History

PPFF #144: Zombies

Good morning,

Zombies? Yeah. Zombies. Why not Zombies. I can’t remember the exact context in which the conversation began but I recall someone mentioning Haiti. As I knew next to nothing about Haiti except the earthquake that happened some time ago, this triggered some daydreaming while I stood there with my eyes glazed over, pretending to listen to this person. Then I snapped out of this trance and realised I was standing there pretty much like a zombie, which led me to start wondering about zombies. There you have it – a perfect preamble to zombie-related facts this morning.

François Duvalier, the Haitian dictator from 1957 to 1971, better known as Papa Doc (he was a doctor before he came to power) had a special operations unit within the Haitian paramilitary force, called Tonton Macoutes that was rumoured to consist of zombies (right…).

I doubt that they were actual ‘zombies’, whatever that is, but it was probably the combination of a few things that just worked in favour of the dictator in charge; Papa Doc Duvalier was a voodooist and some of the most important members of the Tonton Macoute were voodoo leaders. The Tonton Macoutes was also very brutal towards the public but rather loyal to Papa Doc, seemingly following every order without questioning. And most interestingly perhaps it was the theory that these soldiers were ‘zombified’ with psychoactive agents such as tetrodotoxin, not dissimilar to US military’s nearly three decade long research conducted at Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland, which included psychoactive agents (e.g. LSD).

So that’s it. The message is simple. Don’t do drugs lest you become zombies.

Have a drug-free Friday!

 

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