The Serpent and the Rainbow by Wade Davis, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®Too bad they made this wonderful book into a horror flick. The book is about a Harvard trained ethnobotanist who goes to Haiti to learn about some of the naturally occuring compounds used in the Fascinating account of Davis' journey to Haiti in search of the science behind the mystery and rumours surrounding zombification. Davis is an ethnobotanist with impeccable credentials, and he throws Wade Davis received his doctorate in ethnobotany from Harvard University. Author of six books, including One River , he divides his time between Washington, D. The Serpent and the Rainbow.
The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988) - Official Trailer
He investigated Haitian Vodou and the process of making zombies. He studied ethnobotanical poisons, discovering their use in a reported case of a contemporary zombie, Clairvius Narcisse. The book presents the case of Clairvius Narcisse , a man who had been a zombie for two years, as showing that the zombification process was more likely the result of a complex interaction of tetrodotoxin , a powerful hallucinogenic plant called Datura , and cultural forces and beliefs. According to the book, the assortment of ingredients in Haitian zombie powder include puffer fish , matter from a corpse specifically to Davis' adventure in Haiti, the bokor, a Haitian shaman , crushed the skull of a deceased infant that had been dead for a month or two, and added it to the poison , freshly killed blue lizards, a large dried toad Bufo marinus with a dried sea worm wrapped around it prepared beforehand , "tcha-tcha" Albizzia , and "itching pea" pois grater , a species of Mucuna. The book inspired the horror film, The Serpent and the Rainbow.
Thank you! This book defies simple characterization, which is in keeping with its subject, the all-encompassing philosophy known as voodoo, or vodoun, as Davis here calls it. Haitian vodoun, properly understood, is concerned not merely with what is called witchcraft, but with a broad system of traditional wisdom and practical knowledge with its roots in Africa--among the peoples of the Guinea coast, all the way from the bolongs of the Senegal, the Gambia, and the Casamance to the lagoons of Togo and Benin formerly Dahomey , down to the towering rain forests of the Congo and beyond. The author begins his story and quest as a student at Harvard. His assignment is to determine the precise nature of the powerful anaesthetic which creates the state of suspended animation in a ""zombi""--one who is to all appearances dead, but is revived with an antidote and brought under the spiritual domination of another. But what starts out as a scientific quest for pharmacological data concludes as a spiritual confrontation with the immense unknown.
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In April , ethnobotanist Wade Davis arrived in Haiti to investigate two documented cases of zombis -- people who had reappeared in Haitian society years after they had been officially declared dead and had been buried. Drawn into a netherworld of rituals and celebrations, Davis penetrated the vodoun mystique deeply enough to place zombification in its proper context within vodoun culture. In the course of his investigation, Davis came to realize that the story of vodoun is the history of Haiti -- from the African origins of its people to the successful Haitian independence movement, down to the present day, where vodoun culture is, in effect, the government of Haiti's countryside. The Serpent and the Rainbow combines anthropological investigation with a remarkable personal adventure to illuminate and finally explain a phenomenon that has long fascinated Americans. Davis's book should become a classic in the literature of scientific adventure.