Long before zombies appeared in modern entertainment they were a part of Haiti’s darker spiritual practices. Labelled as a "culture-bound syndrome" by anthropologists, the process of zombification is performed by a bokor, or sorcerer priest. Pharmacologically, the puffer fish toxin tetrodotoxin and the hallucinogenic planet datura have both been named as agents contributing to deathlike paralysis and mindless stupor. Voodoo adherants believe a zombie’s spirit has been separated from their body, leaving behind an empty shell.
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