'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. MymanDarwin

    This is how it will be covered up. With blame placed on drugs and then dismissed until it fades. Meanwhile, there is something going on. No, not a true "zombie apocalypse" where the dead rise.....but something else. A virus or some sort of pathogen that stimulates the primal cerebral cortex and shuts off reason, remorse, and morality centers of the brain. You think we would be told if something like that were found? Not until you are fighting the crazies off your porch.

    Something more is behind this. We will see.

    June 5, 2012 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
  2. JagerBomb

    YES!! Zombie Apocalypse!!!! Wooohoooo!! I knew this AR15 and tactical MossBerg 500A would come in handy sooner or later!! lol

    June 5, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

    Zombies would be required to be dead in order to qualify. Sorry, the insane man was just crazed, not a zombie. Please play again.

    June 5, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  4. Lobster

    right.... there are so many things wrong with this report and with the reply's.

    when my generation talk about zombies, they dont follow the fantasy of zombies. which is necromancers rising dead people from there graves to feast on others brains as a PUPPET! not for energy as put. what my generation is on about is a form of brain deteriorating disease which leaves a human being with nothing more than a humans basic instincts which will leave the being wanting food, told to hunt anything with a sudden movement, and rely mainly on the sence of smell, sight, sound and balance. its an idea that the hypothalamus (a section of our brain that controls all major bodily function i.e. temperature, heart beat, hunger, enzymes to break down food) stays alive while the brain slowly deteriorates. leaving us with the basic's of being a human, almost making us wild animals. THIS IS NOT A ZOMBIE... though it is now, my generation has changed the definition. Left 4 Dead eleberated on this idea where most people got it from. and though fantasy... very possible, and this bath salt thing that we have seen is the closet thing to it. "a man is caught eating some homeless guys face while growling and practically ignoring pain after being shot!". im afraid that you mnight just have to accept this as being called a zombie, even though in the TV shows and games that everyone relates zombies too, they are not called zombies. it is either a Z virus, or they are adressed as the hord!

    i apologise for my english, im more of a physics person the a literal person

    June 5, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  5. Sandy

    Skin is falling off my shoulders....A HUGE PIECE JUST FLEW OFF MY ARM !!!!

    or maybe it's a sunburn.

    June 5, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. BOB

    This is just another cover up by the government, just like they covered up the roswell incident, and are hiding aliens at area 51. I bet the government is now hiding zombies.

    June 5, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. billybob

    For all of you who this this is just a hoax, or a scam, or government, you would be wrong lets look at the facts, the doctors said that this is a virus the man has accired from some unknown sorce and makes the human have a desire for the blood of another human, or animal. Just to be safe like the other guys said stock up on ammo, and beer, because that is the 2 main things in surviving a zombie apocalypse.

    June 5, 2012 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Matt

    No doctor has said it's a "virus". If you're referring to that idiotic T-whatever virus website, that's a fake. It was already disproved and the guy who built the site already admitted he was capitalizing on the story so that he would be sent money through PayPal. There are no zombies and it still amazes me how many stupid people continue to haunt the internet over this crap. And gullible to boot.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:55 am | Report abuse |
  9. Jon

    Thanks CNN for dignifying this utterly useless, stupid, stupid idea by writing about it.

    June 6, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • rCdelta

      Absolutely amazing, those of you who are completely brain dead (@Baggs, @Matt, @Jon)think Cnn is covering a useless story. People have self mutilated and ATTACKED other humans, if that isn't worthy of news, you aren't worthy of oxygen. Nobody is saying it's actually a zombie apocalypse, its simply a lot of people mauling and maiming. Get off your high horse and maybe you'll realize you really aren't intelligent, or better than anyone else, I sure can see it.

      June 6, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. viaquest

    all i know is i'm shooting anyone who looks at me, like the last leg of chicken in the family box, in the head we'll let the coroner deside if they were or were not a Zombie!!

    June 6, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. viaquest

    you all assume that "Zombie" has to be a walking dead brain eater, Zombie could also mean a drugged out face eater , it dosen't have to specificly mean the sifi version from 1000 bad movies a few million addicted Bath Salt users running around eating people would qualify in my book !

    June 6, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Adam

    wake up, eat, go to work, get home, pay bills, eat, sleep, repeat.

    sounds like a zombie to me.

    June 7, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marisa

      Nice one Adam....LOL...I just had to laugh at your response....all too true these days it seems for the majority of us! 🙂

      June 15, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  13. Frank

    People of the United States of America,
    Along with all the recent Pyscho Flesh Eater stories recently,all you have to do is look to Washington D.C. to see the infestation of ZOMBISM, all these politicians are brain eaters because apparently from what I have seem they have no brains.

    June 7, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. kateisdivine

    Double Tap

    June 7, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ZombieGamer90's

    haha this is crazy! but i have my green and red plants growing as we speak, put an order in for ammo press, scoped out all the pharmacies in my area for insulin, downloaded a ton of myth buster episodes to learn how to make explosives. oh and wait these are just cannibals what am i thinking. But better be safe than sorry....

    June 8, 2012 at 1:05 am | Report abuse |
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