Nowadays, zombies are everywhere. In the movies we watch. In the stories we read. And even in the songs we listen to. Can anyone forget Michael Jackson’s Thriller video? I know I can’t. But one place I don’t want to read about zombies is in real life. That whole debacle that happened two years ago with the “Miami Zombie” was something out of a pulp fiction magazine. Doing some research, I found it wasn’t an isolated incident. For today’s Monday Mayhem post, I’d like to talk about real zombies that once roamed among us who have left behind an indelible story as their legacy.
Let’s start with the story of Clairvius Narcisse who one day in 1980 walked into a hospital in Deschapelle, Haiti, almost twenty years after he had died. His family had buried him, that, they knew. They later found his grave disturbed. What they didn’t know was that a local voodoo doctor, a bokor, stole Narcisse’s body and enslaved him to work in a plantation. When the bokor died, Narcisse’s days as a slave died along with him. Authorities believe the bokor had poisoned him with Tetrodotoxin, a powerful neurotoxin that produces a comatose state, had him buried to convince the family he had died, then had him exhumed, later feeding him Datura stramonium, a hallucinogen known as Jimson weed, to keep him enslaved. Dr. Nathan Klein and Dr. Lamarque Douyon confirmed Narcisse’s story as the first case of zombieism.
Alexander Kinyua, twenty-one years old, of Maryland was an engineering student at Morgan State University. He had emigrated from Kenya to the United States, becoming a citizen. On May 25, 2012, Kujoe Bonsafo Agyei-Kodie had disappeared, reported missing by Kinyua’s father. At the time, Agyei-Kodie was staying with the family pending deportation. On May 31, police appeared at Kinyua’s residents after his brother contacted them to investigate body parts found in tin canisters in the family’s basement. Police arrested Alexander Kinyua on first degree murder.
Since I’d mentioned him in my introduction, let’s talk about Rudy Eugene. Dubbed the “Miami Zombie”, on May 26, 2012 he assaulted a homeless man, one Ronald Poppo. Eugene died after Miami police had shot him dead. The details of the assault are gruesome. Eugene accused Poppo of stealing, then proceeded to beat him unconscious. What happened next belongs in a fiction novel. For eighteen horrifying minutes, Eugene ate Poppo’s face leaving him blind. When Officer Jose Ramirez confronted him, requesting him to desist from the attack, Eugene growled at him. Subsequent to Eugene’s death, police sources speculated bath salts might have played a part in the attack. Toxicology reports however found traces of marijuana in Eugene’s system. No bath salts.
In the wake of Alexander Kinyua and Rudy Eugene’s attacks in 2012, the CDC had issued a statement saying, “CDC does not know of a virus or condition that would reanimate the dead (or one that would present zombie-like symptoms).”
The world has always had its fill of zombies, whether they are of those people who have lost their humanity in throes of indifference or otherwise. We hear the stories. Perhaps it’s about time to live beyond ourselves in order to prove zombies shouldn’t exist in our real lives. And only then would we be able to rid the world of those zombies that keep us awake at night.
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Have you heard of these stories? What do you think of the CDC’s statement regarding the attacks of 2012?