Unusual Korean Superstitions that Kill, Blind and Haunt!


Korean superstitions have been viewed by many people as unusual and even downright cuh-razy. All cultures have their own unique take on superstitions; however, Korean superstitions are worthy enough of being put into the hall of fame of superstitions! Through superstition, we are able to take part in the world of deception and make believe. Whether you are visiting or planning to stay in Korea, you should be aware about some of the Korean superstitions that you may hear during your stay. We’ve racked up seven unusual superstitions in the Korean culture that you may never have heard of, but it’s your judgement on whether to believe them or not!


Korean Superstition#1 – Fan Death

A common Korean superstition that has been present in South Korean culture for quite some was after the invention of the electric fan. A really random idea from a random person thought that having an electric fan running overnight in a closed room (doors and windows shut) could kill you by either suffocation or hypothermia. This phenomenon is known as, “Fan Death.” You might notice that the weather in Korea in the summer time is very hot and humid. So what’s a good way to cool off your naked body on a hot, humid summer day? Cooling yourself off with an electric fan, of course. The “Fan Death” superstition has become so popular in the Korean culture that companies who make fans started to incorporate timers in these electric fans so that you can set it to turn off by itself when you are asleep. Korean “scientists” over the years have tried to prove that this could in fact happen, but the argument has been thought of as just plain ol’ crazy by western “scientists.” We don’t encourage you to try this as we are not responsible for your death. But rest assured, the Seoulistic.com team has done this for many years while living in Korea so we think you’re pretty safe.



Korean Superstition #2 – Whistling At Night

There was this common Korean superstition that whistling at night should be prohibited in order to keep the ghosts and snakes out of the household. Although there is no significant scientific evidence to back this superstition up, it’s probably just best to not whistle at all since it deals with the supernatural. Or at the least, it will summon your angry neighbors trying to get some sleep 😛



Korean Superstition #3 – Shoes as Gifts

We’ve all been in this situation. You hand down your old clothes, jewelery, and even your shoes to someone special. There is a Korean superstition that giving your old shoes to someone (even to your significant other) will cause them to run away from you forever.

Here’s a tip: Right before you are about to hand your old shoes to someone, have them buy it for 5 cents, or 50 won. That’ll constitute as a sell, not a gift! You’ve just cheated the superstition into thinking that you sold your shoes, rather than giving them as a gift. Sweet victory.

Also, try checking out Seoulistic’s video about Korean dating superstitions!


Korean Superstition #F – Butterflies Make You Blind

Rumor has it that touching your eye after touching a moth or butterfly will make you blind. This Korean superstition is not so popular but has been around for many centuries and is still believed by many Koreans. And itching your eye can cause infection anyway, so why would you even touch your eye in the first place?! Let alone after touching a moth or butterfly? Common sense is not so common! Experiment with this Korean superstition at your own risk!

Tip: “F” instead of the number four? See lucky number 7 below 😉


Korean Superstition #5 – Evil Spirits Follow You When Moving

This Korean superstition is a very interesting and unusual superstition. Depending on how much you believe in superstitions, you can best bet that this one is definitely very believable. There is a belief that when moving out of your old home and moving into your new home can make evil spirits follow you during the process. In fact, there is a calender that shows the evil days and the days where evil spirits are not present. Even to the present day, some moving companies usually often accommodate movers about the days of evil.

Note: If you click on the image on the right, the days highlighted are the days without evil spirits. So make sure you move out of your house only on those highlighted days!


Korean Superstition #6 – Shaking Your Legs

We all do this from time to time – shaking our legs. Whether you are nervous or just doing it out of pure habit, you’re about to find out why this is bad for you. Did you know that in the Korean culture, gold and prosperity lies within your legs? Well, this unusual Korean superstition tells you to stop shaking your legs because you will ‘shake’ out your fortune by doing so. So no matter how awesome it may look to dance and shake your legs, try to restrict yourself from doing this – otherwise, expect a penniless future! :(


Korean Superstition #7 – The Number Four

Go back to the fourth Korean superstition mentioned on the list. Did you notice the F, instead of the 4? :O In Korean, the word for “four” has the same sound for the word for death. As a result, many apartments, hotels, and even hospitals have no fourth floor! Elevators will sometimes skip the fourth floor and go straight to the fifth floor or will have a “F” in place of the number “4.” Warning: high chance for confusion during late night binge drinking sessions.



What are some of the most bizarre or unusual superstitions you’ve heard of in your home country? Do they live up to the hype of Korean superstitions? Leave a comment below and let us know!


  1. Aukai says:

    Your comment…Superstitions… intresting

  2. JonB says:

    About moving: My family never carries a broom from an old house to a new house. If you do, you carry all your dirt and troubles with you. So to start off life in the new place with a clean sweep, you get a new broom!

  3. Carrie Ang says:

    Actually most of the Korean superposition are quite similar to the Chinese..yea it’s true that by shaking your leg u’re actually shaking all your luck away. And don’t ever give out shoes & clocks as this symbolize “bad” stuff. & don’t pick up brooms or sweeps on the 1st day of the lunar new year. Not to mention not to whistle or even open your umbrella in-house.. That thoughts even freaks me out till today…haha..guess its all superstitious believe! Well the “Fan Death” thing is the 1st time i’ve heard it thou… interesting.

  4. Marcella says:

    I live in the Appalachian Moutains- located in Virginia,USA. I am not superstitous, but our area has a LOT of weird superstitions. I grew up hearing these from my grandparents
    1.Never go in one door and out another, you will create bad luck. 2. Tell a bad dream before breakfast and it will come true 3. It’s bad luck to open an umbrella in the house. 4. It’s bad luck to walk under a ladder 5. If you break a mirror you will have 7 years bad luck 6.There will be as many snows in a winter as there are fogs in August. 7. A cricket in the house brings good luck. 8. Keep cats away from babies because they can suck the life out of them 9. If you ears itch, someone is talking about you- if your hands itch you are going to get money….there are others but I can’t remember them. Sometimes I think this must be the most superstitious place on earth!!

  5. For Superstition #1 I have to sleep with the fan on. My ceiling fan broke a while back so I’ve been using a electric fan. It’s become a comfort thing now, but when I was younger and there was no circulation in the room, I would wake up paralyzed. O.o… So now I either keep my door open or turn on the fan.

    For the fourth room being non-existent, we have the same thing in America but for the 13th floor. A lot of buildings, that go up to or past 13, usually skip that number.

    In the Spanish culture, it was bad luck to put hats on the bed. I remember because my mom used to fuss at me for it, XD. lol. She got out of that now.

    I’ve also heard from others if someone is sweeping the floor and they sweep under your feet you will never get married.

    All in all, I don’t believe in the stuff, but I find it amusing sometimes. :)

    • giggileblanc says:

      there is a house in san jose california called the winchester mystery house the woman that owned it was the daughter of the inventor of the winchester rifle she kept building and building onto her house and her favorite number was #13 it was really creepy it appeared everywhere in the walls the beds the railings even the bushes they have tours there its really interesting.

  6. Alexander says:

    Ask A Korean had a very interesting post on fan death a couple of years ago: http://askakorean.blogspot.no/2009/01/fan-death-is-real.html

  7. imstar12 says:

    superstition 2 and 4 kk we also have that in my country..

  8. Tyler says:

    number 4 is actulay realy the same in japan and get this they also skip the number 9 beacause it means suffring

    P.S I don’t live in japan i just did my reaserch

  9. ttt says:

    similar beliefs of #3, #6, #7 for chinese as well

  10. Brian says:

    I wonder if The Butterfly Effect made a box off slamming in Korea… IMDB doesn’t show Korea’s box office numbers…

  11. David Min says:

    I’m korean, but somehow, some of these supersitions seem…. Ah, unrealistic. I mean, the fan death could be explained by the carbon dioxide not coming out of the room, and the whistling could be also scientifically prooved(exept for the spirits) but the rest: N O N S E N S E!

  12. chocolate says:

    My grandmother says that if your right hand is itchy, you will get money. If you drop a fork, you will have male guests. If you put and extra fork/spoon on the table by mistake, you will have guests. If you sneeze it means someone is talking about you.

  13. ace says:

    In Kenya, there is a beleif that if your palm is itchy, you’ll get money. Am not superstitious at all but after living with my kenyan grandma for a while, i didn’t know what to think anymore lol
    Everytime her palm itched, someone would visit and gift her with money 0_0

  14. Tara says:

    I live in Germany and here we have some superstitions, but most people don’t believe in them.

    1. Friday the 13th – day of bad luck
    2. a black cat crossing your way – bad luck
    3. passing through underneath a ladder – bad luck
    4. a broken mirror (or sometimes even a broken glas) – 7 years of bad luck (even though there’s a saying ‘Shards bring luck.’)
    5. hanging up a horseshoe onto your door with the opening to the top – luck
    6. hanging up a horseshoe the wrong way – bad luck
    7. finding a four-leaved cloverleaf – luck
    8. be visited by a chimney sweeper – luck
    9. not looking into someones eyes while touching glasses – bad sex for 7 years

    I don’t know if some of them are common in other countries aswell. Some of them might not be typical German.

  15. jimmaih says:

    Here in Philippines, we have superstitions also like:

    -broke a glass(any drinking glass materials)someone may die
    -sweeping at night is like sweeping all your luck
    -stepping on someone’s bag is like stepping on his/her knowledge
    -rotating your plate when someone leaves while you are eating (to prevent accident)
    also seeing a black cat, sleeping aligned in the door,

    whati realized that some countries do have the same beliefs as one another..

    this site really helped me understanding KOREA :)

    • Ralphie says:

      A lot of these superstitions that are alike come from large immigrant populations early in a countries history, many American superstitions are a conglomeration of various European one, since Europeans spread and colonized much of the world during the age of sail, they took their beliefs with them and also vise versa, beliefs from those regions came back as well.

  16. Alexandra says:

    Hi very interisting article !
    I’m a half French – half Congolese girl and regarding French superstitions they are similar to German ones mentionned above. Regarding Congolese onse there are similarities with Korean ones ! For example, whistling at night is real taboo cause, as you said, could attract ghosts or snakes into homes and the fact is in Africa snakes are really really dangerous and numerous (not in big cities anymore haha).
    We have tons of superstitions in Congo but the funniest is “never put your handbag or purse onto the ground or you will lose all your fortune and become poor”. So, even if I live in France and I behave more like French poeple (since I grew up my entire life in Paris), I can help putting my handbag on elevated place. When I see a bag on the ground I feel really strange just as when I see someone getting in house with shoes on.

  17. Alexandra says:

    Oh another very strange superstition in Congo : never bury someone with shoes on or the ghost of the dead person will come pay a visit at night.
    Frightening ay !

  18. Yna says:

    #3 and #F, the same with the Philippines. But, in the Philippines the superstition on #3 include new shoes not only old ones. 😀