Where do zombies come from

What the doctors did not notice: Clairvius was only seemingly dead. The sorcerer had given him the puffer fish poison tetrodotoxin. Accompanied by a severe fever, it led to complete paralysis. Trapped in his motionless body, Clairvius was thus buried fully conscious. But the sorcerer, who knew better, dug up Clairvius again shortly afterwards and gave him the so-called "zombie cucumber": The fruit known to us as thorn apple is very mind-altering and causes hallucinations and memory loss, so that Clairvius becomes the willless slave of the sorcerer has been. It was only after he died that Clairvius slowly regained his memory and returned home 16 years later.

Split opinion

The incredible story of Clairvius Narcisse remains the subject of scientific research to this day. In 1980 his story was still considered true, today more and more experts doubt the authenticity of the descriptions. The ethnobotanist Wade Davis from the renowned Harvard University was the first scientist to study the life story of Clairvius Narcisse extensively. He succeeded in examining eight samples of the neurotoxin in the laboratory. It turned out to be a mixture of human body parts and the poisons of the cane toad and the puffer fish. However, the effects of the poison powder remained highly controversial: while Davis claimed the powder did indeed cause severe paralysis, researchers around the world refuted his claims. According to their investigations, all samples had a far too low concentration of tetrodotoxin. In the worst case, a man weighing sixty kilograms would have had to ingest several kilograms of the powder. The taste is also terrible, so that unnoticed ingestion of the poison is very unlikely.

But whether true or not, history has given new life to the zombie myth. The zombie film had its heyday until the mid-eighties and the undead are still featured in numerous books, comics and horror films. Why not: those who have been told dead live longer after all.