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Observations placeholder

Mudang spiritual experiences – The sufferings and initiation of the paksu Chang Myung-hoon



Type of Spiritual Experience


Number of hallucinations: 1


A description of the experience

Korean Shamanism – Muism – Dr Kim Tae-kon

Actual Case Histories of Shinbyong

Mr. Chang Myung-hoon (42 years old, living in Seoul, Map'o-gu, Tohwa-dong Mountain #7) was interviewed March 7, 1968. He had not been able to concentrate since he was 7 .

When he played, he played only with girls, and enjoyed their playing the traditional drum and dancing. He started elementary school at the age of 9, but when he reached the 3rd grade at the age of 11, he didn't want to study, because he couldn't "recognize" the words. His concentration was so poor that he dropped out of school.

When he was 17, lying down in his room, he saw a little bead at the corner of the roof (a little bead is one of a mu's instruments). He got up. When he pulled on the bead, a yomju (a type of rosary) came out. Since then he has offered oksu (jade/excellent water) to the spirit of Namsan every day, which is an informal way of accepting possession by a spirit.

Then he went to Japan to learn skills at a steel mill, returning to Korea at the age of19. When he was 27, he became ill on his father's birthday, after killing a cow and eating part of its meat to celebrate the occasion. One day, in a dream, an elderly female came from Kwanaksan in Kwach'on to show him a paper with 30 letters/ numbers written on it, asking him to pick one. He picked the number 3, at which she disappeared saying, "The time will come in February, when you will know something significant".

Afterwards he had another dream in which a white horse came to his house and swallowed him, causing him to go inside the horse's body and to see its intestines. As he emerged from the horse, he was wearing a headgear, was holding white and red flags, and then he rode a white horse, shouting, "I am the Paengma Changgun (The White Horse General)."

After this happened, he repeatedly heard a voice telling him he should wear only white clothing. When he wore white clothes, dogs, chickens and insects attacked him. If he went out of his way to avoid those attacks, someone showered him with dung. Some days he had to change his clothes three times, as they had become soiled.

While his manifestations continued, three people from Yongsan Train Station came, asking him to come and get the shinjanggi (the flag used by the mudang during the kut) and flowers there. He went to the station, but found nothing there. After this, he would wander, talking "nonsense" to everyone he met. One day, he saw an elderly male, wearing white, coming in with a tiger. The elderly man had a flag on which "Paektusan" (the highest mountain in Korea) was written. A few moments later, Tongmulsan) General Ch'oe Yong, wearing straw shoes and a sword, came in.

"Who is that," asked Mr. Chang; he heard a voice "in his ears" answering, "He is General Ch'oe Yong."

Mr. Chang began dancing and two bolts of silk came down from heaven. A voice from heaven ordered him to come to heaven, as the silk had become a ladder. As he got to the top, two gentle yet majestic kings were sitting in front of him. As soon as they said to him, "Go down quickly, for you are a person who will water a flower garden." He was "kicked," causing him to fall from heaven. He fell on a beach with white sand. On the beach there were 30 letters. According to him, those 30 letters represent the 30 spirits that he is now serving at the altar in his home.

His symptoms persisted, and when he reached 21, paksu Kim (a male mudang) residing in Noryangjin, came and performed a naerimkut (an Initiation Ceremony).

From then on, his psychotic symptoms disappeared, and he learned to perform kut from paksu Kim and became a paksu himself. He got married at 27. From the first night, he did not want to sleep with his wife, and after his marriage he mysteriously began to lose his spiritual power. Then he began having dreams in which he became a female and slept with King T'aejo during his regime and he had dreams of sleeping with President Rhee (the first President of Korea).

Observing his background, his father is an uneducated merchant with a bad temper. Mr. Chang doesn't even remember his mother because she died before he reached his first 100th day. Mr. Chang is the youngest and the sole survivor of 11 sons. His days with his stepmother were said to be very sad and depressing.

The source of the experience

Korean mystic shamanism

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Dreaming and lucid dreaming