Zombies came to America in 1929. When journalist William Seabrook returned from a visit to Haiti he wrote of his experiences in a very successful travel memoir called The Magic Island. In it he described an exclusively Haitian counterpart to the werewolves, vampires, and demons of European folklore: the zombie. At the time of publication, the United States was 14 years into its occupation of Haiti, and it was common for Haitian communities and religious practices to be painted as primitive, cannibalistic, and in need of America’s civilizing presence. Not surprisingly, Seabrook’s visions of “dead men working in the cane fields” were picked up by the American press.
But what we usually forget about Seabrook’s zombie workers is who they were working for.Read More ›