Please consider the strange case of Felicia Felix-Mentor.
In 1907, Felicia, a native of a small Haitian village where she and her husband owned a grocery store, suddenly became very ill. No one knew what was wrong, but she grew gradually worse until, in the end, she died. Felicia was given a peaceful burial. But that’s hardly the end of the story. Twenty-nine years after her burial, on November 8, 1936, this supposedly dead woman was seen walking along the road—naked—on her way to a farm where her brother worked as a foreman. The farm’s tenants tried to drive her away, but her brother recognized her at once as the sister he’d buried over two decades before. Dr. Rulx Leon, Director-General of the Service d’Hygiene in Haiti, reported the bizarre story of her reappearance to the authorities. Well-known American writer Zora Neale Hurston actually tracked Felicia to a hospital at Gonaives in southern Haiti.
In her book, Tell My Horse, Ms. Hurston writes:
“We found the Zombie in the hospital yard. They had just set her dinner before her, but she was not eating. The moment she sensed our approach, she broke off a limb of a shrub and began to use it to dust and clean the ground and the table, which bore her food. The two doctors made kindly noises and tried to reassure her. She seemed to hear nothing. The doctor uncovered her head for a moment (she had covered it with a cloth) but she promptly clapped her arms and hands over it to shut out the things she dreaded. Finally the doctor forcibly uncovered her and held her … and the sight was dreadful. The blank face with the dead eyes.”
Ms. Hurston photographed Felicia. You can check it out. The photos of the zombie are in her book.
Then there are the mysterious circumstances surrounding the deaths of Clairvius Narcisse and Ti Femme. These were documented by Dr. Lamarque Douyon, Director of the Centre de Psychiatrie et Neurologie in Port-au-Prince and recorded by celebrated ethno-botanist Wade Davis . Clairvius, was declared dead at Albert Schweitzer Hospital at Deschapelles in the Arbonite Valley in Haiti on May 2, 1962. He was buried the next morning. His sister, Angelina, was present at the funeral. Eighteen years later, Angelina was shocked when her long dead brother approached her in the marketplace. He claimed he’d been resurrected, beaten, bound, and enslaved. For two years, he said, he had worked in the company of other zombies. When their “master” was finally murdered, he escaped and wandered for sixteen years.
Another zombie, Ti Femme, died at home on February 23, 1976 at the age of thirty. There was nothing unusual about her burial except that she was discovered three years later—quite alive but disoriented and completely withdrawn—by her mother. Talk about a cold case! To verify that this was indeed Ti Femme, her grave was reopened and her casket exhumed. The coffin was full of rocks.
And what of Natagette Joseph, who was killed in a dispute in 1966 and recognized wandering around her village by the very same police officer who had pronounced her dead 14 years before?
More recently, in February 1988, a young man by the name of Wilfred Doricent, a native of the town of Roche-a-Bateau at the tip of Haiti’s southernmost peninsula, fell victim to a mysterious illness. He succumbed to the “sickness”, died and was buried. On September 11, 1989, a former girlfriend recognized him wandering around in a nearby village. On March 12, 1990, a jury dispensed true justice, sentencing Doricent’s uncle, Belavoix Doricent, to life imprisonment for the crime of zombification.
And finally there are the seventeen Haitian zombies discovered living in squalid conditions in a dilapidated compound near Jacmel just three years ago. Perhaps you read about them? All were traced to lives and families that confirmed their deaths in the decades prior. Of the seventeen, two—Joceline Relufe and Elitan Danfourer—produced evidence that led to the 2007 apprehension of their “murderer.” Investigators in Jacmel believe that the same individual was responsible for all seventeen of the cases.
Then, of course, there is my situation. The consciousness of the girl, Erin Orison, went into hiding on the evening of August 10, 2009. In the days that followed she would materialize in a greatly abstracted state in the streets of Tokyo, Amsterdam, Kuala Lumpur and in villages in parts of Malaysia until she would appear to be critically injured in a 20-foot fall from a trapeze (there was, oddly, no net) from which she would rise seemingly unaffected and in one piece.
These are the facts.