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DeathRef’s Guide to ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE Preparedness

Naked Man Killed by Police Near MacArthur Causeway was ‘Eating’ Face Off Victim
Daniela Guzman and Julie K. Brown, Miami Herald (May 28, 2012)

We all knew that it was going to happen sooner or later. The Undead would RISE UP and begin their unstoppable decimation of the Living. Oh the HUMANITY!

Here at the Death Reference Desk we never thought that Miami, Florida would be ground zero for the Zombie Apocalypse but there you have it.


In perhaps the greatest understatement of all time, a Miami police official explained how it is that an officer could repeatedly shoot a man who was discovered chewing the face off of another man in the middle of the road:

Sergeant Altarr Williams, supervisor of Miami police’s Homicide Unit, said a man doesn’t have to be armed to be dangerous.

“There are other ways to injure people,’’ Williams said. “Some people know martial arts, others are very strong and can kill you with their hands.’’

Or, maybe just maybe the person is a freaking ZOMBIE!

Your good friends at DeathRef have been preparing for the inevitable Zombie Attack and we’ve assembled an entire section on zombies.

So, make sure that you’ve got everything that you need in your Zombie Apocalypse Survival Kit and listen to these wise words from the late, great Dennis Hopper.

cremation Death + Humor Death + Popular Culture Eco-Death Monuments + Memorials

Praise the Lord and Pass the Cremated Remains Filled Ammunition

Holy Smoke
Planning a loved ones final arrangements can be a challenging responsibility, one you want to do with care and consideration. Allow Holy Smoke to help you create a tribute to your outdoorsman or woman like no other.

So yeah. I had heard about people loading ammunition with human cremated remains and then shooting the ammo but I did not know, until this week, that a company would do it for you.

And based on the reaction of my British friends (I live in England), many people still do not believe it is possible. And/or, the loading of live gun ammunition with human cremated remains is a distinctly American form of memorialization. Not unlike spelling memorialization with a ‘z’ instead of an ‘s’.

Take that Red Coats!

But I digress.

Here at the Death Reference Desk we believe in presenting the full monty when it comes to contemporary forms of postmortem memorials. So a company such as Holy Smoke is due some respect for combining two of America’s great past times: shooting bullets and capitalism. Not necessarily in that order.

But lo, what might you receive when purchasing Holy Smoke’s ammo? Well, their website explains:

Once the caliber, gauge and other ammunition parameters have been selected, we will ask you (by way of your funeral service provider) to send approximately one pound of the decedents ash to us. Upon receiving the ashes our professional and reverent staff will place a measured portion of ash into each shotshell or cartridge. (Please note that our process uses only a portion of the ash from a typical cremation.)


Example: 1 Pound of ash is enough to produce 250 shotshells (one case).

Now, I’m not a gun person (even though I grew up in the great state of Wisconsin) so 250 shotgun shells sounds like a lot of ammo. I can’t imagine firing a gun 250 times to remember a person I loved.

Unless, of course, you’re using the Holy Smoke ammunition to defend the human race against the imminent Zombie Apocalypse!

Death + Humor Death + Popular Culture

Bristol City Council Plans for Zombie Attack

When Zombies Attack! Bristol City Council Ready for Undead Invasion
Local authority reveals ‘top secret’ plan outlining self-defence strategies should zombies invade
Steven Morris, The Guardian (July 8, 2011)

We’ll always have England!

I live and work in Bath, which is a mere 11 miles or so from Bristol. It is safe to say that I have slept better this entire week knowing that Bristol has a Contingency Plan for Handling Zombie Outbreaks in Bristol.

Zombie specialists will of course know that Bristol’s plan is part of a concerted effort by concerned citizens to know what exactly local councils have planned when the undead strike.

We here at the Death Reference Desk have been following these various Zombie developments. You can read those stories here.

And while it’s true that these Council plans are delivered with a wink and nudge a person can never be too prepared.

As long as Bristol has Stokes Croft, the possibility of Zombie attack is imminent.

Indeed, I bet we’ll see Zombies in Stokes Croft before we ever see a Tescos.

Death + Humor Death + Popular Culture

CDC Prepares Citizens for Inevitable Zombie Apocalypse

Social Media: Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse
Ali S. Khan, CDC Public Health Matters Blog (May 16, 2011)

Ah, zombies — irrepressible, insatiable, instantly recognizable… and the ultimate marketing tool! Librarians most recently squeeeee!ed over a comic book of zombies and information literacy.

Apparently the delicious braaaaaaaaaaaaaaains of someone (or someone’s kid) from the Centers for Disease Control and Preparedness went ding ding ding! when the rag-tag crew of AMC’s The Walking Dead journeyed to the CDC in hopes of salvation from the zombie plague. Of course, the CDC ended up exploderating, but that’s just fiction… right? Right?

The CDC is taking no chances, unleashing on the internets a guide to Zombie Apocalypse Emergency Preparedness, which (conveniently!) works in a pinch for other natural disasters like hurricanes and floods. I guess tornados and the swelling Mississippi taking out the South just isn’t sexy enough to get people to rustle up an emergency food, water and first aid kit.

If you're ready for a zombie apocalypse, then you're ready for any emergency. emergency.cdc.govWe at DeathRef applaud their efforts. (Dude! It’s the CDC!). But oh, dear hearts — don’t put “Social Media” in the title. We know what you’re trying to do. You’re almost there. Your constant reminders that zombie contingency plans also work for earthquakes quite nearly get in the way of the gag, but we suspect there were stuffy dinosaur overlords in heated board meetings that needed ample assurance this was relevant, useful and no joke.

Overall, well done.

Death + Humor Death + Popular Culture

Undead Enough for Modern Life: Zombie Rumination

My Zombie, Myself: Why Modern Life Feels Rather Undead
Chuck Klosterman, New York Times (December 3, 2010)

Hey, DeathRef Gentle Readers. Meg Holle, Resident Zombie, here (yup, that’s me up top). As an undergrad at the University of Minnesota, my favorite class was “Monsters, Robots and Cyborgs,” offered by the Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature department — probably unsurprisingly, the same weirdos who gave John his Ph.D. in Dead Bodies.

When I wasn’t deconstructing explosive alien birth scenes, asking, “Do androids dream of electric sheep?” or linking the puking, peeing, pustulated, bleeding, crucifix-masturbating girl in the Exorcist to Mary Douglas’ Purity and Danger, I was learning about zombies. Fast zombies, slow zombies, Haitian zombies, zomaggedon, mass consumption, consumerism and Marx.

If this sort of nonsense is also a pet interest of yours (or the subject of your dissertation), check out Chuck Klosterman’s piece in the New York Times:

This is our collective fear projection: that we will be consumed. Zombies are like the Internet and the media and every conversation we don’t want to have. All of it comes at us endlessly (and thoughtlessly), and — if we surrender — we will be overtaken and absorbed. Yet this war is manageable, if not necessarily winnable. As long we keep deleting whatever’s directly in front of us, we survive. We live to eliminate the zombies of tomorrow. We are able to remain human, at least for the time being. Our enemy is relentless and colossal, but also uncreative and stupid.


Battling zombies is like battling anything … or everything.

While there’s no arguing with the mindlessness of modern-day life, Klosterman would have done well to explore more in depth the alternating popularity of zombies and vampires. Vampires peak during economic prosperity — democrats and decadence, soul-sick in opulence, when the only thing wrong with everything is our megalomaniac selves. Zombies, on the other hand, embody the times when everything is wrong with everyone else — waterboarding, bailouts and unemployment.

Of course there is overlap. Marketing works wonders, and fake opulence or the hope thereof (e.g., the first two years of the Obama administration) still counts, and it’s not like those wars ever actually went away. But still. There is more to our monsters than the new black being the old black, unlike the old old black… which is also… coming… back.