In the lab

Examining a specimen of the toxic puffer fish.
I had documented the preparation of the poudre zombi in seven locations around Haiti. The recipes varied. As well as human remains, the other consistent ingredient was kinds of fish which contain tetrodotoxin, a nerve poison roughly a thousand times stronger than cyanide. Exposure to the poison causes metabolic
rates to fall dramatically. The pulse becomes imperceptible and peripheral paralysis is total. Though unable to move, the victim remains fully conscious until the moment of actual death.
Photo: Helmut Koller.