Famous Cases | Historical Tales | Vampires | Zombies
Base: Mount Pleasant, Michigan, United States
Incident: This is a follow-up report to incident number 136 (12/03/2010) regarding a witnessed confrontation between a group of vampiric entities and a then unknown supernatural entity in the form of a young girl. Below is a culmination of the last ten months of tentative research and investigation into the incident.
Now, I know I should have made this post sooner, as I worry that some of the more subtle details from early on in my investigation are forgotten, or simply lost amid my stacks of notes. However, we will start at the beginning. After the initial incident was posted on this site, I started by following the clue Dr. Pecos handed me in his response to the event. With delicate application of Goggle-fu, and a few dozen painful hours spent in my university library's folklore department, I gathered up a hefty amount of information regarding the creature known as the Kumiho, as that was so far the only viable description I had for the mysterious woman. For the sake of time, I will not express all I have found, and will instead strip it down to the relevant details.
|The kumiho, as seen|
in a woodblock by
the artist Kushikun
Now, while all this is well and good I knew that in order to remain objective I had to pursue every avenue of research. Some asking around the biology department revealed that it would take a flame burned at 800 degrees for over an hour to reduce a body to the cinders and ash I discovered at the scene: hardly the fraction of a moment it took for the woman to immolate the creatures, even if those three doused themselves with accelerants and she happened to have a cutting torch hidden up her sleeve. My every attempt to bring this incident within the scope of common knowledge and fraud brought up more and more inconstencies with what I and Karen had witnessed.
At this point I found myself at an impasse. With midterms coming up, I decided to take a break from investigating. However, I took every chance I had to go a little out of my way and drive by Riverside Cemetery, especially at night. For the next few months it continued as such, until on the night of April 17, I got another look at the fire. I was on my way over to my friend's house for some tabletop gaming when I came to a stop at the light just next to the cemetery gate and saw something odd in the graveyard. Toward the back of the graveyard a tongue of flame lit up the night. It burned for about three seconds, and looked not unlike a flamethrower. The one comment I could make on the nature of the flame is that it was unnaturally orange, like a pumpkin in fire.
I watched as the flame went out, then about 10 seconds later it started again, then off, then on, operating at about the same interval each time. Against my better judgment, the advice of Dr. Pecos, and the legality of entering a graveyard after dark, I turned into the graveyard drive. I parked my car and hopped the thin bar that blocked cars from driving through the gate. I took my phone and my 12-inch mag light and made my way as quietly as I could towards the back of the graveyard, watching the flame as I moved. I got about halfway when the flame stopped. I hid behind a headstone, watching carefully for movement. When nothing came, I moved over at a near run, hoping to get a better look at the source of the flame. As best as I could guess the flame was coming from between two of the older crypts on the lot, a guess which was confirmed when I arrived. No one was there, and I am beginning to think that this was a good thing. I investigated this site, and below is a list of my findings in the order in which they were discovered.
1. I discovered a significant amount of ash on the ground between the two structures and light burn marks on the east wall on the older of the two crypts.
2. Nearby the site, one of the graves was disturbed--a recent burial, guessing from the flowers. I noticed that the grass sod laid over it was torn to pieces, and the dirt was heavily molested.
3. Back between the buildings I discovered a pipe. I am unsure if this is connected or not; however the pipe was made from black ceramic, and smelled strongly of some kind of herbal blend (although nothing illegal as I was assured by the kind people at the local marijuana dispensary). It had a slender neck with a narrow choke and a bowl that was still warm from use. Later scrutiny revealed some kind of lip balm or lipstick on the mouthpiece of a light pink shade.
4. The last and oddest bit discovered at the scene were footprints. Measurements and pictures proved them to be a female size 7. I was lucky that it had rained heavily the night before, because in the mud I could get a clear impression of the prints. They seemed to come from the western side of the yard, towards the residential areas just beyond the graveyard fence. The odder thing is where they end. Between the two crypts there are several footprints, like the kind made by someone who is loitering. Then, the prints take a sudden and abrupt turn toward the graveyard center. They proceed for eight feet, then simply vanish. Did she double back over her prints? If so, then why were there no return prints back to the residential area? If she didn't double back, where did she go? Too many unanswered questions, and too little time.
I didn't want to risk a run in with the authorities, so I turned and made my way back to the car. I left and went to my friend's house as normal, and so concluded that night.
A week later my schedule cleared and I decided to try and contact some of the older Korean families in the area. If this person (or creature if they were so) was a Kumiho, likely the elder families of the area would know something, as the creature originates from their own mythos. I asked a student who was a local Korean if he knew any of the older families, and he put me in touch with Gung Lee, patriarch of his family and a priest at the local Korean-speaking Catholic church. (A note on that. It would seem that the Korean presence in town is not as diluted as many believe, and several families still treat their native language as their primary one, obviously making them wish for a Korean spoken sermon.)
Gung Lee saw me in his church on May 3. I took with me the pipe I discovered, my notes, and the photos I took at both scenes. He was a kind man, and to my surprise spoke English with a fluency I seldom see even among "American" students in my department. I did not detail to him the events that occurred, mostly because I did not have to. Below is a transcript recorded on my phone of the conversation. The moment it begins is when I ask him about the Kumiho.
Me: This is Ben G--, it is the Third of May 2011, and it is 4:13 p.m. I am sitting here with Pastor Gung Lee, at the 'Holy Unity' Korean church on S. Maple Street. Alright sir.
Gung Lee: Just call me Lee please.
Me: Lee. How long have you lived in Mount Pleasant?
Gung Lee: *Clears his throat* Well I was born in South Korea, I immigrated at the age of seven, and have been living in town since then, oh, save for the four years I spent at the Fuller Theological Seminary.
Me: *writes* Now, as I mentioned, I am working on a project in local folklore, and I am here to ask about the Kumiho.
Gung Lee: *Lets out a long whistle* Straight from the hip I see. Well, the Kumiho is mostly a cautionary tale. One could say it is about resisting the lure of lust, but in truth that is when we view it through a modern theological lens.
Me: And when viewed through the lens of the Korean culture?
Gung Lee: Well, it's much easier then. Don't go into graveyards or something will kill you and eat your heart. In truth, funerary practices in those times were barbaric at best. The gasses coming from the ground from corpses could be toxic. Not to mention the fact that in Korea at the time, graveyards were a popular place for thieves and murderers to run to. The superstition about them made people wary about searching them for the criminals. As with most myths, it got it's start likely in practicality.
Me: So you would think that these stories started out of pure practicality rather than a rationalization for a real phenomenon?
Gung Lee: *He pauses here, standing and moving off to a bookshelf in the corner. I expect mostly theological or Catholic works, I am surprised when he returns with a book of Korean Folk Tales written in the native language* Well, there are stranger things on heaven and earth than what our god tells us. Tell me, when did you break into the graveyard?
Me: *Flustered* What are you talking about?
Gung Lee: Riverside Cemetery. You broke into it. When?
Me: It wasn't a break in. We had a city permit, the first time at least.
Gung Lee: Ahhh *He opens the book and a chill runs down my spine* Well. How many of them did she kill?
Me: I am not sure I follow sir.
Gung Lee: "Wonhae issneun salam" *He speaks in his native tongue* It ah, it means "Those who Hunger." It's a term we used back home. When I was a child, I had an uncle who grew very ill. His name was Gung Gek. He was ill, the towns healer could do nothing for him, so we began to prepare for a funeral service. Then one day, we get a letter from Gung Gek, and he is raving. "I found it! I found it! I found the cure." He promised in his missive to come and see us soon. Meanwhile, he vanishes. Soon my little sister begins to grow ill, then my mother, then my father, then me. I do not remember my dear uncle coming and going, save for the last night. As I lied in bed I heard my door open and who should it be but Gung Gek. His teeth were long, and his skin cold. As he leaned over me, I heard a great commotion come through the front door. I hid under my covers as I heard my dear uncle scream, then a wash of flame light my floor on fire. I tore out of my room and raced to my parents' bed shouting. When we went back my dear uncle was not there. In his place, a pile of burning cinders on the floor, and fox prints left in soot going out our front door.
Me: So you do believe in it?
Gung Lee: I believe in god above, and in divine providence. But I also believe some things we are simply not meant to know.
Me: So is she real?
Gung Lee: Only as real as you let her be. Just like all myths. But, one thing about her is true: she does eat the hearts of the dead. Just sometimes the dead are still moving when it happens. Please, turn off the tape.
*I ended the tape*
After my meeting with him I went back out and pushed the investigation from my mind. I felt as if I pursued this as far as I could with my busy school life. Finals came, then summer vacation, which took me far from Mount Pleasant. I thought I was done with it, but then, upon my return the next September I received a phone call from Gung Lee. He said he had been waiting for school to start to contact me. He had a special request: he wanted me to take the pipe I found (later investigation proved it had been filled with onion stems and Ginseng, both non-smokeable herbs and common Korean holistic herbs) and leave it back at the cemetery. I followed his request and went back to the place between the crypts; this time at twilight. I placed the pipe where I had found it and started back. I made it ten paces before I heard the sound of someone running behind me. I turned and the pipe was gone. I found nothing around the crypts but an empty cemetery. I left.
One note: Since this investigation I have launched others into events around Mount Pleasant. Most do not seem to be related (sadly) to vampires or zombies but rather events entirely supernatural. In my research I have discovered that many in the occult community believe Mount Pleasant to be the central axis between several dozen energy lines called ley lines. Many believe this makes the town more prone to hauntings, monstrous activity and supernatural events.
As always, I don't seek belief only recognition. This happened, and there is nowhere else I can share it but here. Think what you will; I certainly have more than one theory (anything from secret societies of hunters to an actual fox spirit), but do not discredit this entirely on first glance. I know I likely made mistakes in my investigation which will be pointed out, but then again I never claimed to be anything more than a guy in the right place at the wrong time. Oddly though, I feel a little safer now.
Comment from Dr. Pecos: Thank you for your update. I wonder what Mr. Lee means with his comment, "she does eat the hearts of the dead. Just sometimes the dead are still moving when it happens." Does this mean people who are undead? Dead inside? Perhaps needless to say, I am not expert in the supernatural world. I spent my life dealing with people who were transformed by a virus. That doesn't mean I'm closed off to possibilities, so please keep me posted on your future research.