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Fan Death — Urban Myth?

Yonhap News ran a surprisingly long piece on the “debate” surrounding “fan death.”

It seems most Korean doctors find “fan death” to be groundless, but Yonhap did find two med school professors who said fans could kill.

About the author: Just the administrator of this humble blog.

  • http://www.mikewhitesmom2.blogspot.com julian_w

    Sure, fans CAN kill.

    I’ve witnessed it with my own eyes.

    Back in fourth form biology class we were practicing dissection on these poor blighters we collected from gardens around the neighbourhood for homework.

    This lad named Phil Whatsisname wanted to do his own experiment to see if a snail can fly, so, he gave it hand – a bit of a head start for encouragement’s sake – and threw it through the fan mounted up in the wall.

    It didn’t fly very far, but it shredded quite nicely all over the teacher’s car parked right outside.

    Fans: … deadly!

  • http://briandeutsch.blogspot.com Brian

    Fan death was mentioned in that Cultural Guidebook for Foreigners that came out a few weeks ago.

  • http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/ H. J. Hodges

    I haven’t read the article, but I am sure that it is wrong. Readers who value their lives should come to my website, do a search for my entries on fan death, and read my various defenses of the fan-death facts.

    Don’t listen to the experts. Listen to me. Fans can kill you.

    Jeffery Hodges

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  • Dimitar

    I think anything could be deadly if used in the right hands…
    Can pans be deadly? Try to annoy your wife/gf and see for yourselves!

  • Maekchu

    Koreans have a hereditary gene that makes them uniquely susceptible to fan death. Unfortunately they are the only group of people in the world with this faulty gene. Science has also proven that any individual who possesses this gene also lacks the “Common Sense” chromosome.

  • seouldout

    Not only fans, but wind too. It removes oxygen from the air by creating a vacuum.

  • slim

    It won’t be true until MBC does a documentary on it.

  • mizar5

    Fans cause brain damage.

  • http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/ H. J. Hodges

    To save all those who wish to circumvent termination by the whirling blades of death, I’m offering this public service: an index to all my blog entries on fan death!

    Jeffery Hodges

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  • mizar5

    I would warn you, dear reader, that any man with the curmudgeonly moniker H. J. Hodges cannot be trusted. He parodies an issue of utmost significance when any number of logical constructs can be used to justify the beleif in fan death.

    For instance, negative proof may be used to assert that a proposition that has not been proven false is therefore true.

    Statistical proof can also be offered. For instance, there is the statistical proof of spurious correlation, in which correlation may be used to imply causation. In this case, the causal connection is produced through the operation of a third causal variable ie. “lurking variable”) such as the wind vacuum mentioned above.

    The “three men make a tiger” proof (三人成虎), or argumentum ad populum, can be invoked to show that the premise of fan death has been mentioned and repeated by many individuals, and must therefore be accepted as the truth.

    Contextomy may be employed to effectively remove an event from its surrounding circumstances in such a way as to prove that deaths that would otherwise have been attributed to strokes, heart failure and numerous other causes by mere medical science are in fact attributable to fan death.

    Need I go on? With proofs so abundant, there is no need to investigate any further.

  • KrZ

    No wonder H. J. Hodges believes in fan death, he certainly seems to enjoy the Korean delicacy of SPAM.

  • nospam

    Fans blow air. A fan’s air cools my skin. In winter cool air blows and it’s cold to my skin.

    Cool air can make me cold. Therefore cool = cold. If I feel cold, my kibun is bad. So since cold air makes my kibun bad – cool air is bad!

    A fan’s makes cool air on my skin, too much cool is cold, and too much bad cold air leads to death, therefore.

    I hope a fan does not freeze me to death.

  • Tripod

    I once slept in a motel room in which someone, probably the manager/owner, had hammered a piece of garden hose at the bottom right corner of the windowsill so that the window could not be shut. Damned if he’d let anybody die in one of his rooms. ;)

    PS. I guess they must have received many complaints about mosquitoes getting in through the crack in the window because there was a can of bug killer on the nightstand…Not that it helps when you’re sound asleep.

  • andy-in-japan

    Fan-death: Reason #4 Korea is the short-yellow bus of countries with nuclear power.

  • Dimitar

    #5 – is this the same gene that makes them more likely to suffer from mad cow disease?
    Let’s see what Dr. Lee Yoon-song from SNU has to say about “fan death”:
    “When someone’s body temperature drops below 35 degrees, they do start to lose judgment ability. So if someone was hiking and later found dead, that could be part of the reason. But we can’t really apply this to fan accidents. I found most of the victims already had some sort of disease like heart problems or serious alcoholism. So hypothermia is not the main reason for death, but it may contribute.”

  • http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/ H. J. Hodges

    SPAM? Me? Nay, KrZ! I am simply doing my logical, empirical best to warn expats against the true dangers of fan death. Articles like the one offered by Yonhap make my job tougher, admittedly, but I simply struggle all the harder.

    Perhaps, as rebuttal to Yonhap, I should write for the Korea Herald another Expat Living column devoted to this pressing issue.

    Meanwhile, pay no attention to that man behind the curtain, Mizar5, whose moniker announces fivefold misery! His is the obvious parody, whereas my posts are in dead earnest!

    I admit, however, that some of Mizar5′s arguments — against his obvious intention to debunk — can nevertheless be used to help prove the solid fact of fan death. I especially admire his inadvertently compelling use of contextomy for its pure, empirical way of isolating a fact:

    Fan + Death = Fan Death

    Okay, that’s actually two facts and an equation, but it’s really close to the actual event, and by multiplying instances, we can amass a very considerable amount of empirical data as support for the scientific truth of fan death.

    In fact, I’ll go do that now…

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

  • Juicius

    Most fan deaths occur when using outdated coal-fired fans.

  • lallyladie1983

    Wasn’t fan death an urban myth made up by doctors to cover up suicides? I was told that there is a really high suicide rate in Korea-this brings shame and often financial strain on families (as they don’t pay out on insurance when you taken your own life). Therefore, fan death became an unprovable ’cause of death’ to relieve families of this added stress. I was told that word spread and people now fear fan death every day from June-September! eeeek

    However, I have also been told by Koreans that the reason fan death occurs is that the blades of the fans (about 2 or 3mm thick) split the oxygen molecules (considerably smaller) and therefore suffocates a person! LMFAO!

    I don’t know about you but I sleep with my windows closed and my 3 fans on full blast and I live to tell the tale every morning! :P

  • Tripod

    Why is it that the victims have to be asleep? What about people who are sleepwalking? Is it also dangerous to them? What about those who are pulling all-nighters, drinking mug after mug of coffee?

  • Above Criticism

    “Wasn’t fan death an urban myth made up by doctors to cover up suicides? I was told that there is a really high suicide rate in Korea-this brings shame and often financial strain on families (as they don’t pay out on insurance when you taken your own life).”

    Lallyladie1983: Though Korea’s suicide rate is now exceptionally high (second or third in the OECD — can’t be bothered to look it up), this is actually a fairly recent phenomenon. I did some research on this at uni, and the rate was actually very low until (as memory serves) the late 80s/early 90s when it started to pick up significantly. It leaped upward in the wake of the Asian Financial Crisis, before dropping and then rocketing up again to its current, depressingly high level.

    Anyhow, from what I can gather, the fan death stuff predates suicide as a serious social problem in South Korea. The more plausible theory I’ve heard (and one that is batted about here from time to time) is that it was a ruse by the Park Chung Hee government to reduce electricity consumption in the summertime.

  • http://psychomud.deviantart.com/gallery/ Lazy_Contractor

    12. Nospam:

    “A fan’s makes cool air on my skin, too much cool is cold, and too much bad cold air leads to death, therefore.”

    Kevin Bacon’s fan causes fan death!

  • Tripod

    “The more plausible theory I’ve heard (and one that is batted about here from time to time) is that it was a ruse by the Park Chung Hee government to reduce electricity consumption in the summertime.”

    Yeah, kind of like the lies they told people so they wouldn’t travel abroad (I would still be asked if my home country has 4 seasons in the 90′s).

  • http://www.chosunonline.com/ oranckay

    Fans only kill if you don’t have ear wax.

    And if fans can kill, so can downer cows.

  • http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/ H. J. Hodges

    Fans only kill if you don’t have wet ear wax.

    Jeffery Hodges

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