Chesterton Tribune

Wikipedia exposes Great Zombie Coverup in Burns Harbor

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It was arguably one of the greatest tragedies ever in the history of Westchester Township, it resulted in a massive loss of life—and un-life—and came close to putting the kibosh on the ultimate incorporation of the Town of Burns Harbor nearly 20 years later.

It was—according to the Wikipedia article on Burns Harbor, last updated on April 1—the “Great Zombie Invasion of 1949,” when “reanimated corpses began to invade the southern tip of Lake Michigan,” “walked, consumed, and turned the majority of the residents to their own,” and in the process simply “decimated the socioeconomical infrastructure of the region.”

Or as the Wikipedia article also calls it, “The Zombie Coverup.”

Coverup indeed. An exhaustive search of the Chesterton Tribune archives has failed to yield even a single story about the disaster.

Wikipedia—for those unfamiliar with the notoriously reliable on-line encyclopedia—is “web-based” and “openly editable” and features hundreds of thousands of articles “written collaboratively by largely anonymous Internet users who write without pay,” the website states. It adds, “Every contribution may be reviewed or changed. The expertise or qualifications of the user is usually not considered.”

Wikipedia does concede that articles may “contain significant misinformation, unencyclopedic content, or vandalism.”

But given the sheer level of detail in the Burns Harbor article, a hoax or prank in this particular case is not immediately apparent.

The article, for instance, reports that the Citizens of Westchester for Zombie Annihilation and Reform (COWZAR) devised a strategy, dubbed “Plan Z,” in which “remaining survivors were evacuated, examined thoroughly for signs of infection, and in the event that signs were found, cremated (sometimes while still alive), leaving only the zombies.” Then the “area was blanketed with bombs.”

“In 1953 the area was re-opened for habitation” and “Within a year the area that would become Burns Harbor”—incorporated as a town in 1967—“was beginning to resemble what it is today.”

Even so, “Evidence of the outbreak are still apparent in street signs for ‘Restricted Areas’ as well as heavily secured entrances to various hot spots disguised as steel mill gates,” the article notes. And “Some believe that there are in fact several ‘specimens’ still roaming.”

Burns Harbor Town Marshall Jerry Price acknowledged that the town is not altogether zombie-free. “My officers see a lot of zombies but generally in the early morning hours on Saturdays and Sundays after the bars close,” he told the Tribune today. “A lot of them have even learned to operate vehicles. The zombies, like the Bethlehem Steel bankruptcy, tried to kill the town but they failed.”

“The Zombie Coverup,” while it does expose a heretofore suppressed chapter in Westchester Township’s history, is in need of further editing. For one thing, its anonymous author claims that Bethlehem Steel Corporation assisted with the implementation of Plan Z, when in fact Bethlehem did not even begin to build its mill until 1962, 13 years after the Great Zombie Invasion and nine years after Plan Z had succeeded in largely stemming the un-dead tide.

For another thing, the author states that “Little is known how the zombies came to be un-alive,” whereas modern science has well established that the basic symptomotology of zombification—reanimation and cannabalism—is caused by a spongiform encephalopathy not unlike the one responsible for Jakob-Creutzfeldt disease.

The author, evidently expecting the cloak of official silence to fall once again and soon, concludes the article by urging readers to “Spread the word, as Wikipedia won’t let this stay up long.”





Posted 4/6/2010