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Studying The Undead


ZWN Exclusive interview with Yale Psychologist Dr. Maria Perez
By Field reporter - Ruth Ellis Haworth

Dr Maria Perez, who heads the American Reanimate Behavioral Research Unit (ARBRU) in New Haven, Connecticut, spoke to Zombie World News about her research to date and her plans for the future. She provides some startling insights into what motivates the undead.

ZWN: How do you study the undead?

MP: The problem with studying reanimates is the extreme danger involved in getting close to them. In a major outbreak of necro-mortosis we have seen dozens or even hundreds of reanimates roaming in groups. They are simply too dangerous for researchers to approach. We have some subjects in isolation abroad. But the 'life-span' of an undead is only two to three months. Also, consider that outbreaks occur all around the globe, often in isolated spots. We have partially solved this problem by using satellite imagery provided by NASA. It is a crude tool, but we can learn quite a lot of basic behavior from a satellite photograph.

ZWN: What do the photographs show?

MP: Satellite photographs consistently show that the reanimates have a natural instinct to group together. 'Herding' as we call it. This behavior seems to support the theory that they have limited but viable vision and hearing. Other than the herding instinct we have observed only one motivation, and that is to bite the living.

ZWN: Why do they bite?

MP: That is the focus of our upcoming research. At this point we have one predominant theory. UCLA Professor David Whister recently released a paper in the Scientific Journal of Medicine. It rocked the science and medical worlds, as well as creating a firestorm with ethical questions raised. But ethics aside, most scientists, myself included, ally ourselves with the study's main conclusion, that is that the host's brain is 'tricked' into believing it has died. The parasite blocks all nutrients, stimulation and thoughts to the brain, in simple terms, it 'zombifies' them. The host is allowed one basic motor function, that of mobility to seek nutritional sustenance for the parasite in a form that can only be found in warm blood and flesh. This is why rigor mortis does not set completely in.

ZWN: What else have you learned about the undead?

Since the reanimate can walk, we have made the working assumption that part of their brain is still active. In particular, there must be activity in the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls basic motor function. My own research is based on the hypothesis that the primal brain that controls basic instincts is not only functioning in reanimates but is dominant, unlike in the brain of the living human. I have many peers who will take issue with that statement, but this is ongoing research in a very nascent area.

If this is true, then the behavior of our evolutionary ancestors may be the key to understanding reanimates. Early mammalian instincts are largely about procreating and nurturing offspring. Reptilian instincts are much more aggressive and focused on survival.

ZWN: Is there any way to test this theory?

MP: Yes, ARBRU and NASA have formed a working committee to design tools to further this research. There are two stages to the project.

First, we have developed the RROD. The Remote Reanimate Observation Device. We have tested prototype RRODs and are scheduled to begin our research in the field later this year.

ZWN: How do RROD's work?

MP: We do not want our research devices to be tampered with, so we are not releasing details of their construction. However, I can say that RROD's are housed in small radio controlled vehicles, similar to the robotic ones used in bomb disposal actually. They can be released into an area of necro-mortosis outbreak. The RROD's maneuver very close to the reanimates and transmit audio-visual feeds back to a satellite. In this way we can acquire much better photographs, including color, motion, and sound; and taken from a variety of angles.

NASA scientists are currently designing the RROD2 the next phase in our research. The RROD2 is a similar mobile device but with added functionality. It will be able to measure electromagnetic currents from the reanimates so that we can determine exactly which parts of their central nervous systems are active, and to what degree. Using RROD2, I hope to understand how much brain activity there is and in what part.

The RROD2 will also be able to emit some basic sound waves at different frequencies. We need to understand how much the reanimate can hear. Secondly, we want to measure brain activity in reaction to a variety of sounds. The ultimate goal of reanimate research is to learn to control, or at least modify, reanimate behavior, but so far we have no data that suggests we will be able to do that. However our research is really just starting. Perhaps we will discover how to calm the reanimates or at least distract them from destructive behavior.

ZWN: Why can't these studies be done in a clinical setting, with captured reanimates?

MP: The law, and our ethical code, prevent that. Countries that are affected by necro-mortosis outbreaks have focused on the humane disposal of infected individuals. Don't forget that any of us could be infected, or our loved ones. In addition, we in North America simply do not have access to infected individuals.

ZWN: Other than behavioral research, what are other scientists doing to understand the undead?

MP: There is a huge commitment in the scientific community to understanding this plague. American and German geneticists are working on an anti-viral drug called inhibitor XL-6 which shows some early promise. Scientists at Harvard are experimenting with infected tissue to find disinfectants that can help victims of exposure from contracting the disease. Last month's edition of the Scientific Journal of Medicine had a fascinating article about an Haitian women who seem to have some resistance to the effects of necro-mortosis; their blood is being used in an effort to develop a vaccine that is code-named MorganZ.

ZWN: You have been very generous with your time, Dr. Perez, and on behalf of all ZWN readers I want to thank you for sharing your insights with us today.

MP: You are very welcome.

The official medical report released by the Center for Disease Control states that the life cycle of a typical reanimate is up to 90 days. Then generally atrophy, rigor mortis and decay become too debilitating even for a re animator. They simply loose the means to move. They still retain basic motor skills and a pavlovian response to stimulation, but the body as a vehicle for the brain, gives out. Once the body has stopped functioning, the brain will deteriorate rapidly. It will 're die' within a matter of days.

Unlike popular movie depictions, a severed appendage of an undead will not function independently of the brain. The brain is the motor organ. It serves as the sole stimuli for the body and is always the last organ to deteriorate.

Since the necro-mortosis virus was first identified back in 2006 it has become increasingly apparent , that the 'life span' of the walking deceased changes with its environment.

Read the commissioned report here

Top 10 Myths

ZWN's Science Editor Dr. Nancy Chan explores and exposes some of the myths and misunderstandings surrounding the undead

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Baby Born With Necro-Mortosis Cured By Drug Combination
ZWN (AP) - Posted March 15/2014

Child born from necro-mortosis infected woman is cured using combination drug

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The World Health Authority site is the official Necro-Mortosis education site:
Visit it here for essential information on the virus

Visit site


Necro-Mortosis (corpse/dead), also known by the names Mortuus Ambulare" (walking dead) and "Corpus Vigere" (active/awake corpse)

We do know that the 'Necro-Virus' (Necro Mortosis) was first discovered in the West Indies - Haiti in 2006

The cause of the virus remains unknown at this point.

Three predominant theories suggest it's origin

A: Voodoo (Vodou). Considering the source of the outbreak is Haiti, this first theory is expected. However, no scientific facts support this theory or give it any credibility.

B: Viral anomalistic. Possibly a hybrid or chimera virus. Possibly crossed species. If this is the case, It remains unclear how the virus originated or mutated.

C: A bi-product of chemical/bacterial warfare. This again seems unlikely. No country or credible terrorist organization has claimed responsibility for the virus at this time.

Read the full explanation of the virus here


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Report by ZWN science correspondent:
Dr. Nancy Chan.

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