It is impossible to rule out the possibility of a zombie apocalypse. Really, it is. It seems rather unlikely, I'll admit, but it is possible in a number of different ways. But I'll let the experts explain that.
Yesterday I had a story in The Oregonian about the walking dead. When I sent it off, my editor called me and said, "These people can't be serious. They must be pulling your leg."
It took some doing, but I assured her that there are actually a significant number of people who are actively preparing for the zombie onslaught in one way or another. Here are some choice quotes that didn't make it into the story.
Andrew Migliore, Zompire film festival director on the movies he shows:
All these films are training films. Some of them might be more amusing than others, you can argue about the merits of the special effects and stuff, but you know, I think the person who's really looking for more of a home-defense point of view is taking it from a perspective that these are all training films and they're looking to see filmmakers try to surprise them so that they can prepare for the unexpected.
Rick Emerson, a radio host on AM 970 who once interviewed Max Brooks, the leading contemporary zombie writer, explains why zombies could happen.
Nature is full of things that we would think impossible....We know that there are viruses that make people behave in strange ways, that can affect your metabolism and your immunity to certain things. so the idea the idea that there would be some sort of reanimative properties in viruses is not so far off the mark. We have such a limited understanding of the human brain. They still don't even know why people die. Things that seem impossible are often only improbable.
Explaining his own plan for Z day:
Preparation takes many different forms. My obsession is trying to think of the perfect refuge during the coming zombie apocalypse--because it's a matter of when, not if. The place that I came up with is Costco. It's big. It's spacious. There's everything you could need there. Costco has food. Costco has tools. Costco has outdoor tools, specifically things like hatchets and saws. Costco has it's own fuel supply. It has a huge selection of electronics like radios and televisions so you can communicate with the outside world. Costco has books. It has music, things for entertainment to sort of keep you sane while you're hunkered down. Costco has huge metal shutters and it's fairly open and spacious which it's going to be a relatively comfortable place to reside while you're waiting out the horrors of the living dead.
And on the appeal of zombie lore:
Stephen King had this great thing that he said about horror movies and roller coasters and haunted houses. Basically all of the things that are entertaining and based in a morbid or terrifying sensibility, they're all "rehearsals for death." They are all attempts to come to grips with our own mortality and to rehearse it so it's no longer so awful, it's no longer so fearsome. Maybe it helps us prepare for the inevitability of our own deaths.
Abel Oelson, zombie walk attendee on why the idea of the zombie apocalypse is appealing:
I think it has to do with that lack of adventure in the modern world. The ability to be the hero. But if I got taken down in the zombie invasion and turned into a zombie, I think I'd be alright with that. It's the prolonged life and immortality.
A. Scott Glancy, president of Pagan Publishing on the real nature of zombie preparation:
To me, the whole concept of zombie preparedness is on the one level, you're making fun of all these other preparedness crazes like the Russians and Y2K. But to prepare for zombies is twofold. You're actually prepared in a way that could help you in the way of Katrina, or a big earth quake in San Francisco or Mt. Rainer, which is real threat and could actually blow up in my lifetime. It's got all of those elements to it, but at the same time, you're sort of thumbing your nose at all the fear mongers. It's a combination to me of actually looking out for yourself a little bit, but at the same time not taking it too seriously. Because if you took it too seriously, it would suck all the joy out of your life preparing for the end. However, if you're prepared for the end in this sort of ludicrous fashion, you still have your sense of humor, which you're going to need as much as you'll need the dried food.
Miscellaneous quotes from Schyler Reis, Reptilian Civilian frontman and future Z day survivor.
Well, it could be happening right now. it doesn't necessarily have to be a single day.
The whole thing about zombies attacking you is critical mass. One, five, ten zombies aren't going to get you, but hundreds? I don't live in the city anymore because of the possibility of zombie attacks. [He recently moved from North Portland to Boring, Oregon].
[Director George A.] Romero could be one of the zombie prophets.
Zombies are going to attack in some way or another, be it real zombies or zombies as a metaphor for a brainwashed army like the red Chinese.
What happens if a zombie starves to death? Does it rot? Is there zombie fungus? Could they then release zombie spores that could get you later?
When I was young, in kindergarten, I think, I was home alone and they had Night of the Living Dead on TV for Halloween and it really scared the shit out of me. The scaredest I've ever been. I was so certain there were zombies everywhere. It was black and white so it seemed more important or something.
It's one of the things that keeps me going if I'm ever down. the idea that I need to be around to see [Z day].
It might be a way for the Earth to cleanse itself. I'm taking environmental science classes and Earth's human population is too much. It might be a necessity to save any people. in order to save humanity, there must be massive zombification.
The main dilemma is one of your loved ones being zombified. You have to be ready to kill them right away.
I think [zombie walks] are propaganda to try to make people less able and ready. I also think that would be a great time to strike with your zombie army.
I thought [Max Brook's Zombie Survival Guide was really stupid because it just made stuff up like it was true. It's a real thing, just like there are really people who suck blood and think they're vampires because of a disease.
Photo by Brent Wojahn for The Oregonian.