The Black Plague of the middle ages was the deadliest event in human history, with estimates suggesting that half of the world’s population was killed off in just a few years.  ZRS Researcher, Scott Pitts, looked at the societal reaction to such a devastating time to gain insight into the challenges we may face in the coming zombie pandemic.  Turns out, Ned Flanders might be a bigger threat than any undead menace.

Pitts found that the very real notion of the world ending sent many people into a religious panic that bordered on sheer insanity.  And no group better illustrates this point than the Flagellants:

“The Flagellants walked across Europe, whipping themselves to a bloody pulp as they shambled through the streets of any plague-infested town they passed, in hopes of atoning for the sins of man that brought such suffering to them all.  But when masochism didn’t work, they started to attack and kill anyone they thought might be a particularly offensive sinner.  Even town priests were not safe from their wrath.”

As the violent fervor intensified, the Flagellant mob murdered tens of thousands of innocent people, before the disease began to subside and the Catholic Church ruled them heretics and outlawed the practice.

So if you’re a sinner – and we all are – you might want to think about keeping a low profile when the TV news starts talking about dead people rising and attacking their neighbors.  If you’re not careful, you could find a bloodthirsty horde kicking down your door and eating you alive on the off chance that your past actions caused the undead apocalypse.

Oh, and watch out for the zombies too.


  1. Europe after the plague gave rise to real fear of strangers passing thru a town. Suspician of sick travelers lead to laws being enforced that kept small towns isolated on purpose to avoid risk of further contamination. Any freaky relgious person walking around with open wounds would have gotten contaminated even quicker and died, or be driven off by towspeople ready to slaughter strangers….

  2. Here’s something I’ve wondered about: What do people with religions think happens to zombies when they “die” (as in, bullet to the brain)? What about as they’re turning into zombies? Would they say the person’s soul “escapes the body” as that happens?

    Gerald is right…a whole lot of people have religions. However, I’ve found that whenever a large amount of people is doing something, it usually means that something’s gone terribly wrong. Perhaps if we can stop being sheeple, we’ll have a better chance against the undead wolves.

  3. how about an article on what types of mutations could cause a zombie to go “super ape shit”n you also an article really talking about the worst scenario, you guys touched on that breifly but like the toxoplasma ghandi would not be zombies more like 2 days.

  4. I never understood how the movies make people so gullible. anyone with an inkling of bible knowledge would know you don’t sacrifice kids. Most unbelievers have enough bible knowledge to refute false prophets.

    But if you got a gang of people, with a doctrine or set of rules they can get crazy. but i wouldn’t worry about most religious people. 90% of the world believes in a god of some kind. you would have to be a complete idiot to think you must separate yourself from them. A zombie pandemic might take some of the steam out of their doctrine, but they will still pray. And during a zombie invasion, everyone becomes religious. Religious people may be your only chance of survival. i wouldn’t put them off so quick.

  5. religion is odd i am a christian but not a religious zealot there weird like that

  6. Anybody read the book or watch the movie version of Stephen King’s The Mist? If you have, then you probably thought the religious nuts were scarier than what might have been in the mist. Just sometimes, the monster you don’t know is better than the monster you know.

    Religious fanatics, people who style themselves as warlords, and the like are the ones to be truly wary of in the event of a zombie apocalypse.

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