Weekly Features

The Weekly Shaman- Chris Friend

Since zombies are still pretty big now I decided to do a zombie article that have its origins in East Africa. Our traditional zombie of folklore has origins in Haitian voodoo which has its own origins in a variety of West African magical beliefs. The very term zombie has its origins in a term for one of the snake deities of the Ghana region. But among the East African  Zulus.  Among  the Zulus sorcerers there is a type of zombie known as the Umkouv which the sorcerer re-animates with magic of the left hand. This particular zombie is then instructed by the sorcerer  to make mischief.  To see these wandering corpses was  also a  serious sign of bad luck with the person who sees just such an undead corpse, which could leave the witness a living corpse as well. My opinion is that the African people so feared becoming slaves that they were even afraid of becoming  slaves after death.  There is even a very famous case of a woman whose husband died under mysterious causes and later found in a zombified state in a neighboring town. This was not an actual living dead person re-animated but someone who was placed in such a deep coma as to seem dead. The sorcerer would then offer the person in this form of suspended animation an antidote to revive making it appear as if they are the living dead. There have been a few cases  of these apparently dead people brought back to undead life. Tales of revenants (another name for the undead) can be found in a few places in Africa.  It is a bit morbid thing to say but wherever there is death then there is tales of the wandering dead. And so, it goes.