Top 5 Real-Life Zombie Facts

VOICE OVER: Chris Masson
Top 5 Real-Life Zombie Facts

What if zombies aren't just in The Walking Dead, and the zombie apocalypse could be a real thing? The American government does have plan for dealing with zombie outbreaks, after all... And there is some curious historical evidence about real-life reports of zombieism. Only two things are certain: best to prepared for a zombie virus or zombie outbreak, and best watch this episode of Top 5 Facts!

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Written by Spencer Sher

Top 5 Real-Life Zombie Facts

Get out the shotgun or your trusty baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire, because these zombies are flesh and blood. Welcome to WatchMojo’s Top 5 Facts. In today’s instalment, we’re counting down the top five facts about real-life zombies. From reanimated corpses to mindless drones serving out the will of others, we’re exploring various examples of zombieism in our world that make the science fiction scenario of a zombie apocalypse… uncomfortably plausible.

#5: The U.S. Government Has A Plan For a Zombie Apocalypse

They’ve dismissed it as a simple training exercise… but the U.S. government IS in possession of a detailed zombie apocalypse contingency plan. It outlines response strategies to a variety of zombie outbreaks portrayed in pop culture - ranging from the standard pathogenic zombies to extraterrestrial space zombies or magic zombies of occult origins. The plan, titled CONPLAN 8888, coordinates multiple branches of the military, the Pentagon, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and more. It all sounds very silly, but with the recent surge in possibly drug-induced, face-eating cannibalistic attacks, it seems prudent of them to be prepared. And how better to keep the public from worrying than dismissing the contingency plan as a joke. When the dead rise, the government is ready... but are you?

#4: BioQuark - Bringing Zombies To A Hospital Near You

“Somewhere deep underground in a secret facility, evil biotechnicians tinker with the stolen corpses of your loved ones... with one sinister goal in mind - to raise an army of the dead!” Okay, so they’re not mad scientists… and they’re based in Philadelphia. But BioQuark Biotech IS experimenting with reanimating the dead. And despite the fact they are doing it with the goal of helping coma patients, curing disabilities or even reversing degenerative diseases, they’ve received a lot of criticism - for moral, scientific and religious reasons. The appropriately titled “ReAnima” project involves stem cells, spinal fluid transfers and nerve stimulation applied to brain dead patients. They’ve been inundated with emails from members of the public begging them to stop... before they accidentally set off a zombie apocalypse.

#3: Wasps Are Already Creating Zombies

We guarantee you’ll never complain about a simple wasp sting again. Various wasp species actually take control of the minds of other insects, turning them into zombie slaves. The Costa Rican Parasite Wasp injects spiders with a chemical that makes them build a specific web to support and protect the larva’s cocoon, with the spider’s own body acting as the central support... and ultimately, a meal. The Jewel Wasp performs brain surgery with its stinger on cockroaches to make them into lobotomized living incubators for their young. The Glyptapanteles wasp lays its young inside a caterpillar, and after the larva rip through its skin, the caterpillar is chemically compelled to protect their cocoons... until it starves to death. Just be thankful they haven’t learned to target humans... yet.

#2: Fungal Zombieism Is Especially Terrifying

If there’s one form of zombieism you should worry about– it’s the fungal variety. Because from a scientific perspective, it’s theoretically possible. You wouldn’t start eating brains, but a fungal infection of the brain could take control of your motor system. In the tropical forests of Thailand and the rainforests of Brazil, one terrifying fungus sends spores out into the air, which work their way into the bodies of ants. There, the fungus begins to grow, spreading chemicals to the brain which take over the motor system, directing the ant to a suitable place to sprout. Only once the ant reaches this location does the spore finally kill it. It then uses the ant’s corpse as a macabre flower pot to restart the cycle.

#1: There Have Been Cases Of Voodoo & Chemically-Induced Zombieism

Fungus might be the future of zombieism, but zombie human history lies in voodoo. Some call it magic, others call it drug-induced slavery - either way, it's a nightmarish concept. In the early 20th century, U.S. Marines returned from Haiti with horror stories of voodoo practitioners raising the dead. They’ve been credited with bringing “zombie culture” to America. So what did they actually see? It’s believed that voodoo priests used powerful poisons, like bufotoxin, to make a victim appear dead. The victim would be buried, then the priest would exhume the body, keeping the victim in a drug-induced stupor to perform hard labour. This was the case of former zombie Clairvius Narcisse who in 1980 returned home 18 years after his own funeral, when his master finally died and the controlling substances wore off.

So, are you getting to be putting together a zombie survival kit of your own just in case? Do you believe the government’s zombie contingency plan was really “just an exercise”? For more stupor-inducing top 10s and macabre flowerpot Top 5s, be sure to subscribe to