Eerie tales from old Korea

I’ve recently returned from a holiday in South Korea, a country and society steeped in ancient history and customs which are juxtapositioned against postmodern 21st Century tech.  Roaming ‘off the grid’, and amongst other experiences, I unexpectedly encountered the presence of the deceased.  The first experience occurred in the surrounds of Deoksugung Palace (previously known as Gyeongbokgung Palace), where a lady of noble linage approached me with immeasurable grace, gentleness, noble bearing and a serene smile. She was dressed in embroidered robes of silken cloth and looked like she had stepped out of the pages of a history book; I knew she was from another time long before my own.

I knew instantly that in life she had been a woman of great inner beauty who loved those around her with a genuine, sincere and warm affection and that she was a person who held true to her values, even fighting for them.  There was also something transparent about her, something which was without guile or deceit, and I could see she was unique amongst the contemporaries of her time.

I don’t know who this woman was, nor why she chose to reveal herself to me, but I knew I was in the presence of someone gentle and kind who had a clear seeing mind and a razor-sharp tenacity.  Who was she, and how was she linked to the palace?

The second occasion on which I experienced the presence of the deceased was at the Seolleung and Jeongneung Royal Tombs complex of King Seongiong and Queen Jeonghyeon of the Joeson Dynasty. Queen Jeonghyeon, was the wife and Queen Consort of King Seongjong of Joseon, the 9th monarch of the Joseon Dynasty.

 As I approached the tomb of Queen Jeonghyeon I was instantly aware of an intense feminine energy wrapping itself around me and then as I stood looking into the queen’s burial complex a woman, again of noble lineage approached me.  I was held fast, utterly transfixed by the encounter as I was by the exquisitely feminine, grace and profound beauty of the soul who stood before me.  Who was she?  Why had this happened and why in this location?  What did she want?

These questions were similar to the ones which had gone through my mind in my previous encounter in Deoksugung Palace.  Again, I didn’t want to leave, I never wanted to leave, I wanted to remain in her presence.  I could feel her essence pass into and through me, and I was mesmerised by her great inner beauty.  She was gentle and quiet, serene and strong, loving and both warm and nurturing.  She smiled at me, and I was reminded of the other woman who had come to me, she too had smiled gently, and in recognition.

Writing this blog I’m reminded of something I heard spoken in a Netflix docuseries about people’s accounts of spirits which occurred after a devastating tsunami swept through coastal areas of Japan.

“Japanese people don’t separate the dead from the living.  To Japanese people, death is like shoji, the paper sliding door.  Once you open the sliding door you go through to the other side, and the living  can still see you through it.”

After experiencing what I did, I couldn’t agree more.



Michele T Knight Written by:

Dr Michele Knight is a Social Worker, Social Scientist, researcher and independent scholar. Her interest and research in the end-of-life has its origin in the lived experiences of her own bereavements, her near-death and shared-death events, the returning deceased and attitudinal responses to those experiences. Since 2006, she has been extensively involved in community development, support and advocacy in both a professional and community services/voluntary capacity in the areas of bereavement and grief, hospital pastoral care, and academic lecturing/tutoring. Her PhD, Ways of Being: The alchemy of bereavement and communique, explores the lived experience of bereavement, grief, spirituality and unsought encounters with the returning deceased.

Comments are closed.