Spooky Corner: Top 5 Korean Urban Legends

In every culture, across every community, there are urban legends that stand the test of time. Some of these urban legends send chills up your spine, leaving you with a moral message that you will never forget. In Korea there are a number of scary legends for all walks of life, all with a life message to be learned. If you enjoy spine chilling stories you’ve come to the right place. Keeping up with the Korean tradition of releasing horror films and stories in the summer to chill you to the bone in the heat of summer, we bring you the top 5 Korean urban legends.

Read on if you dare


The Elevator Game

This isn’t really a legend, more of a game with fate, but nonetheless creepy. It’s unclear if the creepy aspect is added by what you’re supposed to summon from this game, or, if it’s just the childlike fear of the unknown when surrounded by friends late at night. This is a game that you can play alone so it adds even more to the creepy factor. The concept of the game is to transport yourself into an alternate universe (or the upside down if you’re a ‘Stranger Things‘ fan) with the addition of a ghost girl as one of the levels.

This game has an elaborate number of steps and if you mess them up it can ensue bad consequences for you. According to the rules you must go to a building with at least ten stories that has an elevator. With this you must enter the elevator alone, and press the button to the fourth floor. Once you reach the fourth floor you remain in the elevator an push the button for the second floor. You will follow more steps like this taking you to different floors until you reach the step to go to the fifth floor. On the fifth floor there is a possibility that a woman will enter the elevator with you, and it is imperative that you do not speak or look at her. To read the full list of steps you can access them here.

If you’re too scared to try this on your own, have no worries! Famous YouTuber Shane Dawson happens to have a video of him and his friends Drew and Garrett trying this for themselves.

Beauty Is Skin Deep

In Korea it’s no secret that beauty standards are extremely harsh and demanding. It’s also not a secret that Korea contributes to the world’s cosmetics and skin care market coming out on top with some of the best products in the world. A popular urban legend involving the desire to be forever young deals with just that, cosmetic transformations to achieve the desirable standard. Not only is this story a good way to scare people into not changing their physical appearance, but it also tests your natural trypophobia fears.

The story starts with a young girl who is interested in trying a new beauty trend to help combat her worries about her skin’s appearance. She is told that taking a bath in sesame seeds will help the skin, and is good for it. So she takes it upon herself to try it only to have a sudden reaction that she was not expecting.

After a few hours in the bathroom her mother grew worried and went to check on her daughter. After being told several times that her daughter was, “okay” the mother went opened the door. To her horror she saw her daughter picking at her skin with a toothpick trying to remove the seeds that had taken root in every single pore on her body.

The moral of the story, don’t try to alter your looks. If you do you might get more than what you hoped for.

Haunted High Schools And Their Bathrooms

It’s not uncommon for Korean high schools to be rumored to have unpleasant guests of the paranormal variety walking the halls with fellow students. Oddly enough a lot of the stories originate in the bathrooms of the schools and the reasoning behind it is pretty weird in itself. Apparently because of the bad lighting in these facilities, students get chills up their spines when they go to answer the call of nature.

One of the most famous legends is that ghosts live in toilets! The legend goes that you will be greeted by a ghostly hand as you enter the stall. Reaching up from the toilet, it will ask you if you prefer red or blue toilet paper. You have to answer and if you try to flee the door will lock. If you chose the red paper the ghost will skin you alive and leave your body red with blood. If you chose blue, the ghost will suffocate you leaving your body blue from lack of oxygen.

Talk about gruesome!

Slit Mouthed Woman

While the other legends on the list are somewhat silly, this one takes first place for creep factor. This one is aimed towards children who walk alone at night. Known as Kuchisake-onna in Japanese, this story has also taken the Korean scene because of it’s creep factor. Since this story is best told in video form, I have linked a video below for your viewing pleasure.

Taxi Drivers Will Sell Your Organs On The Black Market

This story is the newest and most recent out of any on the list, and deals with the underlining fear of trusting a stranger to get you to your destination. In the world of Uber and Lyft, we rely more on strangers than ever before to help us navigate through populated areas to reach our final destination. A recent Chinese film with the concept titled ‘The Witness‘ also followed the everyday threat of online predators. The film, unlike the taxi legend, picks their victims via a popular dating app and tortures and murders the kidnapped.

In the taxi legend, it plays on the popular legend of waking up in a bathtub full of ice missing a kidney, but this pulls a modern day twist into it. With the popular messaging app KakaoTalk this legend became reality when a screenshot of a conversation warning people not to take taxis was posted online.

The translation:

Don’t take taxis around city hall. Someone my friend knows had to go into surgery yesterday because his kidney was taken.


He got on a taxi while drunk.

His kidney?


Someone put a needle in his neck. He lost consciousness and was defenseless. When he came to, he was bleeding from his stomach and abandoned in a farm field. He was taken to a hospital and they told him one of his kidneys was missing.

With over seventy thousand likes this story has went viral and has captured the attention of local police. To address the growing concerns of this viral story, police have said that it’s nothing to worry about. Since summer is the time for scary stories to hit mainstream in Korea, police believe this is just following tradition. Even with their statements, there’s still a possibility that this legend could prove true.

In conclusion, we hope you sleep well tonight after reading the top 5 Korean urban legends we could find. Would you like to see more articles like this in the future? Let us know in the comments below!





Source: Kotaku | Youtube (1)(2) | The Line-Up
Written and Edited By: Sarah Smith


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