Myth Bashing – Bodies in Water

From under the desk of RC Murphy

Over the course of the years, we’ve heard a lot of people claim they know the perfect way to avoid becoming a Happy Meal for the undead set. Sometimes these ideas seem so founded in fact that they may actually work when the Zombiepocalypse kicks into high gear. Unfortunately, after some digging most of these claims prove to be well thought out wishes, but provide little in the way of real safety.

In this series, your Zombie Survival Crew commanders will take a look at some of the more prevalent myths surrounding surviving once the earth is overrun by the undead.

Myth: Zombies can’t swim, so I’m going to live on a boat, yacht, island, etc.

Fact: To put it bluntly, this is a very naïve idea. If we all used this train of thought, people would be digging moats around their neighborhoods after the first zombies crawled out of their graves. All a moat would do is ensure other humans couldn’t gain access to the supplies you’ve stored. But it also isolates you, keeps you separated from those who are capable of helping to protect your family.

The truth is, zombies don’t breathe. Fear of drowning is what keeps a large percentage of people from learning how to swim or going into the water at all. However, after death there is nothing to stop them. Cadavers found in water are somewhat buoyant; they float near the surface during decomposition because of gasses trapped in the chest and abdomen. For normal bodies, this lasts for as long as it takes to dispel the gas. It is unknown how much of the gasses from decomposition stay in a zombie. So while the undead may lack the coordination to compete in the 100 meter freestyle in the Olympics, they can float and move around enough to execute a very basic “doggy paddle” to propel themselves through water.

“Well, what if the zombies don’t float?”

Then you will have a situation like in Land of the Dead (2005) where the zombies entered the water and sank like stones (which is what happens to the dead once their chest cavities burst and release built-up gasses anyways). Once submerged, the undead simply walked along the bottom of the lake. In this instance your only chance to use water to keep the zombies at bay is to find a chunk of land surrounded by swift-moving rivers. The force of the water would knock them downstream, but then you are back to my original point… isolation. How long could you survive on what you have stored and the limited hunting available on an island?

What zombie myths have you heard? Submit your myths in the comments below and we’ll do our best to prove if they are fact or just plain nonsense.