1. What was your prime inspiration for creating your new book "Zombie Nation From Folklore to Modern Frenzy"?
Primarily my awareness of the fan base of the AMC television show The Walking Dead and participating in a zombie walk in my hometown. It struck me how vastly huge the craze has become, and that it has been not only a reoccurring fascination with horror fans but that it has its roots in old literature, folklore and religions so as a researcher of occult and dark culture it certainly had all the elements I look for in a project to write about. If a topic is limited, no matter how interesting it lacks substance. Zombies have been prevalent in every culture with a larger impact than I ever imagined.
2. Why do you think society is so crazy for Zombies lately?
That is the prime question I had in mind when I first set out put this out. Honestly you can’t the comic shop or book store, you will see all types of materials dealing with zombie, from books like Max Brooks World War Z to comics such as Marvel Zombies and The Walking Dead- . I had no idea prior to this book that fans as far from the United States as Moscow, Australia and the United Kingdom. Society has an all-time high interest in zombies, and especially the zombie apocalypse, stems from a wide variety of Zombies as a warning, fictional as it may be, a fictional warning to people about the very real possibility of a rapidly spreading pandemic disease, such as H1N1 and AIDS. This is shown in Resident Evil and 28 Weeks and The Walking Dead, and Max Brooks’ novel World War Z, have had such an impact in the minds of people far beyond pop culture, the idea of zombies as a metaphor for the outbreak of pandemic disease has been the subject of many medical researchers. Even if you lagh at the symbolic silliness of a zombie outbreak causing the end of the world as we know it, consider real events outside of H1N1, like Hurricane Katrina. Quoting the Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse, blog written by Assistant Surgeon General Ali Khan of the CDC says, “There are all kinds of emergencies out there that we can prepare for. Take a zombie apocalypse for example. That’s right, I said z-o-m-b-i-e a-p-o-c-a-l-y-p-s-e. You may laugh now, but when it happens you’ll be happy you read this, and hey, maybe you’ll even learn a thing or two about how to prepare for a real emergency…The rise of zombies in pop culture has given credence to the idea that a zombie apocalypse could happen. In such a scenario zombies would take over entire countries, roaming city streets eating anything living that got in their way. The proliferation of this idea has led many people to wonder “How do I prepare for a zombie apocalypse?”
That is only one of many reasons…for more of my thoughts and other researchers, your audience will have to pick up their own copy!
3. Could you share some thoughts on zombie type situations from medieval times? Like the plague, etc.
When The Black Death, or the bubonic plague struck back in Central Asia in 1338 and it eventually reached India by 1346. This disease began when rat fleas were regular passengers on merchant vessels. It spread throughout the Mediterranean and nearly wiped out a full half of Europe’s population, bringing the known world population down to 350 million in the 14th century. If ever there was a pandemic of biblical proportions, this was it.
It started many stories of the walking dead when people who had recently deceased that had come back home with the stains of blood on their shirts. This is one of the origins of many folklore tales of both zombies and vampires. One of the symptoms of the bubonic plague happened to be that the victim would pass out, falling into a brief comatose state, then wake vomiting blood.
4. In your book you go into some Zombie films and television shows, what are some of your favorites and why?
I love several of them, and all for different reasons. Hands down, The Walking Dead is my all-time favorite, and not just because I have had the pleasure to meet so many of the cast members when we are featured at conventions! The show is so well written, acted and make up second to none. The realism of survival on a human versus human situations are so based on reality you forget the Walkers exists, they are almost a secondary aspect. The remake of The Crazies due to its in depth research into the results of illnesses and decomposition that the FX crew did to do the makeup of their zombies, to Zombieland due to its pure humor and shoot em up style to lighten things up. I have a friend I jokingly refer to as Tallahassee, because he seriously looks and acts like him.
5. Would you tell us about Zombie Max Ammunition and some other strange merchandise that revolves around the zombie them?
Zombie Max Ammunition is a innovative bullet and shotgun ammunition line from the manufacturer Hornady. “Be PREPARED – supply yourself for the Zombie Apocalypse with Zombie Max™ ammunition” is the company motto.
I had a call back from Everett Deger, marketing communications manager at Hornady who was delighted by my interest in the company line. He told me that Steve Hornady (the founder) is a fan of The Walking Dead and of the zombie genre in general. He approached the board and marketing department, who took the challenge of designing the product line.
Of course, the disclaimer from Hornady® Zombie Max™ ammunition is that it is NOT a toy it is REAL bullets and shotgun shells. They just dress up the boxes and use green in the manufacturing to look cool. I was very impressed with the marketing video they did – it looked as well done as a segment from The Walking Dead!
Zombie fans and manufacturers are far from wrong in their proportion of all things zombie being carried over into our real world. Many gun owners crowd around displays of lifelike zombie shooting targets at the National Rifle Association’s Guns and Gear exhibits at gun shows, with dozens of vendors displaying zombie targets, zombie bullets, zombie paint job services for guns as well as zombie patches for shooting jackets. Even Wal-Mart is now carrying the bleeding upper torso targets made of materials that gush blood and have a solid form.
6. What would you like to share from your book with us that you think the readers might find interesting? A zombie wild death card question if you will.
There are in fact parasites that can turn victims into mindless, zombie-like slaves in nature, called toxoplasmosis. Parasites and fungi in the wilds of Amazon for instance attack ants, burrowing into their bodies and take over their minds. The ants are driven to become spore producers and die, zombified walking dead insects with no control over their actions.
7. What about the Viking Legend that has to do with zombie type creatures?
In old Nordic legends, the draugr, which literally translates as “again-walker”, or “one who walks after death” were believed to live in the graves of the dead, and that the spelling draugr was the animated body of the dead, who were very nearly indestructible like our modern version of a zombies were nearly indestructible except by decapitation or fire. They possessed superhuman strength, and had a foul and unmistakable stench of decay and have an immense and nearly insatiable appetite. They are undead Vikings that retain some semblance of intelligence, and had the ability to rise from the grave and would devour their victims flesh, and drank their blood. The creation of a draugr is not exactly clear, but in one old story spoke of a shepherd is killed by a draugr and rises the next night as one. The draugr were said to be, nár-fölr, which meant corpse-pale. The only thing that could stop it was a hero who could defeat had to be capable of forcing it back into its grave.
The draugr has made its presence known in modern gaming. In The Morganville Vampires draugr are the ancient enemies of vampire, and in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim there are hordes of draugr in ancient Nordic tombs.
8. What are you up to next book wise and any links you would like to share? Thank you for this interview. Always a pleasure.
Eerie America: Travel Guide of the Macabre comes out this December, written by myself and Kevin Eads. Next spring Vampire Evolution: From Myth to Modern Day by myself and assisted by L.E. Curruba, and forward by Rosemary Ellen Guiley. People can find fifteen tiles by me on www.darkmoonpress.com and Amazon (different titles under both Corvis Nocturnum and E.R. Vernor). Thank you, it was my pleasure!
Author of: Embracing the Darkness; Understanding Dark Subcultures, and most recently, Allure Of The Vampire; Our Sexual Attraction To The Undead.
(For other titles check out www.DarkMoonPress.com)