Ancient Aliens – Aliens and the Undead: Zombies rising from their graves… Blood sucking vampires damned for all eternity… and humans trapped in a life and death struggle between heaven and hell.
For thousands of years, mankind has told tales of encounters with strange, soulless creatures. Are these beliefs merely manmade fabrications–or could there be extraterrestrial origins in earthly encounters with the undead?
Ancient Aliens – Aliens and the Undead
Ancient Aliens explores the controversial theory that extraterrestrials have visited Earth for millions of years. From the age of the dinosaurs to ancient Egypt, from early cave drawings to continued mass sightings in the US, each episode in this hit HISTORY series gives historic depth to the questions, speculations, provocative controversies, first-hand accounts and grounded theories surrounding this age old debate. Did intelligent beings from outer space visit Earth thousands of years ago?
A zombie (Haitian French: zombi, Haitian Creole: zonbi) is a fictional undead being created through the reanimation of a corpse. Zombies are most commonly found in horror and fantasy genre works. The term comes from Haitian folklore, in which a zombie is a dead body reanimated through various methods, most commonly magic. Modern depictions of the reanimation of the dead do not necessarily involve magic but often invoke science fictional methods such as carriers, radiation, mental diseases, vectors, pathogens, parasites, scientific accidents, etc.
The English word “zombie” was first recorded in 1819, in a history of Brazil by the poet Robert Southey, in the form of “zombi”. The Oxford English Dictionary gives the word’s origin as West African and compares it to the Kongo words nzambi (god) and zumbi (fetish). A Kimbundu-to-Portuguese dictionary from 1903 defines the related word nzumbi as soul, while a later Kimbundu–Portuguese dictionary defines it as being a “spirit that is supposed to wander the earth to torment the living”.
One of the first books to expose Western culture to the concept of the voodoo zombie was The Magic Island (1929) by W. B. Seabrook. This is the sensationalized account of a narrator who encounters voodoo cults in Haiti and their resurrected thralls. Time commented that the book “introduced ‘zombi’ into U.S. speech”. Zombies have a complex literary heritage, with antecedents ranging from Richard Matheson and H. P. Lovecraft to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein drawing on European folklore of the undead.
A vampire is a creature from folklore that subsists by feeding on the vital essence (generally in the form of blood) of the living. In European folklore, vampires are undead creatures that often visited loved ones and caused mischief or deaths in the neighborhoods they inhabited while they were alive. They wore shrouds and were often described as bloated and of ruddy or dark countenance, markedly different from today’s gaunt, pale vampire which dates from the early 19th century.
Vampiric entities have been recorded in most cultures; the term vampire was popularized in Western Europe after reports of an 18th-century mass hysteria of a pre-existing folk belief in the Balkans and Eastern Europe that in some cases resulted in corpses being staked and people being accused of vampirism. Local variants in Eastern Europe were also known by different names, such as shtriga in Albania, vrykolakas in Greece and strigoi in Romania.