Zombies take over Whitehorse

Sheila MacLean was bitten by zombies in Vancouver. Now, the local massage therapist is responsible for infecting Whitehorse with the walking dead.

Sheila MacLean was bitten by zombies in Vancouver.

Now, the local massage therapist is responsible for infecting Whitehorse with the walking dead.

On Sunday, in front of the Elijah Smith Building, the undead are congregating for the Yukon’s first zombie walk.

MacLean is bringing the blood.

“I have a thing for zombies,” said the monster maniac.

As a teenager, it was more of an obsession, she said.

“And it was not a fun obsession.”

Walking home from FH Collins, MacLean was constantly on the lookout.

“I was afraid I was going to get attacked,” she said.

She was convinced zombies roamed the streets of Riverdale at night.

“I would run home if it was dark,” she said.

Going to college in Vancouver opened up a whole new world of horror, but she mastered it.

“I got over my fear really quickly in Vancouver because of how quickly I would have died there,” she said.

Then, she heard about Vancouver’s annual zombie walk and decided to face her fears head on.

The day of the walk, MacLean took the SkyTrain to Burrard Station. As the doors of the train slid open, the sound of primal drumming filled the car.

Going up the escalator, MacLean noticed a bloody hand print on the protective glass barrier.

She was scared, but didn’t turn back.

At street level, it was zombies as far as the eye could see.

Vancouver closed down a number of streets and the zombie hoard made its way from downtown across the Lion’s Gate Bridge.

“The bridge was filled with zombies, everything from bridesmaids to Resident Evil’s Umbrella Corps,” said MacLean.

Toronto also has a zombie walk. “And it’s even crazier,” she said.

“Survivors run around with red ‘Xs’ on their backs and zombies chase them down and eat them.”

The Whitehorse walk isn’t going to be quite so lively.

Although if people want to get eaten, MacLean is willing to douse them in blood.

The walk will make its way to Shipyards Park, and MacLean hopes to contact the local radio stations so people aren’t too surprised when the walking dead take over town.

“I want people to know what’s going on so no one shows up with a shotgun,” she said with a laugh.

MacLean also contacted the RCMP.

“The guy I talked to thought it was a great idea,” she said.

But he also told her to run it by the duty officer, whom she has yet to reach.

The original zombies were not as colourful or gruesome as today’s recreations.

Harvard ethnobotanist Wade Davis presented a pharmacological case for zombies in two of his books, after travelling to Haiti in 1982. During his investigation, Davis discovered two special powders used by witch doctors to induce a death-like state in its victims.

Apparently these zombies were pronounced dead and buried, said MacLean.

Then a couple weeks later, they were dug up and put to work in cotton fields.

Haitian witch doctors challenge Davis’ findings, according to Wikipedia.

MacLean’s first introduction to zombies was in Grade 9, when she was in the Wood Street School’s drama and arts program.

“We watched Night of the Living Dead, which was awesome and not very scary,” she said.

These days, MacLean’s grown a little more fearful.

“In high school I was trying to be cool enough to watch scary movies,” she said.

“But now I’ve grown a little more sensitive.”

But her zeal for zombies remains.

Working at Spa Zen, it’s a passion she shares with her boss.

“We bond over zombies,” she said.

For the last couple years, the two have toyed with the idea of starting a zombie walk in Whitehorse.

But it wasn’t until they started a Facebook page a couple of weeks ago, that it became a reality.

“We already have 50 people attending,” said MacLean.

“Be there, or be eaten.”

The walk starts at the Elijah Smith Building at noon and MacLean thinks the zombie hoard will remain in Shipyards Park until at least 4 p.m.

At the end of Vancouver’s walk everyone got slushies and then hung around in the park talking about Shaun of the Dead, she said.

MacLean is imagining something similar in Whitehorse. And she hopes people bring drums and noisemaker, “to make it really primal.”

MacLean also hopes passersby join in the walk, and wants to see all ages participate.

“The coolest thing would be to have people walking out of church and deciding to be part of the zombie walk,” she said.

MacLean’s bringing some extra blood-stained shirts, just in case.

To track her down, look for the zombie in the torn up pink dress, covered in blood.

Contact Genesee Keevil at


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