ZOMBIE

A zombie, in Haitian and West African folk belief, is a soulless corpse reanimated by a VOODOO priest, or bocor. A zombie moves listlessly in a trancelike state and does the bidding of the bocor. The term is apparently derived from Nzambi, a West African deity.

Most cultural anthropologists working in Haiti discount stories about zombies. Some researchers, however, claim that the stories are true and that a bocor's victims are administered a powder containing a powerful neurotoxin derived from the PUFFER fish. The powder is alleged to paralyze the victim into a deathlike state. The bocor later revives the victim. Pharmacologists who have tested samples of the alleged powder found little or no poison in them.