Death by Fan

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Here’s a new one: in South Korea, it’s widely believed that sleeping in a room with an electric fan will kill you.

It’s called fan death.

The purported cause of death ranges from hypothermia (the fan cools you down too much) to asphyxiation (the fan somehow creates a kind of vacuum around you, or you suffocate from having doors and windows closed).

Of course, this theory has been widely debunked, and millions of people worldwide subject themselves to nocturnal fannery without freezing or otherwise expiring. Yet South Korean authorities, from the media to the government to the doctors themselves, continue to reinforce the legitimacy of fan death. Fans there are sold with timers to ensure they shut off automatically before the situation grows dire.

With that much misinformation going around, is it any wonder people believe it? Hell, if I grew up there, I’d probably think twice about fan death too.

Has anyone else heard of this? And if you’ve spent any time in South Korea, how widespread is this belief today?

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6 responses to “Death by Fan

  1. I’ve never heard of it, but I like it. I can’t sleep with a fan on in the room, because I wake up gasping and unable to breathe. (Strange but true story.) So this is my new excuse.

    (Oddly, I can sleep with an air conditioner running, just not a fan.)

  2. Pingback: FAN DEATH | euzicasa

  3. Pingback: Fan Death | myothervoices

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