After terrible tragedies, stories of ghosts often linger hauntingly at the same place. This is the case of Jeju Island, a place that experienced a horrible massacre the place is still recovering from.
In Korea, the self-governing Jeju island is probably most known to be a great vacation place with its beautiful coastline and lush green scenery. It also houses the biggest mountain in South Korea, Hallasan.
But the light and lush place has its dark and horrible past. The Jeju massacre from 1948 to 1949, is one of the horrible memories the island holds when in an anti communist campaign the Korean army massacred a tenth of the Islands population.
The Jeju Uprising
The Korean peninsula was in an uproar during the Korean war and loyalty to the different regimes were in black and white. The Jeju Uprising was also later known as April 3. Incident (제주 4·3 사건)
A separatist movement of the communists broke out on the island and the South Korean army struck hard on it right before the outbreak of the Korean War. The government ordered a massacre and although not a definite number has been provided the massacre itself resulted in around 30 000 people dying. That is around 10 % of the Jeju population that were slaughtered in fear of them being for the communists.
However, the guilt by association sentiment was strong in the Korean army and both innocent and children were killed and harmed during this massacre. And in the aftermath of the massacre several people died by their wounds, starvation or exposure seeing that entire villages were burned to the ground.
The Haunting Aftermath of the Jeju Massacre
After this horrible tragedy, the islanders claim that the place is haunted by the people that were massacred as they never got peace, justice or even recovered the bodies in some cases.
Go Wan-soon was one of the survivors of the massacre at just nine years old. Even she remembers the stories of ghosts that the survivors allegedly encountered after the massacre:
“People said they saw a white skirt, a white top – there were ghosts,” she said. “I could not go to some places, I was so scared.” She told Asian Times in 2018.
Caves and popular hiking spots are said to be places where the ghosts still roam those who were killed.
Why especially are these places claimed to be haunted? Perhaps the mass grave next to Jeju’s airport can hold the answer as 388 bodies were uncovered in this grave far from everything else as recent as in 2008.
Secluded places where mass graves of the killed people sometimes come to light even in the later years, showing just how raw and huge the collective trauma of the massacre still are to the locals.
Places like the Saebyeol Oreum Circus are said to be haunted, although perhaps because of its abandoned eeri aura or perhaps because of the massacre itself.
When tragedy and atrocities such as the Jeju massacre happens, the aftermath of it is often explained through paranormal phenomena. The same can be said of the Gyeongsan Abandoned Cobalt Mine massacre from the same time that also suffers from legends of ghosts and hauntings in its later years.
One can wonder if it is the dead or the survivors that are not able to move on from the tragedy.
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