Clairvius Narcisse, a Haitian man died but rose again to become a zombie, a walking dead.
In 1960s in Haiti, a land dispute worsened between Clairvius and his brother. His brother sold him to a bokor then Clairvius succumbed into a mysterious fever.
On May 2, 1962, doctors of Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Haiti pronounced Clairvius dead. His two sisters, Marie-Clare and Angelina, identified his body and received the verified death certificate. They placed him in the coffin, nailed shut and buried him in a small cemetery in L’Estere the next day.
Clairvius’ family moved on with their lives. However, 1980, Clairvius approached Angelina at the village market. The vacant look in his brother’s eyes shocked her.
Clairvius told his sister that a bokor –Haitian voodoo sorcerer – drew him from death. The bokor excavated him. The man bound him and gave a strange potion. He took Clairvius to a sugar plantation and made him one of the zombie slaves. The bokor continually injected him with dosages of the mysterious liquid to maintain his “walking dead” state.
When the bokor died, Clairvius escaped and went in hiding. When his brother died, he returned home. His relatives proved his identity when he mentioned Angelina’s nickname that only he would know.
The Haitian community believed Clairvius’ narrative. Further, the Centre de Psychologie et Neurologie Mars-Kline in Port-au-Prince confirmed that it was indeed him.
The tale of Clairvius Narcisse urged Harvard professor Wade Davis to study voodoo. Max Beauvoir introduced him to a bokor. The bokor then presented him the magical zombie powder recipe.
Davis discovered that the strange mixture that caused Clairvius’ demise was a combination of tetrodotoxin and bufotoxin administered through scraped skin. He was then kept in a state of seeming hypnosis with datura.
The bufotoxin from toads has anesthetic properties while Tetrodotoxin from puffer fish causes paralysis and imitates death. The Datura stramonium, on the other hand, controls the mind due to hallucinogen. It is also known as Jimson weed.
When the bokor died, Clairvius ceased to receive the mixture then eventually the effect wore off.
Clairvius Narcisse lived 14 more years after his re-appearance.