How to Make… a Zombi

I found the zombi(e) potion recipe.  It appears in Harvard University’s Botanical Museum Leaflets, Vol. 29, No. 2 (Spring 1983): Preparation of the Haitian Zombi Poison (by E. Wade Davis).  Davis is the ethnobotanist who wrote The Serpent and the Rainbow and Passage of Darkness.  Here’s one houngan’s recipe from a type locality in Haiti (I’m leaving out some of the preparation details and specific names of ingredients —you never know):

  • 20 gr ground centipede and 2 tarantula mixed with,
  • 4 plant products: 30 seeds of tcha-tcha (Albizzia lebbeck), 40 seeds of consigne (Trichilia hirta), and 4 handfuls of dried leaves of pomme cajou and bresillet (these plants cause dermatitis),
  • Ground with mortar and placed in jar and buried for 2 days,
  • Exhume jar and add tremblador and desmembre,
  • 5 days later add various dumb-cane species and nettles,
  • Add 3 gr of seeds from the zombi’s cucumber (Datura sp.),
  • Put giant marine toad in box with poisonous snake,
  • Kill toad, throw away snake, dry toad with 3 species of puffer fishes (these contain tetrodotoxins), including the bilan, the fou-fou and the crapaud de mer,
  • Place on hot coal with human bones and broil to an oily consistency,
  • At some point a crapaud blanc (an irritating tree frog of the Genus Osteopilus) is added,
  • Mix the whole lot, grind in mortar and sift.

You now have zombi powder. Be careful this stuff is loaded with pharmacologically active components.  Keeps the dogs and cats away.

2 Responses to “How to Make… a Zombi”

  1. This is wonderful. Had heard about the dried puffer fish, but was unaware of the other secret ingredients. Must be some real science behind the zombie ‘legend’; if there is this much smoke, must be some fire?

  2. I met Wade Davis back in 88 or 89. He was a fascinating speaker, and didn’t think much of the Craven’s film adaptation of The Serpent and the Rainbow.

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