In the soon to be released novel, War of the Zombies©, the central character, Brian Evans, explains it all to a documentary film maker.
He says, “Look. History is replete with accounts of real zombies—not those B-movie and pulp novels about decomposing bodies rising up from the grave to devour men’s brains. That’s as fantastic as the Tin Man traveling to OZ in search of a brain.
“From the time of pre-recorded ancient Egyptian history, we see the idea of the living dead in the form of mummies, some of which were reported to rise up and walk in order to protect the Pharaohs in their journey to the afterlife. It was fearful to them back then, but it was also an accepted truth.
“Plato gave us the idea of the astral body that Judaism and Christianity interpreted as the soul. This body lay somewhere between the intelligent mind and the physical body. You cannot count the number of testimonies of people who report having left their bodies to travel into Plato’s astral plane. Those, obviously, are the ones whose astral body or soul returned to their physical beings and lived to tell the tale.
“Then there are the others. A few individuals who get separated permanently from their astral bodies, but the mind lingers on. Those are the real zombies. If you consider the biblical idea of the human being composed of body, soul, and spirit (the intellect, if you will), then the strange line from Hebrews 4:12 takes on a whole new meaning. For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Simply put, the soul and spirit of some unfortunates get separated without causing the physical death, as we know it, to occur.
“In more modern times, Edgar Allan Poe became obsessed with the idea of being buried alive supported by case after case of the phenomenon he did not quite understand. In The Premature Burial he writes, To be buried while alive is, beyond question, the most terrific of these extremes which has ever fall to the lot of mere mortality. That it has frequently, very frequently, so fallen will scarcely be denied by those who think. The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins? We know that there are diseases in which occur total cessations of all the apparent functions of vitality, and yet in which these cessations are merely suspensions, properly so called. They are only temporary pauses in the incomprehensible mechanism. A certain period elapses, and some unseen mysterious principle again sets in motion the magic pinions and the wizard wheels. The silver cord was not for ever loosed, not the golden bowl irreparably broken. But there, meantime, was the soul?
“Zombies, my friend, are those for whom the magic pinions and wizard wheels keep on turning. As to Poe’s question regarding the location of the soul, let me assure you that we have no idea.”
To learn more about the transformation that creates a zombie, answers can be found in the first novel, The Naked Zombie, now available as an eBook at Smashwords.com.