Do Zombies Have Souls?

Do Zombies Have Souls?

Do zombies have souls? It seems like such a simple question, but it is actually very complicated.

What complicates this question? First, there is disagreement as to what it means to have a soul. Second, there is disagreement as to what constitutes a zombie. Put these two issues together, and you get a convoluted mess.

What is a soul?
For the purpose of this article, I’m going to assume that a “soul” is the life energy of a person which also includes the person’s personality, consciousness, memory, etc.

What is a zombie?
Again, for the purpose of this article, I’m going to assume there are two types of zombies. The type of zombie will determine whether or not that zombie has a soul.

The undead zombie
The undead zombie is a creature that was transformed from the body (corpse) of a person. The transformation may have begun before the person died, but it was not completed until after the person dies. At the point of death, I believe the soul is separated from the body. Therefore, even though an undead zombie is animated (i.e., moves around and acts “living”), the undead zombie does not actually have a soul.

The voodoo zombie
The voodoo zombie is a creature that is transformed by a sorcerer, witchdoctor, etc. There are two possible types of voodoo zombies:

1. The person dies and is reanimated before the transformation is complete. In this case, the voodoo zombie is very similar to the undead zombie, and probably could be considered an undead zombie. This type of voodoo zombie would not have a soul for the same reason as the undead zombie.

2. The person does not die, but is simply under the control of someone else. Since the person has not died, then the person still has a soul. However, somehow, the person’s soul has been circumvented and someone or something else is in control of the body. (But it would not be correct to call it a corpse.)

So, does a zombie have a soul? In the case of most modern stories, books, and films, the answer would be, “No,” because these depict undead zombies. In the case of most pre-NOTLD zombies (i.e., White Zombie and King of the Zombies), the answer would be, “Yes.” Then, there are a few stories and films that includes voodoo zombies that are created from dead bodies (i.e., The Plague of the Zombies). These zombies would not have souls either.

I’d love to hear your answer to this question: Do zombies have souls?

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121 Comments

  1. Now idea, but I know a few of them that have SOUL…

    ever see the Thriller video?

  2. I must disagree with you a bit here, but not much. In the original Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Land of the Dead, and yes the two crappy Dead movies that came after Land, each one gave hits that some of zombies actually could think. In Day of the Dead we meet Bub, who remembers parts of a life he once had. He even salutes the major HE shoots! The leader of the zombies that attacked the walled city in Land of the Dead showed cunnin and the ability to learn.

    When I see these sort of things going on, it tells me that perhaps the soul is still there, trapped until the mind of the creature it once called home completely decays beyond it’s thinking ability. Then it is simply waiting for that second death. I think it’s a rarity in Zombies, but it may explain why some are still able to function on higher levels of intelligence than others of the undead.

    Just my opin. :)

  3. Michael,

    Obviously, an author can create his/her own metaphysical universe. So, it’s certainly possible – as in the cases that you’ve mentioned – that someone can die and yet somehow maintain the soul.

    -Alan

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