Mind control, Zombie parasites & Zombie sex puppeteers!
In a previous article, we talked about ways a biochemical shift, could completely alter the way that we process information, respond, and behave to external stimuli. Potentially explaining how zombie-like behaviour could occur.
All well and good, but let’s dig deeper… Is there any scenario in which zombies could really exist? Turns out a good place to find real-life examples of Zombie-like behaviour is in nature
Is Zombie Mind Control a thing?
Well… the animal kingdom certainly has its fair share of zombie horror stories. In fact, parasites that can turn victims into mindless, zombie-like slaves are more common in nature than you might want to dwell on. Some parasites are capable of completely changing the way that a host behaves. The Dicrocoelium dentriticum, also known as the liver fluke, allows ants to behave completely normally. Then when the sun goes down, the drop in temperature triggers a change in brain chemistry, and their motor control system basically forces them to climb to the top of the tallest blades of grass, where they can be eaten by cows and sheep.
It is still unknown exactly how the parasite controls the mind of the ant, but what if there was a similar parasite out there that could take over the mind of a human? New species of parasites and viruses are being discovered every day. Just saying!
Preposterous! you say. Well, not only are new species being discovered daily, but parasite mind control in humans is already happening. Right. Now! And not only that, the parasite in question is thought to infect up to one-third of the human population. I give you the Toxoplasma gondii parasite. This parasite usually infects the brains of rats and mice and actually alters the sexual preferences and pleasure centres in the rodent brain. By stimulating a preference and attraction to the scent of cat urine, these creepy parasites are forcing the rodents into the jaws of their top predator.
The problem for us is that studies have shown that these parasites can also infect and modify human behaviour. Once inside its human host, (amongst ways the Toxoplasma gondii parasite can be picked up is through handling cat litter trays) the parasite then needs to get back into the cat, the only place where it can sexually reproduce – and this is when behavioural manipulation may come into play. These parasites in humans have been linked to reckless behaviour, increased levels of car crashes and even suicide. Also, sorry guys, apparently a weird sexual attraction to the smell of cat urine!
PS there’s a joke about Horny Zombies mid-way through my Zombie Horror Novel sign-up if you want to find out the punchline!
More nasty tricks up mother nature’s sleeve
Another unpleasant gift from Mother Nature that just might be the catalyst to the next zombie apocalypse is the Wolbachia bacteria, a relentless organism that has been described by The National Geographic as a sex puppeteer. Gulp. By specifically attacking the host’s immune system, Wolbachia are actually able to induce involuntary sex change in insects as well as a plethora of other crazy actions. This parasite does this with the uncanny ability to insert a very specific genetic sequence which completely changes the way that the host lives, survives, and reproduces. It has been estimated that 60% of insects carry this Wolbachia bacteria, so just a minor, microscopic evolution could very well set off a chain reaction in humans, that permanently changes pretty much every aspect of our life. An insect-borne Zombie Apocalypse. That’s one to think about! #fucked
So we have a planet crawling with fungus, bacteria, viruses, and um Sex Puppeteer parasites, all combined with a propensity for nature to evolve, mutate and jump species. I think the next article better be how to survive the Zombie Apocalypse, and I better get round to it quick!