How do you prepare for a zombie apocalypse? Across the world people take this threat very seriously. You never know when it might happen, so best be prepared. If you think I am joking then think again! In 2011 the U.S. Department of Defence published CONOP 8888, a document depicting different zombie attack scenarios. The document states in its disclaimer that “This plan was not actually designed as a joke”. The exercise was used to help train strategists in military planning. The key goal of the preparations was to “preserve the sanctity of human life” in the event of a zombie invasion.
Now, I’m not saying a zombie apocalypse will happen or has happened but the origins of this undead terror go back a long way. Archaeologists in Ancient Greece have found graves containing corpses that have been pinned down by heavy objects and rocks. Haiti, fuelled by the terrible conditions of slavery on the sugar plantations have a long tradition of zombie appearances going back to the 17th century. This is partly due to the strong influence of Voodoo across West Africa, South America and the Caribbean. Herbal practices to relieve medical conditions may partly account for this. Sub-lethal doses of toxins used in Voodoo practices may have rendered patients unconscious and seemingly dead. Once the toxins wore off they would appear from the grave. Difficulty in walking, communicating and breathing after the effects of the toxins and burial may account for the typical pop culture zombie we see in films. Even modern medical science throws up reports of zombies. The most likely explanation being people declared dead who are instead in a deep coma. Suddenly they may awake and appear from the grave, again in a confused state. There have been several likely reports of this phenomenon over the last forty years.
Zombies tap into our deep seated fear of death and monsters. So if the worst does happen what are the top tips for survival? Firstly you need somewhere safe to go. You need basic supplies, water and food. Make sure you have any important medication. Warm clothing for protection. A first aid kit. Without a hospital even small injuries can turn out to be fatal. Decide on a regular rendezvous point and make sure you have an exit plan in case you are overrun.
So if this plan is good in case of a zombie attack, surely it must be good for the rest of life? To “preserve the sanctity of human life” we need to be somewhere safe. We need to be fed and watered, not just materially or in our stomachs but also spiritually and in our imaginations. When sick we need more than medication, we need love and care. We need the protection of warm clothing, of knowing the promises God has made to us. Finally we need confidence in our exit plan and the final rendezvous with those we love.