Zora Neale Hurston on zombies (1943)

June 3, 2013

Here is a short expert of Zora Neale Hurston being interviewed on the Mary Margaret McBride radio show in 1943, five years after publishing Tell My Horse: Voodoo and Life in Haiti and Jamaica, one of the earliest ethnographies of Haitian folklore in which she described her encounter with an ‘actual’ zombie: Felicia Felix-Mentor.

felicia+felix+mentor

The image, allegedly published in Life magazine (oh irony!), gave substance to sensationalist accounts of zombies like those of self-declared cannibal William Seabrook in The Magic Island (1929) which were assumed, until this image gained public attention, to be the stuff of ‘mere legend and primitive superstition’.

Interesting to hear the term ‘suspended animation’ used in this context. 

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