Rezső Seress's "Gloomy Sunday" could be one of the most controversial songs of all time. Initially written in 1933, it was soon known worldwide as the cursed song that makes people commit suicide. Seress's music, along with Hungarian poet László Jávor's breakup inspired lyrics, allegedly caused the suicides of at least 100 people. This is why the song "Gloomy Sunday," is synonymous with the phrase "Hungarian Suicide Song."
Rarely do you ever hear about songs that were banned because they were cursed, but that is the case with "Gloomy Sunday." While a few songs - as well as movies - are said to be cursed, the urban legend regarding the song "Gloomy Sunday" is not like any other. Considered one of few "killer songs," the "Gloomy Sunday" song curse has an interesting and mysterious background. Continue reading to learn all about "Gloomy Sunday" and give the song a listen - that is, if you're not too scared.
The following months after the song's release, there were 18 suicides attributed to or relating to the song in Hungary. While there is no explicit documentation tying all of the suicides to the song, there are some chilling anecdotes. A 1936 article in Time described several references to deaths relating to "Gloomy Sunday." One man mentioned was a Hungarian shoemaker, Joseph Keller, who killed himself and left a suicide note with lyrics to "Gloomy Sunday." A group of people drowned themselves in the Danube River and were said to have been holding sheet music to the song.
There were several more reported deaths from people who killed themselves while listening to the song. Before long, it was said that at least 100 deaths were attributed to the deadly tune.
One of the verifiable suicides in relation to this song is that of the composer of the song, Seress. Records indicate that Seress was depressed throughout his life and had attempted suicide on numerous occasions. On January 13, 1968, he jumped out of a window in an attempt to end his life, but survived the incident. Later in the hospital, he strangled himself with a wire and succeeded in the suicide.
Even though his death came over 30 years after writing the tune, it still adds a little mystique to the already controversial song.
One of the victims noted to have allegedly killed themselves because of the song was the one whom it was written about: Jávor's ex-fiancee. It was rumored that Jávor committed suicide as well. Both of these deaths are considered urban legends. No one knows exactly who Jávor's ex-fiancee was, so verifying her death by suicide has proven fruitless.
As for Jávor, he died in 1956, over 20 years after the song's release. Some reports state that his cause of death was a heart attack, but those who believe in the song's paranormal powers keep the idea of his suicide alive.
"Gloomy Sunday" was initially titled "The World is Ending." Seress's version of the song is about the horrors of war, death, and and a loveless life. Seress, a Jewish man, was enslaved by Nazis in a concentration camp during World War II.
It is thought that "The World is Ending" was about his stay at the camp, as well as his mother dying at a Ukrainian concentration camp.