If rigor mortis is temporary in zombies, then escape strategies must be adjusted to account for the window of “dead” Zombie Hiding Placetime at the height of rigor.

The theory is that a great wave of panic and violence will sweep infected areas over the first several hours and days of an undead outbreak.  Many will try to flee, so the roads will be clogged and dangerous.  Complete chaos will ensue as the rule of law breaks down, and the number of zombies roaming the streets increases rapidly.  But a lull is coming.

As the outbreak progresses, many zombies will begin experiencing advanced rigor mortis.  They’ll be stiffening to the height of rigor, or loosening up after the height.  Either way, they will be moving very slowly, if at all.   Therefore, this could be the best time to make for the safety of a remote, unpopulated location.

The problem is, if you go too early you’ll be met by scores of gnashing, fast zombies, and terrified, irrational humans.  By contrast, if you go too late the zombies will be up and running again in even greater numbers.  So pick your window wisely.



  1. One word: Walmart. My couson said walmart because you can baracade it with the shelves.
    Food+Shelter+Air+Water+Weapons+Survivers=Survival. Dont forget the Survival Rule of Threes: 1. Your Dead Without Three Minutes of Air. 2. Your Dead Without Three Hours of Shelter 3. Your Dead Without Three Days of Water. 4. Your Dead Without Three Weeks of Food. I think thats how it goes.

  2. Dustin Lambright

    I posted in an earlier blog about whether there would be slow zombies or fast zombies. Now that this theory has been brought up, I now realize that there may be both. Fast at first. Then Slow (because of rigor mortis). Then back to fast, after it has worn off. Now I have to revise my escape plan.

  3. Hey there ZRS I love the site! From what I understand the rigor in the joints and muscles is because the biochemical chain reaction that causes a living person’s muscles to move, stops working when someone dies. When the reaction stops, the muscles and joints eventually become locked in place. If a zombie bite victim were to become a zombie immediately or even within a few hours and subsequent movement of the joints would begin again, the rigor process could be stopped.

    • It’s actually my understanding that modern medicine has no explanation for why rigor happens, and why it then fades away in a matter of hours. It is a bit of a mystery itself, I believe.

      • Well should in the impending Zombie Apocalypse, zombies be temporarily held up by rigor, it would be a great time to take out the All Terrain Zombie Proof Vehicle and do some zombie speed-bump testing on it’s chassis and suspension.

      • Modern medicine actually has a very good understanding of why rigor mortis sets in, muscle fibers contract, then use atp to break the connection, thus resetting the muscle so it can contract again, when you die your body obviously stops producing atp, so the muscles contract but are unable to loosen. Rigor mortis goes away after microbes have decomposed the body enough…if you actually expect to be taken slightly serious should actually do some basic research into biology before stating random fallacies.

      • your research is starting to really slack, this post also lacks some basic common sense regarding rigor and all zombies being affected at the same time

        rigor mortis is not an unknown reaction, great study has gone into it

        • This post was published in 2010, so are research isn’t “starting to slack” – I guess it’s been slacking for a long time! Sorry you didn’t like it.

  4. i see what u are sayinhg spacepope but to hold up ina mall i think is a bad idea because a mall is so big and you couldn’t defend it all that well unless it was an outlet mall were the shops are all small and spread apart b ut what you said is totally right you should stay in your house until you are forced to evacuate

  5. as people would be infected at a different time from the next, no one could ever time an escape based around this because every zombie would have a different time of rigor mortis

  6. Actually….. there will always be zombies without rigor. It’s a chain reaction. New zombies go and bite people… then maybe rigor, but some of the people they bit will then be up and moving about. Some people will die fast and turn, some will take more time to die if they get away after a bite. Rigor won;t really matter much just because some have it, as many others won’t at any given time.

    • Hold up somewhere for at least a month after the initial outbreak, 6 months if you can get away with it… wait for the majority of people to turn, and start to rot. If you can stay alive for a year or two there will be way less zombies to deal with as the big first wave rots rots rots.

  7. a real simple plan, dont include riger, saves time thinking theyll be pissed off stumbling ones

  8. personally a military bunker well stocked and self reliant will be the best to keep out zombies plus noninfected survivors and im sure theyll be weapons there not to mention nonperishable foods and entertainment

  9. Spacepope, I agree. You want to make a stronghold, and you’ll want to stay there temporarily — nothing is forever. A months worth of food is a good start, but I would say stretch it out to 5 days minimum after an outbreak. Not only do you want the threat to die down, you want scavengers, hunters and LEOs to vacate the area as well. If you stay too long, you risk having your home invaded or attacked by survivors or lost zombies.

    • Well I agree nothing lasts forever but I look at it from a Dawn of the Dead (remake) perspective. If you have everything you need why leave before you have to. Once the survivors left the mall half were dead before they made it to the boat and the ending was unclear if any of the others ever made it off the boat. If you are smart in your home survival then you won’t have to leave for a very long time. But a packed and ready escape rout is a must and if you can’t fortify your home or say apartment then I would say go for this window of possible safety. None of my thoughts would likely apply in an urban setting but then again I don’t live in an urban setting so… yeah.

  10. I think by the time rigor mortis is worn off, the bodies will have begun decaying. I don’t think it’s going to wear off and they’ll be able to just jump up and start running.

  11. Best Zombie survival plan…..Dont tell anyone (except your loved ones) Your Zombie survival plan. We are all against each other us against the zombies, us against us. Better get out of my way cause when i come through, if it moves it gets hacked.

    • Well truth is unless you have the ability to go were most people could never reach then chances are others will be trying the same thing as you. Most of the best zombie plans I have heard involve getting to your own home. Your home is the one place that you can have pre-fortified before the zombie outbreak hits. You should have food, water, and ammo already and also some mode of fortifying your surroundings. Instead of immediately worrying about how to flea into the wild you can wait till the panic dies and make you move then. Hell if your house is already ready there could even be no need to leave.
      If you have a one months supply of food I wouldn’t make my move three days after the panic. I would wait till the sounds of dead went silent and the hoards have left in hot pursuit of the living.
      That is my wishful thinking.

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