Zombie Facts

Know Your Enemy

What is a Zombie?

Zombies at Night

Zombies at Night. Photo courtesy of Flickr.

ZOM-BIE: n. also ZOM-BIES pl. 1. An animated corpse that feeds on living human flesh. 2. A voodoo spell that raises the dead. 3. A Voodoo snake god. 4. One who moves or acts in a daze "like a zombie." [a word of West African origin] (Definition from The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks)

Zombie Types: From Theatrical to Realistic

There are many types of zombies depticted in stories and movies throughout history, so how will we know which type to expect come the outbreak? Although it is best to be prepared for all types, most experts believe that viral zombies will be the ones to walk the earth, and therefore Max Brooks' Zombie Survival Guide is the best guideline to follow for these zombies.

Most of the information on this Web site will be relevant to th viral zombies described in Max Brooks' book, but here is a list of other types of zombies suggested by the Zombie Survival and Defense Wiki:

For more detailed information about the plausibility and attributes of these other types of zombies, check out the Zombie Survival and Defense Wiki.

The Virus and its Transference

According to Brooks, humans turn into zombies from the Solanum virus, which travels "through the bloodstream, from the initial point of entry to the brain" (p.2). The virus ceases all bodily functions and mutates the brain into an organ that does not need oxygen. Thus, the essentially deceased person will become the living dead, with an insatiable drive to consume human flesh.

An already deceased human cannot turn into a zombie, and there is no cure once infected. A person can only become infected through "direct fluidic contact" (p.3), including bites and direct contact with zombie wounds and remains with open wounds on humans.

The Symptoms

Depending on the person and the location of the entry point, an infected person may have hours before reanimating. Here is a timetable of symptoms according to Max Brooks:

Hour 1: Pain and discoloration (brown-purple) of the infected area. Immediate clotting of the wound (provided the infection came from a wound).

Hour 5: Fever (99-103 degrees F), chills, slight dementia, vomiting, acute pain in the joints.

Hour 8: Numbing of extremities and infected area, increased fever (103-106 degrees F), increased dementia, loss of muscular coordination.

Hour 11: Paralysis in the lower body, overall numbness, slowed heart rate.

Hour 16: Coma.

Hour 20: Heart stoppage. Zero brain activity.

Hour 23: Reanimation.

Intensity of An Outreak On A College Campus

Depending on the size, location and population of the college you are attending, the intensity could range from a Class 2 to a Class 3 outbreak.

A more rural university with a couple thousand students could possibly experience hundreds of zombies and human casualties, with limited media attention and military intervention. Although this situation might seem hopeless, the perks of a smaller population and a shorter outbreak duration might be worth it.

Larger colleges like the University of Florida might be more difficult battlegrounds for survival due to the high volume of students and residents in urban college areas. This possible Class 3 scenario would mean thousands of zombies and human casualties, and a longer duration of the outbreak. Military intervention and martial law would most likely occur due to the massive extent of infestation and probable looting and riots.

No matter what the outbreak level is, the best advice is to take the situation seriously, be prepared with supplies and weapons, and DO NOT rely merely on the military and police force for protection. After all, they're human too, and you can only rely on yourself for survival. (Outbreak levels according to Max Brooks' The Zombie Survival Guide)

Zombies 101

Here is an old-school yet humourous and helpful video on basic zombie survival tactics. If you prefer a visual overview of general zombie facts and defense strategies, The Ultimate Zombie Survival Guide - courtesy of CrowbarrCreations - is a great brush-up on some important tips.