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First hand accounts of zombification

A dialogue on Bob Corbett's Haiti List, December 1995

Date: Wed, 20 Dec 1995 14:25:51 -0800 (PST)
From: Bob Corbett <bcorbett@crl.com>
Subject: Wanted: First hand accounts of zombification
Message-Id: <Pine.SUN.3.91.951220142414.2591I-100000@crl5.crl.com>

Date: Wed, 20 Dec 1995 15:09:26 -0500
From: l. Crosby

Rouzier wrote:

Anyway this is the context of my meeting Wade Davis. when this Harvard educated ethnobotanist came to Haiti, his mission was to find out the poison which made it possible to create zonbies. In his research, he met Herad Simon, who took a liking to him because of his esoterical knowledge, which he learned from American indians, and other reasons I'm sure. In his quest for that knowledge, Wade came very close to joining Secret Societies, and that almost killed him. Was it not for Herard Simon who offerd him his protection, there never would have been any Wade Davis books, and any Wade Davis for that matter.

Mr. Rouzier,

I have been actively researching the practice of zombification for an article I'm writing on the topic. I've read both THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW and THE ETHNOBIOLOGY OF THE HAITIAN ZOMBIE, but first-hand accounts are difficult to come by in the US. I would be fascinated in any experiences you may have had concerning this process.

Thanks for your time.


L. Crosby

Date: Wed, 20 Dec 1995 20:50:23 -0800 (PST)
From: Bob Corbett <bcorbett@crl.com>
Subject: Source for one account of zombification
Message-Id: <Pine.SUN.3.91.951220204925.10104F-100000@crl13.crl.com>

Date: Wed, 20 Dec 1995 18:40:03 -0500 (EST)
From: Elizabeth Mcalister

For what it's worth, I wrote about two zonbis I bought by mistake, in an article called A Sorceror's Bottle: The Art of Magic in Haiti, in Donald Cosentino, ed, Sacred Arts of Haitian Vodou. LA: UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, 1995.

It's about zonbi astral, the more common kind of zonbi, which is the invisible spirit of the dead, captured and used in healing and magic.


Elizabeth McAlister
Yale University

Date: Wed, 20 Dec 1995 22:29:40 -0800 (PST)
From: Bob Corbett <bcorbett@crl.com>
Subject: Wade Davis and Zombis
Message-Id: <Pine.SUN.3.91.951220222813.10773K-100000@crl5.crl.com>

Date: Wed, 20 Dec 1995 23:16:32 -0600 (CST)
From: Paul E Brodwin

Given the perennial fascination with zombis amongst students/observers/participants/chroniclers of Haiti, it may be worthwhile to mention a few recently published pieces.

Laennec Hurbon briefly but cogently covers the Hollywood treatment of zombies as well as Haitian attitudes in a few pages of his Les mysteres du vaudou. Paris (?): Gallimard, 1993.

There are two critical scholarly reviews of Wade Davis' work which I hope people are aware of. Drexel Woodson wrote one in the journal, Africa, Vol. 62, no. 1, 1992, pages 151-154. I wrote another in the journal, Medical Anthropology Quarterly, Vol. 6, no. 4, 1992, pages 411-413.

Sincerely, Paul E. Brodwin
Dept of Anthropology
U of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
PO Box 413
Milwaukee, WI 53201