The best of West Indian legends add color to our rich history, help to explain certain uniquely Caribbean customs and traditions, and essentially work to keep our culture alive.
Then there’s the legend of the zombie encounter in St. Thomas.
No, this isn’t some epic tale of overindulgence starring this bombastic ball of fire. I’m talking about an actual tale of an actual zombie that actually washed ashore along the north coast of St. Thomas in a spot likely not too dissimilar to that pictured above… Allegedly.
I first came to know of the legend while reading The Zombie Survival Guide, a New York Times bestseller penned by Max Brooks. A good friend gifted me a copy a few years ago, noting my longstanding love of Halloween. Never thought I’d come across anything on the Caribbean in its pages, but there it was on page 246 – full page+ account of a real
live dead zombie – “bloated, waterlogged, with skin completely dissolved” – in St. Thomas.
According to the book, the zombie pursued a few locals up the beach, no doubt in typically slow and stunted zombie fashion. The locals called the cops, who confronted the creature, but to no avail. It wasn’t until the zombie threatened a young boy that a bystander from Dominica stepped forward, grabbed a gun from one of the police officers, and shot the zombie in the head, dealing the fatal blow typical of all zombie movies.
All of this apparently went down in 2002, so of course you’d expect eyewitness photos and news reports to be available online, right?
Well, the book mentions photos, but doesn’t include any. I could find any pics or news accounts online either.
Like my friend and longtime St. Thomas resident, Richard Doumeng, says…
This was a total goof.
One that sold lots of books and may have encouraged a few additional fans of the occult to visit the island, but really amounted to little else.
Indeed, the only zombies you’ll find on St. Thomas are the ones you’ll mix up yourself (recipe) or the ones you’ll become after downing a few Bolongo Creepers at Iggies, the best bar on the island that just happens to share a nice stretch of beach with Richard’s fab hotel.
*Lead photo credit: Flickr user James Willamor.