From Academic Kids


Undead is a collective name for all types of corporeal and non-corporeal entities who were once alive in the normal sense, died, and then continued to exist in the world of the living, usually as a ghost or animated corpse. Undead of different varieties are featured in the legends of most cultures on earth and in many works of fiction, especially fantasy and horror fiction.

The term "undead" was invented by Bram Stoker, in his novel Dracula.


Examples of undead


Corporeal undead have an animated physical body that is otherwise biologically deceased.


Incorporeal undead have no tangible form, but exist in the world of the living as spirit entities.

Undead originating in fiction

  • Corporeal:
    • Liches
    • Skeletons
    • Mohrg
    • Death knight
    • Mummies in modern popular culture
    • Revenant, a sentient creature whose desire to complete a goal (usually to avenge its death) allows it to return from the grave as a creature vaguely resembling an intelligent zombie. Revenants exist primarily in role-playing games and horror movies. The Crow and Al Simmons, the protagonist of Spawn, are distinctive examples of the archetype.
  • Non-Corporeal:

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's novel Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus introduced another variant on the dead that walk again, the dead brought back to 'life' by science, though Frankenstein's creature also bears some similarity to a golem. Similar works include H.P. Lovecraft's short story Herbert West, Re-Animator and the Re-Animator film franchise that it inspired.

A vast number of films have been made concerning the undead.

In some stories and settings, such as the Lorien Trust LARP, the word "unliving" is used as a preferential synonym. In reference to the political correctness movement, the undead are sometimes jokingly referred to as the "living-impaired".

In Dungeons & Dragons and similar systems, clerics can attempt to "turn" undead by invoking their patron deities or channeling "positive energy" (other-dimensional life energy). This forces the undead creature away from the cleric; powerful clerics are capable of completely destroying weaker undead creatures with this ability. Although the act of turning away the undead relies primarily on power of faith, a holy symbol is usually required as a focus for the divine power being invoked. This is derived from the traditional notion that vampires could be repelled by the cross. Clerics of evil gods can rebuke and control the undead in a similar fashion, by means of necromancy.

Undead in philosophy

Jacques Derrida used the myth of the undead as a means to deconstruct the binary opposition between life and death.

External links

See also

de:Untoter fr:Mort-vivant sv:Odd zh:不死生物


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