Korean urban legends get pretty crazy, if you let yourself fall down the rabbit hole. Sure, there are some silly, innocuous, superstitious quirks like staying away from red ink or turning your fans off at night, but most Korean urban legends are the stuff of nightmares. There are stories of malevolent beings that stalk you through the streets at midnight, or in public restrooms. When they find you they make you choose the way you’re going to die.
But it’s not all stalking. There are Korean ghost stories, and plenty of body horror too. Insects, sea creatures, and plants invading the body are common in these urban legends, which aren't for the faint of heart. If you need to use the bathroom while visiting Seoul, well, maybe don't. You never know what might be hiding there, waiting to cut you to pieces.
If you’re thing you’re strong enough, check out some Korean scary stories sure to make the hair stand up on the back of your neck.
Cockroaches Living Inside You
Cockroaches are everywhere, but the annals of South Korean urban legend put them in some very creepy places. Such as laying eggs in a girl’s tampon. When said girl’s stomach started to hurt, she went to the hospital, where doctors discovered the eggs had hatched and the cockroaches were camped out in her uterus. Roach party! While this story is more likely than not untrue, parts of bugs have been found in tampons and diapers in South Korea.
The Slit-Mouthed Woman
If you’re a child walking alone at night in South Korea, it’s said you might run into a creepy woman with a red surgical mask on. She’ll come up to you and ask you whether you think she’s pretty. If you tell her no, she kills you with a pair of scissors. If you say yes, she’ll remove the mask to show her mouth, which has been slit open from ear to ear, and ask you the same question again. A no results in death, a yes results in your mouth being slit open like hers. Oh, and if you run away she reappears in front of you. Moral of the story? Don’t walk out at night.
This character is a derivation of Kuchisake-onna, a Japanese urban legend who wears a white surgical mask, but is otherwise more or less exactly the same.
Haunted Bathrooms and Toilet Paper Ghosts
South Korean schools are often said to be haunted, and the bathrooms in these schools can be pretty badly kept and lit. So, of course, there are ghost stories about school bathrooms. Suicides in stalls, toilets flushing themselves, and phantom crying are common claims. The weirdest haunted bathroom urban legend from South Korea suggests that ghosts live in toilets, and may stick their hands out while you're on the toilet and ask whether you want red toilet paper or blue. If you choose red, the ghost cuts you up. If you choose blue, the ghost suffocates you.
According to this legend, a leading member of the South Korean mint was away on a business trip when his daughter was abducted, dismembered, and murdered. No one was tried for the crime so, to appease the ghost of the murdered woman, it’s rumored the mint placed images of her body parts and pieces of her name on South Korean currency. The mint has denied all of this.