Friday, 16 November 2012

Guest Post: Dina Rae - Bad Juju

How to Make a Zombie: Voodoo Secrets Exposed By Dina Rae

There are several ways to make a zombie.  Drugs, disease, and hypnosis are the most believable, but dead corpses coming back to life are another possibility according to Voodoo religion.  While researching Voodoo for my third novel, Bad Juju, I read reams of articles and books including Wade Davis’s The Serpent and the Rainbow.  Davis wrote about his experience with Voodoo while in Haiti searching for an anesthesia for a pharmaceutical company.  The book later became a movie that exaggerated Davis’s retelling of Voodoo.  Davis was outspoken about it, feeling the movie discredited his observations.

Davis and many others point to the bokors or priests who practice black magic when it comes to zombification.  Bokors are trained in resurrecting the dead.  But how is that possible?

Skeptics believe the phenomenon can occur because the deceased was never really dead.  Supposedly, a poison consisting of toxic plants, bouga toad, millipedes, tarantulas, puffer fish, human remains, and/or tree frog skin puts the victim in a coma deep enough to fool a coroner.  Sometimes the victim is still conscious and witnesses his/her own funeral.  The bokor digs up the body and gives it Zombie’s Cucumber or datura, a wild flower native to Haiti.  A few chants later, some prayers to the loas, and maybe a ceremony with blood exchange, voila-the body wakes up disorientated, in a state of mass confusion.  The zombie is manipulated as the bokor’s private instrument for evil doings and slavery.

Wade Davis met a real zombie while in Haiti.  He is not the only one to confirm zombification as part of the Voodoo religion.

Jake rolled out of bed and army crawled to the doorway.  Looking through the opening that separated the door from the carpeting, he saw Leah’s head bloodied.  She lay limp on the floor.  Pete stopped hitting her.  His whole demeanor changed.  With a wolfish expression, he began to unbuckle his belt.
Rhianna’s screams got closer.  She must have darted to the other side of the living room, putting her smack-dab in front of Jake’s bedroom door.  He could now see her foot.  It partially blocked his view.  Shit!  Can’t get involved!  If I open the door…
“Pete, what the hell is a matter with you?  Stop it!  She’s passed out.  You beat her into a coma, man!  And now you’re gonna…Sober up and think of what you’re doing!  Right in front of your daughter!” T.J. yelled. 
Is he suicidal?  Jake knew his uncle would make T.J. regret his words.  Like Leah, T.J. was small.  He was filled with faults, but violence was not one of them.  On perfect cue, Jake could hear his uncle’s bare fists hooking T.J. in the jawbone.  Rhianna’s screams turned into full-blown hysteria.  The poor girl was hyperventilating while desperately grasping Jake’s locked doorknob for refuge.  I don’t want to be involved!  Go back to your closet and lay still! 
“Jakey, Jakey, pwwweeeze!” Rhianna sobbed.
Jake couldn’t take her suffering any longer.  Quickly unlocking the door, he grabbed the little girl and pulled her inside his room and then relocked the door.
The living room had grown eerily quiet.  Jake had a difficult time hearing while Rhianna wailed.  “It’s okay now.  Try to be quiet,” he whispered, straining to hear.  Nothing but silence was on the other side of his door.  His heart rate doubled.  Always quiet before the storm.  Was it over?  Or was I next?  He slid on his gym shoes, took a can of Comet cleaner from his bathroom, and crept up to the only window in the room.  It was small, but Jake knew he could fit through.  Then came the sound he was waiting for.  Click, click, click.  Pete was delicately trying to open the door.  He now knew it was locked.

Bad Juju/10 reviews-4.5 rating



  1. Awesome book and great interview. I think Dina is headed for greatness. Good luck and best wishes.

  2. Dina,
    I saw that movie, The Serpent and the Rainbow, years ago and it scared the bejesus out of me. Nice to know it was exaggerated. We hope.
    And that thing about the dead ones not really being dead when they're buried? My storyteller grandmother used to tell a similiar (fiction, I'm sure) story about a young girl who died and was buried back in Austria (in the early 1800's) who turned out not to be dead when a poor graverobber dug her up for an expensive ring he'd seen on her finger. Had to cut her finger off to get the ring and the girl...woke up. Was he surprised! These stories go way back. Nice post. Your friend, Kathryn Meyer Griffith