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[Weekender] Chilling tales and haunted trails: unlocking thrilling summer adventure

By Hwang Dong-hee

Published : July 8, 2023 - 16:03

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As summer sweeps across the country, the allure of sandy beachfront getaways and outdoor adventures beckons.

Paradoxically, it is precisely during these sizzling months that haunted mansions and ghost houses reclaim their attraction to thrill-seekers and the curious.

Brace yourself as you step into the haunted corridors of these popular attractions, for what awaits is a bone-chilling immersive encounter that will send shivers down your spine.

A twist on the traditional concept of a haunted house or ghost town, each site uses a historical setting intertwined with storytelling to set tasks and challenges for visitors as they move through the place.

Visitors stand in front of the Visitors stand in front of the "Haunted Prison" at the Korean Folk Village on Sunday. (Hwang Dong-hee/The Korea Herald)

'Haunted Prison' at Korean Folk Village

Walking along a winding path, the air grows heavy with dampness and a misty fog blankets the eerie hillside. In the distance, you can hear unsettling bird cries and the faint sound of distant screams.

Then emerges a sight to behold: a dimly lit, crimson-draped tent decorated with skulls.

Located in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, the Korean Folk Village unveiled its latest horror adventure, “A Haunted Prison,” in May, following last year’s hit “The Haunted Den.” It has quickly become a sold-out sensation.

The story starts as the sacred shaman grounds of Sindanggol are transformed into a den of evil spirits. Rumors spread and people start to go missing. To uncover the truth behind the mysterious place, visitors take on the role of exorcists and venture into this perilous domain.

Participants enter as a team of four, forming a single line. The 400-meter outdoor trail takes about 15 minutes to complete. Prepare yourself for a maze and a mission where participants have to complete against a timer. All the actors are dressed as traditional Korean ghosts.

If at any point you wish to abandon the challenge, make a big “X” above your head as a sign of surrender. But those who successfully finish get an amulet symbolically warding off the ghosts they encountered during the adventure.

The Korean Folk Village (Hwang Dong-hee/The Korea Herald) The Korean Folk Village (Hwang Dong-hee/The Korea Herald)

“Getting through the path felt really long, so I think the fear comes from the feeling that you cannot escape this endless maze. And you don’t know what will come next,” said one participant after the experience. “I enjoy these kinds of haunted mansions. I feel like all the tensions are released when you finally see the finish line.”

The village official noted that “A Haunted Prison” is recommended for those aged 13 and above, as the program includes some graphic scenes. Elderly individuals, pregnant women, those with heart conditions, or suffering from claustrophobia are advised not to participate.

The program operates from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. If you seek an extra adrenaline rush, choose a time slot after sunset.

“A Haunted Prison” runs until Nov. 12, operating on Fridays-Sundays and public holidays. Tickets are 12,000 won, separate from the admission fee to the village. Online reservations can be made through Naver, or you can get tickets on-site at the ticket kiosks.

"The Haunted Den" at the Korean Folk Village (Hwang Dong-hee/The Korea Herald)

In addition to “A Haunted Prison,” the Korean Folk Village is offering several other horror adventures. A revamped edition of “The Haunted Den” will run until Nov. 12. The main difference is that this experience takes place inside a traditional Joseon-era hanok, where the musty smell, creaking sounds and pitch-black darkness build up the suspense.

In the new attraction, “Joseon Murder Investigation,” which opens on Saturday, participants take on the role of detectives and gather information about the suspect’s identity and whereabouts while deciphering clues from a magistrate’s case record and examining evidence found at the crime scene.

"Haunted House" at Lotte World Adventure (Lotte World Adventure)

'Haunted House' at Lotte World Adventure

Lotte World Adventure in Songpa-gu opened its Haunted House in June. Located on the park's Magic Island, the walk through the maze of horror starts upon receiving a mysterious letter from a missing journalist.

Groups of four people become ghost hunters who have to complete a series of missions to escape the maze. To ensure they don't get lost or separated, the group members hold onto a rope as they move forward and the leader of each group carries a flashlight. Eerie sound effects add to the atmosphere, with wind, bell ringing and wailing noises.

Admission costs 7,000 won and must be paid separately at the ticket booth in front of the “Haunted House.” The attraction, which will run until Nov. 12, is open from noon to 9 p.m., with approximately one-hour maintenance breaks at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Visitors line up at the Lumina Horror Nights in 2022 (Gyeongju Expo Grand Park) Visitors line up at the Lumina Horror Nights in 2022 (Gyeongju Expo Grand Park)

Horror spots around the country

The Jangsaengpo Whale Cultural District in Ulsan announced Tuesday that the village will be hosting an annual Horror Festival. Scheduled to take place Aug. 12-20, the nine-day festival will be operate through pre-registration.

Participants can experience horror adventures from 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., with a slot opening every five minutes. On Aug. 19-20, there will be an open costume party featuring a play and street performances. Ticket reservations start Monday at 10 a.m. Last year, over 20,000 people applied for the festival.

Hapcheon Movie Theme Park in South Gyeongsang Province is currently operating "Cursed Village of Bandits and Pirates," featuring performances, flash mobs and experiential content. The programs is available on weekends and holidays from noon, until Aug. 27.

Additionally, Gyeongju Expo Grand Park in North Gyeongsang Province is gearing up for the third season of "Lumina Horror Nights," which attracted over 18,800 visitors last year.