Fan Death is an urban myth from South Korea about the belief that fans can kill. The myth is astonishingly popular in Korea and a lot of people believe it is true. Many Koreans will refuse to spend the night in a room with a fan.
In South Korea, there is a very strange urban myth about fans. An alarming amount of Korean people believe that fans can cause death. They think that if you leave an electric fan running overnight in a room with the doors and windows closed, you could die in your sleep.
Because of this, all fans sold in South Korea come with an automatic timer that turns the fan off after a certain number of minutes.
Some people believe that fans create a vacuum and suck oxygen out of the room, causing you to die from asphyxiation. Others believe that fans lower the temperture of the room, causing you to freeze to death or die from hypothermia.
Unfortunately, the truth is, fans cannot kill you. South Korea is the only country that believes in fan death. Scientists agree that fans cannot lower the temperature enough to kill you or displace enough oxygen to suffocate you. Sleeping in a room with a fan is perfectly safe.
Despite the fact that many Korean people are intelligent and well-educated, the weird belief still persists. Korean newspapers even sometimes carry stories about people who have been killed by fans. Look at this example from The Korea Herald in 2011:
“A man reportedly died on Monday morning after sleeping with an electric fan running. The 59 year-old victim, known only by his surname Min, was found dead with the fan directly facing him.”
There is a story about some American college kids who decided to play a joke on their Korean roommate. When they found out he believed in the fan death urban myth, they teased him by going to bed in an enclosed room with six electric fans running. He pleaded with them not to throw their lives away and slept all night in the hallway. In the morning, when he woke up and all of the Americans had survived the night, the Korean guy was suspicious. “I know you’re playing a practical joke on me,” he said. “You must have opened a window during the night!”
However, this is not unusual. Every country in the world has their weird beliefs.
In China they think that sitting on a warm toilet seat will give you hemorrhoids. British people believe that sitting on a cold surface causes hemorrhoids. In Peru, people think that standing too long in front of the fridge can cause cancer. In the Czech Republic, folks think drinking water after eating fruit causes stomach problems. In the Philippines, many mothers will stop their kids from wearing red clothing during a storm. They fear it could cause them to be struck by lightning.
Still, there is one thing you should keep in mind: If you go to South Korea and place a fan in a sealed room with someone, there may be a chance you could be charged with attempted murder! :P