Gonjiam Asylum

One of the Scariest Places in South Korea

10/8/20224 min read

Welcome to Gonjiam Asylum in South Korea.

Our doors have been closed since 1995, but the souls of the dead are restless here. Settle in while we tell tonight’s tale of madness and murder.

When the doors opened here in 1961, this place was much like any other asylum. Mostly just a place for people to send their family member’s that weren’t quite acceptable or to send their elderly that they could no longer care for themselves.

Just over 20 years later, things took a turn towards true insanity.

Maybe, after spending a good many years with folks who weren’t quite right, the director became not quite right himself. Or maybe, he came to be possessed by some evil force. Either way, it is safe to say that SOMETHING changed. There were small nuances first noticed by the nursing staff, although never formally mentioned. The director would make strange, almost hostile, statements about the patients that seemed out of character for such a steady, educated man. It was as if they had suddenly become a huge burden for him.

The nursing staff soon began to notice more deaths in the hospital than normal. However, at this time they also had more elderly patients, so they chalked it up to normal life cycle.

But the deaths kept multiplying.

The staff started to notice that the bodies had strange markings on them. Abnormal cuts were noticed on the bodies of many patients, but more than that, some of the cuts looked like symbols. They started noticing that some of the bodies had what looked like parts of animals sewn onto them.

Enough was enough and the head nurse went to the director one day with her findings, although at the time, no one suspected him. The director was outraged at the nurse and ordered her gone from his office at once. Two days later, she didn’t show up for her normal shift at work. The other nurses repeatedly phoned her at home but got no answer. That night, as the janitor was making his nightly rounds, he found her body in a basement closet. She was covered in slashes and the word “Liar” had been cut into her face.

The staff were increasingly terrified each day they reported to their shifts, yet no one suspected the director. But the patients knew.

We saw him creeping about each night with the light of madness in his eyes.

We heard him mumbling to himself about everlasting life.

We heard the arguments he had with unseen aggressors in his office, long after the staff had gone home.

As the bodies piled up, the patient deaths could no longer be chalked up to coincidence. As the cuts became deeper and the corpses began looking like some mad scientists experiments rather than human bodies, it became obvious that they were dealing with a murderer. At first, they thought maybe it was one of the other patients that had gone completely unhinged, but later decided that they would be seeing signs of this as they interacted with the patients each day. Then they thought maybe someone was sneaking in at night, but then more nurses began turning up dead, too. Because of the nurses’ deaths, everyone was hesitant of contacting authorities, for fear they would be the next.

After months of receiving no calls from loved ones and no update from the director, families began calling the hospital wanting to know what was going on. They were repeatedly met with assurances that their family members were fine, but that there had been a contagious outbreak amongst patients that was difficult to get a handle on due to such close quarters. They were told that they would be notified as soon as visitors were again allowed in the facility, and they would see for themselves that everything was fine.

After several more months of hearing nothing, the angry phone calls would begin again, however these complaints fell on deaf ears. The director was far too gone to be concerned with angry phone calls. Unfortunately, the kind of people who drop relatives off at asylums, aren’t necessarily the same people who call the police over their care.

This all could have been stopped so early on.

The director had been clever enough to only hire medical staff who lived alone and had no family in the area, so as to avoid suspicion of their disappearances for quite a while. The murders and the experiments, the madness of the director, went on for 10 long years. The one person that had avoided all suspicion from the director was the janitor, and the janitor was his final undoing.

In 1995, the janitor made the long-feared call to the authorities. When they finally showed up, there were no more patients. There was no more staff. There were just the strange decaying corpses of the mad doctors’ experiments.

There was just us. Now trapped here forever.

The director had managed to escape right before the authorities entered the facility. They found that he had been storing all of the bodies in a secret sub-basement so that the staff would not discover that he was not reporting them.

Every once in a while, the locals hear screaming coming from inside of the hospital. They hear our wails in the night. They see a figure standing in a window, or the residual blood spatter of our deaths. They call authorities who come with their flashlights and find nothing. Sometimes we get visitors who aren’t welcome here, and we let them know.

Mostly, we pace these halls, endlessly hoping to be released.

*This story may or may not be based on a true story, but is not a true story, it is part of our annual Hauntober series.