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‘Zombies’ and friends dance to iconic music

The night sky was inky black; the air as still and soundless as a sepulcher with only an occasional cry breaking the impenetrable silence.

What was that? An owl calling out to its mate? Or maybe it was something else. Maybe it was something from beyond the tomb?

All souls, brave and pure, were tucked in their beds, fast asleep and unaware of the night cries, unaware that soon the dark would be broken by. … Is that a man? A monster? The living dead?

No, it was the largest crowd of Michael Jackson fans ever to grace the parking lot at Chesapeake High School on a Saturday night. And as the iconic chords of the opening of M.J.’s greatest hit sounded, they twisted, jumped, rocked and shrugged their way through the Thriller dance, all to be part of a possible world record that could be set this year by Thrill the World.com.

Some came dressed in jeans and jackets, but then there were those who took a page from the Jackson music video and came zombie-esque.

There was Denise Crawford, 10, of Chesapeake, dressed in a white shroud-like costume.

“I like Michael Jackson and I decided I’d do this,” she said.

Then there was Joan Davidson, a guidance aide at Chesapeake High School, who came complete with death-white face and black lips. She takes a Zumba class with Kristin Miller, Zumba instructor and Chesapeake High English teacher who organized the local Thriller event.

“I thought it was a great thing to do, all these people across the world doing this,” Davidson said.

But the most elaborate zombie costume had to be the one worn by Maddy Rose, 10, of Chesapeake.

Covered in blood, tire tracks, matted leaves and bugs, Maddy endured one hour of makeup before she showed up to dance the Thriller.

“I researched zombies on the Internet and every zombie has a theme,” Maddy’s mother, Chrystal Rose, said. “She’s gotten hit by a car.”

Besides the makeup, Rose put in three hours to create her daughter’s costume.

“My little sister got scared of the cockroach,” Maddy said about the giant bug planted on her forehead.

The worldwide event, promoted this year as a tribute to Michael Jackson, started in the fall of 2006, with Jackson fans dancing on the same night to the main cut on the Thriller album, the largest selling album in musical history. Currently more than 100 million copies have been sold.

Last year Thrill the World set a new world record with 4,179 from 10 countries performing the Thriller dance.

It caught the eye of Miller, who set up Saturday night event and danced along with her students.

Within a half-hour of the performance, she was emailing the Thrill the World Website that Chesapeake had participated in the event.

Now all she had to do is wait to see if her Thriller gang was part of a world’s record.