Korea 203: Fan Death

I realized that my posts tend to start in the middle of an event without much context. So – switching it up. Giving the context for this.

Once upon a time – July 4th, 2011 to be exact – a man called Min, died. It was a Monday. He was 59 years old. The only thing found in his room was a lone electric fan fixed straight at him.

This is part of a news article (loosely paraphrased) from The Korea Herald describing and warning it’s readers of the phenomenon called “fan death”. This terribly fatal occurrence has only ever been reported in South Korea. South Korean fans are potential beasts – lashing out judgment on those foolish enough to ever sleep in a closed space with a fan running. Electric fans, if left running in a room with closed windows and doors, may kill the sleeper by hypothermia and asphyxiation.

I – however – as a good foreigner – knew nothing about this fan-hazard. And therefore I was foolish. And yes – I admit – I slept with the fan on. My door was closed and my window was closed. I should have died that night.

Talk to almost any Korean – those in their late 20’s and older – and they will all tell of the dangers of leaving fans running.

It’s real. It’s scary. It’s dangerous. According to wikipedia – this belief may have started because of propaganda that the government started in the 1970s trying to cut the energy spending.

However I am not dead. Praise God. I am safe. A little shaken, but miraculously unscathed.

My host family was a little worried for me and did text me late that night – reminding me of the dangers of fans. A text I didn’t receive until the morning. Luckily I was alive to receive it.

If you or if anyone you know sleeps with an electric fan (especially if it is blowing directly at their face) please be informed and warn others about the potential dangers that these machines can cause. It may save a life.

– writing with the fan on and the door open.

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3 comments on “Korea 203: Fan Death

  1. Elizabeth says:

    I AM SO GLAD THERE IS A WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE STATING THAT IT WAS PROPAGANDA.
    THIS HAPPENED TO ME TOO.
    not only that but my peers (kimmy) and others believed this!! man….i’d be dead long time ago if this were truly the case.
    haha love your sarcasm, you’re great 🙂

  2. Boram says:

    WHAT!?!
    I didn’t know that it was a propaganda!?!
    I totally believed that it is dangerous to sleep with the fan on! What the…
    Btw, your blog is amazing, I enjoy reading it 🙂
    Looks like you are having a great time and I’m so angry that I am not in Korea!

  3. Kit says:

    Hahahahaha Boram. I love that you believed that 🙂
    I totally would have died every single night this summer.

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