Are You Prepared for a Zombie Apocalypse?

Janet Stilson
Published in
3 min readFeb 26, 2023


Photo by Mikita Yo on Unsplash

Zombies have been on my mind lately partly because I’m enjoying “The Last of Us,” the fungus-pandemic horror series on HBO, and partly because of something that showed up in my inbox. Many data tidbits are pushed to me, so they don’t always stop me in my scrolling tracks. But this one did just that.

Did you know that more than one in 10 Americans think a zombie apocalypse is inevitable? Among the believers, more than half apparently believe it’s coming in the next 30 years.

If you’re a zombie today or are eventually turned into an undead fiend, the best place to head is in California. That’s where people are least likely to be prepared for a zombie apocalypse — with weaponry, food stockpiles, and other anti-zombie essentials. Texas, Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania are also ripe for the picking if you consider which states include enough vulnerable nitwits to pick off.

Don’t head to Wyoming, Alaska, Vermont, and the Dakotas. People there are the most prepared. Many can live off the land and stockpile weaponry and root vegetables pretty easily.

All of this information, and much more, comes from a survey conducted by, which is in the insurance-service business, interestingly enough.


You’ve probably guessed that I’m one of those who don’t believe that a massive wave of zombies is in the offing. But it’s fascinating to me that others do. I wonder if the belief is a reaction to zombie content like the “Last of Us” series and the video game that inspired it — along with others like “The Walking Dead,” “Resident Evil,” and “World War Z.” Or were the content creators riffing on a belief that was already in the Zeitgeist? Maybe it’s a feedback loop situation.

Regardless, it speaks to something I read recently about emotional contagion. Robert Greene uses that term in his book “The Laws of Human Nature.” He discusses how we react differently when we are experiencing something with a lot of people versus when we’re by ourselves.

“Certain emotions are more contagious than others, anxiety and fear being the strongest of all,” Greene writes in a chapter called Resist the Downward Pull of the Group. “Among our ancestors, if one person sensed a danger, it was important that others feel this as well. But in our present environment, where the threats are less immediate, it is more like a low-grade anxiety that passes quickly through the group, triggered by possible or imagined dangers.”


He writes: “If everyone seems to agree that [something] is the right course of action, we are compelled to feel confident about the decision.” In other words, beliefs held by groups “make us feel more certain about what we and our colleagues are doing, which makes us all the more prone to taking risks.”

Remind you of crowds reacting to politicians and their rallying cries? Many public figures — including media personalities — play on another trait we picked up from our ancestors: the need to rally against rival tribes. We may think we come to conclusions after considering various nuances. But we are, by nature, prone to black-and-white, us-versus-them thinking.

Fixating on a common enemy tends to pull us together. Greene quotes Anton Chekov as noting: “Love, friendship, respect do not unite people as much as common hatred for something.”

Greene advises readers to examine if a certain fear or sense of anxiety is derived from what they’re experiencing firsthand or whether it is a reaction to what’s been heard or sensed in others.

In other words, don’t get sucked into an emotional whirlpool that has no basis in reality. That isn’t always easy, especially when we are fooled by political commentators who don’t even believe in the pseudo-facts they espouse.

However, if we do that analysis, it just might be the biggest zombie annihilator of all.



Janet Stilson

Janet Stilson’s novel THE JUICE, published to rave reviews. A sequel will be released in May 2024. She won the Meryl Streep Writer’s Lab for Women competition.