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Please Tell Me More About Dokkaebi!

This isn't about the Korean language, but it does pertain to Korean culture, specifically folklore. I really want to learn more about these fascinating creatures!

If someone could tell me more about the supernatural abilities of a dokkaebi (how does its dokkaebi gamtu and dokkaebi bangmangi work exactly? and can dokkaebi shapeshift? can they use their magic clubs to turn humans into other things? are these powers limited in any way?) and what exactly a gaksi dokkaebi is and what sources mean when they say it "attracts humans" (I have a fairly certain idea what the sources mean, but I don't want to jump to any conclusions, especially since all Internet sources on this creature are rather nondescript and simply-worded).

I would prefer if someone could directly tell me these things rather than just link me to a random webpage, as the Internet overall does not have much to give on these creatures and I would much prefer having an ability to ask an actual person questions if their explanations draw up only more curiosity on my behalf.

I love cryptids and am thinking of using a dokkaebi in a story of mine, so this is definitely very useful information! Thanks for your time in advance!

January 7, 2018



It's a great K-drama : ) Seriously though, I don't know anything about it, but archive.org have old books on Korean folklore you can download for free.


Cool! Are the books in english?


Yes. Old books that are public domain. Some are even available in several formats - pdf, mobi etc.


Wow awesome! Sounds worth looking into! Thanks!


The drama 도깨비 https://www.dramafever.com/drama/4914/1/goblin-the-lonely-and-great-god/ starts out by saying that "If a spirit comes in contact with an object touched by a human an its blood, it beomes a goblin (도깨비).

"Goblin: The Lonely and Great God Episode 1 A former human turned goblin is cursed to remain immortal and alone for hundreds of years. Ji Eun Tak, a girl who can see spirits, accidentally summons him, but she’s not what he expected."

"Gong Yoo as Kim Shin, also known as Goblin[9][10] A 939-year-old immortal goblin and protector of souls who is in search for his bride, the only one who can remove the sword piercing through his chest. Once the sword is removed, he may finally move to the afterlife and rest in peace. He possesses supernatural powers that come with his immortality but he has to pay a huge price for this. He feels lonely as he has to watch his loved ones leaving him behind when their lifespan ends. He served as a General during the Goryeo era, and was killed by King Wang Yeo who lost all his memories when he became a Grim Reaper."

Though I am quite confident there are evil spirits in the world, I expect many, if not most, of the "powers" attributed to 도깨비s are legendary. I haven't watched the movie, and I try to concentrate on the goodness at the other end of the spiritual spectrum, but your post made me curious.

The drama also has a web page, but you'll have to put your Korean studies into high gear to understand it. https://www.facebook.com/tvNdokebi/


I actually was flipping through my encyclopedia of beasts and mythical creatures when I stumbled upon the dokkaebi, and heard about the film while I was trying to do extensive research, and it sounds like it played with the original folklore a bit. Thanks for contributing to the thread, though! It's much appreciated!


As far as I can tell, they are a general type of creature like a goblin, elf, imp, etc. They are usually tricksters, and thus employ annoying magic, but they can be helpful or harmful at times too. I assume there some normal or boring Dokkaebi as well.

This also seems like the native version of the trickster as opposed to the Gumiho.


Thank you for your contribution! ^^

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