Origins of the Zombie
A zombie is a reanimated corpse, and you probably already knew that, though. The word originates from Haitian folklore. The original zombie stories often used magic or known commonly as voodoo to explain the ability for the dead to walk. In these stories the dead may have been deceased for years before becoming a zombie. A bokor or a witch is said to use black magic and necromancy to summon the dead. In these stories the zombies have no will of their own and are under the control of the bokor.
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The earliest use of the English word zombie was recorded in the early 1800s. The early tales of the zombie were introduced in books. One influential novel Frankenstein, used technology to reanimate the dead. With some influence taken from gothic romanticism, the zombie continued to evolve. In the stories written by H. P. Lovecraft, more ideas of the undead are explored. One example was Cool Air that featured a doctor that used refrigeration to prevent his body from decomposing.
Starting in the mid and late 1900s, film zombies became what we think of today as a modern zombie. The undead were typically infected by a pathogen, scientific accident, or under the control of a fatal virus. These distinct zombies crave human flesh or brains. Their bite would infect more people, turning them into zombies. Although slow and thoughtless as individuals, these zombies could sometimes form large groups. Films helped popularize the evolution of the fast zombie, which was slow until disturbed.
In the 1990s, Japanese consoles paved the way for zombies in video games. Most notably, Resident Evil and The House of the Dead. One of the earliest online zombie games was a game called De-animator where zombies would approach from the side. The player would control a pistol and needed to shoot the zombies before they approached. Since then, browser based zombies games have come a long way.