily functions cease. By

stopping the heart, the infected subject is rendered ''dead." The brain,

however, remains alive hut dormant, while the virus mutates its cells

into a completely new organ. The most critical trait of this new organ

is its independence from oxygen. By removing the need for this allimportant

resource, the nndead brain can utilize, but is in no way

dependent upon, the complex support mechanism of the human body.

Once mutation is complete, this new organ reanimates the body into a

form that bears little resemblance (physiologically speaking) to the

original corpse. Some bodily functions remain constant, others operate

in a modified capacity, and the remainder shut down completely.

This new organism is a zombie, a member of the living dead.

 

 

1. SOURCE

U~~fortunateleyx, tensive research has yet to find an isolated example

of Solanum in nature. Water, air, and soil in all ecosystems, from all

parts of the world, have turned up negative, as have their accompanying

flora and fauna. At the time of this writing, the search continues.

 

2. SYMPTOMS

The timetable below outlines the process of an infected human (give

or take several hours, depending on the individual).

 

Hour 1: Pain and discoloration (brown-puple) of the infected area Immediate

clotting of the wound @rovided the infection came h m a wound).

Hour 5: Fever (99-103 degrees F), chills, slight dementia, vomiting,

acute pain in the joints.

Hour 8: Numbing of extremities and infected area, increased fever

(103-106 degrees F), increased dementia, loss of muscular coordination.

Hour 11: Paralysis in the lower body, overall numbness, slowed heart

rate.

Hour 16: Coma.

Hour 20: Heart stoppage. Zero brain activity

Hour 23: Reanimation.

 

 

3. TRANSFERENCE

 

Solanum is 100 percent communicahle and 100 percent fatal.

Fortunately for the human race, the virus is neither waterborne nor airborne.

Humans have never been known to contract the virus from elements

in nature. Infection can occur only through direct fluidic

contact. A zombie bite, although by far the most recognizable means

of transference, is by no means the only one. Humans have been

infected by brushing their open wounds against those of a zombie or

by being splattered by its remains after an explosion. Ingestion of

infected flesh (provided the person has no open mouth sores), however,

results in pemanent death rather than infection. Infected flesh has

proven to be highly toxic.

 

No infomation-historical, experimental, or othenvise-has surfaced

regarding the results of sexual relations with an undead specimen,

but as previously noted, the nature of Solanum suggests a high

danger of infection. Warning against such an act would be useless, as

the only people deranged enough to try would he unconcerned for their

own safety. Many have argued that, given the congealed nature of

undead bodily fluids, the chances of infection from a non-bite contact

should be low. However, it must be remembered that even one organism

is enough to begin the cycle.

 

 

4. CROSS-SPECIES INFECTION

 

Solannm is fatal to all living creatures, regardless of size, species, or

ecosystem. Reanimation, however, takes place only in humans. Studies

have shown that Solanum infecting a non-human brain will die within

hours of the death of its host, making the carcass safe to handle.

Infected animals expire before the virus can replicate throughout their

bodies. Infection from insect bites such as from mosquitoes can also

he discounted. Experiments have proven that all parasitic insects can

sense and will reject an infected host 100 percent of the time.

 

 

5. TREATMENT

 

Once a human is infected, little can be done to save him or her. Because

Solanum is a virus and not a bacteria, antibiotics have no effect.

Immunization, the only way to combat a virus, is equally useless, as even

the most minute dosage will lead to a full-blown infection. Genetic

research is under way. Goals range from stronger human antibodies to

resistant cell structure to a counter-virus designed to identify and destroy

Solanum. This and other, more radical treatments are still in the earliest

stages, with no foreseeable success in the near future. Battlefield experiences

have led to the immediate severing of the infected limb (provided

this is the location of the bite), but such treatments are dubious at best,

with less than a 10 percent success rate.

 

Chances are, the infected human

was doomed from the moment the virus entered his or her system.

Should the infected human choose suicide, he should remember that the

brain must be eliminated first. Cases have been recorded in which

recently infected subjects, deceased by means other than the virus, will

nonetheless reanimate. Such cases usually occur when the subject

expires after the fifth hour of infection. Regardless, any person killed

after being bitten or otherwise infected by the undead should be immediately

disposed of. (See "Disposal," page 19.)

 

 

6. REANIMATING THE ALREADY DECEASED

 

It has been suggested that fresh human corpses could reanimate if

Solanum were introduced after their demise. This is a fallacy. Zombies

ignore necrotic flesh and therefore could not transfer the virus.

Experiments conducted during and after World War I1 (see "Recorded

Attacks," pages 216m have proven that injecting Solanum into a

cadaver would be futile because a stagnant bloodstream could not

transport the virus to the brain. Injection directly into a dead brain

would be equally useless, as the expired cells could not respond to the

virus. Solanum does not create life-it alters it.

 

 

ZOMBIE ATTRIBUTES

 

1. PHYSICAL ABILITIES

Too often, the undead have been said to possess superhuman powers:

unusual strength, lightning speed, telepathy, etc. Stories range from

zombies flying through the air to their scaling vertical surfaces like spiders.

While these traits might make for fascinating drama, the individual

ghoul is far from a magical, omnipotent demon. Never forget that

the body of the undead is, for all practical purposes, human. What

changes do occur are in the way this new, reanimated body is used by

the now-infected brain. There is no way a zombie could fly unless the

human it used to be could fly. The same goes for projecting force

fields, telepottation, moving through solid objects, transforming into a

wolf, breathing fire, or a variety of other mystical talents amibuted to

the walking dead. Imagine the human body as a tool kit. The somnambulist

brain has those tools, and only those tools, at its disposal. It

cannot create new ones out of thin air. But it can, as you will see, use

these tools in unconventional combinations, or push their durability

beyond normal human limits.

 

 

A. Sight

 

The eyes of a zombie are no different than those of a normal human.

While still capable (given their rate of decomposition) of transmitting

visual signals to the brain, how the brain interprets these signals is

another matter. Studies are inconclusive regarding the undead's visual

abilities. They can spot prey at distances comparable to a human, but

whether they can distinguish a human from one of their own is still up

for debate. One theory suggests that the movements made by humans,

which are quicker and smoother than those of the undead, is what

causes them to stand out to the zombie eye. Experiments have been

done in which humans have attempted to confuse approaching ghouls

by mimicking their motions and adopting a shambling, awkward limp.

To date, none of these attempts have succeeded. It has been suggested

that zombies possess night vision, a fact that explains their skill at nocturnal

hunting. This theory has been debunked by the fact that all zombies

are expert night feeders, even those without eyes.

 

B. Sound

 

There is no question that zombies have excellent hearing. Not only can

they detect sound-they can determine its direction. The basic range

appears to be the same as that for humans. Experiments with extreme

high and low frequencies have yielded negative results. Tests have also

shown that zombies are attracted by any sounds, not just those made

by living creatures. It has been recorded that ghouls will notice sounds

ignored by living humans. The most likely, if unproven, explanation is

that zombies depend on all their senses equally. Humans are sightoriented

from birth, depending on other senses only if the primary one

is lost. Perhaps this is not a handicap shared by the walking dead. If

so, it would explain their ability to hunt, fight, and feed in total darkness.

 

 

C. Smell

 

Unlike with sound, the undead have a more acute sense of smell. In

both combat situations and laboratory tests, they have been able to distinguish

the smell of living prey above all others. In many cases, and

given ideal wind conditions, zomhies have been known to smell fresh

corpses from a distance of more than a mile. Again, this does not mean

that ghouls have a greater sense of smell than humans, simply that they

rely on it more. It is not known exactly what particular secretion signals

the presence of prey: sweat, pheromones, blood, etc. In the past,

people seeking to move undetected through infested areas have

attempted to "mask" their human scent with perfumes, deodorants, or

other strong-smelling chemicals. None were successful. Experiments

are now under way to synthesize the smells of living creatures as a

decoy or even repellent to the walking dead. A successful product is

still years away.

 

 

D. Taste

 

Little is known about the altered taste buds of the walking dead.

Zombies do have the ability to tell human flesh apart from that of animals,

and they prefer the former. Ghouls also have a remarkable ability

to reject carrion in favor of freshly killed meat. A human body that

has been dead longer than twelve to eighteen hours will be rejected as

food. The same goes for cadavers that have been embalmed or otherwise

preserved. Whether this has anything to do with "taste" is not yet

certain. It may have to do with smell or, perhaps, another instinct that

has not been discovered. As to exactly why human flesh is preferable,

science has yet to find an answer to this confounding, frustrating, terrifying

question.

 

 

E. Touch

 

Zombies have, literally, no physical sensations. All nerve receptors

throughout the body remain dead after reanimation. This is truly their

greatest and most temfying advantage over the living. We, as humans,

have the ability to experience physical pain as a signal of bodily damage.

Our brain classifies such sensations, matches them to the experience

that instigated them, and then files the information away for use

as a warning against future ham. It is this gift of physiology and

instinct that has allowed us to survive as a species. It is why we value

virtues such as courage, which inspires people to perform actions

despite warnings of danger. The inability to recognize and avoid pain

is what makes the waking dead so formidable. Wounds will not be

noticed and, therefore, will not deter an attack. Even if a zombie's

body is severely damaged, it will continue to attack until nothing

remains.

 

 

E Sixth Sense

 

Historical research, coupled with laboratory and field observation,

have shown that the walking dead have been known to attack even

when all their sensory organs have been damaged or completely

decomposed. Does this mean that zombies possess a sixth sense?

Perhaps. Living humans use less than 5 percent of their brain capacity.

It is possible that the virus can stimulate another sensoly ability that

has been forgotten by evolution. This theory is one of the most hotly

debated in the war against the undead. So far, no scientific evidence

has been found to suppoa either side.

 

 

G. Healing

 

Despite legends and ancient folklore, undead physiology has been

proven to possess no powers of regeneration. Cells that are damaged

stay damaged. Any wounds, no matter what their size and nature, will

remain for the duration of that body's reanimation. A variety of medical

treatments have been attempted to stimulate the healing process in

captured ghouls. None were successful. This inability to self-repair,

something that we as living beings take for granted, is a severe disadvantage

to the undead. For example, every time we physically exert

ourselves, we tear our muscles. With time, these muscles rebuild to a

stronger state than before. A ghoul's muscle mass will remain damaged,

reducing its effectiveness every time it is used.

 

 

H. Decomposition

 

The average zombie "life span"-how long it is able to function before

completely rotting away-is estimated at three to five years. As fantastic

as this sounds-a human corpse able to ward off the natural

effects of decay-its cause is rooted in basic biology. When a human

body dies, its flesh is immediately set upon by billions of microscopic

organisms. These organisms were always present, in the external environment

arid within the body itself. In life, the immune system stood

as a harrier between these organisms and their target. In death, that barrier

is removed. The organisms begin multiplying exponentially as

they proceed to eat and, thereby, break down the corpse on a cellular

level. The smell and discoloration associated with any decaying meat

are the biological process of these microbes at work. When you order

an "aged" steak, you are ordering a piece of meat that has begun to rot,

its formerly toughened flesh softened by microorganisms breaking

down its sturdy fiber. Within a short time, that steak, like a human

corpse, will dissolve to nothing, leaving behind only material too hard

or innutritious for any microbe, such as hone, teeth, nails, and hair.

This is the normal cycle of life, nature's way of recycling nutrients

back into the food chain. To halt this process, and preserve dead tissue,

it is necessary to place it in an environment unsuitable for bacteria,

such as in extreme low or high temperatures, in toxic chemicals

such as formaldehyde, or, in this case, to saturate it with Solanum.

Almost all the microbe species involved in normal human decomposition

have repeatedly rejected flesh infected by the virus, effecThe

tively embalming the zombie. Were this not the case, combating the

living dead would be as easy as avoiding them for several weeks or

even days until they rotted away to hones. Research has yet to discover

the exact cause of this condition. It has been determined that at least

some microbe species ignore the repelling effects of Solanum-otherwise,

the undead would remain perfectly preserved forever. It has also

been determined that natural conditions such as moisture and temperature

play an important role as well. Undead that prowl the bayous of

Louisiana are unlikely to last as long as those in the cold, dry Gobi

desert. Extreme situations, such as deep freezing or immersion in -

preservative fluid, could, hypothetically, allow an undead specimen to

exist indef~telyT. hese techniques have been known to allow zombies

to function for decades, if not centuries. (See "Recorded Attacks,"

pages 193ff.) Decomposition does not mean that a member of the

walking dead will simply drop. Decay may affect various parts of the

body at different times. Specimens have been found with brains intact

but nearly disintegrated bodies. Others with partially rotted brains may

control some bodily functions but be completely paalyzed in others.

A popular theory has recently circulated that attempts to explain the

story of the ancient Egyptian mummy as one of the first examples of

an embalmed zombie. The preservation techniques allowed it to fuuction

several thousand years after being entombed. Anyone with a rudimentary

knowledge of ancient Egypt would find this story almost

laughably untrue: The most important and complicated step in preparing

a pharaoh for burial was the removal of the brain!

 

 

I. Digestion

 

Recent evidence has once and for all mscounted the theory that human

flesh is the fuel for the undead. A zombie's digestive tract is completely

dormant. The complex system that processes food, extracts nutrition,

and excretes waste does not factor into a zombie's physiology. Autopsies

conducted on neutralized undead have shown that their "food" lies in its

original, undigested state at all sections of the tract. This partially

chewed, slowly rotting matter will continue to accumulate, as the zom12

hie devours more victims, until it is forced through the anus, or literally

bursts through the stomach or intestinal lining. While this more dramatic

example of non-digestion is rare, hundreds of eyewitness reports have

confirmed undead to have distended bellies. One captured and dissected

specimen was found to contain 21 1 pounds of flesh within its system!

Even rarer accounts have confirmed that zombies continue to feed long

after their digestive tracts have exploded from within.

 

 

J. Respiration

 

The lungs of the undead continue to function in that they draw air into

and expel it from the hody. This function accounts for a zombie's signature

moan. What the lungs and body chemistry fail to accomplish,

however, is to extract oxygen and remove carbon dioxide. Given that

Solanum obviates the need for both of these functions, the entire

human respiratory system is obsolete in the hody of a ghoul. This

explains how the living dead can "walk underwater" or survive in environments

lethal to humans. Their brains, as noted earlier, are oxygenindependent.

 

 

K. Circulation

 

It would be inaccurate to say that zomhies have no heart. It would not

he inaccurate, however, to say that they find no use for it. The circulatory

system of the undead is little more than a network of useless tubes

filled with congealed hlood. The same applies to the lymphatic system

as well as all other bodily fluids. Although this mutation would appear

to give the undead one more advantage over humanity, it has actually

proved to he a godsend. The lack of fluid mass prevents easy transmission

of the virus. Were this not true, hand-to-hand combat would

he nearly impossible, as the defending human would almost certainly

he splattered with hlood andlor other fluids.

 

 

L. Reproduction

 

Zombies are sterile creatures. Their sexual organs are necrotic and

impotent. Attempts have been made to fertilize zombie eggs with

human sperm and vice versa. None has been succcssful. The undead

have also shown no signs of sexual desire, either for their own

species or for the living. Until research can prove otherwise, humanity's

greatest fear-the dead reproducing the dead-is a comforting

impossibility.

 

M. Strength

 

Ghouls possess the same brute force as the living. What power can be

exerted depends greatly on the individual zombie. What muscle mass

a person has in life would be all he possesses in death. Unlike a living

body, adrenal glands have not been known to function in the dead,

denying zombies the temporary burst of power we humans enjoy. The

one solid advantage the living dead do possess is amazing stamina.

Imagine working out, or any other act of physical exertion. Chances

are that pain and exhaustion will dictate your limits. These factors do

not apply to the dead. They will continue an act, with the same

dynamic energy, until the muscles supporting it literally disintegrate.

i

f While this makes for progressively weaker ghouls, it allows for an allpowerful

first attack. Many barricades that would have exhausted three 1 or even four physically fit humans have fallen to a single determined

zombie.

 

N. Speed

 

The "walking" dead tend to move at a slouch or limp. Even without

injuries or advanced decomposition, their lack of coordination makes

for an unsteady suide. Speed is mainly determined by leg length. Taller

ghouls have longer strides than their shorter counterparts. Zombies

appear to be incapable of running. The fastest have been observed to

move at a rate of barely one step per 1.5 seconds. Again, as with

strength, the dead's advantage over the living is their tirelessness.

Humans who believe they have outrun their nndead pursuers might do

well to remember the story of the tortoise and the hare, adding, of

course, that in this instance the hare stands a good chance of being

eaten alive.

 

 

0. Agility

 

The average living human possesses a dexterity level 90 percent

greater than the strongest ghoul. Some of this comes from the general

stiffness of necrotic muscle tissue (hence their awkward stride). The

rest is due to their primitive brain functions. Zomhies have little handeye

coordination, one of their greatest weaknesses. No one has ever

observed a zombie jumping, either from one spot to another or simply

up and down. Balancing on a narrow surface is similarly beyond their

ahility. Swimming is also a skill reserved for the living. The theory has

been put forth that, if an undead corpse were to he bloated enough to

rise to the surface, it could present a floating hazard. This is rare, however,

as the slow rate of decomposition would not allow by-product gas

to accumulate. Zombies who walk or fall into bodies of water will

more likely find themselves wandering aimlessly across the bottom

until eventually dissolving. They can be successful climbers, but only

in certain circumstances. If zombies perceive prey above them, for

example, in the second story of a house, they will always attempt to

climb to it. Zombies will try to scale any surface no matter how

unfeasahle or even impossible. In all but the easiest situations, these

attempts have met with failure. Even in the case of ladders, when simple

hand-over-hand coordination is required, only one in four zombies

will succeed.

 

 

2. BEHAWOWLPA TTERNS

 

A. Intelligence

 

It has been proven, time and again, that our greatest advantage over the

undead is our ahility to think. The mental capacity of the average zombie

ranks somewhere beneath that of an insect. On no occasion have

they shown any ability to reason or employ logic. Attempting to

accomplish a task, failing, then by trial and error discovering a new

solution, is a skill shared by many members of the animal kingdom hut

lost on the walking dead. Zombies have repeatedly failed laboratory

intelligence tests set at the level of rodents. One field case showed a

human standing at one end of a collapsed bridge with several dozen

zombies on the orher side. One by one, the walking dead tumbled over

the edge in a futile attempt to reach him. At no time did any of them

realize what was happening and change their tactics in any way.

Contrruy to myth and speculation, zombies have never been observed

using tools of any kind. Even picking up a rock to use as a weapon is

beyond their grasp. This simple task would prove the basic thought

process involved in realizing that the rock is a more efficient weapon

than the naked hand. Ironically, the age of artificial intelligence has

enabled us to identify more easily with the mind of the zombie than

that of our more "primitive" ancestors. With care exceptions, even the

most advanced computers do not have the ability to think on their own.

They do what they are programmed to do, nothing more. Imagine a

computer programmed to execute one function. This function cannot

be paused, modified, or erased. No new data can be stored. No new

commands can he installed. This computer will perform that one function,

over and over, until its power source eventually shuts down. This

is the zombie brain. An instinct-driven, unitask machine that is impervious

to tampering and can only be destroyed.

 

B. Emotions

 

Feelings of any kind are not known to the walking dead. Every form

of psychological warfare, from attempts at enraging the undead to provoking

pity have all met with disaster. Joy, sadness, confidence, anxiety,

love, hatred, fear-all of these feelings and thousands more that

make up the human "heart" are as useless to the living dead as the

organ of the same name. Who knows if this is humanity's greatest

weakness or strength? The debate continues, and probably will forever.

 

 

C. Memories

 

A modem conceit is that a zombie retains the knowledge of its former

life. We hear stories of the dead returning to their places of residence

or work, operating familiar machinery, or even showing acts of mercy

to loved ones. In trnth, not a shred of proof exists to support this wishful

thinking. Zombies could not possibly retain memories of their for

mer lives in either the conscious or subconscious mind, because neither

exist! A ghoul will not be distracted by the family pet, living relatives,

familiar surroundings, etc. No matter who a person was in his

former life, that person is gone, replaced by a mindless automaton with

no instinct other than for feeding. This begs the question: Why do zombies

prefer urban areas to the countryside? First, the undead do not prefer

cities, but simply remain where they are reanimated. Second, the

main reason zomhies tend to stay in cities instead of fanning out into

the countryside is because an urban zone holds the highest concentration

of prey.

 

 

D. Physical Needs

 

Other than hunger (discussed later), the dead have shown none of the

physical wants or needs expressed in mortal life. Zombies have never

been observed to sleep or rest under any circumstances. They have not

reacted to extreme heat or cold. In harsh weather, they have never

sought shelter. Even something as simple as thirst is unknown to the

living dead. Defying all laws of science, Solanum has created what

could be described as a completely self-sufficient organism.

 

 

E. Communication

 

Zombies have no language skills. Although their vocal cords are capable

of speech, their brain is not. The only vocal ability appears to be a

deep-throated moan. This moan is released when zombies identify prey.

The sound will remain low and steady until physical contact is made. It

will then shift in tone and volume as the zombie commences its attack.

This eerie sound, so typically associated with the walking dead, serves

as a rallying cry for other zombies and, as has been recently discovered,

is a potent psychological weapon. (See "On the Defense," page 74.)

E Social Dynamics Theories have always proliferated that the

undead function as a collective

force, from an army controlled by Satan to an insect-like

pheromone-driven hive to the most recent notion that they achieve

group consensus by telepathy. The truth is that zombies have no social

organization to speak of. There is no hierarchy, no chain of command,

no drive toward any type of collectivization. A horde of the undead,

regardless of size, regardless of appearance, is simply a mass of individuals.

If several hundred ghouls converge on a victim's location, it

is because each one is drawn by its own instinct. Zombies appear to be

unaware of one another. Individuals have never been observed to react

to the sight of one another at any range. This goes back to the question

of sense: How does a zombie distinguish between one of its own and

a human or other prey at the same range? The answer has yet to he

found. Zombies do avoid one another in the same way they avoid inanimate

objects. When they hump into one another, they make no attempt

to connect or communicate. Zombies feasting on the same corpse will

tug repeatedly on the meat in question rather than shove a competitor

out of the way. The only suggestion of communal effort is seen in notorious

swarm attacks: the moan of a ghoul calling others within earshot.

Once they hear the wail, other walking dead will almost always converge

on its source. An early study theorized that this was a deliberate

act, that a scout used its moan to signal the others to attack. However,

we now how that it happens purely by accident. The ghoul that moans

at the detection of prey does so as an instinctive reaction, not as an alert.

 

 

G. Hunting

 

Zombies are migratory organisms, with no regard for temtory or concept

of home. They will travel miles and perhaps, given time, cross

continents in their search for food. Their hunting pattern is random.

Ghouls will feed at night and during the day. They will stumble

through an area rather than deliberately searching it. Certain zones or

structures will not he singled out as more likely to contain prey. For

example, some have been known to search farmhouses and other rural

structures while others in the same group have moved by without even

a glance. Urban zones take more time to explore, which is why the

undead remain longer in these areas, hut no building will take precedence

over another. Zombies appear to be totally unaware of their sur

roundings. They do not, for example, move their eyes in a way that

would take in the information of a new setting. Shuffling silently, with

a thousand-yard stare, they will wander aimlessly, regardless of location,

until prey is detected. As discussed earlier, the undead possess an

uncauny ability to home in on a victim's precise location. Once contact

is made, the previously silent, oblivious automaton transforms into

something more closely related to a guided missile. The head turns

immediately in the direction of its victim. The jaw drops, lips retract,

and, from the depths of its diaphragm, comes the moan. Once contact

is made, zombies cannot be distracted by any means. They will continue

to pursue their prey, stopping only if they lose contact, make a

successful kill, or are destroyed.

 

 

H. Motivation

 

Why do the undead prey upon the living? If it has been proven that

human flesh serves no nutritional purpose, why does their instinct

drive them to murder? The truth eludes us. Modem science, combined

with historical data, has shown that living humans are not the only

delights on the undead menu. Rescue teams entering an infested area

have consistently reported them stripped of all life. Any creatures, no

matter what their size or species, will he consumed by an attacking

zombie. Human flesh, however, will always he preferable to other life

forms. One experiment presented a captured specimen with two identical

cubes of meat: one human, one animal. The zombie repeatedly

chose the human. Reasons for this are still unknown. What can be confirmed,

beyond any shadow of doubt, is that instinct brought on by

Solanum drives the undead to kill and devour any living creature they

discover. There appear to be no exceptions.

 

 

I. Killing the Dead

While destroying a zombie may be simple, it is far from easy. As we

have seen, zombies require none of the physiological functions that

humans need to survive. Destruction or severe damage of the circulatory,

digestive, or respiratory system would do nothing to a member of

the walking dead, as these functions no

longer support the brain. Simply put, there

are thousands of ways to kill a humanand

only one to kill a zombie. The brain

must be obliterated, by any means possible.

 

 

J. Disposal

 

Studies have shown that Solanum can still

inhabit the body of a terminated zombie for

up to fortyeight hours. Exercise extreme

care when disposing of undead corpses.

The head in particular possesses the most

serious hazard, given its concentration of

the virus. Never handle an undead corpse

without protective clothing. Treat it as you

would any toxic, highly lethal material. Cremation is the safest, most

effective way of disposal. Despite rumors that a pile of burning corpses

will spread Solannm in a cloud of smoking plague, common sense

would dictate that any virus is unable to survive intense heat, to say

nothing of an open flame.

 

 

K. Domestication?

 

To reiterate, the zombie brain has proved, so far, to he tamper-proof.

Experiments ranging from chemicals to surgery to electromagnetic

waves have yielded negative results. Behavioral modification therapy

and other such attempts to train the living dead like some kind of pack

animal have similarly met with failure. Again, the machine cannot be

rewired. It will exist as is, or it will not exist at all.

 

 

THE VOODOO ZOMBIE

 

If zombies are the creation of a virus and not black magic, then how

does this explain the so-called "voodoo zombie," a person who has died,

been raised from his grave, and is doomed to spend eternity as a slave

of the living? Yes, it is trne that the word "zombie" originally comes

from the Kimbnndn word "nzfimbe," a term describing a dead person's

soul, and yes, zombies and zombification are integral parts of the Afro-

Caribbean religion known as voodoo. However, the origin of their name

is the only similarity between the voodoo zombie and the viral zombie.

Although it is said that voodoo houngans (priests) can turn humans into

zombies by magical means, the practice is rooted in bard, undeniable

science. "Zombie powder," the tool used by the houngan for zombification,

contains a very powerful neurotoxin (the exact ingredients are a

closely guarded secret). The toxin temporarily paralyzes the human

nervous system, creating a state of extreme hibernation. With the heart,

lungs, and all other bodily functions operating at minimal levels, it

would be understandable if an inexperienced coroner declared the paralyzed

subject to be dead. Many humans have been buried while in such

a state, only to awaken screaming in the pitch darkness of their coffin.

So what makes this living human being a zombie? The answer is simple:

brain damage. Many who are buried alive quickly use up the air

inside their coffins. Those that are recovered (if they are lucky) almost

always suffer brain damage from lack of oxygen. These poor souls

shamble about with little cognitive skills, or, indeed, free will, and are

often mistaken for the living dead. How can yon distinguish a voodoo

zombie from the genuine article? The telltale signs are obvious.

 

1. Voodoo zombies show emotion. People suffering from zombie

powder-induced brain damage are still capable of all normal human

feelings. They smile, cry, even growl with anger if hurt or otherwise

provoked (something real zombies would never do).

 

2. Voodoo zombies exhibit thought. As has been stated before, when

a real zombie encounters you it will immediately home in like a

smart bomb. A voodoo zombie will take a moment to try to figure

out who or what you are. Maybe it will come toward you, maybe it

will recoil, maybe it will continue its observation as its damaged

brain attempts to analyze the information given it. What a voodoo

zombie will not do is raise its arms, drop its jaw, unleash a hellish

moan, and stumble directly toward you.

 

3. Voodoo zombies feel pain. A voodoo zombie that trips and falls

will undoubtedly hold its bruised knee and whimper. Likewise, one

already suffering from some other wound will nurse it, or, at the

very least, be aware of the wound's existence. Voodoo zombies will

not ignore deep gashes in their bodies like a real zombie would.

 

4. Voodoo zombies recognize fire. This is not to say that they are afraid

of open flames. Some that have suffered severe brain damage may not

remember what lire is. They will stop to examine it, perhaps even reach

out to touch it, hut they will recoil once they realize it causes pain.

 

5. Voodoo zombies recognize their surroundings. Unlike real zombies,

who only recognize prey, voodoo zombies will react to sudden

changes in light, sound, taste, and smell. Voodoo zombies have been

observed watching television or brightly flashing lights, listening to

music, cringing at thunder, and even taking notice of one another.

This last fact has been critical in several cases of mis-identification.

Had the zombies in question not reacted to each other (they looked

at each other, made noises, even touched each other's faces), they

might have been accidentally exterminated.

 

6. Voodoo zombies do NOT have bypersense. A human who has suffered

the debilitating effects of zombie powder is still a sightdependent

human. He cannot operate perfectly in the dark, hear a

footstep at 500 ya~dso, r smell a living being on the wind. Voodoo

zombies can actually be surprised by someone walking up behind

them. This is not recommended, however, as a frightened zombie

might react in anger.

 

7. Voodoo zombies can communicate. While this is not always the

case, many of these individuals can respond to audiovisual signals.

Many understand words; some even comprehend simple sentences.

Many voodoo zombies possess the ability to speak, simply, of

course, and rarely for extended conversations.

 

8. Voodoo zombies can be controlled. While not always true, many

brain damaged humans have lost much of their self-realization,

making them very susceptible to suggestion. Simply shouting for a

subject to halt or even go away can he enough to get rid of a voodoo

zombie. This has created the dangerous situation of confused people

believing they could control or train true zombies. Several times

headstrong humans have insisted they could simply command their

living dead attackers to stop. As cold, rotting hands grabbed their

limbs and dirty, worn teeth bit into their flesh, these people discovered,

too late, what they were truly dealing with.

 

These guidelines should give you a good idea of how to tell a voodoo

zombie from a true zombie. One final note: Voodoo zombies are

almost always encountered in sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean,

Central and South America, and the southern United States.

Although it is not impossible to find someone who has been turned

into a zombie by a houngan elsewhere, the chances of such an

encounter are slim.

 

 

THE HOLLYWOOD ZOMBIE

Since the living dead first stepped onto the silver screen, their greatest

enemy has not been hunters, but critics. Scholars, scientists, even concerned

citizens have all argued that these movies depict the living dead

in a fantastic, unrealistic fashion. Visually stunning weapons, physically

impossible action sequences, larger-than-life human characters,

and, above all, magical, invincible, even comical ghouls have all added

their colors to the controversial rainbow that is "the Zombie Movie."

Further criticism argues that this "style over substance" approach to

somnambulist cinema teaches human viewers lessons that may get

them killed in a real encounter. These serious charges demand an

equally serious defense. While some zombie movies are based on

actual events*, their goal, indeed the goal of almost every movie in

every genre, has always been, first and foremost, to entertain. Unless

we are discussing pure documentaries (and even some of those are

"sweetened"), moviemakers must take some artistic license to make

their work more palatable to the audience. Even movies that are based

on actual events will sacrifice pure reality for good storytelling.

 

Certain characters will be an amalgam of real-life individuals. Others

may be purely fictional in order to explain certain facts, facilitate the

plotline, or simply add flavor to the scene. One might argue that the

role of the artist is to challenge, educate, and enlighten her audience.

That may be true, but try imparting knowledge to an audience who has

either left or fallen asleep within the first ten minutes of the picture.

Accept this basic rule of moviemaking and you will understand why

Hollywood zombie films stray, in some cases wildly, from the reality

on which they are based. In short, use these photo-plays as their makers

intended: as a source of temporary, lighthearted entertainment and

not a visual aid to your survival.

 

 

OUTBREAKS

 

Although each zombie attack is different, given the number, terrain,

reaction of the general populace, etc., its level of intensity can be measured

in four distinct classes.

*At the behest of the filmmakers andlor their estates, the titles of those movies based on me-life stories have been omitted.

 

CLASS 1

This is a low-level outbreak, usually in a Third World country or First

World rural area. The number of zombies in this class of outbreak

ranges between one and twenty. Total human casualties (including

those infected) range from one to fifty. The total duration, from the fist

case to the last (known), will range between twenty-four hours and

fourteen days. The infested area will be small, no larger than a twentymile

radius. In many cases, natural boundaries will determine its limits.

Response will he light, either exclusively civilian or with some

additional help from local law enforcement. Media coverage will be

light, if present at all. If the media is present, look for common stories

like homicides or "accidents." This is the most common type of outbreak

and also the easiest to go unnoticed.

 

CLASS 2

Urban or densely populated mral areas are included in this level of outbreak.

Total zombies will range between twenty and one hundred.

Total human casualties may reach as high as several hundred. The

duration of a Class 2 attack may last no longer than a Class 1 outbreak.

In some cases, the larger number of zombies will spark a more immediate

response. A rural, sparsely populated outbreak may extend to a

hundred-mile radius, while an urban outbreak may encompass only

several blocks. Suppression will almost certainly be organized. Bands

of civilians will be replaced by local, state, even federal law enforcement.

Look for an additional, if low-level, military response, the

National Guard in the United States or its equivalent abroad. Most

often, so as to ease panic, these units will take a more noncombatant

role, providing medical assistance, crowd control, and logistical support.

Class 2 outbreaks almost always attract the press. Unless the

attack occurs in a huly isolated area of the world, or one where the

media is strictly controlled, the story will he reported. This does not

mean, however, that it will be reported acc~lrately.

 

CLASS 3

A hue crisis. Class 3 outbreaks, more than any other, demonstrate the

clear threat posed by the living dead. Zombies will number in the thousands,

encompassing an area of several hundred miles. The duration of

the attack and a possible lengthy mop-up process could last as long as

several months. There will be no chance for a press blackout or coverup.

Even without media attention, the sheer magnitude of the attack will

leave too many eyewitnesses. This is a full-blown battle, with law

enforcement replaced by units of the regular military. A state of emergency

will be declared for the infested zone, as well as the neighboring

areas. Expect martial law, restricted travel, rationed supplies, federalized

services, and strictly monitored communication. All these measures,

however, will take time to implement. The initial phase will be

one of chaos as those in power come to grips with the crisis. Riots, looting,

and widespread panic will add to their difficulties, further delaying

an effective response. While this is happening, those living withm the

infested area will be at the mercy of the undead. Isolated, abandoned,

and surrounded by ghouls, they will have only themselves to depend on.

 

CLASS 4

(See "Living in an Undead World," pages 154-81.)

 

DETECTION

Every undead outbreak, regardless of its class, has a beginning. Now

that the enemy has been defined, the next step is early warning.

Knowing what a zombie is will not help if you are unable to recognize

an outbreak before it's too late. This does not entail building a "zombie

command post" in your basement, sticking pins in a map, and huddling

around the shortwave radio. All it requires is looking for signs

that would slip by the untrained mind. These signs include:

 

1. Homicides in which the victims were executed by head shots or

decapitation. It has happened many times: People recognize an outbreak

for what it is and try to take matters into their own hands.

Almost always, these people are declared murderers by the local

authorities and prosecuted as such.

 

2. Missing persons, particularly in wilderness or uninhabited areas.

Pay careful attention if one or more of the search members end up

missing. If the story is televised or photographed, watch to see what

level of armament the search parties carry. Any more than one rifle

per group could mean that this is more than just a simple rescue

operation.

 

3. Cases of "violent insanity" in which the subject attacked friends or

family without the use of weapons. Find out if the attacker bit or

tried to bite his victims. If so, are any of the victims still in the hospital?

Try to discover if any of these victims mysteriously died

within days of their bite.

 

4. Riots or other civil disturbances that began without provocation or

other logical cause. Common sense will dictate that violence on any

group level does not simply occur without a catalyst such as racial

tension, political actions, or legal decisions. Even so-called "mass

hysteria" can always be traced to a root source. If none can be

found, the answer may lie elsewhere.

 

5. Disease-based deaths in which either the cause is undetermined or

seems highly suspect. Deaths from infectious disease are rare in the

industrialized world, compared to a century ago. For this reason,

new outbreaks always make the news. Look for those cases in

which the exact nature of the disease is unexplained. Also, be on the

alert for suspicious explanations such as West Nile virus or "mad

cow" disease. Either could be examples of a cover-up.

 

6. Any of the above in which media coverage was forbidden. A total

press blackout is rare in the United States. The occurrence of one

should be regarded as an immediate red flag. Of course, there may

be many reasons other than an attack of the living dead. Then again,

any event causing a govemment as media-conscious as our own to

clamp down merits close attention. The truth, no matter what it is,

cannot be good.

 

Once an event has tripped your sensors, keep track of it. Note the

location, and its distance from you. Watch for similar incidents around

or near the original site. If, within a few days or weeks, these incidents

do occur, study them carefully. Note the response of law enforcement

and other govemment agencies. If they react more forcefully with each

occurrence, chances are that an outbreak is unfolding.

Hyperlinks are your friend. :(

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also: Can you imagine what a quote tree would look like with this baby?! :-"

 

 

I'm having trouble seeing it, personally.

 

 

No, I think... I see it now.

Are you sure?

 

One must be absolutely certain in these matters, for they are not to be trifled with.

I'd just like to say...I'm sorry. :-"

Oh, you're quite forgiven LoneWolf.

 

It is Christmas after all!

 

I agree.

And when Kiro-San speaks, ninjas, pirates, monkeys and robots all listen!

 

Zombies BEWARE! If the quote-tree doesn't kill you, Kiro's ph4t skillz0rz will.

 

I learned from teh best. :*

Did somebody say ninjas? :ninja:

I think it broke.

 

Yeah, I can see it jag.

 

Way to go Tales, tripping the Passive Forum Defense Systems.

 

 

Damn rookie.

Pfft.

 

He's broken it alright. But really, can we expect anything less from a noober?

 

 

Not really, I suppose.

 

We'll have to set an example for him.

Edited by Nartwak
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OK

 

This:

Dudes, you should start by defining what a zombie is, how they spread and what its weak points are. I see head boinking and what to use/not to use but no details.

 

For example you may want to tell the dudes if melee's a bad idea because the zombie virus/bacteria and other general infections from decaying flesh would be nasty if it gets on you from fluid contact.

Sorry for the formatting but im not going to type out 30 pages by hand.

 

THE UNDEAD: MYTHS AND REALITIES

 

He comes from the grave, his body a home of worms andjilth. No life in

his eyes, no warmth of his shn, no beating of his breast. His soul, as

empty and dark as the night sky. He laughs at the blade, spits at the

arrow, for they will not harm hisflesh. For eternity, he will walk the

earth, smelling the sweet blood of the living, feasting upon the bones of

the damned. Beware, for he is the living dead.

 

ZOM-BZE: (Zom'be) n. also ZOM-BIES pl. I. An animated corpse that

feeds on living humanjlesh. 2. A voodoo spell that raises the dead. 3.

A Voodoo snake god. 4. One who moves or acts in a daze "like a zombie."

[a word of West African origin]

 

What is a zombie? How are they created? What are their strengths and

weaknesses? What are their needs, their desires? Why are they hostile

to humanity? Before discussing any survival techniques, you must first

learn what you are trying to survive.

We must begin by separating fact from fiction. The walking dead

are neither a work of "black magic" nor any other supernatural force.

Their origin stems from a virus known as Solanum, a Latin word used

by Jan Vanderhaven, who fust "discovered" the disease.

 

SOLANUM: THE VIRUS

 

Solannm works by traveling through the bloodstream, from the initial

point of entry to the brain. Through means not yet fully understood,

the virus uses the cells of the frontal lobe for replication, destroying

them in the process. During this period, all bodily functions cease. By

stopping the heart, the infected subject is rendered ''dead." The brain,

however, remains alive hut dormant, while the virus mutates its cells

into a completely new organ. The most critical trait of this new organ

is its independence from oxygen. By removing the need for this allimportant

resource, the nndead brain can utilize, but is in no way

dependent upon, the complex support mechanism of the human body.

Once mutation is complete, this new organ reanimates the body into a

form that bears little resemblance (physiologically speaking) to the

original corpse. Some bodily functions remain constant, others operate

in a modified capacity, and the remainder shut down completely.

This new organism is a zombie, a member of the living dead.

 

 

1. SOURCE

U~~fortunateleyx, tensive research has yet to find an isolated example

of Solanum in nature. Water, air, and soil in all ecosystems, from all

parts of the world, have turned up negative, as have their accompanying

flora and fauna. At the time of this writing, the search continues.

 

2. SYMPTOMS

The timetable below outlines the process of an infected human (give

or take several hours, depending on the individual).

 

Hour 1: Pain and discoloration (brown-puple) of the infected area Immediate

clotting of the wound @rovided the infection came h m a wound).

Hour 5: Fever (99-103 degrees F), chills, slight dementia, vomiting,

acute pain in the joints.

Hour 8: Numbing of extremities and infected area, increased fever

(103-106 degrees F), increased dementia, loss of muscular coordination.

Hour 11: Paralysis in the lower body, overall numbness, slowed heart

rate.

Hour 16: Coma.

Hour 20: Heart stoppage. Zero brain activity

Hour 23: Reanimation.

 

 

3. TRANSFERENCE

 

Solanum is 100 percent communicahle and 100 percent fatal.

Fortunately for the human race, the virus is neither waterborne nor airborne.

Humans have never been known to contract the virus from elements

in nature. Infection can occur only through direct fluidic

contact. A zombie bite, although by far the most recognizable means

of transference, is by no means the only one. Humans have been

infected by brushing their open wounds against those of a zombie or

by being splattered by its remains after an explosion. Ingestion of

infected flesh (provided the person has no open mouth sores), however,

results in pemanent death rather than infection. Infected flesh has

proven to be highly toxic.

 

No infomation-historical, experimental, or othenvise-has surfaced

regarding the results of sexual relations with an undead specimen,

but as previously noted, the nature of Solanum suggests a high

danger of infection. Warning against such an act would be useless, as

the only people deranged enough to try would he unconcerned for their

own safety. Many have argued that, given the congealed nature of

undead bodily fluids, the chances of infection from a non-bite contact

should be low. However, it must be remembered that even one organism

is enough to begin the cycle.

 

 

4. CROSS-SPECIES INFECTION

 

Solannm is fatal to all living creatures, regardless of size, species, or

ecosystem. Reanimation, however, takes place only in humans. Studies

have shown that Solanum infecting a non-human brain will die within

hours of the death of its host, making the carcass safe to handle.

Infected animals expire before the virus can replicate throughout their

bodies. Infection from insect bites such as from mosquitoes can also

he discounted. Experiments have proven that all parasitic insects can

sense and will reject an infected host 100 percent of the time.

 

 

5. TREATMENT

 

Once a human is infected, little can be done to save him or her. Because

Solanum is a virus and not a bacteria, antibiotics have no effect.

Immunization, the only way to combat a virus, is equally useless, as even

the most minute dosage will lead to a full-blown infection. Genetic

research is under way. Goals range from stronger human antibodies to

resistant cell structure to a counter-virus designed to identify and destroy

Solanum. This and other, more radical treatments are still in the earliest

stages, with no foreseeable success in the near future. Battlefield experiences

have led to the immediate severing of the infected limb (provided

this is the location of the bite), but such treatments are dubious at best,

with less than a 10 percent success rate.

 

Chances are, the infected human

was doomed from the moment the virus entered his or her system.

Should the infected human choose suicide, he should remember that the

brain must be eliminated first. Cases have been recorded in which

recently infected subjects, deceased by means other than the virus, will

nonetheless reanimate. Such cases usually occur when the subject

expires after the fifth hour of infection. Regardless, any person killed

after being bitten or otherwise infected by the undead should be immediately

disposed of. (See "Disposal," page 19.)

 

 

6. REANIMATING THE ALREADY DECEASED

 

It has been suggested that fresh human corpses could reanimate if

Solanum were introduced after their demise. This is a fallacy. Zombies

ignore necrotic flesh and therefore could not transfer the virus.

Experiments conducted during and after World War I1 (see "Recorded

Attacks," pages 216m have proven that injecting Solanum into a

cadaver would be futile because a stagnant bloodstream could not

transport the virus to the brain. Injection directly into a dead brain

would be equally useless, as the expired cells could not respond to the

virus. Solanum does not create life-it alters it.

 

 

ZOMBIE ATTRIBUTES

 

1. PHYSICAL ABILITIES

Too often, the undead have been said to possess superhuman powers:

unusual strength, lightning speed, telepathy, etc. Stories range from

zombies flying through the air to their scaling vertical surfaces like spiders.

While these traits might make for fascinating drama, the individual

ghoul is far from a magical, omnipotent demon. Never forget that

the body of the undead is, for all practical purposes, human. What

changes do occur are in the way this new, reanimated body is used by

the now-infected brain. There is no way a zombie could fly unless the

human it used to be could fly. The same goes for projecting force

fields, telepottation, moving through solid objects, transforming into a

wolf, breathing fire, or a variety of other mystical talents amibuted to

the walking dead. Imagine the human body as a tool kit. The somnambulist

brain has those tools, and only those tools, at its disposal. It

cannot create new ones out of thin air. But it can, as you will see, use

these tools in unconventional combinations, or push their durability

beyond normal human limits.

 

 

A. Sight

 

The eyes of a zombie are no different than those of a normal human.

While still capable (given their rate of decomposition) of transmitting

visual signals to the brain, how the brain interprets these signals is

another matter. Studies are inconclusive regarding the undead's visual

abilities. They can spot prey at distances comparable to a human, but

whether they can distinguish a human from one of their own is still up

for debate. One theory suggests that the movements made by humans,

which are quicker and smoother than those of the undead, is what

causes them to stand out to the zombie eye. Experiments have been

done in which humans have attempted to confuse approaching ghouls

by mimicking their motions and adopting a shambling, awkward limp.

To date, none of these attempts have succeeded. It has been suggested

that zombies possess night vision, a fact that explains their skill at nocturnal

hunting. This theory has been debunked by the fact that all zombies

are expert night feeders, even those without eyes.

 

B. Sound

 

There is no question that zombies have excellent hearing. Not only can

they detect sound-they can determine its direction. The basic range

appears to be the same as that for humans. Experiments with extreme

high and low frequencies have yielded negative results. Tests have also

shown that zombies are attracted by any sounds, not just those made

by living creatures. It has been recorded that ghouls will notice sounds

ignored by living humans. The most likely, if unproven, explanation is

that zombies depend on all their senses equally. Humans are sightoriented

from birth, depending on other senses only if the primary one

is lost. Perhaps this is not a handicap shared by the walking dead. If

so, it would explain their ability to hunt, fight, and feed in total darkness.

 

 

C. Smell

 

Unlike with sound, the undead have a more acute sense of smell. In

both combat situations and laboratory tests, they have been able to distinguish

the smell of living prey above all others. In many cases, and

given ideal wind conditions, zomhies have been known to smell fresh

corpses from a distance of more than a mile. Again, this does not mean

that ghouls have a greater sense of smell than humans, simply that they

rely on it more. It is not known exactly what particular secretion signals

the presence of prey: sweat, pheromones, blood, etc. In the past,

people seeking to move undetected through infested areas have

attempted to "mask" their human scent with perfumes, deodorants, or

other strong-smelling chemicals. None were successful. Experiments

are now under way to synthesize the smells of living creatures as a

decoy or even repellent to the walking dead. A successful product is

still years away.

 

 

D. Taste

 

Little is known about the altered taste buds of the walking dead.

Zombies do have the ability to tell human flesh apart from that of animals,

and they prefer the former. Ghouls also have a remarkable ability

to reject carrion in favor of freshly killed meat. A human body that

has been dead longer than twelve to eighteen hours will be rejected as

food. The same goes for cadavers that have been embalmed or otherwise

preserved. Whether this has anything to do with "taste" is not yet

certain. It may have to do with smell or, perhaps, another instinct that

has not been discovered. As to exactly why human flesh is preferable,

science has yet to find an answer to this confounding, frustrating, terrifying

question.

 

 

E. Touch

 

Zombies have, literally, no physical sensations. All nerve receptors

throughout the body remain dead after reanimation. This is truly their

greatest and most temfying advantage over the living. We, as humans,

have the ability to experience physical pain as a signal of bodily damage.

Our brain classifies such sensations, matches them to the experience

that instigated them, and then files the information away for use

as a warning against future ham. It is this gift of physiology and

instinct that has allowed us to survive as a species. It is why we value

virtues such as courage, which inspires people to perform actions

despite warnings of danger. The inability to recognize and avoid pain

is what makes the waking dead so formidable. Wounds will not be

noticed and, therefore, will not deter an attack. Even if a zombie's

body is severely damaged, it will continue to attack until nothing

remains.

 

 

E Sixth Sense

 

Historical research, coupled with laboratory and field observation,

have shown that the walking dead have been known to attack even

when all their sensory organs have been damaged or completely

decomposed. Does this mean that zombies possess a sixth sense?

Perhaps. Living humans use less than 5 percent of their brain capacity.

It is possible that the virus can stimulate another sensoly ability that

has been forgotten by evolution. This theory is one of the most hotly

debated in the war against the undead. So far, no scientific evidence

has been found to suppoa either side.

 

 

G. Healing

 

Despite legends and ancient folklore, undead physiology has been

proven to possess no powers of regeneration. Cells that are damaged

stay damaged. Any wounds, no matter what their size and nature, will

remain for the duration of that body's reanimation. A variety of medical

treatments have been attempted to stimulate the healing process in

captured ghouls. None were successful. This inability to self-repair,

something that we as living beings take for granted, is a severe disadvantage

to the undead. For example, every time we physically exert

ourselves, we tear our muscles. With time, these muscles rebuild to a

stronger state than before. A ghoul's muscle mass will remain damaged,

reducing its effectiveness every time it is used.

 

 

H. Decomposition

 

The average zombie "life span"-how long it is able to function before

completely rotting away-is estimated at three to five years. As fantastic

as this sounds-a human corpse able to ward off the natural

effects of decay-its cause is rooted in basic biology. When a human

body dies, its flesh is immediately set upon by billions of microscopic

organisms. These organisms were always present, in the external environment

arid within the body itself. In life, the immune system stood

as a harrier between these organisms and their target. In death, that barrier

is removed. The organisms begin multiplying exponentially as

they proceed to eat and, thereby, break down the corpse on a cellular

level. The smell and discoloration associated with any decaying meat

are the biological process of these microbes at work. When you order

an "aged" steak, you are ordering a piece of meat that has begun to rot,

its formerly toughened flesh softened by microorganisms breaking

down its sturdy fiber. Within a short time, that steak, like a human

corpse, will dissolve to nothing, leaving behind only material too hard

or innutritious for any microbe, such as hone, teeth, nails, and hair.

This is the normal cycle of life, nature's way of recycling nutrients

back into the food chain. To halt this process, and preserve dead tissue,

it is necessary to place it in an environment unsuitable for bacteria,

such as in extreme low or high temperatures, in toxic chemicals

such as formaldehyde, or, in this case, to saturate it with Solanum.

Almost all the microbe species involved in normal human decomposition

have repeatedly rejected flesh infected by the virus, effecThe

tively embalming the zombie. Were this not the case, combating the

living dead would be as easy as avoiding them for several weeks or

even days until they rotted away to hones. Research has yet to discover

the exact cause of this condition. It has been determined that at least

some microbe species ignore the repelling effects of Solanum-otherwise,

the undead would remain perfectly preserved forever. It has also

been determined that natural conditions such as moisture and temperature

play an important role as well. Undead that prowl the bayous of

Louisiana are unlikely to last as long as those in the cold, dry Gobi

desert. Extreme situations, such as deep freezing or immersion in -

preservative fluid, could, hypothetically, allow an undead specimen to

exist indef~telyT. hese techniques have been known to allow zombies

to function for decades, if not centuries. (See "Recorded Attacks,"

pages 193ff.) Decomposition does not mean that a member of the

walking dead will simply drop. Decay may affect various parts of the

body at different times. Specimens have been found with brains intact

but nearly disintegrated bodies. Others with partially rotted brains may

control some bodily functions but be completely paalyzed in others.

A popular theory has recently circulated that attempts to explain the

story of the ancient Egyptian mummy as one of the first examples of

an embalmed zombie. The preservation techniques allowed it to fuuction

several thousand years after being entombed. Anyone with a rudimentary

knowledge of ancient Egypt would find this story almost

laughably untrue: The most important and complicated step in preparing

a pharaoh for burial was the removal of the brain!

 

 

I. Digestion

 

Recent evidence has once and for all mscounted the theory that human

flesh is the fuel for the undead. A zombie's digestive tract is completely

dormant. The complex system that processes food, extracts nutrition,

and excretes waste does not factor into a zombie's physiology. Autopsies

conducted on neutralized undead have shown that their "food" lies in its

original, undigested state at all sections of the tract. This partially

chewed, slowly rotting matter will continue to accumulate, as the zom12

hie devours more victims, until it is forced through the anus, or literally

bursts through the stomach or intestinal lining. While this more dramatic

example of non-digestion is rare, hundreds of eyewitness reports have

confirmed undead to have distended bellies. One captured and dissected

specimen was found to contain 21 1 pounds of flesh within its system!

Even rarer accounts have confirmed that zombies continue to feed long

after their digestive tracts have exploded from within.

 

 

J. Respiration

 

The lungs of the undead continue to function in that they draw air into

and expel it from the hody. This function accounts for a zombie's signature

moan. What the lungs and body chemistry fail to accomplish,

however, is to extract oxygen and remove carbon dioxide. Given that

Solanum obviates the need for both of these functions, the entire

human respiratory system is obsolete in the hody of a ghoul. This

explains how the living dead can "walk underwater" or survive in environments

lethal to humans. Their brains, as noted earlier, are oxygenindependent.

 

 

K. Circulation

 

It would be inaccurate to say that zomhies have no heart. It would not

he inaccurate, however, to say that they find no use for it. The circulatory

system of the undead is little more than a network of useless tubes

filled with congealed hlood. The same applies to the lymphatic system

as well as all other bodily fluids. Although this mutation would appear

to give the undead one more advantage over humanity, it has actually

proved to he a godsend. The lack of fluid mass prevents easy transmission

of the virus. Were this not true, hand-to-hand combat would

he nearly impossible, as the defending human would almost certainly

he splattered with hlood andlor other fluids.

 

 

L. Reproduction

 

Zombies are sterile creatures. Their sexual organs are necrotic and

impotent. Attempts have been made to fertilize zombie eggs with

human sperm and vice versa. None has been succcssful. The undead

have also shown no signs of sexual desire, either for their own

species or for the living. Until research can prove otherwise, humanity's

greatest fear-the dead reproducing the dead-is a comforting

impossibility.

 

M. Strength

 

Ghouls possess the same brute force as the living. What power can be

exerted depends greatly on the individual zombie. What muscle mass

a person has in life would be all he possesses in death. Unlike a living

body, adrenal glands have not been known to function in the dead,

denying zombies the temporary burst of power we humans enjoy. The

one solid advantage the living dead do possess is amazing stamina.

Imagine working out, or any other act of physical exertion. Chances

are that pain and exhaustion will dictate your limits. These factors do

not apply to the dead. They will continue an act, with the same

dynamic energy, until the muscles supporting it literally disintegrate.

i

f While this makes for progressively weaker ghouls, it allows for an allpowerful

first attack. Many barricades that would have exhausted three 1 or even four physically fit humans have fallen to a single determined

zombie.

 

N. Speed

 

The "walking" dead tend to move at a slouch or limp. Even without

injuries or advanced decomposition, their lack of coordination makes

for an unsteady suide. Speed is mainly determined by leg length. Taller

ghouls have longer strides than their shorter counterparts. Zombies

appear to be incapable of running. The fastest have been observed to

move at a rate of barely one step per 1.5 seconds. Again, as with

strength, the dead's advantage over the living is their tirelessness.

Humans who believe they have outrun their nndead pursuers might do

well to remember the story of the tortoise and the hare, adding, of

course, that in this instance the hare stands a good chance of being

eaten alive.

 

 

0. Agility

 

The average living human possesses a dexterity level 90 percent

greater than the strongest ghoul. Some of this comes from the general

stiffness of necrotic muscle tissue (hence their awkward stride). The

rest is due to their primitive brain functions. Zomhies have little handeye

coordination, one of their greatest weaknesses. No one has ever

observed a zombie jumping, either from one spot to another or simply

up and down. Balancing on a narrow surface is similarly beyond their

ahility. Swimming is also a skill reserved for the living. The theory has

been put forth that, if an undead corpse were to he bloated enough to

rise to the surface, it could present a floating hazard. This is rare, however,

as the slow rate of decomposition would not allow by-product gas

to accumulate. Zombies who walk or fall into bodies of water will

more likely find themselves wandering aimlessly across the bottom

until eventually dissolving. They can be successful climbers, but only

in certain circumstances. If zombies perceive prey above them, for

example, in the second story of a house, they will always attempt to

climb to it. Zombies will try to scale any surface no matter how

unfeasahle or even impossible. In all but the easiest situations, these

attempts have met with failure. Even in the case of ladders, when simple

hand-over-hand coordination is required, only one in four zombies

will succeed.

 

 

2. BEHAWOWLPA TTERNS

 

A. Intelligence

 

It has been proven, time and again, that our greatest advantage over the

undead is our ahility to think. The mental capacity of the average zombie

ranks somewhere beneath that of an insect. On no occasion have

they shown any ability to reason or employ logic. Attempting to

accomplish a task, failing, then by trial and error discovering a new

solution, is a skill shared by many members of the animal kingdom hut

lost on the walking dead. Zombies have repeatedly failed laboratory

intelligence tests set at the level of rodents. One field case showed a

human standing at one end of a collapsed bridge with several dozen

zombies on the orher side. One by one, the walking dead tumbled over

the edge in a futile attempt to reach him. At no time did any of them

realize what was happening and change their tactics in any way.

Contrruy to myth and speculation, zombies have never been observed

using tools of any kind. Even picking up a rock to use as a weapon is

beyond their grasp. This simple task would prove the basic thought

process involved in realizing that the rock is a more efficient weapon

than the naked hand. Ironically, the age of artificial intelligence has

enabled us to identify more easily with the mind of the zombie than

that of our more "primitive" ancestors. With care exceptions, even the

most advanced computers do not have the ability to think on their own.

They do what they are programmed to do, nothing more. Imagine a

computer programmed to execute one function. This function cannot

be paused, modified, or erased. No new data can be stored. No new

commands can he installed. This computer will perform that one function,

over and over, until its power source eventually shuts down. This

is the zombie brain. An instinct-driven, unitask machine that is impervious

to tampering and can only be destroyed.

 

B. Emotions

 

Feelings of any kind are not known to the walking dead. Every form

of psychological warfare, from attempts at enraging the undead to provoking

pity have all met with disaster. Joy, sadness, confidence, anxiety,

love, hatred, fear-all of these feelings and thousands more that

make up the human "heart" are as useless to the living dead as the

organ of the same name. Who knows if this is humanity's greatest

weakness or strength? The debate continues, and probably will forever.

 

 

C. Memories

 

A modem conceit is that a zombie retains the knowledge of its former

life. We hear stories of the dead returning to their places of residence

or work, operating familiar machinery, or even showing acts of mercy

to loved ones. In trnth, not a shred of proof exists to support this wishful

thinking. Zombies could not possibly retain memories of their for

mer lives in either the conscious or subconscious mind, because neither

exist! A ghoul will not be distracted by the family pet, living relatives,

familiar surroundings, etc. No matter who a person was in his

former life, that person is gone, replaced by a mindless automaton with

no instinct other than for feeding. This begs the question: Why do zombies

prefer urban areas to the countryside? First, the undead do not prefer

cities, but simply remain where they are reanimated. Second, the

main reason zomhies tend to stay in cities instead of fanning out into

the countryside is because an urban zone holds the highest concentration

of prey.

 

 

D. Physical Needs

 

Other than hunger (discussed later), the dead have shown none of the

physical wants or needs expressed in mortal life. Zombies have never

been observed to sleep or rest under any circumstances. They have not

reacted to extreme heat or cold. In harsh weather, they have never

sought shelter. Even something as simple as thirst is unknown to the

living dead. Defying all laws of science, Solanum has created what

could be described as a completely self-sufficient organism.

 

 

E. Communication

 

Zombies have no language skills. Although their vocal cords are capable

of speech, their brain is not. The only vocal ability appears to be a

deep-throated moan. This moan is released when zombies identify prey.

The sound will remain low and steady until physical contact is made. It

will then shift in tone and volume as the zombie commences its attack.

This eerie sound, so typically associated with the walking dead, serves

as a rallying cry for other zombies and, as has been recently discovered,

is a potent psychological weapon. (See "On the Defense," page 74.)

E Social Dynamics Theories have always proliferated that the

undead function as a collective

force, from an army controlled by Satan to an insect-like

pheromone-driven hive to the most recent notion that they achieve

group consensus by telepathy. The truth is that zombies have no social

organization to speak of. There is no hierarchy, no chain of command,

no drive toward any type of collectivization. A horde of the undead,

regardless of size, regardless of appearance, is simply a mass of individuals.

If several hundred ghouls converge on a victim's location, it

is because each one is drawn by its own instinct. Zombies appear to be

unaware of one another. Individuals have never been observed to react

to the sight of one another at any range. This goes back to the question

of sense: How does a zombie distinguish between one of its own and

a human or other prey at the same range? The answer has yet to he

found. Zombies do avoid one another in the same way they avoid inanimate

objects. When they hump into one another, they make no attempt

to connect or communicate. Zombies feasting on the same corpse will

tug repeatedly on the meat in question rather than shove a competitor

out of the way. The only suggestion of communal effort is seen in notorious

swarm attacks: the moan of a ghoul calling others within earshot.

Once they hear the wail, other walking dead will almost always converge

on its source. An early study theorized that this was a deliberate

act, that a scout used its moan to signal the others to attack. However,

we now how that it happens purely by accident. The ghoul that moans

at the detection of prey does so as an instinctive reaction, not as an alert.

 

 

G. Hunting

 

Zombies are migratory organisms, with no regard for temtory or concept

of home. They will travel miles and perhaps, given time, cross

continents in their search for food. Their hunting pattern is random.

Ghouls will feed at night and during the day. They will stumble

through an area rather than deliberately searching it. Certain zones or

structures will not he singled out as more likely to contain prey. For

example, some have been known to search farmhouses and other rural

structures while others in the same group have moved by without even

a glance. Urban zones take more time to explore, which is why the

undead remain longer in these areas, hut no building will take precedence

over another. Zombies appear to be totally unaware of their sur

roundings. They do not, for example, move their eyes in a way that

would take in the information of a new setting. Shuffling silently, with

a thousand-yard stare, they will wander aimlessly, regardless of location,

until prey is detected. As discussed earlier, the undead possess an

uncauny ability to home in on a victim's precise location. Once contact

is made, the previously silent, oblivious automaton transforms into

something more closely related to a guided missile. The head turns

immediately in the direction of its victim. The jaw drops, lips retract,

and, from the depths of its diaphragm, comes the moan. Once contact

is made, zombies cannot be distracted by any means. They will continue

to pursue their prey, stopping only if they lose contact, make a

successful kill, or are destroyed.

 

 

H. Motivation

 

Why do the undead prey upon the living? If it has been proven that

human flesh serves no nutritional purpose, why does their instinct

drive them to murder? The truth eludes us. Modem science, combined

with historical data, has shown that living humans are not the only

delights on the undead menu. Rescue teams entering an infested area

have consistently reported them stripped of all life. Any creatures, no

matter what their size or species, will he consumed by an attacking

zombie. Human flesh, however, will always he preferable to other life

forms. One experiment presented a captured specimen with two identical

cubes of meat: one human, one animal. The zombie repeatedly

chose the human. Reasons for this are still unknown. What can be confirmed,

beyond any shadow of doubt, is that instinct brought on by

Solanum drives the undead to kill and devour any living creature they

discover. There appear to be no exceptions.

 

 

I. Killing the Dead

While destroying a zombie may be simple, it is far from easy. As we

have seen, zombies require none of the physiological functions that

humans need to survive. Destruction or severe damage of the circulatory,

digestive, or respiratory system would do nothing to a member of

the walking dead, as these functions no

longer support the brain. Simply put, there

are thousands of ways to kill a humanand

only one to kill a zombie. The brain

must be obliterated, by any means possible.

 

 

J. Disposal

 

Studies have shown that Solanum can still

inhabit the body of a terminated zombie for

up to fortyeight hours. Exercise extreme

care when disposing of undead corpses.

The head in particular possesses the most

serious hazard, given its concentration of

the virus. Never handle an undead corpse

without protective clothing. Treat it as you

would any toxic, highly lethal material. Cremation is the safest, most

effective way of disposal. Despite rumors that a pile of burning corpses

will spread Solannm in a cloud of smoking plague, common sense

would dictate that any virus is unable to survive intense heat, to say

nothing of an open flame.

 

 

K. Domestication?

 

To reiterate, the zombie brain has proved, so far, to he tamper-proof.

Experiments ranging from chemicals to surgery to electromagnetic

waves have yielded negative results. Behavioral modification therapy

and other such attempts to train the living dead like some kind of pack

animal have similarly met with failure. Again, the machine cannot be

rewired. It will exist as is, or it will not exist at all.

 

 

THE VOODOO ZOMBIE

 

If zombies are the creation of a virus and not black magic, then how

does this explain the so-called "voodoo zombie," a person who has died,

been raised from his grave, and is doomed to spend eternity as a slave

of the living? Yes, it is trne that the word "zombie" originally comes

from the Kimbnndn word "nzfimbe," a term describing a dead person's

soul, and yes, zombies and zombification are integral parts of the Afro-

Caribbean religion known as voodoo. However, the origin of their name

is the only similarity between the voodoo zombie and the viral zombie.

Although it is said that voodoo houngans (priests) can turn humans into

zombies by magical means, the practice is rooted in bard, undeniable

science. "Zombie powder," the tool used by the houngan for zombification,

contains a very powerful neurotoxin (the exact ingredients are a

closely guarded secret). The toxin temporarily paralyzes the human

nervous system, creating a state of extreme hibernation. With the heart,

lungs, and all other bodily functions operating at minimal levels, it

would be understandable if an inexperienced coroner declared the paralyzed

subject to be dead. Many humans have been buried while in such

a state, only to awaken screaming in the pitch darkness of their coffin.

So what makes this living human being a zombie? The answer is simple:

brain damage. Many who are buried alive quickly use up the air

inside their coffins. Those that are recovered (if they are lucky) almost

always suffer brain damage from lack of oxygen. These poor souls

shamble about with little cognitive skills, or, indeed, free will, and are

often mistaken for the living dead. How can yon distinguish a voodoo

zombie from the genuine article? The telltale signs are obvious.

 

1. Voodoo zombies show emotion. People suffering from zombie

powder-induced brain damage are still capable of all normal human

feelings. They smile, cry, even growl with anger if hurt or otherwise

provoked (something real zombies would never do).

 

2. Voodoo zombies exhibit thought. As has been stated before, when

a real zombie encounters you it will immediately home in like a

smart bomb. A voodoo zombie will take a moment to try to figure

out who or what you are. Maybe it will come toward you, maybe it

will recoil, maybe it will continue its observation as its damaged

brain attempts to analyze the information given it. What a voodoo

zombie will not do is raise its arms, drop its jaw, unleash a hellish

moan, and stumble directly toward you.

 

3. Voodoo zombies feel pain. A voodoo zombie that trips and falls

will undoubtedly hold its bruised knee and whimper. Likewise, one

already suffering from some other wound will nurse it, or, at the

very least, be aware of the wound's existence. Voodoo zombies will

not ignore deep gashes in their bodies like a real zombie would.

 

4. Voodoo zombies recognize fire. This is not to say that they are afraid

of open flames. Some that have suffered severe brain damage may not

remember what lire is. They will stop to examine it, perhaps even reach

out to touch it, hut they will recoil once they realize it causes pain.

 

5. Voodoo zombies recognize their surroundings. Unlike real zombies,

who only recognize prey, voodoo zombies will react to sudden

changes in light, sound, taste, and smell. Voodoo zombies have been

observed watching television or brightly flashing lights, listening to

music, cringing at thunder, and even taking notice of one another.

This last fact has been critical in several cases of mis-identification.

Had the zombies in question not reacted to each other (they looked

at each other, made noises, even touched each other's faces), they

might have been accidentally exterminated.

 

6. Voodoo zombies do NOT have bypersense. A human who has suffered

the debilitating effects of zombie powder is still a sightdependent

human. He cannot operate perfectly in the dark, hear a

footstep at 500 ya~dso, r smell a living being on the wind. Voodoo

zombies can actually be surprised by someone walking up behind

them. This is not recommended, however, as a frightened zombie

might react in anger.

 

7. Voodoo zombies can communicate. While this is not always the

case, many of these individuals can respond to audiovisual signals.

Many understand words; some even comprehend simple sentences.

Many voodoo zombies possess the ability to speak, simply, of

course, and rarely for extended conversations.

 

8. Voodoo zombies can be controlled. While not always true, many

brain damaged humans have lost much of their self-realization,

making them very susceptible to suggestion. Simply shouting for a

subject to halt or even go away can he enough to get rid of a voodoo

zombie. This has created the dangerous situation of confused people

believing they could control or train true zombies. Several times

headstrong humans have insisted they could simply command their

living dead attackers to stop. As cold, rotting hands grabbed their

limbs and dirty, worn teeth bit into their flesh, these people discovered,

too late, what they were truly dealing with.

 

These guidelines should give you a good idea of how to tell a voodoo

zombie from a true zombie. One final note: Voodoo zombies are

almost always encountered in sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean,

Central and South America, and the southern United States.

Although it is not impossible to find someone who has been turned

into a zombie by a houngan elsewhere, the chances of such an

encounter are slim.

 

 

THE HOLLYWOOD ZOMBIE

Since the living dead first stepped onto the silver screen, their greatest

enemy has not been hunters, but critics. Scholars, scientists, even concerned

citizens have all argued that these movies depict the living dead

in a fantastic, unrealistic fashion. Visually stunning weapons, physically

impossible action sequences, larger-than-life human characters,

and, above all, magical, invincible, even comical ghouls have all added

their colors to the controversial rainbow that is "the Zombie Movie."

Further criticism argues that this "style over substance" approach to

somnambulist cinema teaches human viewers lessons that may get

them killed in a real encounter. These serious charges demand an

equally serious defense. While some zombie movies are based on

actual events*, their goal, indeed the goal of almost every movie in

every genre, has always been, first and foremost, to entertain. Unless

we are discussing pure documentaries (and even some of those are

"sweetened"), moviemakers must take some artistic license to make

their work more palatable to the audience. Even movies that are based

on actual events will sacrifice pure reality for good storytelling.

 

Certain characters will be an amalgam of real-life individuals. Others

may be purely fictional in order to explain certain facts, facilitate the

plotline, or simply add flavor to the scene. One might argue that the

role of the artist is to challenge, educate, and enlighten her audience.

That may be true, but try imparting knowledge to an audience who has

either left or fallen asleep within the first ten minutes of the picture.

Accept this basic rule of moviemaking and you will understand why

Hollywood zombie films stray, in some cases wildly, from the reality

on which they are based. In short, use these photo-plays as their makers

intended: as a source of temporary, lighthearted entertainment and

not a visual aid to your survival.

 

 

OUTBREAKS

 

Although each zombie attack is different, given the number, terrain,

reaction of the general populace, etc., its level of intensity can be measured

in four distinct classes.

*At the behest of the filmmakers andlor their estates, the titles of those movies based on me-life stories have been omitted.

 

CLASS 1

This is a low-level outbreak, usually in a Third World country or First

World rural area. The number of zombies in this class of outbreak

ranges between one and twenty. Total human casualties (including

those infected) range from one to fifty. The total duration, from the fist

case to the last (known), will range between twenty-four hours and

fourteen days. The infested area will be small, no larger than a twentymile

radius. In many cases, natural boundaries will determine its limits.

Response will he light, either exclusively civilian or with some

additional help from local law enforcement. Media coverage will be

light, if present at all. If the media is present, look for common stories

like homicides or "accidents." This is the most common type of outbreak

and also the easiest to go unnoticed.

 

CLASS 2

Urban or densely populated mral areas are included in this level of outbreak.

Total zombies will range between twenty and one hundred.

Total human casualties may reach as high as several hundred. The

duration of a Class 2 attack may last no longer than a Class 1 outbreak.

In some cases, the larger number of zombies will spark a more immediate

response. A rural, sparsely populated outbreak may extend to a

hundred-mile radius, while an urban outbreak may encompass only

several blocks. Suppression will almost certainly be organized. Bands

of civilians will be replaced by local, state, even federal law enforcement.

Look for an additional, if low-level, military response, the

National Guard in the United States or its equivalent abroad. Most

often, so as to ease panic, these units will take a more noncombatant

role, providing medical assistance, crowd control, and logistical support.

Class 2 outbreaks almost always attract the press. Unless the

attack occurs in a huly isolated area of the world, or one where the

media is strictly controlled, the story will he reported. This does not

mean, however, that it will be reported acc~lrately.

 

CLASS 3

A hue crisis. Class 3 outbreaks, more than any other, demonstrate the

clear threat posed by the living dead. Zombies will number in the thousands,

encompassing an area of several hundred miles. The duration of

the attack and a possible lengthy mop-up process could last as long as

several months. There will be no chance for a press blackout or coverup.

Even without media attention, the sheer magnitude of the attack will

leave too many eyewitnesses. This is a full-blown battle, with law

enforcement replaced by units of the regular military. A state of emergency

will be declared for the infested zone, as well as the neighboring

areas. Expect martial law, restricted travel, rationed supplies, federalized

services, and strictly monitored communication. All these measures,

however, will take time to implement. The initial phase will be

one of chaos as those in power come to grips with the crisis. Riots, looting,

and widespread panic will add to their difficulties, further delaying

an effective response. While this is happening, those living withm the

infested area will be at the mercy of the undead. Isolated, abandoned,

and surrounded by ghouls, they will have only themselves to depend on.

 

CLASS 4

(See "Living in an Undead World," pages 154-81.)

 

DETECTION

Every undead outbreak, regardless of its class, has a beginning. Now

that the enemy has been defined, the next step is early warning.

Knowing what a zombie is will not help if you are unable to recognize

an outbreak before it's too late. This does not entail building a "zombie

command post" in your basement, sticking pins in a map, and huddling

around the shortwave radio. All it requires is looking for signs

that would slip by the untrained mind. These signs include:

 

1. Homicides in which the victims were executed by head shots or

decapitation. It has happened many times: People recognize an outbreak

for what it is and try to take matters into their own hands.

Almost always, these people are declared murderers by the local

authorities and prosecuted as such.

 

2. Missing persons, particularly in wilderness or uninhabited areas.

Pay careful attention if one or more of the search members end up

missing. If the story is televised or photographed, watch to see what

level of armament the search parties carry. Any more than one rifle

per group could mean that this is more than just a simple rescue

operation.

 

3. Cases of "violent insanity" in which the subject attacked friends or

family without the use of weapons. Find out if the attacker bit or

tried to bite his victims. If so, are any of the victims still in the hospital?

Try to discover if any of these victims mysteriously died

within days of their bite.

 

4. Riots or other civil disturbances that began without provocation or

other logical cause. Common sense will dictate that violence on any

group level does not simply occur without a catalyst such as racial

tension, political actions, or legal decisions. Even so-called "mass

hysteria" can always be traced to a root source. If none can be

found, the answer may lie elsewhere.

 

5. Disease-based deaths in which either the cause is undetermined or

seems highly suspect. Deaths from infectious disease are rare in the

industrialized world, compared to a century ago. For this reason,

new outbreaks always make the news. Look for those cases in

which the exact nature of the disease is unexplained. Also, be on the

alert for suspicious explanations such as West Nile virus or "mad

cow" disease. Either could be examples of a cover-up.

 

6. Any of the above in which media coverage was forbidden. A total

press blackout is rare in the United States. The occurrence of one

should be regarded as an immediate red flag. Of course, there may

be many reasons other than an attack of the living dead. Then again,

any event causing a govemment as media-conscious as our own to

clamp down merits close attention. The truth, no matter what it is,

cannot be good.

 

Once an event has tripped your sensors, keep track of it. Note the

location, and its distance from you. Watch for similar incidents around

or near the original site. If, within a few days or weeks, these incidents

do occur, study them carefully. Note the response of law enforcement

and other govemment agencies. If they react more forcefully with each

occurrence, chances are that an outbreak is unfolding.

Hyperlinks are your friend. :(

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also: Can you imagine what a quote tree would look like with this baby?! :-"

 

 

I'm having trouble seeing it, personally.

 

 

No, I think... I see it now.

Are you sure?

 

One must be absolutely certain in these matters, for they are not to be trifled with.

I'd just like to say...I'm sorry. :*"

Oh, you're quite forgiven LoneWolf.

 

It is Christmas after all!

 

I agree.

And when Kiro-San speaks, ninjas, pirates, monkeys and robots all listen!

 

Zombies BEWARE! If the quote-tree doesn't kill you, Kiro's ph4t skillz0rz will.

 

I learned from teh best. :)

Did somebody say ninjas? :-

I think it broke.

 

Yeah, I can see it jag.

 

Way to go Tales, tripping the Passive Forum Defense Systems.

 

 

Damn rookie.

Pfft.

 

He's broken it alright. But really, can we expect anything less from a noober?

 

 

Not really, I suppose.

 

We'll have to set an example for him.

 

 

 

is not acceptable. :ninja:

OBSCVRVM PER OBSCVRIVS ET IGNOTVM PER IGNOTIVS

ingsoc.gif

OPVS ARTIFICEM PROBAT

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