I don’t get out to Seongdong-gu very much; there isn’t any reason for me to go out there. Most of all, my basic wants and needs are found in central Seoul. Checking out an abandoned neighborhood would be, and is, the only reason I would come out here. I know someone who has explored abandoned communities in all twenty-five gu of Seoul. That’s a pretty impressive feat, in my opinion. I’m not sure how many gu I have explored, but I’m sure I haven’t explored every one. It’s impossible to be aware/ let alone visit every redevelopment zone, but I will eventually match my friend’s feat through effort, persistence, and lots of luck.
This neighborhood is one I am still studying and documenting. I have been about four times. The process of demolition is meandering. A few residents remain, making walkthroughs the exploration more challenging. We got into a house on our first visit, but a neighbor was walking past as we were exiting. Despite his pleas for us to stop, we made fast tracks and hid in a wedding hall until enough time passed.
It was the first time visiting, I usually try to observe the area before I try to infiltrate, but our group saw an opportunity as the door wasn’t locked, only taped shut. It could have turned out to be just another empty house, but this place had a lot to investigate. It appears the former occupants took the bare essentials and evacuated.
Based on letters, we stumbled upon the house of Christian missionaries. We found correspondences with converts from the Philippines and Russia. There was a lot of God stuff left behind. Some of it was very eerie. Like this:
You think it couldn’t get weirder, but then we come across these intense looking skulls, straight from a Discharge fan’s notebook:
What if the Christian missionaries gave up on Christ and became members of the local biker gang? I love entertaining the more unbelievable narratives. A scenario more grounded in reality would show the family turned away from their sinning ways and becoming devout Christian missionaries, touring across the world to do the Lord’s work. It was shocking finding this stationary after coming across all the Christian propaganda.
Upon further inspection of the letterhead, the house’s son was likely a member of the White Skull Unit in the ROK army, fulfilling his mandatory two-year army commitment. I wonder how he could reconcile his beliefs with such an intimidating unit name, perhaps equating his country’s Love with God’s Love. Who knows? What I do know is that finding that skull letterhead through me off for a second.
Who knows what we will find in the coming months before demo crews scrape the neighborhood. Whatever it is we discover, I will be sure to post it here.