From the Desk of Mr. Zissman

The musings of an over-stimulated mind

The Ultimate Zombie Survival Guide

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Folks, it’s pretty clear we are living in dangerous times. Don’t believe me? Just look at this sampling of news articles:

Man Bites Woman in Westchester

Man Bites Cousin’s Nose Off

Naked Man Allegedly Eating Victim’s Face Shot And Killed By Miami Police 

For years now I have been like John the Baptist, a lone voice crying in the wilderness. I have preached the truth about the undead and yet no one listened. And then came The Miami Face Eater (that’s also the name of my new emo-core band, please don’t steal) and suddenly, everyone was concerned about zombies!

Now if I were a jerk, I’d leave you all to your doom. As the zombies feasted on your fleshy innards, you would look up and say “Save us!” and I’d look down and whisper “No.”, but I’m not that type of guy. Yes, I have warned you for years and, yes, I have been primarily ignored but that doesn’t mean I’ll stop preparing for the ghouls to rise up and tear chunks of reality from your still quivering body. I’m here to help. I care, because you do.

For starters, we need to know what we’re up against. Let’s channel Adam and Jamie here and bust some myths:

  1. Zombies are not created via demonic spell books
  2. Zombies are not created by ‘space radiation’
  3. Zombies cannot burst through their graves to walk among us
  4. Zombies do not dance in carefully planned routines lead by Michael Jackson (though it would be pretty damn cool if they did!)

So now that we know what zombies AREN’T, let’s discuss what zombies ARE. Zombies are the reanimated corpses of the dead, a shambling, blasphemous abomination that has an insatiable hunger for the flesh of the living. No one is quite sure why, as the digestive system and taste buds are completely devoid of any activity. In fact, some recently declassified military documents show that some zombies were to have partaken of so much flesh, that their very stomachs ruptured. There are theories on how they are able to tell the difference between living flesh and dead flesh, but none of it has been proven. Theories include smell, sight, or even a sort of ‘psychic bond’. Again, nothing has been proven so it’s all speculation.

As to what causes a zombie, the answer is fairly simple. Zombies are created when a virus known as Solanum enters the body. Though historical records may point to zombie instances dating back as far 60,000 B.C, the Solanum virus was first discovered by Dr. Jan Vanderhaven shortly before WWII. Originally stationed in the Netherlands, Vanderhaven was captured and transported into Nazi Germany (some say by Hitler himself) to investigate an outbreak of what Der Fuehrer thought was malaria. Though the Reich destroyed most of Vanderhaven’s work in the waning hours of the war, some fragments from his personal journal have surfaced.

I find myself more and more perplexed by these poor souls. Day in and day out, Hitler’s men bring them in on soiled, bloody stretchers. How they moan! My god, it’s like the very soul of Satan inhabits their eyes!” ~ From the personal journal of Dr. Jan Vanderhaven, DATE UNKNOWN.

What we need more of is SCIENCE

Dr. Vanderhaven

Thanks to some limited amount of research he was able to smuggle to some US spies, bits of his ground breaking work became the backbone for what we know of the Solanum virus. For one thing, it’s 100% communicable and 100% fatal. There is no antidote or vaccine. Once the Solanum virus enters the blood stream, that poor soul is on a train ride to hell. Oddly enough, despite attempts dating back to Nazi Germany, it’s impossible to “weaponize” Solanum. It cannot be inhaled or swallowed, but has to be introduced into the blood stream directly. Secondly, Solanum seems to only ‘turn’ humans and not animals of any kind. Declassified documents from Operation Iraqi Freedom have shown that Saddam was planning on using Solanum infested dogs on his enemies, including unleashing a potentially zombified pitbull on Bin Laden himself!

Where does Solanum come from? Good question. No one is quite sure, as Solanum has never been discovered ‘in the wild’, so to speak. The only traces of Solanum that can be found are in actual infected humans. Outside of the body, the virus dies rather quickly and cannot sustain itself in water, dirt or mineral.

So let’s say a poor soul, we’ll call him George, is infected with the Solanum virus due to a zombie bite on his upper left arm. What exactly happens? Well, the Solanum virus immediately destroys the complete frontal lobe of the brain. From there, it “re-wires” it, almost like tugging the strings of a marionette puppet.

Brains, brains, brains

The actual patterns on how this is accomplished are still a mystery to science. We’ve seen the beginning and the end, but the middle is still the greatest puzzle of the undead menace. But let’s go back to George, who’s just been bitten by a ghoul. What happens?

Without going into too much detail, you can expect the following symptoms:
Hour 1 – Pain and discoloration (brown-purple) of the infected area. Immediate clotting of the wound.
Hour 5 – Fever (99-103 degrees F), chills, slight dementia, vomiting, acute pain in the joints.
Hour 8 – Numbing of extremities and infected area, increased fever (103-106 degrees F), increased dementia, loss of muscular coordination.
Hour 11 – Paralysis in the lower body, overall numbness, slowed heart rate.
Hour 16 – Coma
Hour 20 – Heart stoppage. Zero brain activity.
Hour 23 – Reanimation

Again, there is NO CURE. The best offense is a good defense. Study the art of undead prevention (I’ll suggest some books in a bit), practice with your weapons and pay attention to the news!

Finally, we get to the point I’m sure a lot of you are interested in: weapons. What exactly can we do to fend off the shambling hordes of the undead?  ‘Killing’ a zombie is actually quite simple: severely damage the brain. Nothing else will work. You can hack, slash, smash, maim, burn, chop, slice, dice and they will keep on coming. In fact, a dismembered zombie head is still just as likely to try and bite you as one still attached!

We can break weaponry down into two basic categories: Long-Range and Close-Range. There is a whole horde of weapons one could use, but instead I’ll just suggest my personal favorites for each category

LONG RANGE: You need a weapon that is both reliable and accurate. For this I would suggest a high-powered, bolt-action hunting rifle with a zoom scope.

Pretty much the worst weapon in L4D

Click to embiggen

Remember, the only way to stop a zombie is to damage the brain permanently. A handgun or an assault rifle is messy, inaccurate and will waste ammo. You need one shot, one kill capabilities.

SHORT RANGE: Movies and popular culture have glorified things like a chainsaw or even a lawn-mower, but both of these will get you killed faster than you can say “They’re coming to get you, Barbara.” Both are heavy, cumbersome and require extensive amounts of gasoline. If you run out of gas, you’re basically stuck with a very large paper weight. When the undead are clamoring at you, you need something that’s damaging and doesn’t need reloading.

Gordon, you are needed in the test chamberYes, the crowbar is perfect for hand-to-hand combat. Do not get one of those cheap light-weight ones you can find in auto stores, but the old-school heavy iron bars. The curved head is perfect for smashing and the prying end is perfect for stabbing, especially through a zombie’s eye socket and right into the brains.

There’s plenty more we can cover, from ways to fortify your house, coming up with an emergency zombie plan and more, but instead I’ll just point you towards this wonderful book.

But you don't have to take my word for it

Buy it, read it, study it, enjoy it. Be prepared, my friends. The undead are coming. They do not feel fear, so why should we?


Written by MrZissman

06/01/2012 at 10:56 PM

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