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Tourist Destinations of Bloodcurdling Legends
When temperatures soar to stifling levels during the summer, people seek sanctuary in horror movies or horror fiction. In Korea, a drama series called Hometown Legends is aired every summer. The popular TV series explores terrifying local legends. For example, the stories involve the spirits of young maidens who suffered unfortunate deaths or a wife who goes to a cemetery to revive her dying husband. Let’s visit popular destinations that are linked with some of the horror stories in Hometown Legends.

Please probe my undeserved death!”
   - Legend of Aranggak Pavilion in Miryang, Gyeongsangnam-do

Arang comes to Miryang with her father who is dispatched as the highest-ranking officer (district magistrate) of Miryang. One night, she is goaded by her nanny to go out and watch the night landscape.

As she watches the moon from a pavilion, Arang suddenly finds her nanny is missing and sets out to find her. During her search, she comes across Baekga, a low-ranked officer.
Having had feelings for Arang, he confesses his love to her but is firmly refused. In an attempt to forcibly embrace her, he mistakenly kills her.

Unaware of his daughter’s death, Arang’s father thinks she fled with a man at night. Crestfallen, he quits his job and leaves Miryang.

Subsequently, however, all newly dispatched district magistrates die of heart attacks after seeing a maiden ghost. For this reason, no one wants to become the district magistrate of Miryang except a man by the family name of Lee.
While reading under a candlelight, Lee encounters the maiden ghost with loosened hair and a knife through her neck. Unlike other magistrates, Lee starts a conversation with her rather than showing his fears. The maiden ghost reveals her identity as Arang and pleads that he investigate the secret of her unfair death.

When morning arrives, Lee finds Baekga and convicts him of killing Arang. Then, he finds her body, organizes a religious service on her behalf, and sets up a small shrine for her. Since then, no maiden ghost has ever

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“Give me back my leg.”
   - Legend of Mt. Bakdalsan Deokdaegol in Yeongdong-gun,

Located deep in Mt. Bakdalsan, Deokdaegol Valley had once been used to discard dead bodies. Today, no trace of the burial place remain, but there used to be a village nearby in the old days. In the village lived a wife who had been taking care of her sick husband for a long time.

One day, a monk tells her that her husband could be cured by drinking water boiled with a leg of a human body that hasn’t been dead for more than three days. Determined to save her husband, the wife sets out to Deokdaegol and finds the body of a dead man.

In spite of her fears, she cuts off the leg and runs back home. On her way back, the dead body without a leg follows her crying, “Give me back my leg.” Stumbling and crawling, the wife finally gets home and keeping away from the dead body that had followed her all the way to her kitchen, throws the leg into a pot of boiling water and covers it.

When she has her husband drink the water from the pot, his sickness goes away instantly.

As the couple looked for the body to bury it, they are surprised and happy to find that what the wife had taken was not the leg of a man but that of a wild ginseng.

More on Mt. Bakdalsan (Korean) >>

The Story of a Dog Fighting a Ghost of a Cat
   - Legend of Angang Village in Gyeongju, Gyeongsagbuk-do

A long time ago in Angang Village, there lived a married couple, a young son, a dog called Suri and a cat called Nabi. One evening, the husband is infuriated to find that Suri and Nabi had overturned the dinner table, so he beats Suri and hands over Nabi to his older brother who had told him that it is good to eat the meat of a well-cooked cat. That same night, the brother wants to kill Nabi but is instead attacked by the cat and dies. Upon learning this, the husband kills Nabi.

After its death, the son shows a strange behavioral disorder mimicking a cat. Upon hearing the story of the couple, a passing monk tells them that the cause is poison from the body of a centipede that had died on the roof and fell on the dinner table. Alarmed by the impending danger, Nabi and Suri had overturned the dinner table to save the family. But instead of thanking them, the man misunderstood and drove the dog out of the house and caused the death of the cat. The injustice done to the cat brought misfortune to the son. To remedy the situation, the monk advises the man to find Suri.

After returning home, Suri starts a life-or-death fight against the spirit of Nabi that had infiltrated the son’s body at night. Suri finally wins but, during the fight, a candle falls and burns the house down. Suri risks his life to save the young son and dies.

* The above photo courtesy of KBS

Fighting a Snake that Eats Only Young Maidens
   - Legend of Gimnyeonggul of Guja-myeon in Jeju-do

There once lived a humongous snake in Gimnyeonggul Cave. The residents were troubled by its evil deeds. So, to appease the snake and stop it from destroying the land and crops every year, the residents decided to prepare a feast for it and offer a 15-year old maid as a sacrifice.

During the reign of King Jungjong of the Joseon dynasty (1392~1910), an officer called Seorin was dispatched to the area as the district magistrate and learned of this custom. He leads an army of a hundred military men to the cave and, faking a religious ceremony, kills the snake with a sword and puts it on fire. Since then, the snake was never seen again.

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Twin Brother and Sister Rock that Fell in Love
   - Legend of Somaemuldo in Tongyeong, Gyeongsangnam-do Province

There lived a couple by the name Kwon in Tongyeong, Hansan-myeon Village. They gave birth to twins at a late age. One day, the man learns that the brother and sister twins will not live for long. He didn’t want to lose his son, so when the children turned six, he took his daughter and abandoned her on Maemuldo Island.

Time passed and the son turned eighteen years old. Curious about the island where nobody lives, the son sails to the island one day and finds a young maiden. He falls in love at first sight. Determined to marry her, the son takes her to his boat but is struck by thunder and storm. As it turns out, they were punished for engaging in an impossible love and were each turned into a rock. Standing in the sea facing each other, the rocks are said to meet each other once every three years. They have been called Nammae Bawi (Brother and Sister Rock).

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Find the Real Wife!
   - Legend of Yeougol in Cheorwon, Gangwon-do

A long time ago, there lived a man by the name Kim in Galmaleup Village in Cheorwon-gun. He enjoyed hunting very much. One day after a hunt, as he was passing a ridge, he saw a fox with a chicken in his mouth and shot and killed it with his arrow.

After this incident, his wife gave birth to a son. When he turned five, the son started behaving strangely, catching and eating frogs and snakes. Kim tried everything he could to change his son to no avail. Fortunately, when the son turned twenty, he completely changed and married a beautiful woman. But soon, another woman who looked exactly like his wife appeared, arguing that she was the real wife.

A passing monk secretly told Kim that the two women should be put to compete in a high jump over a pole and the one who jumps over it is the fake one. Kim took the advice and had the two women jump over the pole. One only hesitated and the other jumped over easily. Then, Kim shot with an arrow the woman who had jumped. She fell bleeding and slowly turned into a fox. The fox had turned into a woman to exact revenge against Kim for its mate’s death twenty years ago. Whenever it rains, the crying of foxes can be heard from the mountain behind the village, so it has since been called Yeougol (Fox Valley).

More on Sambuyeon Falls >>

* The above photo courtesy of KBS

Date 07/23/2008

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