Possible Causes for the Situation

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Much speculation exists as to the cause of the Malton Incident. Many theories center around news stories, read from newspapers found in the streets.

Bird Flu

Newspaper:
It's dated from last June. The main story is about bird flu. You skim it and throw it away.

The avian flu is a disease which has been causing a worldwide stir from 2003 on. It is also mentioned in news stories from various newspapers found in Malton, and may have contributed to or caused the zombie apocalypse, if the apocalypse is viral in nature.

Cemetery Overcrowding

Newspaper:
It's from May last year. There's a page-nine story about cemetery overcrowding. You skim it and throw it away.

One theory as to the origins of the zombie peril involves the problem of cemetery overcrowding. Some think that because the bodies were closer together, it made it easier for a virus to travel, while others think that it was simply disrespect that caused the dead to rise, or that the dead were protesting poor conditions, and went on strike, but the strike turned violent.

An alternative explanation for these newspaper stories holds that overcrowding was not the cause of the outbreak, but rather an effect of it. This view speculates that whatever caused the first zombies to rise had an incubation time, and that before people rose as zombies, they had to die. This would mean that people started dying in large numbers, were buried (possibly in mass graves), and then rose as zombies.

However, in graveyards, the grass between the headstones seems smooth and undisturbed, suggesting that the undead who roam the streets today have never been buried.

Cremation of Corpses

Magazine:
It's titled "Sci-Fi Weekly." The main story is about "Dead Cannabis". You skim it and throw it away.

Some believe that the cause of the outbreak involves the cremation of bodies after death. The smoke which is produced during the process is released into the atmosphere, only to be inhaled by unknowing citizens who then become mindless versions of themselves. However, the smoke itself would have to contain a biochemical that reacted with the human tissue; it is unknown if this is the case.

There have been jokes dictating it as "Dead Cannabis", since the end result is brain eating zombies.

Meteor Shower

Newspaper:
It's from June last year. The cover story mentions a meteor shower, with full-colour photos. You skim it and throw it away.

A meteor shower is the subject of one of the news stories that may be read in newspapers found around Malton. It is a possible cause of the current zombie presence in Malton, as meteor showers are often associated with unknown cosmic rays and other curious extraterrestrial phenomena.

MRSA

Newspaper:
It's a copy of the local paper from May last year. The main story is about MRSA in local hospitals. You skim it and throw it away.

MRSA stands for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a gram-positive cocci bacteria. It commonly lives on the skin of humans and has had increasing antibiotic resistance since the discovery of penicillin. According to one conspiracy theory about the zombie outbreak, NecroTech had been experimenting with weaponized Staphylococcus derived from MRSA, which escaped... or was permitted to escape. Do not confuse the condition with the group residing in Stanbury Village, the Malton Resistance Syndicate of Atlantis.

Newspaper:
It's a copy of the local paper from July of 2005. The main story is about MRSA experimentation. You skim it and throw it away.

MRSA was clinically tested in weaponized form during an execution sentence in the city of Malton. The results have yet to be released due to inconclusive response from those involved.

Necrotech

Newspaper:
It's from last year. There's a bland interview with the head of NecroTech. You skim it and throw it away.
Newspaper:
It's a copy of the local paper from June 2005. There are a lot of adverts for NecroTech in the 'situations vacant' section.

Many conspiracy theories center around the Necrotech Corporation due to its shady role in the zombie outbreak. This is likely, as "necro" is the Greek prefix for dead. Put this together with tech, you get Dead Technology, which sounds like quite the coincidence, as there is a zombie outbreak. There may be 'situations vacant' because a number of NecroTech scientists have been killed, possibly by something which turned them into zombies, starting the outbreak.

Night of the Living Dead Theory

The murders are being perpetrated by the recently deceased who have returned to life, dubbed 'ghouls'. Experts, scientists and military are not sure of the cause of the reanimation, but one scientist is certain that it is the result of radioactive contamination from a space probe that exploded in the Earth's atmosphere

The Hell Theory

In Western theology, Hell is a place where horrible people go after death. Many religions have their own concept of Hell. The Hell Theory is that Hell has been filled up, and the dead are no longer able to enter. Those destined for Hell are not allowed in either Heaven nor Hell, and walk the earth. One conclusion is that God (or the Creator) is punishing humanity for many hundreds of years of sin. The main idea of this theory can be heard in George Romero's film Dawn of the Dead. "When there is no more room in Hell, the Dead will walk the Earth."

However, this theory fails to explain why Malton specifically is the target of Hell's overcrowding.

Toxoplasma Gondii

Magazine:
It's titled Bio-Quest. There's several bland interviews with head scientists of Malton concerning Toxoplasma Gondii. You skim it and throw it away.

Toxoplasmosa Gondii is a virus spread when infected tissue cysts are ingested by a cat (e.g., by feeding on an infected mouse). The cysts survive passage through the stomach of the cat and the parasites infect epithelial cells of the small intestine where they undergo sexual reproduction and oocyst formation. Oocysts are shed with the feces. Animals and humans that ingest oocysts (e.g., by eating unwashed vegetables) or tissue cysts in improperly cooked meat become infected. The parasite enters macrophages in the intestinal lining and is distributed via the blood stream throughout the body.

The Nackles Hypothesis

Named for the Harlan Ellison short story, "Nackles," in which the eponymous anti-Santa who began as a mean-spirited story was brought to life by the power of belief alone, this is the idea that widespread viewing of zombie movies lead enough people to believe in zombies that zombies spontaneously began to appear. Although there is no evidence whatsoever to back the Nackles Hypothesis, it has gained joking acceptance among many survivors. It is unclear where the Nackles Hypothesis originated, but it was first recorded somewhere in Free Zone North.

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