The legend of the Grateful Dead

Zombies are not just the stuff of modern movies and flash mobs. A medieval legend popular in Germanic northern Europe tells of armed zombies who rise from the grave to protect the righteous.

The legend is found as early as the 13th century and is depicted in 15th century church art.

In the story a pious person makes a habit of regularly stopping by the local cemetery to pray for the souls of the departed. One day, he is chased by attackers into the church yard. The pious man is saved when skeletons armed with weapons spring from the grave and drive the attacker off.  [pictures]