There are two thruths we take for granted –
1. All our life we are told not to lie.
2. Most books of fiction are believably fabricated lies with a dash of truth thrown in to hold the story together.
Why does that matter to you? Writers of fiction make a living as being resourceful liars. Good examples of this are things that go bump in the night like zombies and witches. They are real, really! I’ll try to explain these two twisted truths to the best of my ability so it all becomes clear. We’ll start with an obvious choice: witches.
Witches are dotted throughout history as an important pillar of authority as a sort of spiritual guide and a medicine man. High priest, shaman, and voodoo priests are all varying titles for the same job, which is typically refered to as a tribal healer: a lofty position held primarily by both women and men. Most often, herbs were used to heal the sick in a very elaborate way to make tribal members think magic was the root cause for their miraculous recoveries. Because of flashy dances and rudimentary slight of hand, the practice of shamanic ways lost traction as Christianity gained momentum. Shamans and their ilk became feared and their ceremonial practices were looked at as barbaric.
This way of thinking sprouted inaccurate tales of people summoning demons and placing curses of unsuspecting folk. Here is were witches and their less talked about counterpart, warlocks, find a comfy home buried beneath the rubble of lies that created their myth. Truth is something others see to fit a particular problem, an ugly truth no one wishes to admit to. Nowadays, writers toy with the built-up mythology surrounding witches to fulfill mystical enchantments other creature cannot do or brew concoctions to fill a need like a love potion.
Did someone say zombie apocalypse? Yes, it is time to move on to an undead subject. Zombie have found a way into the hearts and (clearing throat) minds of people. Where did it all being? It all started in the African and Haitian nations by a little religion called Voodoo. I can’t find the video clip I’d seen years ago explaining this phenomenon of zombie making, but I do remember the news anchor talking about an indigenous plant as the main ingredient to create a zombie. Witch doctors would use this plant to drug clients and essentially make them appear dead. Afterwords, when professional doctors proclaimed them dead, those under the drugs influence would rise up again and unconsciously do the witch doctor’s bidding. Again, over time we deformed the myth of zombies into what we now know of them.
Gettong back to what I originally started with, writers take something true and spins it until only a fraction of the orignal tale exists to keep his or her story based in reality. Some of what I told you above are loose interpretations of how each creature got its start to emphasize how truth begets a lie. Fibbing makes a writer money, rooting a story of fiction with real situations creates a good book. Its all in how you look at things. When Americans first created their flag did they keep the same colors as the United Kingdom’s Union Jack as a slap in the face when proclaimed independence? I don’t know, but it sounds good.