A main source of these stories were collections of yadam. These were a form of short tale, especially popular in the Joseon period. Whereas Confucian classics were the gateway to officialdom, yadam offered an escape valve, dealing with things much closer to daily life. The stories told there were about individuals who were not always admirable paragons of Confucian virtue; rather, they were often artful dodgers who managed to escape from tricky situations; survive traps; deal with ghosts, spirits, and nine-tailed foxes; and even get rich in the process.
As we celebrate the one hundred-fiftieth anniversary of the birth of Hulbert and Gale, the present selection of Korean ghost stories-nostalgic for their echoes of the lost world of old Korea and its many ghosts-is offered for the pleasure of readers in the twenty-first century, one hundred years after their original publication.