The groans and wails started echoing through the Camp Hill cemetery trees at around 2pm on August 26. Innocent pedestrians dismissed the sounds as an auditory illusion—a combined effort of tall maples and crisp August wind—but the air was deadly still, and the majestic trees stood silent guard over the aged gravestones. Compared to the fast-moving cars and far-off thunders of industry, the noises were almost inaudible, but those who passed by thought twice before wandering through the gates.
By 2:30pm, the mysterious sounds were replaced by shrieks of fear, as almost 100 zombies staggered out of Camp Hill and into the nearby Public Gardens. The horde of undead, consisting mainly of recently deceased young adults, marched through the carefully groomed gardens in chaotic fashion, raining terror and disbelief down on hundreds of stunned onlookers.
The scene came straight out of the Halifax Zombie Walk, an event organized by local fun-lovers Brian Larter and Kathy King (Larter, along with friend Scott Ritchie, was also responsible for this year’s random dance party in Parade Square). The walk attracted an impressive crowd of ghastly creatures looking for subversive fun, as well as a handful of people posing as frightened onlookers and victims.
“The graves are opening! The dead have risen! Run!” screamed a hysterical man as he sprinted away from the mayhem. One woman, overcome by the dramatic turn of events, fell to the ground and was mercilessly attacked by the zombies.
Others were more sceptical.
“Weirdos,” explained one father to his young daughter. “They’re just confused.” “Something tells me it’s frosh week,” said a middle-aged man to his wife. A wedding party even attempted to include the zombies in its photos, but was unable to distract the creatures from their grisly parade of destruction.
Security guards on Spring Garden Road were helpless to protect citizens, preferring to cower in the doorway of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. The attacks continued unabated, only pausing when the zombies encountered traffic lights and crosswalks. Despite their complete disregard for all moral laws, the undead were surprisingly conscientious pedestrians, leaving plenty of opportunity for jaywalkers to escape their cannibalistic clutches.
After passing the Spring Garden Public Library, the zombies circled the cultural district and headed towards the waterfront. The group took a particular interest in tourist destinations, perhaps because of the many rotund, tasty visitors wandering the area. They stormed the Harbour Hopper, pounding on the amphibious vehicle while it was trapped at a stoplight, and “devoured” a shrieking young woman in front of Theodore Tugboat.
Why did the attacks take place? The zombies didn’t have much to say about it, really. Since most of the zombies appear to have died violent deaths (stab wounds were visible on many of them), the incident could be a form of supernatural revenge.
Larter thinks otherwise. “The only point of the walk was to bring fun back to the city of Halifax,” he says. “People complain that there’s nothing to do in this city any more, and we plan to change that. We have so many ideas we don’t know what to do with them all.”
The morbid madness stopped around 4pm, before the military or police could get organized. Gathered at St. Paul’s Church cemetery, the zombies clapped and cheered wildly, apparently pleased with their efforts. From there, the ghouls went their separate ways.
“The end is nigh,” said one homeless man as he encountered a small, now tame group of zombies.
It might be just the beginning.
Larter and Ritchie’e next proposed event is Duck- Duck-Goose on the North Common, Sept. 10, 2pm (tentative). Check www.brianlarter.com for updates.