The most popular among Korean traditional monsters, Boolgasal (Also known as Boolgasari) has clawed feet, sharp teeth, a long nose, a bushy tail. Its whole body is as hard as steel. This monster has numerous variations, and its origin often differs from one story to another. This article focuses on the most well-known description and backstories.
Boolgasal is born when the previous Boolgasal dies or disappears. In another story, it is created by a monk, Sharman, or an artisan with holy magic to fight off evil and save people. Boolgasal eats iron and grows to be a colossal monster. Thanks to its armored body, this legendary creature is impervious to harm and able to stop an army alone.
The name can be translated in two ways: (1) Bool – not, Ga – possible, Sal- to kill = Immortal and (2) Bool- fire, Ga- possible, Sal- to kill = Possible to kill with fire.
When Boolgasal is a villain that causes harm by eating iron and destroying things, people usually kill it with fire, and when it is a hero that punishes evil, it is literally immortal. It can even breathe fire in some stories.
The third variation is to mix all these traits to make Boolgasal an anti-hero, a monstrous savior that helps others to make up for harm it has caused.
This post is based on a Korean blog post about Boolgasal: