The Allegedly Cursed Song "Gloomy Sunday" Is Said To Drive Listeners To Suicide

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 Song Is Alleged To Be Related To 100 Suicides

    The Song Is Alleged To Be Related To 100 Suicides
    Photo: Ali Wade / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    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.

  • The Song's Composer Committed Suicide

    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. 

  • It Is Rumored That The Woman The Song Was Written About Committed Suicide As Well

    It Is Rumored That The Woman The Song Was Written About Committed Suicide As Well
    Photo: kmizukii / YouTube

    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. 

  • The Song Was Initially About The Horrors Of Concentration Camps

    "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. 

  • Gloomy Sunday Was Banned In The UK

    After the song was made available in English, more suicides were reported to add up to the 100 supposed deaths relating to the song. The song was banned on the BBC due to fear of people listening to "Gloomy Sunday" and feeling suicidal. It was said the song was banned in Hungary as well. Although never officially outlawed in the United States, many outlets refused to play the song anyway because of its reputation.

    Despite that, people were still listening to the song, and news outlets continued to write about deaths relating to it. In 1936, The New York Times posted an article about a 13-year-old child who killed himself; the lyrics to the song were found in his pocket. 

  • The Song Itself Is About Suicide

    The Song Itself Is About Suicide
    Photo: cybriks / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    When the song became known as the "Hungarian Suicide Song," it was probably initially due to the song lyrics themselves, as opposed to a large number of suicides attributed to the song. It is intimated that the man believes suicide the best way to prove how much he loves his partner. The lyrics to the song are as follows:

    Gloomy Sunday with a hundred white flowers
    I was waiting for you my dearest with a prayer
    A Sunday morning, chasing after my dreams
    The carriage of my sorrow returned to me without you
    It is since then that my Sundays have been forever sad
    Tears my only drink, the sorrow my bread...

    Gloomy Sunday

    This last Sunday, my darling please come to me
    There'll be a priest, a coffin, a catafalque and a winding-sheet
    There'll be flowers for you, flowers and a coffin
    Under the blossoming trees it will be my last journey
    My eyes will be open, so that I could see you for a last time
    Don't be afraid of my eyes, I'm blessing you even in my death...

    The last Sunday

    The lyrics to later versions of the song are significantly different, although they still revolve around death and suicide.