Juju Zombie
Field Guide Classification:  Undead (Class D) 
Other Names:  Zuvembie, the Living Dead, the Walking Dead.
Subspecies:  None known.
Natural Habitat:  In Haiti, the Caribbean, and uninhabited regions throughout the eastern coasts of Africa, they can be encountered in graveyards, cemeteries, underground tunnels and catacombs, caverns, abandoned mines, swamps, marshes and bayous, tropical jungle climes, small or remote islands, and occasionally high desert areas.
Breeding:  See History/Lore, below.
Longevity/Lifespan:  Variable; depends on the state of decomposition upon reanimation and environmental factors which may affect the continuing process of decay. Because of the supernatural enhancements they possess over the common zombie, most juju zombies can exist for 20 - 30 years before eventual putrefaction would threaten their mobility.
Diet:  Fresh mammalian flesh.
Legal Status:  Not applicable.
Group Affiliation:  Not applicable.
History/Lore:  Like their counterparts (i.e. - the common zombie), the juju zombie or zuvembie is a reanimated human corpse, but they differ from the common zombie in many ways. The juju zombie is created through means of ritual Black Magic - usually evil voodoo. Juju zombies are among the lower forms of the undead, made to serve their bokor (voodoo sorcerer or evil witch doctor) in some way; providing effective slave labor, protection, or resolving vendettas. The juju zombie is the scourge of the houngan (voodoo priest or good witch doctor), who must defend their lands against the threat of those that use voodoo magic for dark purposes.

More powerful than common zombies, juju zombies function differently than their counterparts. Zombification through evil voodoo is really a form of possession. Juju zombies are animated by the loa (voodoo spirit-gods) that inhabit the juju zombie's form and controlled by the bokor who summoned them. More powerful than the common zombie, the juju zombie is slightly more intelligent as well, able to perceive and understand simple commands from their masters. Another distinction from the common zombie is that the bite of a juju zombie will not cause its victim to metamorphose into the Living Dead.

The methods of creating and controlling juju zombies vary among bokors. Some bokors use blood and hair from their victims in conjunction with voodoo dolls to create and control their zuvembies.

Others methods of zombification involve a specially prepared concoction of mystical herbs, in addition to human and animal parts. The ingredients are all ground into a fine dust or even brewed into a potion. The dust may be blown into the unaware victim's face. Ingestion, injection, or even a blow dart may be used to administer the potion variety. When these substances come into contact with the victim's skin, bloodstream or mucous membranes, the victim is rendered immobile within minutes, as they succumb to a comatose-like state resembling death. The active ingredient that causes this "death-in-life" affect is known as tetrodotoxin, although little is known about this drug. After the victim is presumed dead, they are commonly buried alive. Most victims are driven insane by this ordeal, making them even more vulnerable to the bokor's spells. The bokor then performs an ancient voodoo rite; taking possession or "trapping" the victim's soul, and replacing it with the loa that he or she controls. The victim's "trapped" soul is usually placed within a small clay jar or some other unremarkable container. The container is wrapped in a fragment of the victim's clothing, a piece of jewelry, or some other personal possession owned by the victim in life, and then hidden in a place of secrecy known only to the bokor.

Another form of zombification includes the invocation of the serpent-god Damballah, the most powerful of the loa. Through this obscure ritual, a dead body may be resurrected and controlled through the use of two matching amulets. A juju zombie wearing an amulet around its neck can be verbally commanded by anyone in possession of its counterpart.

There have been some rare occasions of juju zombies temporarily regaining part of their mental faculties. For reasons beyond explanation, their mortal persona is able to assume partial control over their bodily actions. This rare occurrence has only been observed when a juju zombie encounters situations that have heavy emotional connections to their mortal lives. Now matter how strong their spirit was in mortal life however, juju zombies are unable to resist the call of their masters for long.

There have been several recorded cases of juju zombie-plagues in the last century, occurring mostly in parts of Haiti and the eastern coasts of Africa, but there is evidence of juju zombie activity reaching farther west. There is one account of a zombie-plague in a small village located in Cornwall, England during the late 1800's - early 1900's. The story tells of Clive Hamilton, a wealthy squire suspected of practicing evil voodoo and using reanimated corpses to work his tin mine. Hamilton's unearthly doings were later uncovered by the village doctor and his former medical professor, Sir James Forbes. The pair were able to trace the juju zombies back to the squire's estate, where he was ultimately slain by his own zombie-slaves. This occurred after the squire lost control over them during a fire that consumed his tin mine. The juju zombies were reported destroyed in the blaze.

The account of the notorious Murder Legendre of Haiti is also well known amongst many occult investigators and monster hunters. Once the slave of an evil witch doctor, Legendre learned the bokor's secrets and turned against his master, making him into a zuvembie. Legendre soon achieved a powerful subversive influence over most of Haiti, managing to enslave all those who opposed him (including his own executioner - although Legendre's criminal record is unknown and presumed lost). Using his zombie-slaves for labor, he established himself as a co-owner of a prosperous sugar plantation. Murder Legendre was one of the greatest known voodoo masters in the world, second only to perhaps Dargent Peytraud (see below). His power and influence was so great, that he was able to mentally command an entire legion of zombies without the use of fetishes or rituals, accomplishing this from sheer will alone. Legendre was also able to exercise control over his zombified subjects from vast distances. His reign of darkness came to an end in 1932 when plantation co-owner Beaumont urged Legendre to aid him in winning the affection of a woman that was betrothed to another. Wishing to seize the entire plantation for himself, Legendre concocted the love potion for Beaumont, but later made a zuvembie of him. Using the potion, Legendre abducted the woman for himself, but is confronted by the woman's fiancÚ and a local missionary. In the struggle that followed, Legendre was struck on the head, causing him to momentarily lose control of his zombie-slaves. Regaining his faculties if only for a brief moment, Legendre's former partner-turned-zombie grabbed the bokor; hurling them both off the side of a cliff to their doom.

There are legends that tell of the ancient Aztecs dabbling in zombification rites. In 1943, the strange case of the "Mad Ghoul" killings were not the acts of a real ghoul at all, but rather a form of juju zombie. Professor Alfred Morris discovered that the ancient Aztecs heated crystals of an unknown substance, producing an invisible gas that renders subjects into a strange, catatonic state. The subjects would then be fed an elixir comprised of various herbs and a single human heart; reviving them into a state of "living death" without any will of their own. Professor Morris successfully duplicated the process, using his student Ted Allison as his unwitting victim. Not long afterward, Morris realized that Allison required a steady supply of human hearts to keep him awake and enslaved. The two began a grave-robbing spree for human hearts harvested from the recently-dead. During this time, Morris pined for the affections of Allison's ex-girlfriend, singer Isabel Lewis. Morris and Allison followed Lewis on her singing tour, robbing graves for human hearts at each tour stop. In one incident, a night watchman who stumbles upon them is slain; his heart cut out to make Morris' potion. As suspicion for the "Mad Ghoul" killings fell upon Lewis' pianist and lover Eric Iverson, newspaper reporter Ken McClure was killed by the "zombified" Allison as he attempted to catch the "ghouls" in the act. Finally deciding to dispense with Allison and Iverson, Morris commanded Allison to shoot the pianist and then himself. Allison obeyed, but not before summoning up his last vestige of will, leaving a beaker of burning crystals in the lab to be later discovered by Professor Morris. Allison was shot and killed before being able to carry out Morris' last commands, as the professor fell victim to his own crystal gas. The desperate professor scoured a local cemetery for a fresh human heart that might have saved him, but was finally claimed by the death-like state forever.

In 1957, reports of zuvembie activity on Mora-Tau, off the coast of Africa told of the Walking Dead plaguing diamond thieves.

Stories of zombification and evil voodoo rites still prevail in modern times, particularly in Haiti. In 1985, The Boston-based pharmaceutical corporation known as Biocorp sent Harvard anthropologist Dr. Dennis Alan to Haiti in the hopes of retrieving a "strange powder" reputed to "bring humans back from the dead". His investigations led him into conflict with Dargent Peytraud, reputedly the most powerful bokor known in modern times. Peytraud was so cogent in his abilities as a bokor that he was able to influence the dreams of others thousands of miles away from his victims. Harnessing the power of his trapped spirits, Peytraud ensorcelled and killed the powerful houngan Lucien Celiot; trapping his soul as well. Dr. Alan was able to defeat and kill Petraud when he was imbued with the power Lucien's spirit, manifesting itself as a loa. Dr. Alan was able to retrieve a sample of the "zombie powder", which is presumably still under examination by Biocorp.

Description:  Human in appearance; varying with signs of desiccation, decay, and emaciation. They have blank, expressionless faces, with white eyes. Many are incapable of speech, but most are able to make moaning and guttural sounds. They are normally encountered wearing whatever clothing they wore in their human life, prior to reanimation. They may also be seen wearing slave rags or garments given to them by their bokor.
Height/Size:  Average human size.
Weight:  Variable; average human weight.
Eyes:  White.
Hair:  Variable.
Powers:  As with common zombies, juju zombies are impervious to pain and require no air to breathe. Although they are not invulnerable, the lifeless, reanimated body of a juju zombie possesses a supernatural healing ability, enabling them to regenerate missing or injured tissue, and mend broken bones. Juju zombies can recover from small burns, lacerations, and gunshot wounds within a matter of hours. Juju zombies cannot regenerate missing limbs, however. Again, as with common zombies, dismembering the legs will render the juju zombie immobile, but the creature will still continue to subsist. Likewise, decapitation will incapacitate the body, but the head will still "live".

Not truly alive, juju zombies are immune to certain other mortal vulnerabilities, including suffocation, drowning, extremes of temperature and pressure, high voltage electricity, poisonous gas, and drugs.

Juju zombies possess superhuman strength three times greater than what they possessed while alive. If a juju zombie could lift (press) 200lbs. in life, then it could conceivably lift (press) up to 600lbs. as a zuvembie. Juju zombies do not possess night vision, a characteristic usually common to most undead monsters.

Unlike their counterpart, the common zombie, juju zombies do not express any fear or hesitation in their actions - even when confronted by certain peril (e.g. - fire).

Known Weaknesses/Methods Of Destruction:  Juju zombies are highly susceptible to fire. Burning zuvembies is the most effective way of destroying them. The flesh of these creatures can be burned so totally that they cannot recover. Juju zombies are vulnerable to the voodoo which gives them animation. The proper incantation and treatment of a voodoo doll can cause supernatural, debilitating pain to a zuvembie. A juju zombie can also be put to final rest through the appropriate voodoo ceremony, which forces the loa from its body.

There are certain mystical totems and fetishes that offer protection from zuvembies. These items can be worn about the neck or adorned in some other fashion. It should be noted that while these objects will offer protection against physical contact from zuvembies, these devices may not offer the same defense against their masters.

See Also:  Zombie.
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