There have been a few strange incidents over the past few weeks that might prompt the more delusional, gullible, or mentally challenged to consider that there really are zombies loose amongst the general populace. And that's not even considering those whose religions incorporate the possibility of zombies, such as voodoo. Several face-eating attacks have occurred, causing the blogosphere and even parts of the mainstream media (albeit mostly with tongue planted firmly in cheek) to refer to the "zombie apocalypse" and question whether or not it has begun.
To wit: In Miami, the Miami Herald reported that on May 26 police responded to an incident where a naked man was discovered literally devouring the face of an older man. The assailant, dubbed the "Miami Zombie" by some members of the press, ignored the police when they called for him to stop. Even after being shot, witnesses maintained that the attacker, later identified as Rudy Eugene, continued to gnaw at the victim's face, whereupon police shot Eugene several more times, killing him.
The victim was later ID as Ronald Poppo. Our earlier coverage, linked above, includes video and links to purported victim images, after the attack (NSFW).
Prior to the Miami attack, an Illinois man was arrested for domestic battery after he bit the cheek of an 18-year-old woman and threatened to kill her if she called the police.
Just three days following the face-eating attack, a California man was arrested after an altercation turned violent. During a physical fight with his cousin, he bit off the man's nose.
For those that see these events as just the somewhat coincidental actions of violent people whose stories happened to occur within a few days of each other, the strangeness of their targets -- the faces of their victims -- might not mean anything other than that the attackers simply went for the victims' faces. For those who have taken the zombie legend to heart or believe that the acts -- especially the case in Miami -- were just the vanguard of some government-loosed zombie-making bacterium or virus, the three incidents could mean the signal of the coming collapse of civilization.
As would be expected with such a sensationalist series of stories, the Internet has been having a field day with the topic.
Besides being a 2011 Syfy Channel movie about a zombie-creating virus that leaves most of the world dead in 2012, a zombie apocalypse is part of the survivalist and doomsday prepper parlance that describes the mindless hordes or roving bands of survivors that wander the world after some great plague or catastrophe occurs. These groups of "zombies" are often portrayed in films as victims of some degenerative virus that have become cannibalistic hunters. More pragmatic survivalist-oriented types, like those popularized on end-of-the-world reality shows like "Doomsday Preppers," see zombies as the bedraggled, starved, and desperate that will find strength in numbers to forage, maraud, and violently take everything they can to survive in the aftermath of whatever scenario has inevitably befallen civilization.
Regardless of one's beliefs on the subject, there is some good news to be had from all the face-eating that has been going on of late. All three victims are alive, although the Miami victim, now identified as Ronald Poppo, a 65-year-old homeless man, will need several expensive facial reconstructive operations to repair the damage.
(photo credit: iluvrhinestones, Creative Commons)