Event Review: The Morgue the Merrier: Science of the Living Dead

This past weekend, I attended a pretty cool event during the Philadelphia Science Festival. Check out what I learned about zombies below!

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Zombies have become one of the most popular topics of discussion the past few years. One of the most popular TV shows is all about zombies, and medical researchers and emergency personel have started to pay attention to it. So what would be the reason for a zombie apocalypse? Is there really a “zombie virus” that could cause thousands, maybe millions of people to turn on their loved ones and eat their flesh and cause a complete human disaster? Well, the folks at the Philadelphia Science Festival decided to find out. They asked the help of Harvard Psychiatrist and zombie expert Dr. Steven Schlotzman to speak on his medical and psychological take on the Zombie effect. Dr. Schlotzman is not just some average Psychiatrist. He is the author of ZOMBIE AUTOPSY, a book on the medical analysis of the zombie apocalypse. In his lecture, Dr. Schlotzman discussed the actual medical background of the types of viruses or infections that could cause the various symptoms of a Zombie, and if they could actually be combined into one terrifying disease. He also came up with “stages” of the zombie disease, and effectively displayed the stages first hand with his helper Zombie.

The actual lecture was not in some dull lecture hall, but in the historical Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia, a Victorian Cemetery that is adorned with cherry blossoms and tombs that are so old they’re almost crumbling. We were ushered through the wrought-iron gates and separated into groups, where our symptoms were checked for signs of the zombie virus, and then escorted to the Quarantine area, where we sat and listened to Dr. Schlotzman’s riveting lecture which included a sheep brain dissection. After we were split up again according to our infection stage, and spent about an hour with zombie-like activities, including a zombie body-part scavenger hunt. After the various activities, we were treated to some zombie drinks and snacks, and had the opportunity to mingle with other living dead fans and get transformed into a zombie as well.

The event, which was an extension of the Science Festival was one that appealed to those who are of the scientific community and those who are fans of the zombie community. Dr. Schlotzman was a charismatic speaker, relating typically difficult material to the audience, which is not an easy feat.

Dr. Schlotzman lectures often around the country, appearing at comic conventions and other large geek gatherings. His book is currently being adapted to the silver screen by none other than George A. Romero himself.

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