Zombies featured widely in Haitian rural folklore, as dead persons physically revived by the act of necromancy of a bokor sorcerer (the bokor is a witch-like figure to be distinguished from the houngan priests and mambo priestesses of the formal Vodou religion). Zombies remain under the control of the bokor as their personal slaves, since they have no will of their own.
There also exists within the Haitian tradition, an incorporeal type of zombie, the "zombie astral", which is a part of the human soul that is captured by a bokor and used to enhance the bokor's spiritual power. Bokors produce and sell specially-decorated bottles to clients with a zombie astral inside, for the purposes of luck, healing or business success. It is believed that after a time God will take the soul back and so the zombie is a temporary spiritual entity.It has been suggested that the two types of zombie reflect soul dualism, a belief of Haitian Vodou. Each type of legendary zombie is therefore missing one half of its soul (the flesh or the spirit).
In Modern culture
Zombies are fictional creatures, typically depicted as mindless, reanimated human corpses (sometimes animals) with a hunger for human flesh, regularly encountered in horror and fantasy themed works. Some depictions are inspired by Haitian folklore, while others, like the ones in George A. Romero's film Night of the Living Dead, do not have that same direct connection. Zombies have a complex literary heritage, with antecedents ranging from Richard Matheson and H. P. Lovecraft to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein drawing on European folklore of the undead. The popularity of zombies in movies has led to them sometimes having been taken out of their usual element of horror and thrown into other genres, for example the comedy film Shaun of the Dead. The "zombie apocalypse" concept, in which the civilized world is brought low by a global zombie infestation, has become a staple of modern popular art.