Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Fan Death is Real!

Close-Up: Electric Fans Sold in Korea
(Image from Wikipedia)

Those of you who live outside of Korea have perhaps never heard of "fan death" even though it kills thousands of people every year. If you haven't heard of this, then read the informative article at Wikipedia, which tells us:
The belief [in Korea] is that an electric fan, if left running overnight in a closed room, can result in the death (by suffocation, poisoning, or hypothermia) of those inside. This belief also extends to air conditioners and the fans in cars. When the air conditioner or fan is on in a car, some people are apt to leave their car windows open a crack to avoid "fan death." Fans manufactured and sold in Korea are equipped with a timer switch that turns them off after a set number of minutes, which users are frequently urged to set when going to sleep with a fan on.
Although the article is written by a disbeliever, it does summarize the central facts, and more people need to be aware of these facts.

Unfortunately, some individuals -- mostly just Westerners guilty of arrogant Orientalism -- try to deny fan death. For instance, the Lost Nomad is on a misguided campaign to convince Koreans that fan death does not exist, but I've tried to warn him otherwise by providing the results from my own, rigorously conducted research:
How can people doubt fan death!? Fans kill thousands of people each year, but most of the deaths go unreported because the fans were in a different room. It's a little-known fact that the whirling blades cause disturbance in the ether that pervades the universe, and the ripple effect impairs organisms up to 500 feet distant.

This summer, fans killed several of my son's pets. First a stag beetle died when our cat, driven mad by ripples in the ether, overturned the beetle's plastic terrarium and fought the poor beetle to its death. Miraculously, the cat survived. Our eel was not so lucky as the cat. Driven insane by the whirling blades' insidious disturbance of the ether, it managed to flip itself out of its aquarium -- through a tiny hole in the top!! -- and die. We found it on the floor ... shriveled and dry. That could happen to you, too. Since then, two other stag beetles have died. Snails as well. And a goldfish has turned deathly white! Scary.

Miraculously, our cats and children have survived, but we're taking no more chances, especially now that our two fans have begun to alter weather patterns in our apartment. In the past two days, they've actually been blowing cool air at night -- even though there's no air-conditioning unit attached! We think that the fans are now trying to freeze us to death, so we've put them away in a closet, completely covered in a bag zipped carefully shut to prevent them from doing even more damage.

Fans are killers. Why do you think that they're called fans? The word "fan" is short for "fanatic." You can't trust fanatics. Don't trust fans, either.
That's what I posted on Nomad's blog, and I'm now posting it in slightly altered form here with the aim of alerting others to the deadly effects of fans. I just hope that more people will come to see how dangerous these things are.

Spread the word.


At 3:06 PM, Blogger  said...

"Fan death!"

I love bein' DNA, not.

Stay on Groovin' Safari,

At 3:41 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, Tor ... I think.

What's this "Groovin' Safari" that I'm supposed to stay on?

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:14 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

So, Steph, does this mean that you're in Great Britain?

Jeffery Hodges

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At 12:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We just adopted a dog who's afraid of the ceiling fans. He used to freak out, but now he just casts the occasional suspicious glance at them whenever he hears a strange noise.

Of course experiencing the wrath of the fans' gods - helicopters - is truly frightening.

Now I understand. My new dog knows the truth about fan death. Thanks for spreading the word.

At 5:32 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Steph, at least you won't have to worry about sharks or stingrays.

As for the flying -- don't worry, it's safer than walking ... not that anyone would try to walk from New Zealand to England.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 5:34 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

James, I'm just happy if I can make even one true believer.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:47 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Steph, you've got a lot more ... uh, guts, than I've got.

And you're also prepared for the sharks of academia.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 12:08 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

You'll do fine ... with time.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 10:49 PM, Blogger Dennis Mangan said...

A fan killed Thomas Merton. Really.

At 5:25 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

That's what I'm talkin' about!

Thanks, Dennis, for confirming the truth.

Folks, Dennis Mangan is a scientist, so if he says that fan death is real, believe it!

Jeffery Hodges

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At 4:28 AM, Blogger jj mollo said...

Ceiling fans can legitimately be dangerous! Two of my nephews are 6'8" and tower perilously close to the slicing blades. That's not to mention the fascination that shoulder-riding children seem to have for such things. ...

I have also been told that a remnant of the ancient Thugee sect remains, seeking ever subtler ways to destroy humanity. Lately they have been magnetizing the tips of fan blades ever so slightly. While the distress that operating such a fan can induce on the feng shui of carelessly constructed houses is not uniformly fatal, it can sometimes attract parapsychological entities with dangerous intentions.

More importantly, however, as any scientist can tell you, the constant twisting motion can tangle the electromagnetic field lines. If the number of working fans reaches a critical mass, the Earth's magnetic field can actually be knotted up to such an extent that it will collapse. As you may know, this collapse will lead to loss of the ozone layer and concommitant showers of cosmic radiation, known to cause cancer and sterilization in all but the most primitive lifeforms. The field will ultimately be restored in the reverse direction, but by then Civilization will have been lost forever. Right now the only thing saving us is that fans constructed in India and other parts of the Commonwealth are designed to run in the opposite direction.

So, before you use a fan, sprinkle some iron filings over the tips of the blades to see if they stick. And, if it has the capability, run your fan in reverse for several hours each day. Also, consult your neighborhood psychic regarding protection from any "beings" that might be attracted.

At 4:37 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, JJ, for the additional information. Now, we see that fans threaten all life on earth, excluding only the most primitive.

Fans are truly frightening.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fand death, eh? as i know it i'd say that a fan is made to move hot air
from a spot where it's not wanted to a spot where it doesn't bother anything/anyone.

this means that a fan doesn't do anything else than moves air from place to place.

as for the theory of fan killing by taking up all the oxygen if you are right in front of it ... well...
have you EVER tried to breath in front of a fan? I HAVE !!! and i absolutely didn't die. i even put 1 blowing directly at me and it didn't do anything harmful to me expect that it took all the heat from my skin.

oh and the theory about a fan causing hypothermia. it doesnt cool the temperature of a room.actually the effect is opposite because the engine of the fan heats up.

AND i've had my computer (with 4 fans!) running the whole night and day without breaks and i always sleep in the same room where my computer is doc com.

At 6:33 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Anonymous, can 43 million South Koreans and one foreigner be wrong about fan death?

This is a democracy, so you're outvoted ... even if I, as a foreigner, cannot vote.

Fan death is real, by popular vote.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 10:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Can 43 million South Koreans and one foreigner be wrong about fan death?" Yes. The consensus is that fan death is an urban legend -- keep in mind that if the 43 million South Koreans are right, then the other 6 billion + people in the world are wrong. Which is the more likely scenario?

I sleep every night with a fan in my room, and I've yet to die. And anyway, if fan death is real, why does it seem to only kill South Koreans? The most likely scenario is that fan death is an urban legend perpetuated by South Korean culture and -- perhaps more importantly -- the South Korean media.

At 4:35 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I raised the following, very -- dare I say exceedingly -- reasonable point about fan death:

"Can 43 million South Koreans and one foreigner be wrong about fan death?"

To this impeccable reasoning, a commenter posts an unexpected reply:


The commenter, who calls herself 'Veronica,' proceeds to willfully post an egregious challenge to the authority of my democratic reasoning by supposedly trumping it with some democratic reasoning of her own:

"The consensus is that fan death is an urban legend -- keep in mind that if the 43 million South Koreans are right, then the other 6 billion + people in the world are wrong."

Sigh, so many skeptics, but oh so many potential converts in dire need of and even waiting for the truth...

'Consensus'? You mean 'compromise'? Oh, yes, let's each give a little bit! That's always the best way to reach the truth.

'Urban'? What arrant nonsense! Even rural Koreans know about fan death!

'Legend'? Well, a legend can be true. Think of a map legend. According to the online Free Dictionary, a "legend" can be:

"An explanatory table or list of the symbols appearing on a map or chart."

Surely, Veronica, you would not claim that such a explanatory table is misleading! What sort of explanation would that be?

As for the 'other' so-called "6 billion + people in the world," I'm sorry, but the democratic reasoning works only in a single political entity.

We don't let the whole world vote for the US president. Why should Koreans allow the rest of the world to vote on fan death? That would be like allowing the entire world to vote on whether or not magnificent East Sea island of Dokdo belongs to Korea or Japan.

Only Koreans know the truth about Dokdo; logically, then, only Koreans know the truth about fan death. Evidence? Plenty! More than 99 percent of non-Koreans have never even heard of fan death, so how can they possibly have a discerning opinion?

Veronica adds:

"I sleep every night with a fan in my room, and I've yet to die."

Your life is in grave danger!

"And anyway, if fan death is real, why does it seem to only kill South Koreans?"

They are the canaries in the coal mine.

"The most likely scenario is that fan death is an urban legend perpetuated by South Korean culture and -- perhaps more importantly -- the South Korean media."

There's that 'urban' nonsense again! I've already demolished that reasoning. As for your orientialistic dismissal of South Korean culture, I can only advise you to read Edward Said's magnum opus, namely, Orientalism. Reading that should be punishment enough for your thought crimes.

As for your attack upon the South Korean media, I won't even attempt a defense. Everyone knows the fine professionalism shown daily by South Korea's media! South Korea's investigative media brings to light truths that would otherwise remain covered up by lies. In this regard, Korean journalists are like the famous muckrakers of American fame.

Why, without South Korean newspapers, for example, I wouldn't know about the crime wave being perpetuated by foreigners in Korea. Apparently, we commit a lot of crimes relative to our numbers in Korean society. It's actually rather frightening. I've started being more careful around myself. There's no telling what I might do, so I keep an eye on what I'm doing when I think that no one is watching. And you know what? It's all true! I've watched myself steal some pieces of chocolate from the fridge when my wife and kids are out of the apartment. Those unsuspecting, naive people think that I'm slaving away at my computer, working on articles for academic publications when I'm actually gnawing on chocolate and posting things like this on my blog.

Obviously, I cannot be trusted.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 5:23 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Veronica, I've posted more on this in a recent blog entry: Fan Death Redux.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 8:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel a bit silly, after reading your comment it became really apparent that you're joking.

What can I say? It sadly went right over my head the first time :)

I guess it's hard to differentiate between people who joke about believing in fan death and those who honestly do believe in it because so many of the arguments for fan death are just so ludicrous, you know?

Congrats, though, you got me. I feel a bit sheepish now :)

At 9:01 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Veronica, thanks for the new comment and your good humor. Yes, I'm joking. I always pretend to defend belief in fan death because I have such fun doing so.

Oh ... wait. Dammit! I've just caught myself owning up to disbelieving in fan death! Man, I hope that this post doesn't post! Too late! My innate honesty is forcing me to press that button...

Jeffery Hodges

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At 1:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been trying to commit suicide every summer for the last five years. I came to Korea specifically so that I could kill myself but my family wouldnt be embarassed when they found out cos i would do it thru a fan-death incident just to fool them. But dammit, it hasn't worked! 5 summers of having the fan on all nite every nite in my room with the door and windows firmly shut, and nothing to show but a bit of a runny nose and a cough after a few nights, just as if i was sleeping next to a cold draft coming in under the door! What the hell? Im suing the newspapers, TV news programs, journalists, friends, workmates and everyone who ever misled me into believing fan-death. They have caused me much harm! I'm so depressed that im gonna go turn on my fan, have a nap and try fan-death-suicide one time!

At 1:41 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Anonymous, yours is a sad but all-too-common story. Many have been similarly misled and failed in their fan-death attempts at suicide.

Were I you, my anger would already have flared up into a raging inferno fanned further into leaping, living flames through the hot air expelled by all these blowhards going on and on about fan death!

But great wrath can also kill, so perhaps you will get lucky this time.

I wish you luck.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 10:29 PM, Blogger Doc Rock said...

You've been smokin' way too many fans, I think. I'm 66 and grew up without airconditioning. We had fans in every room and slept with doors CLOSED!!!! I have fans in almost every room in my house and we are all still going. The only basis for this insanity is the power of urban legend and the paucity of science education

Doc Rock

At 3:52 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Doc Rock, you might want to read all of the comments and also search my blog for more on fan death.

Meanwhile, don't be dismayed if a blog entry 'refuting' your argument should happen to surface on my blog -- it's all in good fun.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 12:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lol, you are stupid. See http://www.encyclopediadramatica.com/Fan_death

At 12:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

See this interesting and factual article on fan death.

At 12:49 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Anonymous said:

"Lol, you are stupid. See http://www.encyclopediadramatica.com/Fan"

Thank you, Anonymous, for your acute understanding of irony and your close reading of all of the comments.

If only I had more readers like you, I'd find so much grist for my blog mill.

Please write more, and give details. I promise to blog about your astute remarks.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 12:51 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Cyde Weys, thanks for the amusing link.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 5:49 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Cyde Weys, now that I've looked more closely at that website, I find myself less amused.

Too much of what is written is more hateful than humorous.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 12:12 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

"It's a little-known fact that the whirling blades cause disturbance in the ether that pervades the universe, and the ripple effect impairs organisms up to 500 feet distant."

Yeah, that's true, it is so little known that I didnt knew about that. Oh,and btw, aether does not exist, and there was a famous experiment about that in the 19th century (and many other later):

At 12:36 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Christian, thanks for visiting and posting.

As for the Michelson-Morley experiment, it was obviously flawed. How else explain that those two so-called 'scientists' missed the obvious existence of the ether, the very fifth element known to natural philosophers since antiquity?

Yes, there are only five elements. Forget all that stuff you learned in chemistry. It's utterly wrong.

Only fan death is real.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was great.. I have to make people read this... all should be warned of the "humming killer"

At 1:05 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, Anonymous, for your support.

Yes, all mankind must learn the dangers of the whirling killers deceptively called "fans" -- as if these 'fans' liked us, but we know what they do with their so-called "fan clubs," the murderous bludgers!

Jeffery Hodges

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At 2:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hilarious! My Korean ex-girlfriend was a nurse and firmly believed in fan death. I'd turn on the fan while she was asleep and tell her we're lucky to be alive the next morning. She would say, "yes, we're lucky!"
Also interesting, Koreans don't believe smoking causes cancer because no Korean scientists have found proof of it yet. They'd rather die than trust a foreigner. Slightly racist I would say.
I heard somewhere else that kimchi prevents SARS. No comment on that.

At 11:26 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

'Said' (is that your name?), thanks for the comment. I didn't know about Korean skepticism on cancer. Perhaps Koreans have accepted that one by now.

As for fan death, it's real of course . . . and I have evidence. If you do a blog search, you'll find that Gypsy Scholar has plenty of proof. I expect that you'll be convinced...

Jeffery Hodges

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At 2:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think thousands die every year.
Also, I slept with my fan on facing towards my face with the windows and doors closed almost everyday of the summer and I am still here.

At 3:12 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Fans can also kill slowly, just as with the prions released into the brains of those who dare to eat non-Korean beef.

Someday, Anonymous, you will see the truth . . . someday too late.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 1:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fan Death! Finally, a fellow waegukin (foreigner) who also believes and will spread the cause!

My first Korean boss, a sincere and wonderful guy, was our first encounter with this phenomena. He was quite genuinely concerned for our health should we fall asleep with our fan on, and most summer nights as we dragged our weary bodies home from the academy where we taught, he would gravely bid us farewell and remind us not to leave the fan on....

At the university where we teach now, we have had at least four Korean professors of our acquaintance caution us in the same way; well-educated, PHd-holding men and women who have travelled and studied abroad. It's a persistent belief with a pretty strong foothold in this country...


At 2:37 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Recent research has shown that Koreans have a particular gene that predisposes them to fan death.

That's why only Koreans suffer from this dreadful fate.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 4:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello all,
I will very soon be using "fan death" as a debate topic for an high achieving high school students in a prestigious high schools in Korea.
This blog site is very helpful and I am looking for other evidences for the pros side of the issue.
If anyone can let me know of any kind of proof that would be helpful such as doctors, ooroners reports. Studies in physics that can help confirm this etc .. I would greatly appreciate it.
You can email me at samarisam@live.com

At 5:27 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Anonymous, just check my most recent post on this issue.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 3:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

if you leave the car and sleep you die of carbon monoxide poisoning, not by the similar causes of the myth of the fan death...

At 4:55 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Huipj, thanks for the visit. Your comment is a bit obscure, so I'll be serious for a moment. You say:

"if you leave the car and sleep you die of carbon monoxide poisoning, not by the similar causes of the myth of the fan death..."

I think that you mean "if you leave the car running and fall asleep in it, you can die of carbon monoxide poisoning," but I'm unsure what you meant by "not by the similar causes of the myth of the fan death."

You seem to be saying that carbon monoxide poisoning (or something similar?) causes the myth of fan death. How? Do you mean that people die of carbon monoxide poisoning, which is mistakenly attributed to electric fans?

Jeffery Hodges

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At 6:45 PM, Blogger Tower Botique said...

No more fan death! Check out this fan.

Nice Fan

At 7:41 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Nothing there, Flim Flam Sam. But that ought to save lives . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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At 12:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL fan death...

well i would much rather die from a fan then die from heat.

also. come on be serious. that's probably made up to scare ppl to not waste so much electricity.

don't bother replying, i really don't give a sh*t

xD you have replied to every single comment on this thing. can you say NO LIFE?

At 4:08 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Anonymous, fans are also know to impair one's sense of irony, so beware!

Jeffery Hodges

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At 12:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what the crap
fan death isn't true
you are using hasty generalization

At 12:49 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Anonymous, thanks for the poetry:

what the crap
fan death isn't true
you are using hasty generalization

Here's my own little poetic response:

strong on logic . . .
but irony?

A bit prosaic, I'll admit. Not nearly so excellent as your own free verse.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 10:33 AM, Blogger torokc said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 10:51 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

torokc, I'm sorry that you deleted the comment -- it was pretty amusing.

Generally speaking, I'm rather delusional, but on fan death, you pegged me right with the first alternative in your either-or.

I think of it more as irony, though . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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