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The Blood-Sucking Bats: Terrifying Creatures in Korean Bat Legends


Have you ever heard of a creature that lives in the shadows, with razor-sharp teeth and a thirst for blood? In Korean folklore, this terrifying creature is not a vampire, but a blood-sucking bat, a creature that embodies the darkest fears and superstitions of the Korean people. These creatures, often depicted as large, shadowy figures with glowing eyes, inhabit the realm of nightmares, where they prey on the unsuspecting and bring misfortune to those who dare to cross their path. This blog post will delve into the fascinating world of Korean bat legends, exploring their origins, symbolism, and lasting impact on Korean culture.

Table of Contents

Origin and Evolution of the Blood-Sucking Bat Legend

The blood-sucking bat legend is deeply rooted in Korean history and cultural beliefs. Its origins can be traced back to ancient Korean mythology, where bats were often associated with darkness, night, and the underworld. This connection to the supernatural world likely fueled the development of fear and superstition surrounding these creatures. The presence of real bats in the Korean landscape, particularly the common noctule bat and the Japanese pipistrelle, further contributed to the image of bats as mysterious and potentially dangerous beings.

While the exact origins of the blood-sucking bat legend remain shrouded in mystery, it is possible that the legend was influenced by similar beliefs in other Asian cultures. In Chinese mythology, for example, bats are often associated with good fortune and longevity, but they also have a dark side. The “five blessings bat” represents longevity, wealth, happiness, virtue, and good health, but the legend of the “blood-sucking bat” is also a recurring theme in Chinese folklore.

Key Legends and Stories

Many Korean legends feature blood-sucking bats as villains or harbingers of misfortune. One particularly chilling story tells the tale of a young woman who is attacked by a giant, blood-sucking bat while walking home at night. The bat, with its sharp teeth and glowing eyes, drains her of her blood, leaving her lifeless in the moonlight. This legend serves as a warning against venturing out alone at night, particularly during the darker months.

Another popular legend revolves around a cunning fox spirit, known as a “gumiho,” that disguises itself as a beautiful woman. This creature is said to lure unsuspecting men into the forest, where it transforms into its true form, a blood-sucking bat, and drains them of their blood. This legend not only warns against the dangers of trusting strangers but also highlights the fear of deception and the unknown.

These legends, though terrifying, offer a glimpse into the cultural beliefs and anxieties of the Korean people. The blood-sucking bat, as a symbol of darkness, danger, and the supernatural, serves as a reminder of the importance of respecting the power of nature and staying vigilant against potential threats.

The Blood-Sucking Bat in Contemporary Culture

The image of the blood-sucking bat continues to haunt Korean culture even today. It has become a recurring theme in modern Korean media, appearing in horror movies, books, and video games. This enduring presence suggests that the legend remains relevant and resonates with modern audiences.

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in Korean folklore and mythology, leading to a revival of traditional stories and symbols. The blood-sucking bat, while often depicted as a villain, has also been reinterpreted as a complex and fascinating character in modern media. For example, in the popular Korean webtoon “The Gamer,” the protagonist encounters a blood-sucking bat that is not simply a mindless monster, but rather a creature with its own motivations and a tragic backstory. This shift in perspective reflects the changing understanding of the blood-sucking bat in contemporary Korean culture, where the creature is no longer solely a symbol of fear but also a source of intrigue and complex storytelling.

FAQ Section

Q1: Are there real blood-sucking bats in Korea?

No, there are no real bats in Korea that feed on blood. While there are various bat species found in Korea, they primarily feed on insects. The blood-sucking bat is a mythical creature, a product of human imagination and cultural beliefs.

Q2: What other animals are associated with the supernatural in Korean folklore?

Korean folklore is rich with supernatural creatures, each with its own unique symbolism and significance. Besides the blood-sucking bat, other notable creatures include:

  • Gumiho: A nine-tailed fox spirit that can shapeshift into a beautiful woman, often associated with seduction and deception.
  • Dokkaebi: A mischievous goblin-like creature that often brings misfortune or plays pranks on humans.
  • Yeonghwang: A dragon-like creature that is often depicted as a protector of the Korean people.

Q3: Are bats considered good or bad luck in Korea?

The symbolism of bats in Korean culture is complex and multifaceted. While they are often associated with negative connotations due to the blood-sucking bat legend, they can also represent good luck, longevity, and prosperity. The interpretation of bats as good or bad luck depends on the context and the specific cultural beliefs involved. For example, in some regions of Korea, bats are considered a symbol of good fortune, representing wealth and a long life.

Q4: Where can I learn more about Korean folklore and mythology?

There are many resources available for exploring the fascinating world of Korean folklore and mythology. Some great starting points include:

  • Korean Folklore and Mythology by The Korea Foundation: An online resource providing information on Korean folklore, including stories, legends, and cultural traditions.
  • The Korean Mythological Creatures by The National Folk Museum of Korea: An exhibit showcasing traditional Korean art and objects related to mythical creatures.
  • Korean Folklore Library: A collection of books and articles on Korean folklore available at the Korea National Library.


The blood-sucking bat, a terrifying creature of Korean folklore, embodies the deep-rooted fear and superstition surrounding the supernatural world. From its origins in ancient Korean mythology to its enduring presence in modern culture, the legend continues to captivate and fascinate audiences. By exploring these myths and legends, we gain a deeper understanding of Korean culture, its values, and its rich storytelling tradition.