According to tradition, Zombies are corpses which are re-animated through witchcraft. Belief in zombies is usually associated with Voodoo, a composite of many religions originally practiced in the French Slave colonies of the Caribbean.
Zombies have moved into popular culture thanks to movies like Night Of The Living Dead. These zombies are created through disease or mutation and have an insatiable hunger for human flesh, especially brains. The most fearsome result of a zombie attack is more than just getting eaten; the victim is also doomed to become a zombie.
In May, 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a graphic novel/pamphlet entitled Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse. The pamphlet uses a zombie invasion as a metaphor for the need for civilians and Government agencies to be prepared for major disasters such as disease pandemics, natural disasters, terrorist attack, or an epidemic of undead cannibals.
Most of the Old Time Radio stories about Zombies involve the traditional Voodoo Zombies, but it can never hurt to be prepared for when the people next door develop a taste for brains. Included in this collection:
- In Blackstone the Magician"Riddle of the Seven Zombies"; Rhoda and Blackstone were touring in Latin America when Rhoda finds something in an old castle that she shouldn't.
- In Clyde Beatty, the Animal Trainer and his wife are in the West Indies, searching for a six foot venomous snake to display in their circus, but have an unfortunate encounter with the Undead.
- Creeps By Night introduces to the story of a plantation overseer in Haiti who is the object of the native worker's revenge.
- Five Minute Mysteries foils a Zombie Hoax, not with Voodoo, but with Grammar Lessons!
- The episode of The Shadow of Fu Manchu from the end of Sept, 1939, Kerrigan spots a zombie in the service of the evil Dr. Fu. A few weeks later, Nyland Smith and Paul Sterling receive an injection which could turn them into Zombies to serve Dr. Fu Manchu.
- In the Lights Out! story "Profits Unlimited" an heiress is horrified to discover that her family fortune is based on a hidden factory operated by an army of zombies.
- In May, 1951, The Man Called X and Pagon travel to Haiti to investigate the kidnapping and assassination of Government Officials which seem to be Voodoo related.
- On the South African Rarity, Goodyear Theater's Night Beat, we hear the story of a Zombie in a circus sideshow. Interestingly, many of the Caribbean Voodoo and Zombie legends have their roots in stories brought to the new world by slaves which were captured in South Africa.
- Barry Sullivan has a short but very frightening encounter with zombies and snakes on The Unexpected.
- On Unsolved Mysteries we get to hear "proof" that Zombies DO exist.
- Finally, the Man with the "Action Packed Expense Account" finds himself investigating a policy taken on a planter in Haiti as Johnny Dollar becomes involved in "The Voodoo Matter".
See also: Monster Collection and Voodoo In Old Time Radio Collection.