Our taste in media can say a lot about who we are. Those who like romance novels are more likely to be hopeless romantics, those who like horror are more likely to be into the macabre, and so on and so forth. No one genre is worse than another, but they can all impact who we are and who we grow to be.
This is usually innocent, but there are some instances where this influence turns for the worst.
Our Dangerous Minds
The saying 'curiosity killed the cat' is meant to warn us about the dangers of following urges that could put us in danger, and it's true that someone's wandering, wondering thoughts can turn into something pretty dark if they walk down the wrong path. None of us are free from the odd scary or dark impulse, our brains are silly things that will sometimes conjur something frightening just to spook us, but it's those who lean into those impulses that are at risk of doing something questionable.
This appears to be exactly what happened earlier this year, when a woman with what's generally seen as a innocent, harmless hobby, took the subject matter of said hobby and ran with it, inviting its darker parts into her own life.
What We Consume
In January, 23-year-old Jung Yoo-Jung was arrested in Busan, South Korea after she was thought to have not only killed, but fully dismembered another woman she met online.
Local authorities believed she did the killing 'out of curiosity.' She was notably historically a true crime fanatic, a genre that has boomed within the past few years, consuming media about heinous crimes and their investigations just like millions of others around the world who do the same.
Her interest in the subject allegedly led her to want to commit an act that would be covered on programs like this.
Jung would go on to confess to the authorities. She was indicted for murder, corpse desecration, corpse abandonment, and theft.
Her initial claim was that she killed the victim during an argument the two had, but would later retract the statement when the investigators found some contradicting information.
A spokesperson for the local police explained that they believe Jung's desire to kill someone grew once she "became obsessed with murder from TV programs and books." She was not only known to watch true crime series, but also borrowed a great number of true crime related books from the local library.
Giving Herself Away
There were three months' worth of search history on her phone's browser relating to murder, largely consisting of tips on hiding a corpse, as well as searches like "family member murder."
Three days before the killing, Jung even called her father and told him that she was about to do something terrible. "I will do something bad, then you will suffer," she told him.
When it came to selecting a victim, Jung turned to the internet, choosing to hide her true identity by using an app that connects parents with private tutors for their children.
Committing To The Role
Two days before the murder took place, Jung reached out to the woman that would later become her victim, pretending to be the mother of a child in ninth-grade. They planned a visit to the victim's home under the guise of seeing if she'd be a good fit for Jung's fictional child. The victim was working as a freelance tutor while completing her university studies.
Instead, on the day of the killing, Jung herself went to the victim's home disguised as the student, wearing a school uniform she had purchased online.
Her Perfect Plan
Once inside, Jung stabbed the victim 111 times.
She then dismembered the body and separated them, with some of the pieces going into a suitcase that she would later dump by a river in the woods, and the other pieces returning home with her.
She kept the victim's cell phone and wallet, containing her ID, in an attempt to "commit a perfect crime" according to the police spokesperson. She didn't get away with her killing for too long though, and was actually suspected day-of by an unlikely source.
Jung took a taxi cab to the wooded area where she had been planning to dump the suitcase, and the driver immediately knew something was wrong. He alerted the police right away.
Upon investigation, they found blood-stained clothes belonging to both she and her victim. She was almost immediately caught.
"Jung was a loner and a recluse who has been unemployed since graduating from high school five years ago," police said. They also said that she expressed remorse for what she did.
After being detained and during the prosecution investigation, Jung admitted something strange, "I definitely killed the victim, but she came back alive and spoke to me." She then requested a mental evaluation. Criminal psychologists believe that she's claiming this in a bid to get a more lenient judgement by being ruled mentally unstable.
Of her motivations beyond her true crime obsession, Jung has made statements including, "I felt betrayed after my father remarried," and, "I felt frustrated because I had to continue living with my grandfather, whom I did not get along with."
In the wake of her indictment, a prosecution official said, "Jung Yoo-Jung seemingly sought an outlet for the deep-seated anger accumulated throughout her troubled upbringing, strained family relationships, educational and employment failures. It is believed that her psychopathic tendencies influenced the commission of the crime."
Her story is scary, as not only was her victim a truly random selection, but also due to how influenced she was by the media she consumed. It serves as a reminder to watch what we watch, and to always check in with ourselves when we enter dark spirals.