When you think of zombies, you probably imagine flesh-eating monsters, the kind of characters made famous in books, movies, and television shows. However, most don’t realize is that there is an actual disease where people think they are truly zombies.
Cotard’s syndrome, also known as “Walking Corpse Syndrome” is an extremely rare psychological condition that affects only a few hundred people in the world. A 2003 report defined the condition as “the fixed and unshakable belief that one has lost organs, blood or body parts”.
In the case of a British man named Graham this condition surfaced after he tried to commit suicide by taking an electrical appliance with him in the bath. He said: “I just felt like my brain didn’t exist anymore. I’d fried it in the bath.” He stopped smoking, eating, and barely spoke. To his eyes, “there was no point because I was dead.” The hair on his legs eventually fell out, he stopped brushing his teeth, resulting in them turning black, making him look even more like a corpse.
While there aren’t many walking corpse syndrome cases, a PET scan of Graham’s brain showed signs of a person in a vegetative state. The results also showed that the areas in the brain responsible for creating consciousness, theory of mind and the ability to remember past events showed abnormally low activity. After his doctors saw the results, they started Graham on a recovery program of therapy and medication.
Now, Graham says he is not really back to normal, but he can go out on his own and feels a lot better than he was. “I don’t feel that brain-dead any more. Things just feel a bit bizarre sometimes.” But now let me fetch some brainssss!