Epic Post Warning! In the Zombie Apocalypse few things could be as important as Zombie Identification. Being able to identify Zeds at close range or at a distance should be an important Zombie Survival Skill that any Survivor should have already mastered. Nothing could be worse than friendly fire by those you trust and who trust you. A mistake like killing your best Medic could be team shattering and life ending for everyone on your Zombie Apocalypse Survival Team. Tonight to help bring the Independent Zombie Film being produced here in Mesa Arizona that is currently looking for as many zombies as possible, we are going to look at how to identify a Zombie or Zom or Zed at a distance or up close, Don’t Get Bit presents… Zombie Apocalypse Knowledge: Zombie Identification. This will also be a good analog for dressing as a Zombie if you wish to be a part of the movie.
Today’s class is on Zombie Identification or How to Spot A Zombie.
What is a Zombie? Zombies are classically put into 2 basic categories, Fast Zombies and Slow Zombies. In recent years Fast Zombies have made a surge in pop-culture and have been featured in several movies, most notably “Dawn of the Dead” and “28 Days Later” as well as it’s sequel “28 Weeks Later”. Slow zombies are a much more survivable option given a choice, but even with the heart pounding, nail biting, fear inducing thought of millions of fast and incredibly strong zombies they are survivable and are in fact destructible.
So with that out of the way let’s get into specifics. Zombies are in most cases human in form and the victims have been infected with some agent, chemical or biological, for which there is no known cure/vaccine and which has a very fast onset, sometimes seconds. This agent is spread generally by contact with bodily fluids and can be spread to a new individual by contact of an open would or bodily orifice by other infected victims, in most cases it is a bite to the flesh of said victim that starts the ordeal. It will either cause death and re-animation after death or in the viral cases it causes severe fever, hemorrhaging of the brain and a loss of what some call the personality or soul of the infected individual replacing it with rage and/or hunger. It causes the victim to behave in an abnormal way, usually highly aggressively, with little desire to do much of anything besides hunting and eating it’s prey… humans.
Now I know some of you are saying that “Zombies must be “Dead” why is it not in the definition”? Here at “Don’t Get Bit” we are going to smash that concept with a blunt weapon and accept the fact that zombies can be both alive or dead. What’s important to us is that the zombie has been through the transformation process where the infected person loses their self, spirit or personality, what ever you choose to call it, and become mindless killing machines bent on eating live human flesh or in the “not so dead” sense simply serve to spread the infection.
How to Spot A Zombie
Due to lack of mental processing abilities, it is generally accepted that Zombies will lack the faculties necessary for speech. Because of their inability to process speech either through the destruction of their flesh in their ear, nose and throat areas or simply because of their lack of higher thinking, they begin to make animalistic noises ie. grunting, moaning, howling and growling. If confronted with a Zombie Apocalypse and you begin to hear said noises you should either run to safety or be prepared to take drastic actions. If a member of your team is suspected of being infected you should try to ask them basic questions like what is their name, where are they from or please count to ten. If their responses begin to sound like grunting, moaning, howling and growling it’s a good idea to go ahead and cure the survivor’s newly acquired illness per the Team Rules. Too lazy to click that link? The answer is shoot them in the head.
Zombies by definition have begun rotting immediately upon infection or death. Rotting human flesh has a very particular smell to it and once it is smelled… you never un-smell it. The sense of smell is the most powerful of your senses as the nose’s nerve endings are wired directly into the brain unlike the other senses which go through several filters before entering the brain. For example, I worked at a cemetery for a while doing an internship in my Zombie Studies. In a large monsoon storm the foundation of one of the mausoleums cracked and part of the building came down. The smell that escaped from the coffins that were inside was unmistakable and I will never forget it. It took days to get the smell out of my nose. So use your most powerful sense and pay attention to what your nose tells you. If you smell old meat… move your feet.
3: Skin Color
Zombies by definition have begun rotting immediately upon infection or death. Because decomposition begins immediately it is not hard to spot the walking dead if you know what to look for. Remember that some zombies may be newly dead while others may have been dead for a considerably longer time so the decomposition may be on different levels. Some universal signs though are wounds that are no longer bleeding, missing limbs, intestines hanging out, faces ripped off and possibly body parts simply moving around on their own while detached from the host. With that decomposition comes the fact that blood circulation is no longer happening and that rosy skin color of the living is replaced by a blue and sometimes green tint to the skin based on how long they have been infected/dead.
I am using the example of a slow zombie in this case. In the case of fast zombies this symptom is nullified and should be taken into consideration based on the type of zombie you are required to deal with. But in the case of slow zombies the deterioration of flesh and muscle make coordination for zombies difficult to say the least. Stumbling or ambling like an old man without his walker is the best template to use for identification in this category. However in attempting to verify that the zombie is in fact a zombie and not an old man, please cross reference other symptoms with this one to ensure you are not blowing the head off of your grandfather on accident. Old people, although disgusting, annoying and hard to socialize with, they are a plethora of information and could be useful, should they still be alive, in a consulting capacity. They eat very little and can for the most part take care of themselves, sort of like a cat.
5: The “Idiot Look”
Because of zombies lack of brain power their faces tend to be slack and their jaws hang open. Unless of course they are feverishly chewing on the living. But in most cases a walking zombie will tend to have the facial expression of an incredibly drunk person; eyes rolling, jaw open and drooling. Keeping their mouth closed so they don’t look like an idiot mouth breather is not a high priority for zombies. Their eyes are frequently glazed over, sometimes oddly colored, if even still present. The eyes tend to take on a milky white appearance and sometimes bright red or black in some cases. A dead persons eyes are unmistakable but in order to get a good look at someone’s eyes you need to be rather close to them, opening you up to attack. So be careful!
6: Eating People
Zombies snacking on a face, neck, or other body part of a screaming person is definitely the most visible and unmistakable trait of the living dead. People don’t eat people… well, most people don’t eat people. Cannibalism is highly frowned upon in the west (like here in America) but in other parts of the world like Scandinavia it is less frowned upon but still a no-no even though it is rarely enforced. I can’t vouch for that last part but I assume it’s generally true… Damn Scandis… If you do see a man feverishly tearing apart the guts of a woman in the middle of the street while several others are hungrily snacking on her legs, arms and neck… More than likely, you are witnessing the Zombie Apocalypse. At this point, I would highly recommend NOT helping said victim, and you should probably leave the area immediately and use them as a distraction for your escape to your safe-room. We refer you again to the Team Rules section of this blog for clarification of the proper etiquette in leaving said victim behind as there are several subtleties involved with this decision.
Too lazy to click that link? The answer is shoot them in the head. But when in doubt… run it out. GET OUT OF THERE!