Planning a trip to Seoul? As modern and metropolitan as it might be, supernatural dangers may lurk in unexpected corners. This being the Seventh Month, we’re expecting that the mythological monsters of Korea would be a bit more active, although Korea doesn’t technically “celebrate” the Seventh Month.

These are dangers that Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet (do people still buy Lonely Planet guides) won’t warn you about, so we at The Popping Post have assembled a guide to the supernatural nasties that you might find in Korea – and how to ward them off.

Although it might just be better for you to avoid meeting them all together.

 

1. Kumiho (Nine-Tailed Fox)

Nine-Tailed Fox. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Nine-Tailed Fox. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The kumiho are Korean nine-tailed foxes that sound very similar to the Japanese kitsune and the Chinese huli jing. However, the kumiho are never benevolent, unlike the kitsune. They are often depicted as half-fox, half-human creatures that eat human hearts, and they’re bloodthirsty. Sometimes their tastes change and they go for human livers instead, as told in the Korean fairy tale The Fox Sister.

Sometimes they’re a little less malevolent and drain human energy instead. They do so by inserting their yeowu guseul (the supernatural source of a kumiho‘s power) into a human’s mouth, then retaking it via a deep-throated kiss.

How to protect yourself: You can’t. However, there are usually telltale signs that a person is really a kumiho in disguise, like fox-like features. If you’re really adventurous though, you can try to swallow their yeowu guseul when they try to drain your energy. You will gain preternatural knowledge of the sky, land, and people.

 

2. Dokkaebi (Goblin)

Gong Yoo the dokkaebi. Credit: Goblin Korean Drama Facebook Page

Gong Yoo the dokkaebi. Credit: Goblin Korean Drama Facebook Page

Remember last year’s hit Korean drama, Goblin? Gong Yoo played the titular goblin in the show, which is actually the English translation of the Korean dokkaebi.

Dokkaebi come in many shapes and forms – there are actually multiple types of dokkaebi, such as the gae dokkaebi (evil goblins) and oenun dokkaebi (a gluttonous, one-eyed goblin). However, they’re completely supernatural, and often manifest by possessing an inanimate object. They’re excellent wrestlers (though none of them have been in the WWE before), and often only have one leg.

What makes them so dangerous is that they have tremendous magical ability, being able to bring great weal (like money or harvests) or great woe (like plagues and fires).

How to protect yourself: If a dokkaebi challenges you to a wresting match, focus on exploiting right side – it’s the only way to beat them. If you face a one-legged dokkaebi, then hook their leg and push them down to win the match.

Adventurous travellers can attempt to steal two magical items from them – the dokkaebi gamtu, a hat that grants invisibility, or the dokkaebi bangmangi, a club that can summon items.

 

 

3. Imugi (Proto-Dragons)

Imugi. Credit: Pinterest

Imugi. Credit: Pinterest

Imugi are serpentine creatures who look like dragons. However, they’re not real dragons, and must survive one thousand years before they can become a true dragon. Most of the time, they’re benevolent and helpful to humankind, so there’s no fearing the imugi. After all, they just want to wait out their thousand years so they become a Gyarados true dragon.

 

But they’re very powerful, even though they aren’t real dragons, and some of them are evil. In the film D-War, an evil imugi named Buraki is the antagonist of the show, and is only defeated when a true dragon is manifested.

How to protect yourself: It’s almost as powerful as a true dragon. Run away, especially if it seems evil. Run far, far away.

 

4. Dalgyal Guishin (Egg Ghost)

Egg Ghost. Credit: Haunted Attraction Online

Egg Ghost. Credit: Haunted Attraction Online

Admittedly, an “egg ghost” doesn’t sound scary – until you realise that it doesn’t have arms, legs, a head, eyes, nose, or mouth. If you see an dalgyal guishin, you will die, which explains why there are so few images of this deadly creature. Some of them even hide as eggs, only to reappear when they feel like it.

So yes, eggs aren’t just dangerous because you might get high cholesterol from eating too many. They may actually and literally kill you by becoming dalgyal guishin.

How to protect yourself: Stay away from eggs, since they may hide as one. In addition, seeing one will kill you, so you could try to Medusa method and show it its own reflection. But they don’t have eyes, so try it at your own peril.

 

 

5. Gye-lyong (Cockatrice)

Engraving of a cockatrice. Credit: Mythology Creatures And Gods Facebook Page

Engraving of a cockatrice. Credit: Mythology Creatures And Gods Facebook Page

It looks like a half-rooster, half-dragon creature. Little is known about the creature beyond the fact that it’s a Korean cockatrice – which means it has three ways of killing you. A gye-lyong can murder you by looking at you, touching you, or breathing on you.

How to protect yourself: It can kill you just by looking at you. The best thing you can do is to avoid going to Korea altogether.

 

6. Haetae (Unicorn-Lion)

Haetae. Credit: Wikipedia

Haetae. Credit: Wikipedia

We don’t really want to know what sort of mating process produces a haetae, but suffice to say that it looks like a lion with a unicorn’s horn. As you can see, it’s a scaly creature which wears a bell, and it’s the Korean equivalent of the Chinese xiezhi (not a shoe).

The mere image of one was able to grant protection from natural disasters, which is why many sculptures of haetae are in ancient Korean architecture. It’s the symbol of Seoul (much like how the merlion is the symbol of Singapore), except that they call it a haechi instead of a haetae.

Since it’s more of a protective force, you don’t have to worry about it – unless you’ve committed some sort of injustice. Then it’ll either ram you or bite you.

How to protect yourself: Don’t do evil deeds. Then it won’t come after you.

 

The Mimic. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

The Mimic. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

 

You know what you can’t protect yourself against? A creature that you know nothing about. That’s what happens in Korean horror film The Mimic, which sees Hee-yeon (Yum Jung-ah) taking care of a lost girl in the mountains. However, this girl slowly comes to resembles Hee-yeon’s daughter, to the point of calling her “Mum”.

What creature is The Mimic? And is there any way to protect ourselves from it should we go to Korea?

You’ll have to brave the horrors of The Mimic to find out.

 

Credits: Wikimedia Commons, Goblin Korean Drama Facebook Page, Pinterest, Haunted Attraction Online, Mythology Creatures And Gods Facebook Page, Wikipedia, Golden Village Cinemas