'Zombie apocalypse’ trending as bad news spreads quickly
The victim and the body of the assailant in Miami's face-eating attack lie on a sidewalk last Saturday.
June 1st, 2012
11:28 AM ET

'Zombie apocalypse’ trending as bad news spreads quickly

The term "zombie apocalypse" has been lighting up the internet all week and has been among the top Google trends Friday morning.

On the Web's Urban Dictionary, here's definition No. 4 of zombie apocalypse: "The End of the World, when people who have died rise again in rotten corpses searching for blood and brains to strengthen them."

While we're certain the dead are not rising, the past week has seen some of the most disturbing instances of human behavior imaginable.

Overheard on CNN.com: Are we all 'zombies'?

A man in Miami happens upon a homeless man on the sidewalk and chews off 75% of his face in an 18-minute attack. The attacker's mother later says her son is not a zombie as portrayed in the media.

Authorities in Canada have launched a massive manhunt for a suspect after a severed hand was sent to Canada's Liberal Party, a foot to the Conservatives and a torso was stuffed in a suitcase and tossed in the trash of the Montreal apartment building where he lived.

A Maryland man admits to killing his housemate, cutting him up, then eating his heart and part of his brain.

A New Jersey man rips his torso open and throws bits of his intestines at police, according to the Bergen Record.

There have been other equally grisly crimes, but there's no need to dwell on them.

Fact is, horrible crimes happen all the time.

"This is all nothing new," said Scott Talan, professor of public communication at American University, with a long work history in public relations and the media.

Bad news attracts attention, he said, and when it happens in bunches, people like to attach a name to it, hence, "zombie apocalypse."

People also like to see others in bigger trouble than they have themselves, Talan said.

"No matter how your life's going, someone's got it worse," he said.

We like to think, "I'm better off than these people," he said.

And that's nothing new, Talan said, pointing out that ancient Roman philosophers used to lament that citizens felt little for the gladiators and what happened in their gruesome contests.

But he said while these stories catch fire quickly in our wired world, they flame out quickly, too.

Unless there's another gruesome crime today, expect the zombie apocalypse to be done by next week, he said.

Even if that's the case, there may be some good that can come of the attention zombie apocalypse has drawn on the Web.

A year ago, when zombie movies were the rage, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said if it could convince the public to prepare for the zombie apocalypse, maybe they'd be better prepared for disasters more likely to affect their lives, like earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes, or a major pandemic.

Or maybe the Mayan apocalypse. Talan points out that it isn't real, it's just a name like zombie apocalypse.

But then again, that isn't supposed to happen until December. There's still time for that to go viral again.

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Filed under: Crime • Media
soundoff (515 Responses)
  1. BethTX

    Brains: the other white meat.

    June 1, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Disgruntled_girl

    His stomach was making the rumblies ... that only hands could satisfy

    June 1, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. closetiguana

    I think it's time for the negative portrayal of zombies to end. White faced soulless creatures walking the earth looking for brains. That's just not fair! These are people...er....these were people damn it!

    June 1, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Potrzebie

    Two words: Bath Salts

    June 1, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. OMGICHBWIAR

    Mayan calendar ends in December....crazed Miami man eats face of another Miami resident......Maryland man eats heart of fellow student.....Canadian man cuts up and mails body parts......drug lords kill people wholesale in Mexico near Texas border towns.......Sturm Ruger company unable to supply all the U.S. firearm orders it has received......I believe I see a plot developing for yet another stinky Quentin Tarantino movie. But wait; can you finish a movie before 21 Dec?

    June 1, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike D

      Tarantino could, sure. Just have some guys shoot each other, reference films from the 70's, and hold long closeups of women's bare feet and bam, you've got a Tarantino movie.

      June 1, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Lindsey

    The most bizarre thing about all this is that it all happened in the course of one weekend total. Not a week or various random days or events, it transpired in one weekend. That is what makes it above all strange and bizarre. So of course people are going to think something is in the mix and something is going on. I just think people need to be more cautious and see that things like this does go on. Is it a zombie apocalypse? Honestly who knows? We will see what happens in weeks or months to come to see if anymore of this crazy events transpire.

    June 1, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • diego homans

      You're statistically impaired. But that's the least of your troubles.

      June 1, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. michelle

    This article leaves out several other strange and cannibal like attacks that have happened over the course of two weeks. A woman in Texas killed and ate her newborn..also the fact obama has held a secert no press meeting regarding canibal attacks and is trying to hide the TWO cases in Texas...somethings going on and I would rather sound crazy and be prePared for ANYTHING to deny all that's being reprted and even more that not..and be screwed in the end

    June 1, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ghostmule

      Youve got that right. It's just the begining. Think about it, there are people all of a sudden, out of the blue turning into stark raving maniacs. Look at the pictures of the victims face in Miami. It looks like he was mauled by a 900 lb grizzly bear. The other guy cut himself open in front of cops and threw his intestines at them.

      June 1, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      The guy who threw his intestines has been proved to be mentally insane and his neighbors say he's done TONS of gruesome things before. The guy who ate the guys face Bath Salts! Look up "High on Bath Salts" on youtube go to video with guy in white t-shirt....he is laughing and screaming hysterically! Its side-affects are unpredictable!!

      June 1, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • rstlne

      If Obama is holding secret meetings, how do you know about it???

      June 1, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • omg girl

      this is crazy hopefuly is dosent spred druggs r bad ppl should use them ewwwwwwy

      June 4, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • viaquest

      he watches ZNN , the Zombie news network ..........

      June 6, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • JP

      Maybe you need screwed in the end.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • holly

      The incident where the mother eating her newborn happened in 2009. Her name was Otty Sanchez... Still interesting news though

      June 1, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • cillz

      Whats so interesting about a woman mutilating.an infant?

      June 23, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • bill davis

      Oh, you're crazy alright

      June 1, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trilobites

      Did FOX news report on the President having a secret meeting about the zombies and that he's hiding the fact that Texas is having an unreported, hidden zombie problem? I always knew Texas had a zombie problem...Perry protects his own.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • rammingman

      the texas things happened like 4 years ago.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Whacko

      Oh, yeah. Right. (freak)

      June 2, 2012 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
    • sarah

      I know. My friends were making fun of me for reading the Zombie Survival Guide yet again... I told them " Well, when you're getting attacked by a zombie I want you to think back and remember that you should have read into it instead of laughing about it. Even if it's not here yet, the government will goof up even more one of these days and there will be a zombie attack."

      June 2, 2012 at 3:37 am | Report abuse |
    • McIver3

      The Zombie Mother that ate her baby's brain was in 2009. You are 3 years late.

      June 3, 2012 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Not sure if serious?

      June 3, 2012 at 1:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Katrina

      I'm with you hunny! and your right how come no one else knows about the woman with her baby or texas? can you say cover up. Let's just say my shotgun is loaded!

      June 3, 2012 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
    • south4evr

      The press meeting was secret because Obama has created a zombie squad (fulfilling his promise to create jobs)) to eat his politcal opponents and enemys!!! It's starting in Texas because he's after George W. Bush first!! Next will be George Zimmerman, for shooting his son Trayvon!

      Eat your brains? YES THEY CAN!!!

      June 3, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kim

      The Texas woman who killed and ate her baby happened awhile ago. I watched that video on Youtube over two months ago. I am quite fearful of the possibility of a Zombie Apocalypse, though. And some people may be joking when they say that, but if a zombie apocalypse is beginning, this is how it would start. And I don't find much comfort in the government denying that's what's happening, because they would deny it. If they came right out and said that there is a widespread and fast growing epidemic of a zombie-like infection/virus sweeping across the globe, society would fall. There would be mass looting, violence, and immediate panic. Zombies are an obvious threat towards humanity, but encountering other groups of survivors, especially hostile ones, could be equally as dangerous.

      June 3, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yea, right

      Yep, it's a true conspiracy; zombies are flooding into our country eating anyone they see, and Obama's behind it! Tighten the tinfoil hat a bit more, you'll need it =/

      June 4, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. John

    Is there any connection anywhere in these reports to historic Olde England? In the middle ages, people punished for attacks or treason against a King were sometimes hung by the neck until presumed dead, drawn and quartered (gross)! and that included disemboweling (gross)!, dimemberment (sick)! beheading (gross!) and placing their severed head on a pike on top of a castle tower's wall in order to prevent further attacks against the King. (GROSS)! Sometimes several heads of treasonous people were placed on the same tower wall! (Demented)! Only recently since 1997, were many legal and civil codes changed in the UK, emphasizing humanitarian compassion and fair treatment of UK prisoner people. (Finally)!

    June 1, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ItsSpreading

    Molre reports of face and flesh-eating Zombies on the Eastern seaboard... I will.... I will... ouch... stop.... ahhhhH!!!!!!

    June 1, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. AM

    buying a gun, brb

    June 1, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Poolchick

      lol. make sure it's not a pellet gun. 🙂

      June 1, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • south4evr

      Remember rule #1: DOUBLE TAP!!

      June 3, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ItsSpreading

    Let's see... face or brains.... face or brains... Honey? What type of wine do we have? Red or White? White? Okay... brains...

    June 1, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. YumYum

    I can't believe the Miami Zombie ate the guy's eyes too... that's just really greedy...

    June 1, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. HealthyFleshEating

    The TV show "Grim" is activating the Zombies.

    June 1, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. HealthyFleshEating

    Attention Zombies... be certain to consume your daily portions of Fruits and Brains...

    June 1, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ZOMBIECONSPIRACY

    They are not telling us about the Zombies. This is a conspiracy. SAVE FACE while you can!

    June 1, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
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