In a remote forest in India there is a Little Africa. These people are believed to be descendants of slaves from East Africa by the Arabs and probably the British as well. They are said to have been brought from Kenya. They continue to till the lands of neighboring Indians and the women receive the lowest pay as housemaids. These forgotten children of Africa are at the very bottom of the caste system in India. Forgotten and shunned they continue to live in poverty. Yet, despite thousands of years they continue to preserve some of their African culture.
Inertia Law = Xogta qaynuunka nuuxsi wax-negaadsan
Acceleration = Xowli
Response Act = Qaynuunka falka iyo falcelinta
Theory of Relativity = Fikriga isudhiganka
Quantum Theory = Fikriga imisada ama meeqada
Mass = Jir
Energy = Tabarta
Relative = Hadba Rogmada
Electromagnetic wavelengths = Dhererka hirarka ku danabeysan birlabta
This is supposedly a picture of Felicia Felix-Mentor. She is arguably the most famous case of zombification in the Haitian (and East African) religion of Vodoun (Voodoo). She apparently stumbled into a local Haitian village on 24th of October 1936. Her eyes were beyond function, she was barefoot, dressed in rags, and reportedly could not stand the direct sunlight. She was later identified as the long deceased relative of a local family, the Mentors. They said Felicia died in 1907 at the age of 29.
Even though zombification is still shrouded in mystery and is subjected to massive fascination even to this day, the phenomenons’ anomalous and paranormal proportions are often toned down in the Western society in favour of more scientific explanations. These scientific explanations are, to me personally, almost as interesting as the legend though.
Famed ethnobotanist Wade Davis argued in his two 1980’s book on the subject, after having performed extensive field research, that the Vodoun zombie probably has pharmacological explanations; the individual subjected to zombification is given a cocktail of two special powders. First, the individual is given something in order to appear dead, i. e. body functions appear as if they have been shut down but technically, the person is still alive. Such a poison could for example be found in the flesh of the putterfish (tetraodontidae), and is called tetrodotoxin. Tetrodotoxin is a very powerful and frequently fatal neurotoxin which could cause deathlike states in human beings, he argued.
Then another powder would be given the ‘zombie’, perhaps a very potent deliriant hallucinogenic compound, such as datura. This would make the person delirious, insane, intensely hallucinating, disorientated, and mentally numb. Thus would, according to the hypothesis, the zombie be created through the two-step process of first “killing” the person and then “reviving” him or her into this frenzied, delirious, emotionally cataclysmic and hallucinating state.
This, however, is only a mere hypothesis and has been subject to a lot of criticism from the academic community. There is to date no scientifically definite explanation to the mystery of the vodoun zombie.
Painted jar depicting an animal procession, from the Semna South Fort, Semna, Nubia (present-day Sudan). Artist unknown; ca. 200 BCE-300 CE (Meroitic period). Now in the Oriental Institute Museum, University of Chicago.