Earlier this month when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated safety guidelines, we understand there was some confusion over the changes, especially in regard to conflicts with state regulations. New data is constantly emerging and our organization strives to keep up with the latest recommendations from experts. With that in mind, we've broken down some of the best practices regarding monsters, alien creatures, cursed objects and the undead.
It's funny to think only centuries ago people actually believed bloodsucking creatures roaming the night could be stopped by tossing a handful of salt or grain that they'd be compelled to stop and count. Of course, modern science has confirmed a wooden stake through the heart while they're in human form is the most effective course of action. Like wiping down your groceries, beheading and burning were recommended when we were still gathering information. But you may as well follow up with those just in case.
As for general public safety, retail operations like shops and restaurants are not required to invite visitors onto their premises and we prefer not to take a position on wearing or bandying about crosses. Proprietors are similarly on their own as to whether to check for reflections at the door and will receive no assistance with enforcement. Try the honor system.
We'd be remiss if we did not also explicitly debunk the false and dangerous claims by authorities in Texas and Florida that vampires can be identified by glittering skin. Vampires do not glitter. That's batshit.
The CDC asks for your patience as we review policy changes made in the last four years. We are also scrambling to transition new staff into positions the previous White House administration filled with actual werewolves.
Earlier CDC guidelines stated that victims of "facehugger" aliens needed only a 24-hour quarantine once the creature has been removed and/or terminated, or has skittered away of its own volition. Recent study and the frantic exhortations of the only survivor of previous contact with xenomorphs, however, have led us to recommend the immediate jettisoning of the victim into space. In our defense, she was pretty abrasive.
The CDC stands by its guidance on the highly contagious condition of zombie-ism, whether in its original lumbering, leg-dragging form or the recent so-called "fast zombie" variant: Jesus Christ, take the vaccine now that we have it. We no longer care if you subscribe to the theory of zombie-ism's origin in a lab or witchcraft — we kind of can't believe we have to beg you to be inoculated against devolving into the living dead or having to put down your roommate once they start to turn. (If Brad does start to get peckish for human flesh, the CDC, WHO and George Romero all recommend headshots or decapitation by chainsaw or whatever weapons you've scavenged from the nearest abandoned sporting goods store.)
Possessed porcelain dolls, sentient ventriloquist's dummies and other objects thrumming with malevolent power
Dumping, burning and exorcising these items have all proven disappointingly ineffective in protecting you or those with whom you have contact. Your best bet is to avoid exposure by not entering high-risk situations. It's not that hard but then neither is wearing a mask at Costco, and yet here we are. Avoid estate sales at remote mansions, excavations or working as a nanny to eerily mature children, as well as remaining in close proximity with those who have. (The CDC defines close proximity as spending 15 minutes or more within 6 feet of a person or cursed object over a 24-hour period.) Please use common sense before purchasing preserved monkey paws and the like. Yes, you have the individual right to read aloud from whatever book you may find in a tomb or thatch-roofed cottage in the woods, but really, how important is it to you?
If a spectral entity tells you to get out, through vocalization, messages written in blood on mirrors or walls, a croaking psychic/medium with their eyes rolled back in their head or via Ouija board, the CDC strongly recommends getting out. But sure, go ahead and consult your cousin on Facebook.
Heretofore unknown parasitic life-forms recovered from deep within the Earth's crust or polar ice caps
While the symptoms of contact with such creatures are, for obvious reasons, not well documented, the CDC recommends isolating from those exhibiting heightened aggression, paranoia and increased desire to lock themselves in a storeroom with you. But even as we race to understand new threats, it's important we don't turn on one another or sell out the safety of the group for financial or political gain. Don't be the guy who tries to sneak a live sample back to corporate or the military or whatever. Everybody hates that guy.
Much like anti-zombie vaccination, the simple, practical precautions we take to protect ourselves as individuals have reverberating impacts on our communities, be that the larger population, your immediate circle/research team or the last pair of you, locked in a flamethrower standoff on the ice.
Going forward, we're going to have to trust each other. And keep an eye on Brad.
Jennifer Fumiko Cahill (she/her) is the arts and features editor at the Journal. Reach her at 442-1400, extension 320, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @JFumikoCahill.