Proximity to Halloween, and sheer fascination has moved me to highlight this great article I read a little while ago. It is about Zombies, the Haitian kind, and is the best Zombie-related story in recent memory. Of any kind: no comic, game, literary mash up, or blockbuster matches this article in Men's Journal (of all places)! The piece is a detailed look at the elaborate system of secret societies, ritual magic, and pharmacologically-induced human trafficking that is the Haitian zombie culture.
It is incredible. Even if you are familiar with Wade Davis, or have read The Serpent and the Rainbow, or seen the mediocre movie, Berlinski’s story is still incredible. In addition to the background on how zombies may or may not be created, it's like a mystery that plays out in the byzantine world of zombie administration, which sounds like an episode of Trueblood, with regional hierarchies of Chief Sorcerers and Departmental Chiefs and Presidents and Emperors and Queens and their sorcerer secretaries. Not to mention the zombie passports – documents that allow one to create, hold, or move your zombie from region to region. (Yes, such things exist; there are pictures.)
Berlinski follows Madame Zicot, a woman trying to track down her zombified daughter, Nadathe, by navigating her way through the secret societies. (And yes, they do accessorize with candle-topped skulls and convene at midnight.) It is gripping as an occult procedural, and heartbreaking as a story of real personal tragedy.
From the late 1800s to the early 1940s, many Americans celebrated Thanksgiving by dressing up as “ragamuffins” in masked costumes and then thronged the streets, basically trick-or-treating for money and gifts.
It’s real and it does exactly what it says it will: send Dumb Cuneiform a tweet or an SMS message and they’ll transliterate it into ancient Persian cuneiform, stamp it into a clay tablet and mail it to you. $20. It’s Snow-Crash-a-riffic.
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