Entries in Zombies (2)


Man Describes Life With ‘Walking Corpse Syndrome’

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A man’s account of living with Cotard’s syndrome offers a chilling look at a rare condition that has patients convinced they’re zombies.

The man, identified only as Graham in an interview with New Scientist, said he awoke from a suicide attempt feeling as though his brain were dead.

“I just felt like my brain didn’t exist anymore,” Graham told the magazine, recalling his bizarre state of consciousness after surviving an attempt to electrocute himself in his bathtub. “I kept on telling the doctors that the tablets weren’t going to do me any good, because I didn’t have a brain. I’d fried it in the bath.”

Graham was diagnosed with Cotard’s syndrome, a mysterious psychiatric condition marked by “the fixed and unshakable belief that one has lost organs, blood or body parts” or has no soul, according to a definition in a 2003 report in the journal Neurology.

“I lost my sense of smell and taste. I didn’t need to eat, or speak or do anything,” Graham told New Scientist. “I ended up spending time in the graveyard because that was the closest I could get to death.”

What little is known about Cotard’s syndrome has come from rare case reports dating back to 1882. But Graham’s recent diagnosis gave doctors an opportunity to look inside the brain of a Cotard’s patient.
What they found was extraordinary.

“I’ve been analyzing PET scans for 15 years, and I’ve never seen anyone who was on his feet, who was interacting with people, with such an abnormal scan result,” Dr. Steven Laureys of the University of Liège in Belgium, who consulted on Graham’s case, told New Scientist. “Graham’s brain function resembles that of someone during anesthesia or sleep. Seeing this pattern in someone who is awake is quite unique to my knowledge.”

So while Graham’s brain was intact, his brain activity looked like that of someone in a coma.

“It seems plausible that the reduced metabolism was giving him this altered experience of the world, and affecting his ability to reason about it,” Laureys said.

Graham said he struggled to find pleasure in life, calling the fact that he didn’t actually die “a nightmare.”
“I just felt really damn low,” he said, recalling his desire to lurk in graveyards. “I just felt I might as well stay there. It was the closest I could get to death. The police would come and get me, though, and take me back home.”

But over time, with the help of therapy and medication, Graham said he managed to shake his zombie-like state.

“I don’t feel that brain-dead anymore,” he told New Scientist. “Things just feel a bit bizarre sometimes.”

“I’m not afraid of death,” Graham added.”But that’s not to do with what happened – we’re all going to die sometime. I’m just lucky to be alive now.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Government Zombie Promos Are Spreading

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The government’s zombie apocalypse is spreading and could come to an emergency-management center near you.

A few weeks before the government’s Zombie Awareness Month in October, FEMA’s monthly webinar Thursday discussed the success of the Centers for Disease Control’s zombie-preparedness campaign and how other centers can use pop culture references -- even fictitious ones like the walking dead -- to promote gearing up for real disasters.

Almost 400 emergency-management professionals tuned in nationwide, according to an official at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“Zombie-preparedness messages and activities have proven to be an effective way of engaging new audiences, particularly young people who are not familiar with what to do before, during or after a disaster,” Danta Randazzo of FEMA’s individual and community preparedness division said during the webinar. “It’s also a great way to grab attention and increase interest in general.”

He said the original zombie campaign, which the CDC launched in May 2011, succeeded in educating more members of the public about real emergencies while keeping government costs relatively low. After all, preparation for a zombie apocalypse isn’t especially different from preparation for a number of other disasters, such as the CDC’s zombie apocalypse-education program recommendations to build an emergency kit with food, water and medications; plan an evacuation route and pick a meeting place to regroup.

Maggie Silver, one of the CDC zombie campaign’s masterminds, said she hears about zombie campaign copycats almost every week, and they call it “Zombie Nation.” It has spread to health departments, libraries and universities as well as Canada’s version of the CDC, she said.

During the webinar, Silver said she’s often asked, “Why Zombies?”

As it turns out, the idea came from responders after the CDC asked its followers what they were prepared for after the March 2011 earthquake and Tsunami in Japan. Responders tweeted real disasters like “earthquake” and “hurricane,” but the Silver said officials also noticed a lot of “zombie” tweets.

“We decided to keep that in the back of our minds as we were planning for future events,” Silver said. “Of course, when hurricane season came around, we wanted to spice up our general preparedness message. We decided why not give people what they want?”

CDC officials used existing content, but refreshed it with a zombie theme. They started with a tongue-in-cheek blog post and linked to their other emergency pages. “We have a very small office and an equally small budget, so we had to do something that wasn’t going to take a lot of man power or dollars,” Silver said.

They had no idea it would take off the way it did, Silver said. The blog site crashed in 10 minutes as more than 30,000 people tried to read their 101 on zombie preparedness. Overall, the page had more than 60,000 views per hour. Eventually, traffic flowed to the main website.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio