In 1962, according
to his death certificate, the Haitian peasant
Clairvius Narcisse died near his home village
in the Artibonite Valley. Though physically
strong and rarely ill, he had begun to have
difficulty breathing after a dispute with
his brother over a piece of land. Weakened
and nauseated, he began to spit blood and
died two days later. His body was buried in
a small rural cemetery.
Eighteen years later Narcisse
strolled into the marketplace of his home
village. Along with others who were found
wandering near the city of Cap Haitian, he
claimed that he had been dug out of the ground
by men who beat him cruelly, then forced him
into slave labour as a Zombie. He was one
of the infamous "Walking Dead,"
long considered to be mere figments of superstition
in the island nation of Haiti where Voodoo
In New Orleans
Zombies are thought to be very real entities.
They are not just the re-animated bodies from
the St. Louis Cemeteries but they can be too
spirits of ghosts trapped in Bottles. Many
local ghost stories urban legends and olden
time tales do talk of about real Zombies coming
out of the dirty oven wall crypts in New Orleans
Cemeteries. As do they tell of cursed and
hexed Zombie Bottles doing their sole masters
This is a Zombie
story I will tell. It is often told by many
of the locals. I have never seen it in print
or heard it on a Ghost Tour. But I will tell
it to you as I heard so many times in my life.
This real Zombie Story Pre dates The reign
of Marie Laveau as queen of the Voodoos by
only a few years possibly by 5- 8. The Voodoo
Queen in this story is none other then Sanite
Dede the reigning Voodoo Queen just before
Marie Laveau assent.
True New Orleans Zombie stories? Is there
such a thing?
Real Reverend Zombie
A long tall
tale often told is how a white rich well respected
married and very handsome Reverend once was
turned in to a real Zombie because of his
scorned slave girl mistress, with a little
help help of Sanite Dede of course.
Dede was once in her time the most powerful
of all the Voodoo queens. As a young woman
from Santo Domingo she bought her secret
hex's and hoodoo Voodoo to New Orleans.
She often would hold rituals in her brick
lined courtyard on Dumaine and Chartres
Streets, just walking distance away from
the St. Louis Cathedral. The rhythmic beat
of the drums could be heard inside the great
church during mass the day the Reverends
Zombie walked the French Quarter street!
A young handsome
black thick bearded reverend lived in new
Orleans at this time. With his striking blue
eyes and and handsome German features. All
the ladies that saw him fell in love. But
for all practical purposes and the outside
world he was a man of the cloth and faithful
to his beloved wife. But unknown to all he
was involved in a secret affair with the slave
girl of a wealthy Bywater plantation owner.
affair went on for over 3 years and none knew
of it except he and the slave girl. The Slave
girl fell in love with him the first time
she saw him and would always watch him because
his striking good looks overwhelmed her. She
came to him one day after their long secret
affair had blossomed to words of love and
a possible future as his house slave. She
demanded that he take her as his on slave
that day. The Reverend went to her owner that
day asking for her as to be donated to him
as his to own.
But this did
not happen for the slave owner would not part
with her as a donation as the reverend asked
him to. He demanded more cash then the reverend
could afford. Some say she was also mistress
to her owner and his greatest prize.
Then one day
two weeks after this another young slave girl
from another plantation came to him and said
that the one he was involved with was pregnant
with someone's bastard child.
to her master and told her master that she
was a voodoo woman and she had put a spell
or hoodoo on him and his family for them to
die. The reverend went on and on telling her
owner and his wife how she had bewitched him
too, to try to take her as his slave also.
the news he had her master take and brutally
beat her. Her master then had them cut out
her tongue and gouge out her eyes.
A fellow house
slave who knew her secrets and affairs brought
the story to the great Voodoo Queen Mama Sanite
Dede as she was called by many. And upon hearing
this the Great Voodoo Queen was enraged. Dede
told the slave that came to her, " I
will fix him good this Reverend." "This
so called good man of God will walk the French
Quarter 'till great angel Gabriel sounds his
golden horns last blast."
latter the poor slave girl died from the beating.
And that night so did the Reverend for no
apparent reason. Word spread quick as it always
did in the old French Quarter. In the 1800's
Funerals and burials happened immediately
in the summer month of August. The family
had little time to buy a fresh white washed
tomb in St. Louis Cemetery number 1, so a
person from his large wealthy congregation
gave his wife one to help her out. Laid out
dressed in his Sunday best, dark suit, white
Reverends collar starched stiff and bright
around his neck, he laid in state ever handsome.
In his front
large parlor facing Bourbon Street, the room
draped in miles of expensive black crepe from
France his wake began. To his home his large
congregation came to pay their last and final
respects on this hot humid Friday afternoon.
His wake was solemn of course, and many shed
real tears not because he was known as a bad
man, but because he was actually deeply loved
by his large congregation. But as the the
afternoon went on and the sun began to set
the long procession passed the coffin steadily.
Then in the midst a dark figure of a tall
woman stopped and crouched over his expensive
black lacquered coffin. Bending low as if
kissing him with her hands covering and moving
over his face. Many were in shock including
his wife, sister and the whole congregation
over seeing such an act.
As the dark
veiled figure moved away from the casket a
loud gasp filled the room. "The Dark
Lady" had pried open his mouth and bitten
off his tongue and sucked out his eyes from
their very sockets. No one moved as she turned
and almost floated across the room, all were
frozen in their spots as she headed out of
the door. Either because they were so stunned
or under some devil woman's curse or hex.
No one saw her face or could identify her
from the way she moved. But many thought she
was The queen of the Zombies the great Ghede,
Mama Bridgett come to exact some dark secret
toll or pact that he may have made in confidence
The dead Reverend
was buried on Saturday early long before the
sun had time to rise over the Crescent City.
But in his new grave he did not stay. As the
Great St. Louis Cathedrals bells struck noon
on that very Sunday he was seen with arms
stretched wandering stiff limbed behind the
great Cathedrals garden.
All the people
even if they did not know him in life knew
he was a dead man walking and they were very
much afraid. So then the many slaves and Creoles
all ran to the Dumaine Street home of Mama
Sanite Dede for help. For they knew she alone
would have a solution.
her door to the pleas and cries for help of
those that gathered in fear before her. "Please
help us Great Mama Dede, you come see the
dead man walk Bourbon Street to do no good!"
A old free man of color said. " I seen
him come out of the St. Louis Cemetery with
my own two eyes." said a white woman
dressed in her Sunday finery.
her head slowly looking at the cobble stoned
street then at the crowd. and asked "
Do anyone here know who it is?" the crowd
shouted "YES " it's the dead Reverend
buried yesterday morning come back from the
dead to kill us all! Dede said, " This
may take some time ... I must prepare a Hoodoo
Voodoo Veve and a strong hex so big to stop
this." " You good people need go
lock your children and old and your self behind
closed doubled locked and bolted doors."
" And tell all you see on the way to
do the same." Within a few moments the
beat of the great voodoo drums filled the
French Quarter. So Loud they were they shook
the statues in the great Cathedral.
were emptied in minutes as word of the Reverend
Zombie walking the French Quarter streets
reached far and wide. Even the police stayed
away fearing they too would become Zombies
if they came in contact with him.
drums grew stronger and stronger and the beat
faster then what a mans heart could before
bursting of fear. All the french Quarter residence
hiding like when a terrible Hurricane hits
the city today.
As the hot
afternoon sweltered like it does only in New
Orleans a terrible squall blew in from the
shores of Lake Ponchartrain. Some will still
tell you of the the terrible great storm that
lasted all night. The thunder shook the city
as the voodoo drums did earlier. A nd many
say they heard the drums still beating between
the great rumbles and thunder claps. They
pounded until the first light of day broke
over the mighty Mississippi River.
No one really
knows now what Mama Dede and the pounding
of the voodoo drums did that day to rid New
Orleans of the Reverend Zombie, You know she
kept her secrets well. And none know if she
really did anything at all. As for the Reverends
Zombie... Some say she had him bricked up
in a wall in a building on Toulouse street,
others say on Orleans behind the Cathedral
in a corner building of red new brick. For
Zombies cannot cross a line of red new brick
and everyone in New Orleans Knew that.
The next day
after that nights long hard rain was gone
so was The Reverend Zombie.
3 years went
by and the story faded away... until one day
during Mardi Gras season someone saw him again
stumbling his way down Bourbon Street in the
cold morning light. Many ran once again to
Mama Dede for help knowing full well the strange
figure was the Reverend come back again.
the dead man walkin." one said. "Is
it the Reverends Zombie Dede asked? One woman
said, "Yes Mademoiselle, I do know! Yes
it's him I recognize his clothes as a man
of the cloth!" " And I smelled the
stench of death!" " Don't be afraid
Mama Dede told the crowd. It's the dead Reverend
Zombie just looking for his eyes!" "
He'll be gone by dawn!"
Zombie Today In New Orleans
Many say over
the years they have seen him stumbling...
a real dead man walking through the French
Quarter. Also along Bayou St. John and Uptown
alike The Reverend certainly gets around.
None have seen him recently but some say he
is till a haunting the city.
said he was washed away in Hurricane Betsy
in 1965, others say Hurricane Katrina finally
did him in. Some say he guards the tombs of
Mama Dede and Marie Laveaus' so that if someone
like another voodoo queen who would want to
come to pick their bones for a hoodoo voodoo
hex and JuJu, he will kill them them on the
But when visiting,
"Please keep your eyes peeled" when
your in New Orleans... Reverend Zombie might
be seen " Always, Just looking for his
eyes and tongue!"
Quentin Victor Garrets
a native New Jordanian that collects oral
stories passed down through the generations.
See: VIOLETTE WITH EYES
TO DIE FOR! Among these tales one of
the most tragically gruesome is that of Little
Violette whose name rings through infamy,
forever associated with the epithet “The
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A young man turns to a witch
doctor to lure the woman he loves away from
her fiance, but instead turns her into a zombie
slave." Directed by Victor Halperin,
written by Garnett Weston, 1932. Film in public
domain available at Archive.org and Public
Domain Torrents. «