Bizarre Stories: Fan Death

A murderer waiting in your room so
it can kill you when you fall asleep?

Among the bizarre history, places, events, animals, etc. that this planet and the people on it have to offer are what we call urban legends. Urban legends may have some basis in fact, be a result of mass hysteria or stem from misinformed reporting, as is the case with so-called fan death. This interesting urban legend has no basis in fact. Because this is demonstrably true, this urban legend is more bizarre than most. At least Chupacabra has obscurity to hide behind. No one can conclusively say it is not true. However, fans are located on every continent and it is easy to prove that they do not kill people.

In South Korea and, according to some sources -- Japan, electric fans can kill you if you leave them on overnight in a closed room. The excuses for this silly idea range from "it causes hypothermia" to "it chops air particles into pieces so you cannot breathe." Given that fan blades cannot chop particles -- most of them cannot even chop a finger -- it is easy to say that is not true. As for the hypothermia claim, most reported fan deaths happen in South Korea in the summertime. Anyone who has tried to use an electric fan to cool his or her room on an 85-degree Fahrenheit night can tell you that is not happening.

Fans in South Korea now have timers on them to stop them after a person has fallen asleep. The interesting thing about this is that all of the "fan deaths" that are reported in South Korea, from what we could find, occur at night. People surely leave fans on without a timer during the day in South Korea. Why are they only dying at night? The most popular theory is that these people are actually dying from heat-related causes. Heart conditions, lung conditions and other medical issues coupled with extreme heat, of which there is plenty in South Korea during the summer months, can and do kill people. They say elderly are more susceptible to fan death. The elderly are also more susceptible to heat-related death. Timers and death scares can conserve electricity. Case closed?