Off all the differences between Voodoo Zombies of the Afro-Haitian tradition, and Modern Zombies as first realized by George Romero, none is more striking, and more overlooked, than the fact that Voodoo Zombies are not dead (or undead) in the slightest.
Unlike corpses rising from the grave, Voodoo Zombies are created through a mixture of drugs, religious ritual, and cultural belief. After being put into a trance-like state that approximates a coma, victims are regularly fed the hallucinogenic drug, Datura, also known as the zombie cucumber. Webster University Professor Emeritus and Haitian scholar, Bob Corbett, had this to add:
“Eating the zombie cucumber keeps them in their zonked-out state, but otherwise they are just like animals in a pen and will do what they are told to do. Mainly they’re used as slave labor.”
Corbett has studied Haiti for decades, and personally traveled there more than 50 times over the past fifteen years to investigate its people and traditions.
He went on to emphasize that Voodoo Zombies have beating hearts, and normal blood flow and body tempurature. They need to sleep and eat regular foods, and are not contagious or aggressive in the slightest. They are 100% alive, and so have almost nothing in common with the undead zombies that represent such a grave threat to the survival of the human race.