From the Dallas Morning News:
1. The word zombie comes from the Congo, where in local folklore Nzambi is the great spirit. Known as Li Grand Zombi in New Orleans, Gandolfo said, the great spirit is symbolized by the snake.
2. In voodoo lore, your body houses a petit angel and a grand angel. When you die, the grand angel goes to heaven. The petit angel hangs out in your body for three days or until you’ve finished rotting. If anything happens to the petit angel before your time’s up, you might turn into a zombie. This is why, in Haiti, people might sit on a loved one’s grave for three days.
3. Getting from the petit angel stage to the zombie stage requires the work of a magician or witch doctor to intercede with spirits. Gandolfo said spirits are all inherently benign, “but they’re easily manipulated.” Ghede, the spirit that deals with zombies, “is an alcoholic. He can be had for a fifth of rum.”
You can bribe Ghede to steal the spirit from a not-fully-decayed corpse and thus reanimate the corpse. Alternatively, the spirit can be kept in a jar for future use.
Ghede is a sort of gatekeeper of the cemetery and is often portrayed, on voodoo altars, as wearing the top hat of an undertaker and sunglasses with one lens missing, symbolizing that he has dominion over both things seen and unseen.
4. In Haitian folklore, becoming a zombie is a fate far worse than death, because zombies are considered eternal slaves, raised from the dead to work in the fields.
5. A real zombie’s feet never touch the ground. He or she is not earthbound. That’s why they always wear long dresses and pants that drag the ground.And the way to get rid of a zombie is to feed them salt, or throw salt on them. Zombies are also reportedly afraid of frogs.