Author Archives: Kyoungwook Kim

A Visitation

(He told this story in English, although his primary language is Chinese)

You know that Chinese have a belief that the deceased relative’s spirit comes back to house on the 7th day of his or her passing?

So this happened to me when it was my grandma’s 7th day after passing.

We all head to bed early waiting for her to come back because she was cremated.

I woke up in the middle of the night with my room very very hot even with the air condition on.

Besides that I also smelled the smell of incense that Chinese people always use for offerings.

But it was impossible to smell that in my room.

Then outside my room I could hear people walking through the staircase when there’s no one outside.

The light switches on the wall can be heard going on and off again and again.

My maid suddenly felt somebody’s pinching her out of a sudden.

We also saw, through a slight opening of the door that connects to the toilet in my room, something moving.

In the end, nothing happened but that was what I experienced.


I: Did you really experience this? And are you sure that no one was awake?

Him: Yup, it was my own experience, and I am absolutely sure that nobody was awake.


Containing lots of East Asian cultural beliefs, this story departs from traditional visitations of the ancestors story. However, this story stands out in that it shows a few discrepancies with conventional stories.

It is interesting to see that he felt heat with the presence of ghosts. Usually people feel coldness when the ghosts are around us, but he especially recounts the hot atmosphere when he sensed his ancestors’ spirits. I think it seems to relate with the fact that his grandmother was cremated, not buried. Maybe the connection with the fire has contributed for him to remember the sultry surroundings when he met the visitation.

In addition, in traditional Chinese beliefs, people don’t hear or feel the spirits of their ancestors. They just believe them to coexist. However, he actually sensed the presence of somebody when he woke up. As he claims that he was sure nobody was awake, I believe that he wants to attribute some irregular occurrences to the visitation to his ancestor. It shows that the notion of ancestral respect is deeply innate in East Asian people.

The Girl Outside the Window

내가 고등학교 때 유행하던 괴담이야.

한 여학생이… 학교였나, 자기 집이었나, 아마 자기 집이었을꺼야.

어쨌든 한 여학생이 자기 방에서 공부를 하고 있었어.

밤 늦게까지 공부를 하고 있었고 방에 있는 창문 밖으로는 비가 쏟아져 내리고 있었지.

열심히 공부를 하고 있는데 어디선가 똑똑똑 소리가 났어.

그 여자애가 고개를 들었더니 자기 친구가 밖에서 창문을 두들기고 있는거야.

여자애는 이 늦은 밤에 친구가 뭐하나 싶어서 “OO야, 여태까지 집에 안가고 뭐해?” 라고 물었어.

하지만, 그 친구는 대답하지 않고 계속 웃기만 하는거야.

여자애는 너무 무서웠어. 친구 얼굴을 하얗고 계속 소름끼치게 웃고만 있었으니까.

그리고 그 순간 깨달았어. 그 여자애의 집은 아파트 9층이었다는 걸.


This is a scary story that was popular when I was in high school.

Once there was a student who was studying in… Was it her school or her house? I think it was her house.

Anyway, there was a female student studying in her room.

It was late at night, and a rain was pouring outside her room window.

While studying, she heard a knock.

She looked up and saw her friend knocking on her window from outside.

She wondered what her friend was doing outside at this hour, so she asked, “Whatshername! What are you doing at this hour? You should go home!”

But, her friend didn’t answer and continued to smile.

The girl began to feel afraid because her friend’s face was white as a chalk, and all she did was smiling creepily outside the window.

Then, she realized that she lives in an apartment, and her house is on the 9th floor.


South Korean high schools are notorious for their competitive nature. Unlike American high schools, they focus only on good grades and getting into top colleges. Thus, students need to undergo the enormous amount of stress during their years of high school. Nowadays, with the advent of PC, students have lots of options to get rid of their stress. However, during the 80s, when my mother attended high school, there weren’t many choices for high schoolers. Also, the mandatory self study session constrained them in class until 10 pm or so. As a result, telling scary stories in class became a major diversion for high schoolers.

Usually, high school ghost stories feature female students rather than male students. That’s because they mostly originate from girls who tend to be more competitive and more oppressed than boys – boys could at least go out to the field and play sports during the breaks. Also, in high school ghost stories, the characters don’t have specific names. This anonymity seems to elicit rapid transmissions throughout high schoolers because students can easily substitute those characters with themselves.

This is also one of the high school stories, but it’s different in that it features house rather than a school. However, it reflects the sentiment of the 80s a lot when apartments have just begun to be built. The fear of this new kind of housing, incorporated with the elements of traditional high school ghost stories, has created this story.