Field Guide Classification:  Undead (Class D) 
Other Names:  The Living Dead, the Walking Dead.
Subspecies:  None known.
Natural Habitat:  Graveyards, cemeteries, underground tunnels and catacombs, caverns, sewer tunnels and complexes, abandoned mines, abandoned warehouses, the basements of old tenement buildings and houses, swamps, marshes and bayous, small or remote islands, derelict ships, deserted shopping malls.
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. Most zombies can exist for 10 - 12 years before decay would threaten their mobility.
Diet:  Fresh human flesh.
Legal Status:  Not applicable.
Group Affiliation:  Not applicable.
History/Lore:  A zombie is a reanimated human corpse. They are among the lower forms of the undead, and often appear in large numbers. No one is certain about the origins of these pathetic and horrible things. There have been legends and tales told about this undead monster for years. Some say that these creatures were the products of evil sorcery long ago. Others argue that the zombie can trace its beginnings back to the stars themselves, as the loathsome by-product of some form of space-virus. There are also those that maintain the zombie was the outcome of some man-made experiment gone awry, or the result of rampant radiation. One ominous proverb (quoted from an unknown source) sums up the reason of their godless genesis quite simply: 
"When there is no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the Earth"

Zombies are both intellectually and physically driven only by their all-consuming hunger for fresh human flesh. They are near-mindless, possessing little reasoning power, though many can perform "remembered behaviors" from their mortal existence. Most zombies have difficulty with simple mechanical objects and obstacles such as doorknobs, latches, stairs, and fences. The bite of a zombie will cause its victim to quickly grow sick and die (usually within 3 days), only to rise again as a zombie. There is no known cure for this malady. Excision and cauterization of the "bite-infected" area (e.g. - removing a hand or arm, etc.) has proven to be completely ineffective in halting a victim's metamorphosis into the Living Dead.

There have been some unconfirmed accounts of zombie "outbreaks" in recent years, centering in rural Pennsylvania and in various areas along the Florida coast. Details of these reports are sketchy at best, with much of the information being dismissed by local and state authorities as "the ravings of beer-guzzling rednecks".

One unrelated account of the Living Dead alleges a group of "super-zombies" encountered by vacationers on a remote Caribbean island in 1977. These were not true zombies, as the story relates. These creatures, although quite undead, were genetically engineered by a German scientist during World War II. Created to serve as the Nazis' secret weapon against the Allied Forces, these creatures were known collectively as the "Death Corps". The U-boat carrying these creatures sank during its first mission, but they were somehow freed by an underwater tremor years later. These "super-zombies" apparently had average-intelligence, enormous strength, and the ability to withstand intense underwater conditions indefinitely. They wore tinted goggles that protected their eyes from UV rays, which proved fatal to them if their eyes became exposed. Evidently, sunlight infiltrating through their eyes somehow destroyed their brains. This rather ambiguous story presumes the monsters to have all perished in that manner.

There are other unverifiable stories that involve intelligent zombies capable of speech. These creatures were encountered around the mid-to-late 1980's, attacking several undisclosed small towns located in the mid-west and West Coast areas of the U.S. It has been postulated that these particular zombies may have been the outcome of some experimental gas of military origin. These zombies apparently thrived only on human brains, having no appetite for flesh. This account also tells of the monsters' destruction by mass electrocution.

Zombies created by evil voodoo differ from their more mindless and voracious counterparts, the common zombie. While some argue that these juju zombies (or zuvembies) are actually a subspecies of the common zombie listed here, this is not the case, as there are some distinct differences between these two undead creatures. The two share many similarities, but differ to such a degree as to warrant separate entries (See: Zombie, Juju).
Description:  Human in appearance; varying with signs of desiccation and rot. They have blank, expressionless faces, unless they are enraptured in a feeding frenzy, in which case they possess an almost feral visage. They are incapable of speech, but often tend to make moaning and guttural sounds. They are normally encountered wearing whatever clothing they wore in their human life, prior to reanimation.
Height/Size:  Average human size.
Weight:  Variable; average human weight.
Eyes:  Variable; sometimes milky-white in color.
Hair:  Variable.
Powers:  Zombies are impervious to pain and require no air to breathe. They are thus immune to drugs, poisons, gases, suffocation, and drowning. Zombies never sleep, and they are incapable of fatigue. While not invulnerable to physical injury, zombies can suffer great damage to their bodies (including dismemberment) without being adversely affected. Dismembering the legs will render the zombie immobile, but the creature will still continue to subsist. Likewise, decapitation will incapacitate the body, but the head will still "live".

In spite of its rather feeble intelligence, the zombie is relentless in its never-ending quest for food. No one knows why zombies need to eat flesh. They cannot actually perish from starvation. In one recorded instance, a severed head still attempted to bite, even though it had no stomach. Moreover, a zombie will refuse other kinds of meat when it is offered.

The zombie's strength level is at normal human-levels, but they are considerably slower that average humans, possessing poor agility and coordination. Their physical reaction-time is poor; about half that of normal human level. Zombies seem to be more active at night, but they are able to move about normally during daylight hours. Unlike most undead monsters, zombies do not possess night vision. 

When confronted individually, zombies appear rather weak, but the creature's true threat is revealed when they are encountered in huge numbers - as relentless legions of tireless, flesh-eating machines. Another deadly aspect of the zombie is their ability to rapidly spread their undead scourge, increasing their numbers to vast measures.
Known Weaknesses/Methods Of Destruction:Zombies are highly susceptible to fire, and they seem to express an adverse fear of it. Burning these creatures is the most effective way of destroying them. Extreme amounts of electrical current will burn a zombie's flesh, thus consuming it in flames. Zombies can also be dispatched by causing extreme trauma to their brain. This can be accomplished by driving a bullet, a drill, a long knife, a hammer, or some other blunt object into the creature's skull.
See Also:  Zombie, Juju.
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