Thursday, October 29, 2009
Halloween Countdown 2009: Monster #19
[Illustration of Death-Rattle-Worm based on legend.]
Many Caribbean Island "ghost-tales" tell of a three foot long snake/worm/leech like creature that feasts on the brains of victims both human and animal alike. If a full, living Rattle-Worm were ever captured and analyzed, it could prove the scientific basis for the myth of human and animal zombification.
The stories culled from island legend and fable tell of the Death-Rattle-Worm entering the bodies of it's victims while they sleep. It stretches it's three foot length down the nasal passages and into the victim's stomach, while it's jaw-less teeth latch onto the victims spinal cord at the base of the skull. A slow secretion of digestive acids eats away at the gray matter of the victim over the course of a week to ten days.
Most victims would obviously die immediately; but some, depending on the way their head is tilted and the flow of the digestive acids, could retain enough brain matter to "function" in ways conscious and unconscious, controlled and uncontrolled. This state would be temporary and quickly deteriorate as the Death-Rattle-Worm feasted, but scientists speculate that the actions of an individual in this state of decay would closely resemble those of the stereotypical zombie and could have given rise to the Risen Dead of legend and lore.