Posts Tagged ‘bokor’

He was born in 1922(ish) and the Haitian man is said to have been turned into a zombie by a combination of drugs. He been of interested both in folklore and for those that have an interest in how his condition came to light.

It’s believed he was drugged by puffer-fish venom and toad venom, it induced a coma that mimicked the appearance of death. The general belief is that it the poisoning was done by his brother when they had quarrelled over land. 

He was then returned home, where he collapsed and seen as dead, he was then buried. The Bokor (sorcerer) then retrieved the man who was, in effect, buried alive. Once retrieved from his grave he was given a drug known as datura, which causes memory loss and hallucinations He was in a zombie-like compliant state and this meant he worked subserviently for two years on a sugar plantation. The owner of the plantation died and Narcisse was left to wander free, unaware of the death of his brother he slowly began to regain his senses as the drug left his system.

According to the interview with American Scientist after 18 years of being presumed dead he came back to his village, he managed to convince his sister and some of the villagers about who he was. After the hallucinogen worked it’s way out if his system the former was restored to his natural mental state. One of the things that is frustrating is that there are not enough notes, from Wade Davis who explored the case, to determine the actual neurotoxin used. 

Here is the account.

Zombies NightoftheLivingDead

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A woman stumbled into Ennery, Haiti on 24th October 1936 in a terrible state. Her eyes were diseased and her eyelashes had fallen out, she was dressed in rags and walking barefoot. She hated direct sunlight and is cited as a famous zombie case, brought to the Western culture by American folklorist and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston. She was looking for some confirmation about the zombie phenomena because of soldiers and sailors bringing back stories about them.

‘Felicia’ was said to have spoken in a very flat and emotionless way, she displayed little interested in anything and her laugh was flat and lacked real mirth. She was quite indifferent to events around her and an X-ray taken put into doubt that she might ever have been Felicia as they did not match, the original woman had suffered a fractured leg but there was no sign of this on the recently deceased woman.

The woman attracted a crowd and a local family, the Mentors, said she looked like a deceased relative called Felicia who died in 1907, aged 29 years-old. She was taken home to the family but was transferred to a state hospital a few days later. Hurston thought that what had happened was due to drugs or poison and not due to black magic.

The case for the drug/poison case is due to the postulation that tetrodotoxin (derived from puffer fish) is used in the bokor’s mixture used in Black Magic rituals. Wade Davis went out to look into it and found that they made their ‘zombie powders’ from various animal parts and plants. It was the use of this in various formats that could cause the brain-washed and lethargic nature of the victims they chose, before burial they looked dead and the bokor would then ‘revive’ them later. To get the dosage right would be something precise too, it could fail as often as it was recorded to succeed, and a bokor is hardly likely to hand over their secrets that easily either.

Dr Louis P Mars suggested that rather than her being a case as a zombie she was more likely to have been suffering schizophrenia. Unfortunately it was only a few weeks of survival, she died in the hospital.

Another interesting fact about these zombie cases is that it is a criminal offence in Haiti, under the Haitian Penal Code (Article 246) it is illegal to create a zombie, it is on par with murder only the victim is technically still alive.

 

EDIT – replaced the photograph with the corrected one based on comment from a user. Thank you.