This post is a part of A-Z Challenge for bloggers, that takes place every year in the month of April. Bloggers take part in this challenge for self improvement and to overcome the “writer’s block”. Each one of us writes one article everyday, starting from the alphabet ‘A’, right up to ‘Z’. My theme for this year’s challenge is – mind-blowing facts and theories.
Zombie apocalypse seems fascinating in the world of movies, but what if I told you that it could be our reality someday?!!? We’re not talking about the dead rising from their graves, but scientists claim a zombie outbreak could occur from the evolution of a certain virus or parasite. Well, with the current scenario, we wouldn’t say we’re brave enough to face viruses anymore (w.r.t COVID-19)!
There’s a possibility that these parasites or viruses hijack the human brain and influence our behavior or remove our free will, eventually making humans act like zombies. These allegations by scientists aren’t just a leap in the dark, there have been instances of near zombification seen in the nature. A few of such instances are listed below:
Zombie Spiders: Anelosimus eximius species of spiders are social animals and prefer to remain in groups. However, when attacked by a parasitic wasp, the spiders leave their colonies and spun cocoon like webs in remote locations. The parasite soon paralyzes them and lays eggs inside their bodies. When the egg hatches, and wasp larva emerges, it starts feeding on the spider and takes full control of their body. Once the larva gains full control of their body, they turn them into zombie like creatures and they are compelled to stray away from their mates. Scary isn’t it? Being forced to act exactly opposite to your general behavior.
Zombie Rodents: A parasite known as toxoplasma gondii is known to infect the brains of rodents. The parasite manipulates the rodent’s behavior to make it fearless around cats, and it eventually ends up snuggling with one! But, unfortunately it only ends up becoming a meal. So, whats terrifyingly here is that these zombie-like effects aren’t exclusive to rodents, and numerous studies have shown them to be present in infected humans.
Humans infected with toxoplasma gondii tend to engage in high-risk activities, be more suspicious and jealous, are more likely to be schizophrenic and/or bipolar, or more likely to commit suicide. In addition to this, the bad news is that 30-50% of the global population is estimated to be infected with this parasite. However, if you have a strong immune system, you need not worry about toxoplasmosis.
A few zombie like cases have been observed in humans too. A specific psychiatric disorder called Cotard’s syndrome can cause living people to be under the delusion that they are dead or decomposing. Research suggests that it is a rare occurrence, but documented cases of people with this syndrome are unsettling.
- According to one case study, a 53-year-old woman suffering with Cotard’s syndrome claimed that she was dead, smelled like rotting flesh, and wanted to be taken to a morgue so that she could be with dead people.
- Another 65-year-old man had developed a belief that his organs (including his brain) had stopped working, and that even the house in which he lived was slowly but steadily falling apart. At some point, the man even attempted suicide.
With such cases being brought to light, The Walking Dead don’t just seem to be a folklore anymore!