Real “Zombie Attacks” That Actually Happened

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In August 2016, a 19-year-old college student, Austin Harrouf, reportedly stormed away from a restaurant in Jupiter, FL, where he’d been dining with his parents, apparently upset over the slow service there. He then wandered into a neighborhood, where a couple, Michelle Mischon and John Stevens III, sat in their garage with the door open, enjoying a quiet evening. Harrouf pulled a switchblade on the couple and stabbed them to death, apparently without provocation. A neighbor attempted to intervene and called 911 but was stabbed by the man as well.

When police arrived, they found Harrouf naked, ripping away chunks of the couple’s flesh and eating it. He was also growling, grunting, and making “animal noises.” Repeated use of stun guns and a police dog could not sway Harrouf from his “meal,” and finally three officers had to pull the man away from the bodies by force.

What makes this case especially strange is that Harrouf, prior to this bizarre crime, was a model student who seemed to have things pretty well figured out. It is reported that he had been hanging out with some of his fraternity brothers prior to joining his parents for dinner, but his toxicology report came back clean. Other test results for synthetic drugs are pending, though officials did say Harrouf showed no other characteristic symptoms associated with substances like flakka or bath salts.

Kevin Santos

Kevin Santos was pronounced dead at a hospital in his hometown of Belem in Brazil. The two-year-old was placed in an airtight body bag for three hours while his family made preparations for his funeral.  During the wake, family members noticed the boy moving. Santos then sat up and asked his father for a glass of water. The ecstatic family was let down, however, when only seconds later the boy fell over again. He was rushed to the hospital and declared dead a second time.

Clairvius Narcisse

Clairvius Narcisse died on May 2, 1962 after admitting himself to the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Deschapelle, a town in the Artibonite Valley of Haiti. He had been suffering from a plethora of ailments, but no direct cause for his symptoms could be determined.  

Eighteen years later, in 1980, his sister Angelina saw Narcisse in a marketplace. He recounted the memories of his own “death,” including being buried alive. He had been placed into a death-like state by a bokor, or sorcerer, and after being dug up he was whisked away to a plantation to serve as a zombified laborer. He escaped after two years of slavery and wandered the Haitian countryside, only willing to return to his village when his brother, whom he believed to have made the deal with the bokor that turned Narcisse into a zombie, had finally passed away.  A researcher named Wade Davis later investigated Narcisse’s case, and claimed to have discovered the key to zombification, namely the use of the datura plant, which, according to Patrick D. Hahn of Biology Online, “contains the hallucinogens atropine and scopolamine, and induces delirium, confusion, psychosis, and complete amnesia.” It could never be conclusively determined, however, whether or not this substance was actually used on Narcisse. 

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