ISSN : 1229-0076
Jeju Island reveals exemplary openness to ghost phenomena. In Jeju cosmology, there exists ontological space for ghosts in which the existence of ghosts is tangible. Life on Jeju is permeated with these invisible entities. They are living beings who have their own autonomy. In the Jeju belief system, they are powerful presences and constantly influence the living. Historically, some ghosts have been deified, and are still worshipped as goddesses. There are 270 village shrines called dang on Jeju Island and six of them enshrine haunted maiden deities. The maidens are called halmang who are guardian deities of the six villages. They were seemingly historical figures who were deified after undergoing unbearable harshness in their lives and suffering an unaccepted death. All six maiden myths share commonalities: all are females around the age of puberty, all suffered in their lives, and all died unnatural deaths. The six maidens haunted their villages and were constantly deified to appease their spirits. This paper focuses on Jeju islanders’ experiences and understandings of ghost phenomena specifically concentrating on the myths of six village maiden goddesses. Finally, it will reflect on Jeju islanders’ mysterious experiences to find meaning through theoretical considerations.