The Babongo Tribe of West Africa believe they possess the ability to communicate with zombies. In fact their entire religion, called Bwiti, is based on cultivating a strong relationship with the zombies they claim are all around.

To see zombies the tribe chews on the bark of the bitter iboga plant while drinking a ritual tea. Once the ceremony is complete the undead show themselves to the Babongo, but it’s important to note that these are not considered ghosts or spirits. They are believed to be actual physical creatures, as Anthropologist Mark Leitchman explains:

“The Bwiti zombies are as real and solid as any animal or plant one might find in the forest. They don’t appear and disappear, or fly through the night sky, or even live on another mystic plain. Humans simply have bad vision and the iboga plant acts as a pair of glasses showing us what’s always been there.”

Westerners who have participated in the Babongo ritual report suddenly finding their rooms filled with  living human corpses. Some of the zombies simple stared and said nothing, while others offered advice and counsel.

Clearly the zombies found in Babongo culture behave differently than our understanding of how a modern zombie would. There is no flesh-eating or apocalyptic destruction.  But the Bwiti like many primitive tribe across the globe have held their undead beliefs and traditions for centuries, proving that the notion of “zombie” is not new in the slightest.


  1. Interesting ideas. This article needs some serious spellcheck.

  2. Ibogaine is a psychoactive drug found in the Iboga plant that is commonly used to treat dope-sickness, and when drunk with a tea containing MAOI inhibitors, can offer a particularly strange and introspective hallucinogenic experience, with some nice visuals to tout. People who take hallucinogenics expecting to “see” anything do. Take acid thinking your gunna see spiders, you probably will. What’s most interesting here is the fact that this African tribe recognizes that alter your brains ability to intemperate it’s senses, and managed to build an entire religion around this drug. They got high, their brain changed frequencies and they were able to astral project while in a conscious state. Whohoo. Sounds like a typical Friday night.

  3. I’d like to see studies on this as well. If the participants continue all other functions perfectly, there’s really no reason to doubt it. If that is the only side effect of the plant, no other hallucinations, for lack of better words from a skeptic, and there is no distortion of judgment or alteration in motor skills like many drugs – including lethargy – then there’s really no reason to look into it further. (it’s kind of obvious what my opinion is here)

    Personally, I’d like to see two people both partaking in the ritual, one attempting to disprove the plant, the other unaware of the firsts intentions. The first would point out zombies s/he sees (assuming they see any first) and describe them to person number two so as to see if person number two sees these same physical entities. Then describe one s/he doesn’t see and if the second person sees it anyway. *shrug* Testimony can be enough evidence sometimes.

  4. I’d like to take part in this ritual myself and see what happens. I think this is one of the times that you will see exactly whatever you had expected to see beforehand.

  5. That’s a very interesting theory, and very worth investigating just to see if its true.

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