NEW COMIC: My Korean Husband
by Guest Cartoonist Nichola:
I’ve been making comics about my life with my Korean husband since April 2012. In the beginning I wanted to show the funny and positive things about being married to someone from a very different culture. Since then it has become great platform for exploring cultural differences, relationships and showing my husband’s very funny side.
Korean ghosts can’t come to Australia! That’s what my husband, and other Koreans, think apparently. He is never scared of the supernatural while in Australia. He cuts his nails confidently at night and tells me, “They can’t find me in Australia.”
When I ask him about Australian ghosts, he just scoffs. He thinks ghosts of convicts and murderers are nothing compared to Korean folklore. The ‘not cutting nails at night’ belief is that the mice will come out at night and eat your discarded nails. The nails have a piece of your soul in it, so the mice can transform into a copy of you after they eat it. These type of beliefs my husband only half believes. He knows they are just stories but it’s just better to be careful!
The tree that cries the night before someone dies is in my husband’s home village. It’s a very very old tree and the old people insist that when you hear weeping coming from it, the next morning someone will have died. The old people also speak of hearing footsteps behind them at night, but when they turn around, no one is there.
Mulgwishin (물귀신) are the ghosts of people who have drowned. They pull unsuspecting swimmers down into the watery depths with them. It’s not just mulgwishin causing people not to swim; the river has changed as South Korea has become more industrialized. The water is not as clean now and there are dams and construction. People aren’t sure of the water depth anymore. There is a place in the region my husband is from where every year people drown. People always say it was the mulgwishin.
My husband is from a very rural area and these beliefs just seem more real there. So not only am I frightened of scary things in Australia, I’m creeped out in Korea too!
Another one that sticks in my mind is something that happens at the high school we can actually see from my husband’s parents’ house. At the front of the school is a statue of Admiral Yi, the famous naval commander who lived in the 1500’s. It’s said that the statue steps down off his podium at night and walks around the school grounds. Although I tend to be very logical, my imagination is too active, and the thought of the statue walking around the school means I never ever take the shortcut through the school at night!
Whenever I’m scared of a noise at night in Australia, my husband is very confident and reassures me, but in Korea he’ll be hiding under the blanket with me!
Nichola is married to a Korean man and makes comics about their life together on her blog My Korean Husband. They also have a YouTube Channel called My Korean Husband. Nichola and her husband currently live in Sydney Australia but are moving to Korea very soon.