CAMDEN, Maine — There were three rules: No violence, no guns and no biting. Rotting from the inside out, moaning, lurching around in public and generally terrorizing the innocent people of downtown Camden were just fine. Being a zombie, after all, requires some artistic license.
“I need blood,” said Whitney Carpentier of Camden as she whited out a friend’s face with makeup Saturday afternoon at the town’s amphitheater.
“Hold on, I’ve got an open blood,” said Kay Stephens, also of Camden, passing over a small plastic tube.
With a squeeze and dollop of stomach-turning crimson, another regular, everyday person became an undead horror. Even a dog named Tessa, owned by Sean Walker of Appleton, was covered in gore.
“So you guys are going to act like zombies, right?” called out one of the less outgoing members of the group, to which the rest started in with the lurching and moaning. And dripping blood.
Still one day shy of Halloween, the group proceeded down Camden’s main drag, which teemed with people who unlike the zombies, hadn’t “died” yet. There were more than a few curious glances. Some people ducked into shops or stepped off the sidewalk to avoid the hoard. To make way for such a spectacle somehow seemed natural, if that’s possible with walking corpses.
It was the first pack of zombies Steve and Anne Kornacki of Brunswick, who were shopping Saturday in Camden, had ever seen.
“For a minute there I thought I was at the Old Port in Portland at 1 a.m.,” quipped Steve Kornacki.
Eliciting reactions was sort of the point, said Carpentier and Stephens, who organized the event as a flash mob. That’s when a large number of people converge on a single location for a stunt or prank. Using the power of social networking websites such as Facebook or Twitter, flash mobs of thousands of people have been known to gather in large cities, sometimes for something as innocuous as having everyone act like a statue for 60 seconds in a crowded subway, then simultaneously melting back into the crowds. Usually there’s a videographer to catch the reactions of bewildered witnesses, which was the case Saturday.
Because of the mischief associated with pretending you’re dead, Stephens and Carpentier felt it necessary to rule out guns, knives and biting.
“The no biting was a tough one for some people,” said Stephens. “As a result we had five or six people drop out.”
It was their loss, said Carpentier.
“We started this as a form of entertainment,” said Carpentier. “It gets really dead around here.”
To see more about Saturday’s flash mob, search for “Midcoast zombie walk” on Facebook.