The Serpent and the Rainbow: A Harvard Scientist's Astonishing Journey into the Secret Society of Haitian Voodoo, Zombis and Magic

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9780671502478: The Serpent and the Rainbow: A Harvard Scientist's Astonishing Journey into the Secret Society of Haitian Voodoo, Zombis and Magic
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A Harvard ethnobotanist chronicles his undercover investigations of Haitian voodooism and the phenomenon of Zombies, a quest that yielded the actual chemical formula for producing the Zombi state

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From Publishers Weekly:

Haitians believe that the world is full of spirits, and accept spirit possession as part of life and of their African-derived vodoun religion, notes Harvard ethnobotanist Davis. This booka combination of travelogue, scientific report and mysteryis an arresting account of his search for poisons and antidotes presumably used to create zombis, the victims usually selected by a secret society tribunal. Analysis revealed that the poisons contain a substance that lowers the metabolic rate almost to the point of clinical death, from which, with the help of sorcerers, bodies may be raised from the grave. Vodoun priests, witnesses and alleged zombisone of whom Davis metmaintained that the victims of such unnatural deaths are often turned into robot-like slaves. How Davis gained access to the all-powerful network of secret societies similar to those of West Africa, witnessed and even participated in their meetings provides the final key to the zombi mystery. First serial to Omni. January 6
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

The book is an anecdotal and personal account by Davis, an ethnobotanist who pursued research on zombification in Haiti. During the course of several field trips, Davis discovered the neuropharmacological properties of plant and animal substances that explain how zombies are made. Davis also became enmeshed in the social web of Haitian society and depicts the historical forces that led to the intertwined relationships between cults and secret societies on the one hand, and the government on the other. The book lacks the kind of completeness that might be of interest to anthropologists, ethnobotanists, and medical specialists; it is more of a personal narrative, a diary of discovery, interesting to the public at large, but leaving specialists with a number of unanswered questions. Preferred Choice Book Plan main selection. Winifred Lambrecht, Anthropology Dept., Brown Univ., Providence, R.I.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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