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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Zombie Preparedness: The Undead are coming, are YOU prepared?

Hello dear readers and welcome. As you know, May is Zombie Awareness Month, and we writers (and I, the mighty writer/editor) here at I Smell Sheep seek to keep you safe. After all, without our devoted readers we'd be out of a job. And that would be a terrible thing indeed. So today I've been asked to share some of my bountiful knowledge of the zombie menace, and I'm happy to oblige. Without further ado I shall begin my course in Zombie Preparedness.

Know Thy Enemy: On the Many Types of Zombies
Now when a zombie outbreak occurs, it's very important to know which type of zombies you're fighting. Obviously, the methods utilized to defeat the zombies will be varied. Thus it is important to be able to identify what type of zombies you're fighting before you create a plan of action.

Shamblers: These are what we call "classic" zombies that you may have seen in George Romero's Night of the Living Dead. These zombies slowly shuffle from one place to another, occasionally moaning or shouting for brains. Because of their shambling gait they have been classified as shamblers by professional zombie hunters. Historical records of this type of zombie go as far back as ancient Egypt and are perhaps mankind's oldest experience with the living dead. Shamblers are individually, rather weak. They possess little to no intelligence and are easily outwitted. However, they become extremely strong and extremely single-minded. Accounts tell of a single shambler mercilessly pounding at a door for hours to attack survivors inside. Fortunately, human ingenuity usually triumphs over these brutes. Depending on the vector of the zombie plague (more on that later) it is possible for entire hordes of shamblers to appear almost overnight. It is in a horde that shamblers are at their strongest, combining their brute strength and tireless determination with seemingly unstoppable numbers. When fighting shamblers it is best to minimize their advantages. Channel them into narrow areas that eliminate their advantage of numbers and pick them off one by one. Ultimately the defeat of a shambler outbreak depends on the average citizen being aware of the dangers and preparing for such an event. Human cooperation and ingenuity has defeated many such outbreaks in the past.

Runners: This type of zombie is a more recent development and is named for its distinctive abilities. Upon seeing human prey a runner will run at full or even supernatural speed at the human. For experienced veterans used to fighting the much slower shamblers, runners came as a nasty, and very fast surprise. The record of runner zombies is rather short, with them appearing largely in the last twenty years. Zombie researchers are continuing to examine how runners came about and are conducting exhaustive tests against them. In addition to their great speed, runners share the unending persistence of their shambler cousins and in some cases their unusual strength. Whether they are brighter than shamblers remains to be determined. Even a single runner can pose a great threat to experienced zombie hunters, unable to cope with their increased speed. For the average citizen, it is best to avoid being found by runners at all. Their tendency to run full-tilt at human prey can be used for some clever traps, but it's best if you avoid fighting them at all. In case of runner outbreak, head to a personal or designated zombie shelter and remain there until the all-clear from authorities.

Unusual/Mutants: Sometimes the zombie outbreak unleashes unusual mutated forms of zombies that show little to no resemblance to the human infected. From towering monstrosities to bloated abominations, these zombies can take a variety of shapes and abilities. Some become extremely strong, capable of lifting a city bus and throwing it at zombie defense troopers. Some mutants grow extremely long claws that tear through zombie and human alike in a scythe of destruction. And some maintain their human, or gain a superhuman intelligence. Ultimately there is no telling with these various freaks. The trained zombie hunters are often at a loss with a new type of mutation, forget the average citizen. As a normal citizen it is advised you stay low and avoid conflict with these zombies at all costs. If you spot a new mutation of zombie notify authorities immediately so we can attempt to gather information on defeating this new and challenging threat. If the citizenry is called upon to fight these creatures, the authorities will make sure to provide information booklets about all known mutations and their weaknesses to give you every opportunity to succeed. However, if the authorities do not ask for your help, please REMAIN IN YOUR SHELTERS.

The Vectors of Infection: How is a zombie made?
Humanity has fought zombie outbreaks since ancient times, and you would think we would have how a zombie is made figured out by now. Unfortunately, the ways of making a zombie are many indeed and pose a great and continuing threat to humanity. Fortunately we have a list of the various ways and some suggestions on how to best defend yourself.

The Virus: Viral infection is by far becoming the most common explanation of zombie outbreaks in recent times. Whether this is because of expanding fears of viruses such as HIV/AIDS, the increase of mankind's medical knowledge, or just an increase in the spread of communicable diseases remains unknown. However, the origins of zombie viruses has been traced to three main sources:
  1. Mutated Influenza: An extremely popular idea considering recent scares such as Bird and Swine Flu. The possibility of a flu pandemic as bad as the Spanish Flu of 1918 has become even more probable with modern global transportation. It is possible the influenza virus may become a potent and easily-spread zombie infection. Normal precautions against the flu apply.
  2. Genetically Engineered: For whatever reason in recent decades government organizations and private corporations have become interested in the development of a zombie virus. Generally it is the aim to create a potent bioweapon for use against enemies. Ultimately these viruses will get out and someone has to clean the mess up. Really they need to stop funding these projects.
  3. Naturally Occurring Parasite, Bacteria, Virus: There has been research into a variety of pathogens that naturally cause zombification of the host. These pathogens are, fortunately, extremely rare and are usually found in the tropic and sub-tropic regions of the world where such pathogens flourish.
Ultimately when it comes to a disease-based spread of zombie infection, the best thing you can do is prepare yourself ahead of time. Make sure you get all your vaccination. Don't use anti-bacterial soap. Give your immune system as many challenges ahead of time so they become little Green Berets that beat the living daylights out of anything that comes into your body. Honestly, once the infection hits, there's not much else you can do.

The Supernatural: Sometimes modern science fails in explaining why a zombie outbreak occurs. Ultimately it's something of a supernatural or unusual origin. Defense against these methods is slim, but occasionally destroying the source can solve the outbreak.

  1. Voodoo or Dark Magic: Sometimes people learn magic and they get corrupted by power. Sometimes bad people just get drawn into magic. Ultimately, they decide raising the dead is a great idea. Maybe they want power, maybe they want revenge, maybe they're crazy. Point is, an evil magic user is at the center here. The best way of defeating such an outbreak is to kill the magic-user responsible. I recommend iron weapons for the magic-dampening abilities.
  2. Solar Flares: Research by the I Smell Sheep laboratories suggest that solar flares may be connected with the growing zombie menace. This explanation is hazy at best and not well-explored. Ongoing research into the solar phenomenon may reveal further answers.
  3. Trouble in the Afterlife: An outbreak of this type has not been seen since the mid-late 20th century, however it is still possible. Basically during this type of outbreak, the afterlife has become full for whatever reason. As a result, the souls of the deceased return to their bodies and rise from their graves to feed on the living. Defeating this outbreak is hard, if not difficult. Fortunately, due to a restructuring of the afterlife experts believe there will be plenty of space for the souls of the departed in the future.
The Gray Matter: What do zombies want in the world?
Thanks to our intrepid researcher, Richard, we at I Smell Sheep have made great progress in understanding the zombie psyche. Through strenuous research Richard has produced amazing results which we will discuss below.

Now, the chart on the left shows the frequency of specific things that humans and zombies think about. The higher the bar, the more frequently they think about it. Humans are represented in red and zombies are represented in green. As you can see, the first thing we examined was hunger. Clearly zombies think about hunger much more frequently than humans. The second thing we examined was sex. Humans clearly think about sex a lot, I mean, pretty obvious. However, zombies do not think about sex at all. Clearly the most human of emotions, Lust, has been removed from zombies. (Are you taking notes, Katie?) The next thing we noticed is that humans and zombies think about pie with about the same frequency. This further strengthens my Grand Unifying Pie Theory: Everyone really wants pie. The world would be a better place if we all had pie. Now, you will notice the last thing we studied was the frequency that humans and zombies think about Justin Bieber. And so while humans think about him a lot, zombies think about him a little bit. Not as much, but a little bit. Which leads the question, where did you get our test subjects, Richard? Clearly no accounting for taste.

Finally, you will see our second graph measures hunger over time. The red curve represents human hunger which increases as it approaches mealtime. As a human eats, their hunger is sated and it goes back down to not-hungry levels. In the case of zombies, however, they seem to constantly be at intense hunger levels. These levels also increase around mealtime, but they never go below an above-average hunger. So, please keep in mind: A ZOMBIE IS ALWAYS HUNGRY. There is no negotiation, for their hunger will consume us all.

Hopefully this has been an informative look into the zombie threat and how you, the average citizen can prepare yourself. If Katie lets me, we should have more information coming out this month on zombie preparedness. In the meantime I advise you take a look at the informative Zombie Survival Guide, which will give you more advice on what to actually do during an outbreak.

Adventurer's Rule #2: Be prepared for anything.



  1. Can I just say that the Spanish Flu of 1918 is what killed Edwards Mom and made Carlisle turn Edward into a vamp. Just saying, it was bad indeed.

    lol What you mean "if Katie lets me" sounds like I keep you under lock and key Ben! So silly. *innocent laugh* [if you tell one more person I keep you under lock and key you will NEVER leave that dungeon! You hear me?!] Anyway loved this info and the chart just sets it off!

    I will take on a slow moving Shambler any day :)

  2. I used a random sampling of irradiated zombies in the experiment. The whole Justin Bieber thing seems to be systemic of becoming a zombie.

    Bottom line: If you don't want to be a quasi-belieber, don't become a zombie.

  3. Voodoo zombies are pretty cool. I like your Grand Unifying Pie Theory. Yes, everyone loves pie. I am fond of Chess pies (lemon and chocolate). The Beiber thing might have to do with the pitch of his voice. Maybe when he stops taking estrogen and hits puberty (oh, yes, I went there) zombies will lose interest. In the meantime, maybe we can use him as a sort of Pipe Pipper?