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Zombies, the re-animated corpses of people that wander the streets in B-movies, likely originated in the Voodoo religion of Haiti.
Bokors, or Voodoo sorcerers, appear in tales where they give a person a potion with non-fatal poisons that make it look as though that person is dead. The person is then buried and the bokor returns later for the "corpse" who it then forces to do its bidding because it has no will of its own.
These tales evolved into stories of the dead being revived by bokors.
In the 1980s, an ethnobotanist named Wade Davis traveled to Haiti and claimed to identify two drugs that when they entered the bloodstream could put someone in a zombie-like trance.
Haitian folklore contains 'ghost story'-like tales of those long dead seen wandering the streets of villages at night.
The Voodoo zombies, and similar entities found in other mythologies are very different from the mindless, flesh-eating monsters portrayed in popular culture today.