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A zombie is a corpse that is animated and is brought back to life by any means that are considered mystical. Such means include witchcraft or wizardry. Zombies are considered to be bereft of consciousness although they can still respond to the surrounding stimuli. The idea of zombies is a fictional one from regular, rational thinking. However, the idea has grown in the minds of people over the years for various reasons. This growing popularity has mostly been observed in European folklore and North America. It has also spread to other parts of the world (McIntosh 150).
The belief in the existence of zombies is mostly affected by the religions of people, as well as their cultural beliefs. There are many beliefs that are unique to certain communities. However, the idea of zombies is wide spread and believed by multiple communities. For example, in West Africa, it is believed that a sorcerer can bring a dead person back to life. After that, the resulting zombie is under the control of Bokor, the sorcerer. In South Africa, they believe that a dead person can be brought back to life by a small child (Vuckovic 97). This is the same in other areas like Haiti which believe in the existence of zombies. This is one factor that influenced belief in the idea of zombies all around the world. Most of the traditional societies have superstitious beliefs. The fear that is created by these beliefs causes people to believe some of ideas which may seem not to be realistic. This also influences the belief in zombies.
It is clear that there were many societies that initially believed in the existence of zombies. They had differences in explaining the existence and nature of zombies. However, they still believed in their existence, and that they are dead people who have come back to life. This shows that the idea did not just come from nowhere. It may seem modern from the developments that have been made in the entertainment industry. However, it is an old idea that existed even before the first zombie film ever was released. People die every other day in the world. Death is the greatest mystery in the life of a human being. It is also the last thing that happens in the life of any person. Therefore, it an also be considered as the most feared thing in the world. Therefore, any speculations of death may seem not to be realistic but still, people believe it. This is because people fear it more than anything else (Mogk 239). The idea of a person coming back to life is scary for any human being. Therefore, the people from the different communities have a reason to believe the things that they hear. This strengthened the source of the belief in these communities.
Apart from cultural beliefs, there is the aspect of religion. In the traditional societies, people believe in life after death. Therefore, the idea of existence of zombies might seem realistic to the members of these communities. The people also believe in ancestral spirits, which have a correctional role in society. Therefore, the people believe that wrong doers can suffer the punishment of death. This shows that the idea of zombies is also used to discourage people from wrong doing (Russell 261). Therefore, it is right to say that religion is another strong source of the belief in zombies.
Although there were some people and communities that believed in zombies, there were still some regions and societies that did not believe in them. However, this idea has spread to many parts of the world. The people in popular culture came from different societies, which had different cultures. Therefore, the population that had beliefs in zombies was well represented. The spread of the idea of zombies also comes with the evolution of the zombies. However, the evolution exists in the minds of the people who believe in their existence. The impression that people have on the existence of zombies are mostly created in horror movies. Books are also a vital source of the zombie impressions created in the minds of people. This is how the idea of zombies spread. In popular culture, the idea of zombies appeared in entertainment as early as 1929. Victor Halperin directed a horror movie called White Zombie (Christie 276). This was said to be the first zombie film to ever be made. It was the film that introduced the word “zombie” to the world. After that one, there were other, many zombie films that were released in the industry. This has now become a common idea in popular culture. Song writers and artists release songs that have zombie content from head to toe. A Perfect example is the song by Cranberries known as Zombie. This is a song in which motion pictures of zombies are seen. There are many other songs that incorporate the idea of zombies. Some of them bring out the traditional impression of zombies while others bring out the modern one. The bottom line is that they all spread the belief in zombies.
People may think that the idea of zombies was developed in the entertainment industry. However, from the essay above, it is clear that the idea of zombies has been in existence since time immemorial. Therefore, the origin of the idea lies in cultural beliefs. Although the film industry has contributed in the spread of the idea, it was originally from the cultural beliefs of different people.