Korean true crime, dark history, ghost tales, folklore, serial killers, and more.

You are about to discover why Korea has the spookiest stories and darkest history.
The Dark Side of Seoul Podcast

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Joe & Shawn

Joe & Shawn

Hosts

Folklorist Shawn and history buff Joe delve into Korea’s gruesome stories of massacres, betrayals, and blood. It’s like “Game of Thrones” in Asia. We share our passion for Korea and its struggles throughout time. If you enjoy shows like “Kingdom,” this is the podcast for you. Even if you know nothing about Korea, its history will become your new addiction.

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LATEST EPISODES

Tourists from Hell

Tourists from Hell

Our most petty episode! We tell stories of the most problematic guests on our tours. PLUS–Why we no longer work as media fixers.

How Has Korea Changed in 20 Years?

How Has Korea Changed in 20 Years?

Twenty years ago, foreigners camped out on Dave’s ESL Cafe to complain about Korea. Looking back on those complaints, a lot has changed.

The Dark Side of K-Pop Fandom

The Dark Side of K-Pop Fandom

Does K-Pop fandom exhibit signs of psychopathy? What makes fans defend idols accused of heinous acts? When does fandom get too creepy?

Itaewon Tragedy

Itaewon Tragedy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7PCUEMBSlA This is a short talk about the recent tragedy in Itaewon, including the following: The latest that we know and eyewitness stories that you're not hearing in the newsHalloween's growth in ItaewonSome observations that...

Halloween in Korea

Halloween in Korea

This ancient Irish holiday has grown quickly in Korea. But has its essence been lost? (aka “Shawn Sh*ts on Korean Halloween”)

Korean Spooky Tales

Korean Spooky Tales

We collect our favorite stories and some Patreon-only segments of “Weird Tales from Korean Lore” to chill your spooky.

Koryo Saram

Koryo Saram

Olga Kim is a Koryo-Saram artist from Rome. Olga is joining us to discuss Koryo-saram, a unique group of Korean diaspora who migrated to Uzbekistan in the late 19th century.

Hidden Myeong-dong

Hidden Myeong-dong

Seoul’s popular tourist district hides dark stories of colonialism and commercial mischief. Myeongdong Cathedral, the Chinese Embassy, department stores, makeup shops, and even It’s Skin! Listen for some surprises.

Caught a Predator

Caught a Predator

What do you do when you feel your child is being targeted by a sexual predator? We talk to a parent who relates his harrowing ordeal. Must listen!

Tour Research and Rants

Tour Research and Rants

Video episode! We research a gorgeous new tour in Paju and then talk about the problems with Korea’s tourism industry. If you’re visiting Korea, you should watch this.

Land Mines

Land Mines

The heavy rains this past summer lifted from the soil old remnants of the Korean War: landmines. And this wasn’t the first time.

Scandal at the House of Sharing

Scandal at the House of Sharing

A retirement home for comfort women has become the crux of scandals that ooze cancerous tumors of Korean culture that have diseased it for history.

Great Books

Great Books

There still aren’t as many books about Korean culture, lore, and history as other countries, but there are great ones available. Here are some recommendations.

Dark Tourism

Dark Tourism

It’s said that visiting places of death, tragedy, or hauntings is a fast-growing modern tourism phenomenon. But is it?

Clubbing in Seoul

Clubbing in Seoul

What types of nightclubs are in Seoul? What’s in a “Business Club?” We give a rundown of Korea’s club types and why their reputation has been plummeting.

K-Guns

K-Guns

Korea is well-known for low gun crime, but it isn’t completely absent. In the wake of recent events elsewhere in the world, we decided to dive into Korea’s own experiences with guns.

Dreams

Dreams

How do Koreans interpret dreams? Do they even think they mean anything? Shawn has done some research and has the answers here.

The Imo Revolt of 1882

The Imo Revolt of 1882

The oft overlooked spark that tumbled the Joseon Dynasty’s rotting Jenga tower. You’ll notice striking parallels with some aspects of today’s society.

Noryangjin Fish Market

Noryangjin Fish Market

Korea’s most popular fish market has gone through controversy and tragedy in recent times. PLUS tips on visiting, buying, and eating there.

Lucky Charms

Lucky Charms

Called bujeok, Korean talismans are similar in purpose to charms in other cultures’ folk traditions, religions, and beliefs.

Prison Break 1988

Prison Break 1988

Prisoners escape and end up becoming folk heroes. How did this happen? This is a story that many have forgotten until now.

The Bastard Prince

The Bastard Prince

The first “illegitimate” heir to the Joseon throne, Prince Gwanghae spent the kingdom’s shattered post-war coffers on building projects. Obsessed with the occult, he ended up being overthrown by a revolt.

Shawn Digs Graves

Shawn Digs Graves

Shawn takes us through the hills of Paju to show Korean grave sites. Learn about the traditions, folklore, and potential curses. We also check out abandoned military installations.

The Bells

The Bells

Did people really throw a child into a furnace to forge the Emillé Bell? We answer this question in this episode.

Divination

Divination

Divination was a significant part of daily life in old Korea. For some, it still is. We predict you’ll get something out of this episode. 

Gwangju Massacre

Gwangju Massacre

May 18th, 1980, the South Korean military beat, jailed, raped, and murdered the citizens of Gwangju while the rest of the country didn’t know. The stories of this crime didn’t start going public until the 1990s, and more is being found. Do the world a favor and listen to this episode.

Park Chung-hee vs. Vladimir Putin

Park Chung-hee vs. Vladimir Putin

Is Vladimir Putin’s regime going the same way as Park Chung-hee’s in its final years? Let’s test this hypothesis. Authoritarian leaders tend to go through the same stages–eerily so. Can we predict what will happen with Putin by looking at what happened to Park?

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