The 2014 Sewol Ferry Disaster traumatized South Korea. Conspiracy theories emerged to make sense of the senselessness. Here are the biggest ones.

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April 16, 2014; anniversary of Titanic (April 14-15, 1912)

Biggest peacetime disaster

304 deaths, 172 survivors 

One of those events you remember where you were when you heard it.

  • All the cancellations
  • I was in a meeting

Conspiracy theories

  • North Korea sank it
    • Conspiracy by the far right
    • A NK submarine would have to go deep into southern SK waters, shoot a silent torpedo that somehow left no hole, and sneak out
  • Deliberately sunk
    • Conspiracy by the far left
    • Gov’t trying to start war with NK
    • Company trying to get insurance money
  • Human sacrifice theory
    • A ceremony to reincarnate Choi Tae-min or Park Chang-hee
    • PGH referred to the victims as a “noble sacrifice”
    • Seeded by Choi’s cult background
    • This weirdly doesn’t make sense because people escaping would be considered blasphemous when committing a human sacrifice
  • Intentional neglect during the rescue
    • Even opposition party members believed this one
  • Submarine accident cover-up
    • This time it was an accident, and the intentional neglect was to save face for the Korean navy
    • Some celebrities pushed this one
  • Cosmetic surgery theory
    • Believed to be recovering from a skin lift or Botox
    • Some politicians pursued this one
    • There was some truth that through Choi Soon-shil, PGH was receiving secret cosmetic procedures, but not around the time of the Sewol
  • Lotte Hotel rumor
    • PGH was being given Botox on the VIP room on the 36th floor
    • Were out of sight until she recovered enough for the cameras
    • There is no VIP room on the 36th floor, only a banquet room

Meeting a bereaved parent 

Shin Jumja hates meeting neighbours; feels they look at her with pity; what’s more, son Hwi-beom didn’t want to go on the trip, afraid of sinking; Shin pushed him to go; compounded bereavement: bereaved parents tend to blame themselves. Therefore… 

  • Bereaved parents need community of bereaved parents; no one outside community understands: don’t try to enter community
  • Best to say nothing to bereaved parent outside of condolences at the time – never offer condolences after the fact
  • Be careful to encourage parent to join grief therapy, parent groups, etc.; do not push constantly; if parent appears suicidal, contact professional immediatley  
  • If you meet someone and discover they’re bereaved parent, say nothing unless parents brings it up first; in short, never ask a bereaved parent about their child
  • Movement today to not ask people when they’re having children – add one more reason that isn’t discussed: they may be bereaved