The genesis of the misconception is unclear, but fears about electric fans date almost to their introduction to Korea, with stories dating to the 1920s and 1930s warning of the risks of nausea, asphyxiation, and facial paralysis from the new technology.[1][2]
One conspiracy theory is that the South Korean government created or perpetuated the myth as propaganda to curb the energy consumption of South Korean households during the 1970s energy crisis, but Slate.com reports that the myth is much older than that – dating almost as far back as the introduction of electric fans in Korea, and cites a 1927 article about “Strange Harm from Electric Fans”.[1][3][4]

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