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The Venetian explorer Marco Polo wrote in his lournal that during one visit to the Emperor's summer palace of Xanadu, Kublai Khan displayed a severed zombie head preserved in a jar of clear alcoholic fluid. (Polo described the fluid as "with the essence of wine but clear and biting to the nose"). This head the Khan stated had been taken by his grandfather Ghenghis when he returned from his conquests in the west. Polo wrote that the head was aware of their presence. It even watched them with nearly decomposed eyes. When he reached out to touch it the head snapped at his fingers.

The Khan chastised Polo for attempting this foolish act. The Khan told Polo the story of a low ranking court official who had done the exact same thing and had his hand bitten off by the head. This official later "seemed to die, but rose again within days to attack his servants." Polo states that the head remained "alive" throughout his time in China. No one knows the fate of this relic. When Polo returned from Asia, his story was suppressed by the Catholic Church, and as such, does not appear in the official accounts of his adventures. Historians theorized that, since the Mongols reached as far as Baghdad, the head may be one of the original subjects of Ibrahim Obeidallah, which would entitle the head to the record of the best preserved, oldest "living" relic of a zombie specimen.

The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection From the Living Dead
Max Brooks | Solanum | Zombies | Outbreaks | Recorded Attacks