The people of Ancient Hellas could have believe in the existence of zombies. The conclusion was made by scientists after researching the necropolis of Passo Marinaro, which is located near the town of Kamarina in Sicily.

There are several thousand graves on the plot and scientists have studied almost three thousand of them. Archeologists have found many interesting and strange things, including artifacts. A few burials were different from the other, since they used additional weight in the form of stones. It looked as if the inhabitants of Ancient Greece did not want those resting there getting out. In addition, they also found tablets containing incantations against the “living dead.”

Necrophobia, or the fear of the dead, is a concept that has been present in Hellenic culture from the Neolithic period to the present, according to Weaver. She underlines that Katadesmoi – tablets with magic spells inscribed – were also found, suggesting that some inhabitants of Kamarina used incantations to raise the dead from their graves. Petitions on tablets were addressed to underworld dieties so that the spirits of the dead could fulfill the request of the person making the petition.

The ancient Hellenes also believed in ghosts; they were the people who could not find the entrance to the Underworld or who didn't have the money to pay Kharon for their passage. Those who were not properly buried were also doomed to wander the Earth for a hundred years. Interestingly enough, Hellenic heroes were also considered ghosts and were honored in the same type of rites as other types of ghosts.

The Ancient Hellenes held festivals in honor of ghosts, and the Theoi that presided over them, so they would be sated and appeased and would not haunt them. Most of these festivals included a holókaustos and were solemn affairs, conducted at night and without an offering of wine.

This fear of spirits and other supernatural entities was named 'deisidaimonia' (δεισιδαιμονία). The ceremonies of riddance were known to the Hellenes as apopompai (ἀποποπμαί), 'sendings away'. There isn't a single word in the English language that conveys the practice. Closest would be 'exorcism'.

Becoming a ghost was not a good thing. While heroes like Hēraklēs, Theseus and Orpheus head into the Underworld and return from it alive, they never do so without a struggle and the fact that heroes were considered ghosts is food for thought. They have seen the Underworld and have not left the whole of it behind. Ghosts were feared and needed to be appeased, fed with blood to sustain them and/or warded off.