Do zombies exist? In Haiti, 3 people came back to life after death: what scientists have learned from their brains

Dmitry IvancheskulLife
Zombies may not be what we think they are

The topic of zombies - people who have risen from the dead for one reason or another - has been a concern for the civilised world for almost a century. While at first zombies were ordinary people who turned into puppets under the influence of hypnosis or magic, later they turned into the dead whose only goal is to eat someone else's brain.

But there is probably nothing mystical about zombies coming back from the dead. And they are certainly not trying to eat living people.

Almost 30 years ago, a group of scientists published a study that examined the brains of three people in Haiti who came back to life months or years after they were buried. IFLScience tells the details.

The legends of zombies rising from the graves originated in Haiti, where it was believed that voodoo magic gives sorcerers the ability to capture the souls of the dead and move them into the bodies of the newly deceased. Sometimes this is done for revenge, and sometimes the sorcerer simply needs his own "doll" to carry out any orders.

In 1997, scientists decided to put an end to the rumours of the risen dead and travelled to Haiti to investigate three people whose relatives claimed they had returned from the dead. They studied, of course, the brain activity of the "risen dead" using electroencephalography and DNA testing.

Their first test subject was a woman who died at the age of 30, but three years later, her family members found her alive on the street. After the court authorised the exhumation of the grave, the relatives discovered that it had been covered with stones.

The authors of the study said that the woman really resembled a zombie from old films: her head was always down, and she walked extremely slowly and stiffly. The woman also had problems with speech, but from time to time she would mutter "incomprehensible but stereotypical words".

However, tests on her brain showed nothing unremarkable. After examining her condition, the researchers announced a preliminary diagnosis of catatonic schizophrenia.

However, they were unable to explain her return from the dead, although they suggested that the woman had not died at all. Scientists suggest that she could have been poisoned with a 'neuromuscular toxin', and that her body was stolen after burial.

The other subject is a 26-year-old man who returned 19 months after the funeral.

His clinical examinations did not reveal any supernatural findings, and the researchers diagnosed him with organic brain syndrome and epilepsy. Scientists also found no evidence that the man was dead at all.

Later, it turned out that the man's uncle had hypnotised him and then kept him chained to a log in his house.

Another case of a zombie occurred with a woman who was found alive 13 years after her death. An examination showed that she was still human. Genetic testing also showed no evidence that the woman had ever been dead.

The authors of the study suggest that in most cases, when people claim that their deceased relative has come back to life and turned into a zombie, there is a misidentification of a person with mental disorders.

Earlier, OBOZREVATEL also reported that scientists have discovered zombie genes that wake up in the human brain after death.

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