Due to the graphic nature of this urban legend, listener discretion is advised this episode includes Gore drowning, body dysmorphia and descriptions that may be triggering for people with claustrophobia or tripa phobia. We advise extreme caution for children under 13. Are the things a girl does for a beauty, but your skin care routine is for you and no one else.
All ten steps, oil based cleanser, water based cleanser, toner, essence, ampule serum mask, eye cream, moisturizer, sunscreen.
And every now and then a little treat for you, a bath bomb and the best exfoliator you can buy on sale at Marshals'.
This sesame seed bath isn't the strangest thing you've heard of. You've never particularly wanted to be a bagel.
But if it works, it works. The water's warm and soothing. You barely notice the seeds.
Then your skin begins to itch and burn. You pull yourself out of the water. You don't recognize yourself when you reach the mirror.
Shot full of holes is an understatement. The seeds have stuck to your skin, creating a pattern somewhere between Gothic polka dot and cheetah.
It's creepy, but it'll wash off, won't it? Nothing works. My cellar water wipes, good old fashioned water.
The seeds only stick closer together. You try going seed by seed, but each pull hurts more and more. You tug and tear, finally ripping one away.
But tiny seed is covered in blood. Your paw is obliterated and there are thousands more to go.
Welcome to Haunted Places, a podcast original, I'm Greg Pulsing. Today's episode is part of our Urban Legends series. Every Tuesday, we explore those chilling stories you'll hear second hand, the kind that seem made up but contain a kernel of truth. Urban legends is only on Spotify. So keep listening here to never miss an episode. But don't forget to come back each Thursday for a classic episode of Haunted Places covering yet another ghost filled vocal. You can find episodes of Haunted Places and all of the podcast originals for free on Spotify to stream haunted places for free on Spotify just opened the app and type haunted places in the search bar.
Today we examine an urban legend about the intersection between tradition and dermatology. The systemic beauty regimen is a horror story with just enough skin science to feel true. And if it is, it would really, really hurt. Up next, we learn a new folk remedy. I haunted places, listeners. Did you enjoy last year's Daily Urban Legends series then? We have good news. Urban Legends has been running as a weekly bonus series exclusively on Spotify. Check the Haunted Places Feed for a new Urban Legends episode every Tuesday hitched a ride on a haunted bus, unravel the ribbon tied around a mysterious woman and be sure to follow haunted places on Spotify to get all new urban legends episodes every week.
If you take part in beauty and makeup culture, you've probably heard about the 10 step Korean skincare regimen, trend experts around the world often cite South Korea as being seven years ahead of other markets when it comes to new products. The Korean language even has its own idioms to refer to dermatological health, including club with skin to refer to a bright and clear complexion. It's no surprise, then, that Korean culture's equivalent of the fatal hairdo urban legend centers on a skin care folk remedy gone horribly wrong.
QIO knew she couldn't escape the hands of time forever. Sure, she was 17 and had the oh so coveted cloudless skin now, but she could see the wrinkles coming. She would catch the faint lines on her forehead and near her eyes. When she smiled or laughed, she hated them. Her mother told her not to worry. All skin bore the mark of time eventually, and she took good care of it. She would age gracefully, but she wouldn't be consoled.
She avoided the sun as diligently as she could. Fearing her classmates comments about the shade of her skin, she had managed to keep herself several shades lighter than her father. But there was never enough sunscreen. The clock was ticking. Kim's mother insisted that she was beautiful no matter what. She banned lightening creams and other skin care treatments from their house over KIOS desperate objections. She was convinced they weren't safe. KIO didn't want to listen. She didn't care if they damaged her.
In the long run, she was already suffering. No one looked at her the way they looked at the other girls.
She tried not to cry when her classmate compared to the girl in Howl's Moving Castle, a young woman trapped in a wizened body, her friend Hai told her she needed to stop drinking coffee. Everyone knew that coffee was bad for your skin, but cutting coffee wasn't enough. She couldn't deal with the taunts and the little reminders of how she didn't measure up. She didn't want to be scrutinized over the shade of her skin or the number of wrinkles she had.
She wasn't sure how much more she could take. Hey looked left and then right before whispering a solution and kjos ear.
There was a little shop in Seoul's junk district nestled among the skyscrapers and historic sites, it had been there. It was said since the occupation, before then, it belonged to a woman who was only spoken of in whispers. Her work seemed to be more magic than science, but the results couldn't be denied. Each and every one of her customers ended up looking flawless. Kioa thought she could get by with stolen bottles of whitening cream and heavy moisturising. She was wrong.
It was time to pay this mysterious woman a visit to the shop, a small blink, and you'd miss it. KIO stepped through the curved wooden door, and it was immediately taken by the warm, wet smell of hibiscus wafting out of every corner.
Those brilliant flowers usually awed and charmed Kiyo. Today, however, their vibrant color reminded her of freshly spilled blood.
A reedy voice came from somewhere farther in the shop, asking Kiyo what she wanted. KIOS said she wanted to be beautiful. A woman's head peeked through a pair of curtains. She had no wrinkles. Her hair was a soft silver like moonlight. She released the curtains and stepped out. She was tall and thin, gliding across the room as though the floor was a flowing stream.
Gill felt a pang of jealousy. This woman was so perfectly preserved. But she reminded herself that any woman who could look as lovely as her after all these years must know how to help Kjell.
The woman introduced herself as Gwang, she stroked Kjos skin softly, studying it with heavy lidded brown eyes. You didn't know what to do with her hands. While the woman examined her, she was afraid to speak in tongues. Kouakou the world felt special in this world. Her goals were attainable and real. She didn't want to break that feeling. After a long moment of silence, Gwang turned and slipped back behind the curtains. Kiho asked if anything was wrong, Gwang poked her head out to say she had a solution to the problem they seemed to agree was self-evident.
Gwang slipped back into the room with a vial of glittering black liquid, or at least it appeared to be liquid. At first, as Khil peered closer, she realized the tiny bottle was filled with sesame seeds. Gwang explained that it was an old remedy. KCCA, Google it, see all the college in producing effects. But what mattered was it worked. Kule wasn't sure if it was her eyes or the dim lighting, but Gwang looked even younger now than she had only moments ago.
Her silver hair was now peppered with black strands.
Q Thank Gwang and returned home under her own bathroom lights. Keld looked worse than she remembered. Her skin was almost sallow. Somehow more wrinkles had appeared between here and Gwang shop. There was a collection of them at the corners of her eyes and just a few above her lip. She was seventeen. This wasn't normal. She was lucky that Gwang had given her way to overcome her genetic curse. QIO ran a bath in her parents, deep and luxurious soaking tub.
She spilled the vial of tiny black, teardrop shaped sesame seeds into the water and swirled them around with her hand. She could see the water take on a slightly oily sheen, just as Gwang had promised it would.
She climbed in slowly, the warm water felt so nice against her tired skin, she curved her neck and slid entirely beneath the surface to enjoy the quiet and let the seeds do their work. After a few moments of soaking, KIO began to lift her head out of the water. But there was something blocking her way of viscose weight she couldn't recognize or define. She opened her eyes slowly, but she couldn't see much of anything. Her vision was shrouded in a glowing darkness.
She was squinting, trying to understand when she realised but darkness was moving. It wasn't a single entity. It was hundreds of smaller ones. A large mass of dark seeds had congealed together, forming a gelatin like layer on the top of the water. Her lungs burned with the need to breathe. QIO clawed her hands through the surface, searching for a break large enough to fit her head through. Every time she managed to close a few gaps into the layer, the dark shapes pushed in to block the holes.
The world was starting to shift around her. Maybe her eyes were deceiving her, but it looked as though the seeds were growing into long tendrils above her, blocking out all light and escape. Her arms were sore from trying to fight the immovable mass. Her eyes burned, her heart beat loudly in her ears.
She could feel herself starting to lose energy. KIO didn't know how much fight she had left in her. The water was starting to turn cold. Her body was shivering underneath the blanket of seeds. She was so tired it would be so easy just to go to sleep. Her corpse would be pretty enough. That would have to do, she thought. As her eyelids drifted closed, even the painful straining of her lungs began to fade. As her vision closed in, she gave in to the strange, syrupy way to the seeds in the water and let her body go still.
Up next, QIO learns the not so healing properties of her new regimen. Listeners, I have a surprising new treat for you, you know, you can find love in a bar or on an app, why not a podcast in Blind Dating, the new Spotify original from podcast. We're expanding the places you can meet your match with a twist you'll never see coming. Every Wednesday, YouTube and host Terry Michel introduces one hopeful single to two strangers in a voice only call.
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New episodes air every week. On Thursday, you can find and follow haunted places, ghost stories free on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. And don't forget, October is our favorite month and one of our busiest. So make sure to search podcast network in the Spotify search bar to see all our new shows. Now back to the story, all you wanted was to look beautiful forever and always, she thought that if she worked hard enough, she could have the skin she always dreamed of.
She followed her friend's advice and saw Gwang stunning and successful healer who ran a shop deep in central Seoul.
The remedy Gwang had given her seemed legitimate. The positive effects of sesame oil on skin and hair was well documented. But this was Seed's not the oil. The seeds had expanded in the hot water, preventing Kiyo from raising her head through the oily layer. She fought as hard as she could, but it wasn't enough. She went still on the bottom of the soaking tub, ready to admit defeat. But something shook her awake. KIOS eyes opened. She could have sworn that a pair of hands had touched her, but she couldn't focus on that.
She had to turn all her attention on using the last of her strength to find air for her drowning lungs to get out, she found purchase for her hands on the edge of the tub and surged upwards. The layer of seeds felt thick against her skin. She could feel them sliding down her body as she forced herself through the surface. KIOS sucked in a massive breath of air as she sat up in the tub. The water was cloudy and cold.
The unexpected scent of hibiscus lay thick around the room. She looked down to her skin and screamed. The sesame seeds no longer clung to the water, now they were clinging to her skin, she could feel the small hair like vines burrowing into her flesh, each one widening underneath the surface.
Loud knocks, startled keall from her horror. Her mother's voice came from the other side. She was worried about how much time Kaiyote spent in the bathtub qio bitter lip until it bled, holding in sounds of her pain as she stood up. When she caught her reflection in the large bathroom mirror, she nearly fell back into the tub. Every inch of her skin was dotted with a tiny black seeds. Tiny webs of pink flesh could be seen between them, but that only made the patchwork more unnerving.
It looks like she'd become a nest for a million tiny insects. Her mother couldn't see her like this. QIO yelled out a few words of reassurance to her mother. She hoped that the sound of water sloshing was enough to drown out the panic. In her voice, her mother kept knocking. Keogh's mind was racing, she needed to fix this, her left hand went to her right arm, she pulled that one of the sesame seeds, but it wouldn't move.
It felt almost like a scab, but more resilient. She worked her fingernails beneath the seed, but she couldn't find a way to get all the way under the seeds had embedded themselves into every one of her paws. QIO needed to be more aggressive. She took a deep breath and yanked down the small seed as hard as she could. It stung and pinched. She let out a short, quick breath, trying to push the pain away. Her fingers slipped against the smooth surface.
Tears and snot were starting to drip down into the sink. She wanted this nightmare to be over. QIO tried to pull again. The surrounding skin started to lift with the seed. They were one and the same. Now her mother pounded on the door, demanding to be let in. Kiyo didn't know what to do. There hadn't been that many seeds in the Bible. It was supposed to make her younger. Instead, she could see a spider web of veins popping out in between the holes stretched to the limit by her obstructed paws.
As her skin began to dry, she could feel it growing tighter, more solid. She wondered if she would make a clicking sound as she walked all the tiny, glossy seeds scraping together beneath her skin. And on top of it, she needed to drink something, anything. He'll look down at his skin again, her veins weren't the soft, blue and bright red that she expected. They were brown, long trails of brown spreading from the seeds.
She felt lightheaded. This had to be a hallucination. The seeds couldn't be growing in her body. Her mother banged on the door again. She asked if she needed help. KIOS heart clenched. She could hear the concern in her mother's voice. She should open the door. She should let her mother in to help her, even if it demonstrated she'd broken every single rule.
But another look in the mirror told her she couldn't open the door.
She didn't look like a person anymore. The seeds were expanding across her body, bleaching everything from her chemo could feel her thoughts slowing down. Everything was starting to turn hazy. There was a slow pounding inside her nerves, starting at the base of her spine and moving upwards. She just knew that the brown roots were encroaching on her skull. She could feel them twisting and snaking upward. The roots and vines were eating away at her insides to build something that had nothing to do with her.
When it finished devouring her, what would be left?
Would it keep her corpse as its own strange skin or hatch a new monster from her used up husk? Where would it go? Would it hurt her family? Gio's mother threatened to break the door down. Keywood tried to scream at her mother to trust her and just stay back, but her tongue rolled uselessly in her mouth. Kaiya was running out of time. Her limbs weren't responding to her commands anymore, only twitching with the vines and roots. Cruel motion.
She couldn't let her mother fight her like this. It would destroy her. There were no windows in the bathroom. She couldn't leave. The wooden door was pushing in on itself. Her mother would be through soon. Another spasm Sankyo to the cold, wet floor. Every part of her that touched the surface hurt and every part that didn't was numb. She begged her legs to bend so she could curl up into a ball, but it offered her no comfort.
Stinging salt dripped from her eyes. Laughter filled her ears. Laughter That wasn't her home. She looked at the door, but it wasn't coming from there. It was coming from deep inside her body. The reedy sound of it gave her away.
Cuong, the old woman, whispered a word of thanks, and Keogh's years realization dawned on her.
The woman was a leech, draining youth from people like her. Kieu tried to speak again, but her tongue was nothing but one long root. Now she was disappearing. She could feel it. Cupo just as hard as she could, trying to tell her mother she loved her. Her mother screamed for Kiyo to hold on just a little bit longer. Keough felt herself ripping apart her mind and body, struggling to retain their shape.
There was no fighting it. Gwang, if that was her real name, was far stronger than she would ever be. Kjos shrank deeper and deeper within herself. The door pounded against its small frame. Finally, it flew open.
KIOS mother stepped into an empty bathroom. All she found was a pile of sesame seeds on the floor. The sesame seed beauty regimen sits at the intersection of Korean skincare practices and Western beauty horror legends such as the fatal hairdo Kay beauty products, including gradients that sound like they would fit in in any witch's brew. These include donkey milk and snail slime, which is often harvested by electrocuting the little mollusk to amp up its secretions. But the science is right.
The slime does provide healing and greater collagen production. The sesame seed beauty regimen relies on similarly scientific dermatological concepts like snail slime, sesame seed oil, help skin produce more collagen and increase elasticity. But the legend is about unprocessed seeds, not the oil. The supposed dangers of seeds rest on the most commonly known rule of skin care. Hot water orbanes pours, cold water closes them. So the theory goes, if your pores opened wide enough, they could suck in the tiny seeds and constrict holding them in place.
But there's an obvious flawed. This theory paw's can't expand enough to accommodate the size of even the smallest sesame seed. Even if they did, warm water would loosen the tension of the seed so it could fall away naturally. The supposed science here, frankly, doesn't work. To make things even more confusing, there seems to be no specific event or anecdote that started the legend circulation. So why does it persist?
The sesame seed beauty regimen, legend's popularity and even possibly its creation lies on Tripa phobia. A fear of repetitive clusters of small holes says one might find in honeycombs or sponges. The phobia isn't officially recognized by the mental health diagnostic manuals, and the name itself is actually coined by Redit in 2005. But Dr. Jeff Cole, a cognitive scientist, estimates that as much as 18 percent of the population may have Tripa phobia. The worst sufferers can experience nausea or full on panic attacks.
When faced with clusters of high contrast holds, these visual patterns are commonly found in the markings of dangerous creatures like the blue ring doc topos and poison dart frogs. The running theory is that the brain is keying into old self protective instincts and misfiring in the process. The thought of thousands of sesame seeds embedded in the skin to produce a whole like appearance can invoke this fear. And when such a deeply disturbing possibility occurs to us, we cannot help but pass it on.
It's the human impulse responsible for almost all urban legends. The South Korean beauty industry takes in the equivalent of eleven point five million US dollars per year. Several Korean celebrities grew up with a family specialist, a dermatological specialist tasked with making them look perfect even as toddlers. Colorism and general anxiety surrounding beauty standards could certainly drive someone to seek out ill advised care treatments. This particular legend about cloggers may not hold water, but there's always a new product on the way and you just wouldn't believe the results.
Thanks again for tuning into haunted places. We'll be back on Thursday with the new episode. And don't forget to come back on Tuesday for our Urban Legends series available only on Spotify. You can find more episodes of Haunted Places and also the podcast originals for free on Spotify, not only to Spotify, already have all of your favorite music, but now Spotify is making it easy for you to enjoy all of your favorite podcast originals like Haunted Places for free from your phone desktop or smart speaker to stream haunted places on Spotify.
Just open the app and type haunted places in the search bar until next time. Don't believe some of the things you here believe. All of them Haunted Places was created by Max Cutler and as a podcast, studio's original executive producers include Max and Ron Cutler, Sound Design by Russell Nash with production assistance by Ron Shapiro, Carly Madden and Bruce Kaktovik. This episode of Haunted Places was written by a little director and Jennifer Rachet with writing assistants by Greg Castro.
I'm Greg Perlson. Hey, listeners, don't forget to follow blind dating for a fun twist on a classic set up YouTube and host Tara Michelle can't wait to help Holtville singles meet their match, search blind dating and follow free on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.
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