By Dr. Austin
Foreword by Jim Donahue
In response to comments written pertaining to my article, The Zombie Apocalypse: Fact or Fiction? It occurred to me that some legitimate information on Zombies and so forth should be displayed on these pages. What follows is a series of articles by Dr. Doctor Austin, a Theoretical Zombiologist from the Zombie Institute for Theoretical Studies at the University Of Glasgow, Scotland. And that’s not a typo. His first name is Doctor. Part one is a good read, and should be well received. Part 2 and 3 in short order.
Part 1: The real symptoms of Zombieism
Given the rise in apparent ‘zombie’ related incidentsoccurring predominantly in the USA, fear of a ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ is higherthan ever. Here at the Zombie Institute for Theoretical Studies, based oncampus at the University of Glasgow, we carry out research into Zombieism, aswell as delivering public information lectures on the subject. We must stressthe point that Zombies are not real at the present time. Our aim is to use realscience to theorise on what a real Zombie could be like, how they could comeabout, and importantly how to treat & cure them.
So prepare to forget everything you think you know aboutZombies and discover some of the real science behind the undead.
When encountering a new disease, we first begin byidentifying the symptoms. A movie Zombie can be seen to demonstrate thefollowing symptoms; rising from the dead, a shuffling unsteady walk, a lack ofhuman personality, a desire to consume living flesh (and/or brains), thecontinued decomposition of skin & organs, an inability to feel pain, andcommunicating only with an incessant moan. We call these collective symptomsRomero Zombieism, after the legendry film maker.
However many of these symptoms are not presently found inany known disease, and may never be. The first is rising from the dead. When ahuman dies their brain switches off. The brain is the command centre of yourbody, and there is no back up. In order for a ‘Zombie’ to move at all it musthave a working brain of some description, and therefore is alive. So beingundead is off the list.
Next is decomposition. If a Zombie’s body were to decomposeas a human body does it would last only a very short time before becomingunusable. Insects would feast upon their eyes and ears, making them blind anddeaf, and animals would continually hunt them, ripping a Zombie apart veryquickly. The closest condition we find in a living human would be somethinglike Necrosis. Necrosis is the premature death of cells caused by externalfactors, such as an infection. Either one of these afflicting a Zombie wouldreduce them to a pile of stinking biomatter faster than you could say BruceCampbell.
Now we reach the Zombie superpower, feeling no pain. Thereare people in the world who can feel no pain. They have a condition calledCongenital Insensitivity to Pain. This causes the signal of pain to notregister. Unfortunately, it is far from a super power. For example, suffererscannot tell when they have an injury, especially if it is internal. So theyhave no chance to seek medical help, often until it is too late. But thiscondition is non-transmittable, meaning it cannot be caught like a cold, butrather is something they are born with. Therefore a real Zombie could not havean inability to feel pain, unless it was born with it in the first place.
Lastly is Cannibalism, a well-known movie Zombie trademark.In reality Cannibalism is not a medical nor mental condition. There is nothingthat can affect a human causing them to exclusively feast upon human flesh. Itis more likely that a Zombie would eat any food source it came across, meaningthey may occasionally eat humans, but that would make up only a tiny proportionof their overall diet.
This leaves us with the following symptoms; a shufflingunsteady walk, the loss of human personality, the desire to consume any foodsource, and communicating only by a moan. These symptoms are presently found inhumans suffering from a variety of diseases, but not all four in the samedisease, yet.
With our four symptoms of true Zombieism established, we cannow look what biological agent might cause them. To find out what it may be,join us for the next article in the series.
Doctor Austin ZITS BSz MSz DPep, is aTheoretical Zombiologist and Head of the Zombie Institute for TheoreticalStudies at the University of Glasgow, Scotland UK. Find out more about hisresearch at www.zombiescience.co.ukand have your Zombie questions answered in his ZomBlog http://zomblogofficial.blogspot.co.uk/.