Unprompted: This Halloween, Why Not Consider a Biblical Zombie? 

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Stores are stocked with Halloween candy and scary masks. They started loading up on the junk a couple of weeks ago. It’s that time of year. Whoopee!

The Halloween thing grew out of darkness but rapidly is becoming one of the favorite times of year. No longer just for kids, Halloween is something many adults get into big time. Put on a scary outfit and scare the hell out of your neighbors. What are you going to be this year?

There will be a few fake skeletons, but some of the scariest outfits probably will be those resembling Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Trump will be the biggest seller because he’s much easier to caricature. Don’t be surprised if your neighbor Herman from down the street shows up at your door in an exaggerated mane of golden hair with his kids. There also will be zombies prowling the neighborhood and at office parties. The usual stuff. We can have a lot of fun with a distorted imagination.

Halloween is a prelude to the holiday season that proceeds to Thanksgiving, and then on to Christmas and New Year’s. Christmas is such a big deal even nonbelievers get involved in the celebration. A few days later we’ll do the New Year madness and then hunker down for a long, cold winter, when everybody wishes for global warming.

So goes the annual routine, but let’s look back to a time when the idea of zombies was serious stuff. The earliest report holds that many dead people climbed out of their graves and walked into a nearby city. This story gets a couple of lines only in the book of Matthew but it’s really a good story.

First, these guys didn’t have to claw their way out of the ground. Whoever wrote the book of Matthew says their tombs opened and they walked out. Nothing is said about how they looked or, perish the thought, what they smelled like. But the chances are they needed some new clothes and a bite to eat. That’s why they headed into town. It is said that there were many of them and they appeared to many but nobody in the many bothered to say anything about it.

And nothing is said about what the zombies did while they were in town, but based on some recently found parchments discovered in Hopewell we now know what happened next. First, the zombies were thirsty and wanted wine. But they had no money so they cozied up to the bar and said, Boo! The bartender coughed up a few beers and then ran out the back door.

Next, the zombies went to a thrift store and rummaged through some secondhand garments. Polyester hadn’t yet been invented so they snagged a few trendy camel skins and a couple of goat hides and dressed themselves.

Some of these guys had been dead a long time so they were eager to see what was new. It didn’t take long to realize that in that place at that time, there was nothing new. Everybody was stumbling around doing what they always did, totally unaware that there was anything other than what always has been.

Then one zombie, I think it was Ralph, suggested that they head over to the Coliseum to see who was playing. The marquee said the contest was between the Lions and the Saints. Feeling a connection, Ralph and the others entered the arena to cheer for the Saints. Little did they know that that in this game the Lions always won. As the animals ripped apart the Christians, Ralph and his friends decided the game was fixed, so they left.

Now in case you have doubts, the parts of this story I told that went unreported by Matthew aren’t true. I made this stuff up, including the part about the recently discovered parchments in Hopewell. And if you scoff at the idea of zombies, thinking them some sort of Haitian legend, reconsider that as well. The first zombie account that we know of is reported in the New Testament, and although some people take the story with a grain of salt, there are millions who know it is true.

They just don’t talk about it much. They too find it a bit scary. S

Gene Cox is an author and inventor who recently retired from a 35-year career as a television anchor in Richmond. Connect with him at letters@styleweekly.com, or on Twitter at genecoxrva.

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