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Ask Dr. Pecos

During his days as an Instructor at the FVZA Academy, Dr. Pecos enjoyed nothing more than answering questions from students. Retirement has done little to dim that passion. Therefore, he'd like to offer you the opportunity to ask any questions you have about vampires and zombies. New questions and answers will be posted periodically, while the old questions and answers will be archived for easy reference.




Question(s):

What do vampires and zombies sound like?
Dale, Dothan, Alabama

Vampires and zombies sound different from humans, and the differences become more pronounced over time.

The Black Book

Let’s start with zombies. Early-stage zombies sound somewhat similar to their human selves. They try to form words and sentences and they can vary the pitch and volume of their voice. However, they are unable to speak clearly because of degradation in the language centers of their brains (imagine a drunk person—a very drunk person—trying to speak). They may growl, hiss and even shriek to express their emotions. As time passes, their vocal chords deteriorate and they begin to emit some truly horrible noises—nothing like the steady groan of movie zombies. Mid-stage zombies will wheeze and gurgle due to excess fluid in their lungs. Later, as that fluid dries up, zombies will emit a chilling, guttural sound we used to refer to as “the zombie rattle.”

A quick aside: I never once, in all my years of zombie hunting, heard a zombie say “brains!”

In contrast to zombies, vampires retain the ability to speak, although their voices change significantly as the years pass and their mucous membranes thin and they lose elasticity in their vocal chords. A male vampire will develop a higher, thinner-sounding voice, while a female vampire’s voice will deepen. Structural changes in the voice box also cause vampires to speak more quietly. When they try to shout, their voices crack. They prefer to hiss, expelling air through their clenched mouths.

On a side note, it is true, as many movies and books have suggested, that vampires have their own language. It is a variation of Latin known as Bursan that was thought to have originated in Burs, an area of present-day Romania. Not all vampires bothered to learn Bursan, but the more disciplined groups made it mandatory for any new members. The oldest surviving Bursan text was found in the remains of a Viking camp near present-day Wexford on the southeast coast of Ireland. It is known as the Black Book, not because it is black but because the Vikings were sometimes referred to by the Irish as the “dark invaders.” It is not known how the book came to be in the possession of the Vikings. The Black Book currently resides in Trinity College, Dublin.


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