Nov 29, 2022 I Brent Swancer

Mysterious Cursed and Haunted Things That Can Drive You Insane

Among all of the supposed haunted or cursed things in this world, some of the more chilling are those that are purported to drive people insane. These are the items or other things that seem to accrue about them some sort of negative energy or ghostly power that seems to have the ability to penetrate into the darkest recessed of our mind to control us, manipulate our emotions, and even drive us to bizarre behavior, violence, or suicide. Here we will look at a selection of such things that have managed to embed themselves into the lore of such objects, and leave us with few real answers.

One thing that one might not associate with dark curses is video games. After all, these are supposed to be fun, but not if some accounts are to go by. Certainly one of the best known tales of mysterious video games is that of the one called Polybius. In 1981, the popularity of video game arcades, with their cabinet games and kids with pockets full of jangling quarters excitedly mashing at buttons, was in full swing. At a handful of these establishments in the suburbs of the Portland, Oregon area of the United States, there appeared a particularly popular game called Polybius, which was released by the German company Sinneslöschen and involved solving various puzzles, shooting games, and mazes. Despite the cabinet being rather bland and unassuming compared to the more colorful machines around it, consisting of a simple black cabinet with and a simple logo, for some reason the game proved to be extremely popular, with kids reportedly constantly lined up to play it and jostling for position in line.

However, what made the game strange is that it purportedly had the ability to induce various mental and physical disturbances in many of those who played it, including headaches, amnesia, blackouts, epileptic seizures, nausea, nightmares, hallucinations, paranoia, and suicidal tendencies, with some players allegedly committing suicide not long after playing the game or just going stark raving mad. Even more bizarre, according to some reports, every evening mysterious men in dark clothes would arrive at the machine to seemingly download data from it for some unknown ends. Then, around a month after the game’s arrival in arcades, it was suddenly gone without fanfare or announcement. Besides various photographs of the game, the game and the company that made it simply vanished without a trace.

The spooky story of Polybius quickly catapulted to almost legendary status, to the point where it was even featured on an episode of the animated series The Simpsons, and has been picked apart and debated since, with various theories as to what was going on with this sinister game. Perhaps the most persistent idea is that the game was some sort of secret government experiment used to collect data on psychological effects of certain visual input, with the game specifically designed to create strobing effects to induce a strong response, and that the mysterious men in black were agents sent to retrieve this data. Related to this theory is the idea that it was not to test psychological response, but rather an experiment in mind control. More skeptical theories point to this all just being an exaggeration and urban legend born of the very real concerns at the time of video games causing epileptic fits. Whatever the case may be, besides a few photos and some alleged videos of the game being played, it is unknown if it ever even existed at all, and it will all likely remain a mystery.

Perhaps even creepier than a haunted video game is a creepy haunted and cursed mask. One curious haunted mask that you can go see for yourself is kept at the Traveling Museum of the Paranormal and the Occult. Rather colorfully called “The Fetid Face,” it is an unsettling, angry looking, ugly thing, bright red with bulging eyes and flared nostrils. According to the museum’s owners, Dana and Greg Newkirk, the mask was received in the mail from an anonymous sender, who had included an ominous note that simply says, “I’m sorry.” It had also been apparently covered in human waste, and after cleaning it up they did what any sensible person would do with it and had a friend put it on to see what would happen. According to them, after a half an hour the friend reported that he felt as if he was leaving his own body, and when he took the mask off he was hit by intense, overwhelming nausea. Others who have worn the mask have said they are overcome with intense feelings of jealousy or other emotions that seem to come unbidden and channeled from some other place to make them act in a very bizarre fashion, and for now it remains locked in a display case.

From the same museum is a haunted mirror that will supposedly make you go insane. It is an ominous black mirror that one day came into the possession of The Traveling Museum of the Paranormal and the Occult, and the story of how they acquired it is quite strange. According to Greg Newkirk, they were approached one day by a woman he calls “Sarah,” whose mother had purchased the ominous mirror at a scrying event at a convention for psychics. According to this woman, her mother had then become obsessed with using the mirror at all hours, constantly in a trance gazing within it, to the point where it became rather worrying. The woman asked to see the mirror, and found that her mother had covered it and locked it away in the closet, calling it “evil.” Not knowing what to do with it, Sarah contacted Newkirk and offered to donate it to the museum in order to get it off of her hands for good. Curious, the Newkirks put it in their collection, and considering it was surrounded by various other haunted or cursed objects they didn’t really think much of it. However, this particular object would prove to be far more than they had bargained for.

Things started to get weird when they put it on public display for the first time at a paranormal event, where a visitor came forward wanting to try it out. According to Newkirk, they typically allow museum guests to touch or try out various objects on display at their own risk, and so they let the woman come and take a look. She allegedly took one look into the mirror and then slammed it down with a terrified expression, claiming that she had seen her own decomposing corpse staring back at her and leaving in a distraught state before she could be questioned any further. This put off almost anyone else from trying it out, and the object started being called “The Dark Mirror” for the rest of the event and then on. Some were brave enough to try it and had similarly volatile experiences with it, telling of seeing all manner of horrific things within its frame that drove them into frenzied panic attacks, and so Newkirk decided it was best to stop allowing people to use it for the time being so that he could figure out what was going on. He himself refused to look into it, as he was starting to suspect that this object was potentially very powerful and dangerous, but he would claim that he had the distinct feeling that it was drawing him to it, telling Week in Weird:

The mirror wasn’t quite the same when we brought it home, or maybe I wasn’t. After we had unpacked our collection and returned the items to their usual places, I began to notice myself staring “off into space”, and when snapped back to awareness, realizing that I’d been staring at the covered mirror the whole time. I’d started to feel a strong urge to gaze into the black glass. Maybe I was just subconsciously weirded out by the disturbing reports of those who’d gazed, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that the mirror wanted me to use it. Whether it was own mind playing tricks on me or not, I resisted.

The Dark Mirror was soon after put back on display and people were once again allowed to gaze into its inscrutable surface, although they were warned against it, and more reports of strange experiences with it began to pour in. Some people saw nothing at all, others saw twisted shapes, black masses, or demonic figures, yet others saw themselves, but deformed, withered, distorted, or dead, and still others saw visions that were so horrifying that they incited panic attacks or caused them to collapse, with the witnesses often reeling away from the object as if it was filled with venomous spiders, including people that were at first highly skeptical of it all. Some of these witnesses also described feeling a sort of electrical current flow through them as they held the mirror, headaches, dizziness, and in one case a woman who said that her mouth had filled with the taste of blood. Animals also reportedly would not go near it, with Newkirk’s own cats staying well away from it and often staring at it with a look of confusion, and it seems that every night the mirror would be covered, only to be found with the veil removed every morning. When Newkirk set up a camera to aim at the mirror at night, the memory card was mysteriously erased every time.

These incidents with the mirror continued, and seemed to get more intense as time went on. Paranormal investigators who came to look at it were made believers when they stared into it to see all manner of frightening things that incited everything from exclamatory profanity to visible terror, and it supposedly tends to freak out just about everyone who dares look into it. To make it all worse, Newkirk has claimed that the mere presence of the mirror seems to magnify the properties of the other haunted objects in their possession, and all of this was enough to make them decide to take the mirror odd of display and keep it tightly wrapped and locked away in a chest with a crucifix and rosary. What is going on with the Dark Mirror? Why does it have such intense activity around it? 

Of course there are haunted, insanity-inducing paintings as well. A no doubt scary allegedly haunted painting that supposedly inspires madness would have to be one called The Anguished Man. The undeniably creepy and somewhat terrifying painting was allegedly kept for 25 years in the attic of the grandmother of a man named Sean Robinson. The grandmother had always made odd claims about the painting, such as that the painter had mixed his own blood into the paint when creating the work and that he had committed suicide right after completing it. The grandmother had also claimed that voices could be heard screaming or crying when the blood infused painting was viewed, and that a somewhat threatening shadowy, spectral shape could also be seen in its vicinity, which convinced her that it was haunted by the artist and was the main reason it had been tucked away into her attic for all of those years.

The Anguished Man

In 2010, Robinson inherited the painting from his grandmother upon her death and allegedly almost immediately his family was beset by weird happenings, seemingly harassed by a strange force pervading their house. Robinson claimed that upon acquiring The Anguished Man, his son had been pushed down the stairs by unseen hands, that his wife often felt something stroking her hair, and that there were numerous instances of poltergeist activity around their house. The whole family also heard the screaming and crying that Robinson’s grandmother had described, and spotted the mysterious shadowy figure lurking near the painting on many occasions as well. The Anguished Man gained the most notoriety when Robinson decided to set up a camera near the painting to record the paranormal phenomena and uploaded them onto YouTube. The videos show various instances of alleged ghostly activity such as the painting falling to the floor, doors slamming shut, and even smoke rising up from the painting. It is said that even watching the video can drive one insane. Spooky stuff, but many viewers have claimed that it is nothing but a hoax. Whether The Anguished Man is really haunted or not, it is hard to argue against the fact that it is indeed extremely unsettling to look at. Robinson has reportedly locked the cursed painting in his basement and refuses to sell it. Incidentally, The Anguished Man is another painting which some say instills feelings of panic, dizziness, or unease even when viewed online. Take a look at it and decide for yourself. What do you think?

Another purportedly cursed painting is The Dead Mother by Edvard Munch, the artist most famous for his painting The Scream, and an overall fairly dark individual in the first place. Munch had been driven nearly insane by his upbringing in the house of an abusive, religious fanatic of a father after the tragic death of his mother and sister by tuberculosis when he was only 5 years old. The Dead Mother seems to reflect some of that angst, despair, and insanity back onto those who gaze upon it, with these elements congealing to form what can only be described as a truly disturbing painting to look at. It depicts a young girl with her back turned to a bed on which her dead mother lies as she holds her hands to her ears and displays a wide-eyed expression of disbelief. Munch himself said of his work in his typically dour way, “Sickness, madness and death were the black angels who watched over [his] cradle.” Already creepy enough then, but it gets even creepier. People who have owned the painting claimed that the girl’s eyes incessantly followed them, that the sheets on mother’s bed in the painting would rustle or move, or even that the girl’s apparition would occasionally leave the painting altogether.

The Dead Mother

Not even establishments of higher learning and rationality are free from the scourge of cursed paintings. In the picture gallery of the Royal Holloway College at the University of London there hangs a painting called Man Proposes, God Disposes by Sir Edwin Landseer. The painting shows the crew of the doomed Arctic expedition led by Sir John Franklin being devoured by ferocious polar bears, so it is rather chilling in its own right. The odd thing about this particular painting, other than being exceptionally spooky, is that it is thought to drive students mad or to make them fail their exams, a bit problematic considering the picture gallery is often used for taking exams. So persistent is the rumor that it is customary for the college to cover the painting with a Union Jack flag in the days leading up to, as well as during, an exam. One famous story at the College is that one student became so utterly and hopelessly upset by the painting that she was driven stark raving insane and allegedly killed herself right there at her desk in front of everyone. I would say that would be good enough reason to get rid of the accursed thing, but apparently it still hangs there, freaking people out as it always has. It’s hard to say if this denotes a haunting or something else, but it certainly is a fairly creepy story nevertheless.

From Japan we have certain supposed cursed swords that are liable to make the weilder lose their marbles. Considering the long tradition of supreme quality, reverence, and how intertwined with Japanese culture, history, and legend the Japanese swords known as katana have become, it is perhaps no surprise that Japan also has its tales of mysterious swords said to be cursed, magical, or both. Here among the history of heated sword duels between battling samurai, and swordsmiths toiling away to forge their deadly blades, are accounts of katana that have become just as known for their mysterious alleged powers as they are for their craftsmanship. Among the greatest and most legendary of Japan’s famed swordsmiths was the one called Muramasa Sengo, who lived and pursued his craft during the Muromachi period (14th-15th century AD). Both Muramasa and his school of sword making were renowned for the extraordinary quality and sharpness of their blades, which made the weapons highly prized and sought after by warriors and generals. Indeed, Muramasa became well regarded as being one of the finest swordsmiths who had ever lived, but he also became notorious for his rather volatile nature and a dark curse that was increasingly believed to imbue his swords.

Many of such rumors began with the abrasive, venomous personality of Muramasa himself. In addition to being obviously a brilliant swordsmith, he was also purported to be rather insane and prone to flying into sudden fits of violent rage, during which he would lash out at anyone unlucky enough to be nearby. This unbalanced mind, which teetered on the brink of total madness, combined with his relentless perfectionism and unbridled passion for crafting lethal swords to congeal into an unstable mix of genius, bloodlust, intense focus, and insanity, and these qualities were said to be passed on to the katana he forged. Adding to this was Muramasa’s alleged habit of feverishly praying to whoever would listen that his swords become “great destroyers,” and his swords gained a rather ominous reputation despite their popularity and high demand.

Numerous dark and sinister qualities were attributed to the supposed curse of Muramasa’s swords. Perhaps the most persistent was that the swords had a tendency to possess their wielders in a sense, sending them into an insane and uncontrollable berserker battle rage and in some versions granting them superior swordsmanship, and bestowing them with temporary superhuman strength and resistance to pain and damage. The cursed Muramasa swords were also said to have a thirst for blood, and that if they weren’t sated by that spilled by the enemy then they would turn on their owners, forcing them to commit suicide to appease them. Indeed, it was often said that as soon as a Muramasa blade was drawn it ruthlessly demanded blood before it could be replaced back into its scabbard, meaning almost certain doom for the wielder if there was no one else around to vent the sword’s bloodlust upon. Even when not drawn the swords were said to sometimes hungrily call out to be released, or to try and compel their owners to go out hunting for some poor soul to murder.

Although undeniably potent weapons formidable in battle, this dark curse allegedly made the swords and their wielders dangerous for everyone around them. Many tales sprung up of Muramasa swords turning on their owners, lashing out to strike down and drink in the blood of anyone within reach, including not only enemies, but allies and even family members, which the wielder could do nothing to stop while held in thrall to the sword’s evil frenzy. Tales describing samurai armed with Muramasa swords lashing out at dear friends, allies, and family as they watched helplessly as their own bodies cut them down were numerous. At their most bloodthirsty and rage-fueled the swords were said to hardly discriminate between friend and foe, and used their owners merely as instruments with which to help them kill. It was not uncommon to hear of the owners of Muramasa swords slowly going insane as they were warped and twisted to their weapons’ demonic will, sometimes killing themselves to escape the dark, madness inspiring prison.

This sinister reputation eventually ended up being further fueled when the Tokugawa Shogunate, which was the last feudal government in Japan, was established in 1603 by the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, who firmly believed that Muramasa blades were cursed, and blamed them for the deaths of many of his friends, allies, and relatives. Indeed, apparently the shogun’s father, Matsudaira Hirotada, and his grandfather, Matsudaira Kiyoyasu, were both cut down when their retainers were overcome by a murderous trance while wielding such swords. Tokugawa even claimed that he had been badly cut by a Muramasa katana that was being carried by one of his samurai guards as he inspected his ranks. In later days his own wife and adopted son were allegedly excecuted using a Muramasa blade. All of this stoked rumors that Muramasa swords had it in for the Tokugawa family, and that they had a special affinity for killing members of his clan.

This notion became so prevalent that Ieyasu Tokugawa eventually banned Muramasa katana in his domain. Many of them were subsequently melted down or otherwise destroyed, but since they were so revered for their sheer quality others were hidden or had any distinguishing features altered or removed, even in the face of severe punishment for owning one, typically the forcing of the guilty party to commit ritual suicide, or seppuku. Despite this, Muramasa katana continued their trajectory to legendary status. Considering these katana were thought to be able to seek out and kill the shogun and his family, there was also a renewed demand for the swords among Tokugawa’s enemies, which resulted in some enterprising lesser swordsmiths forging clever fake replicas for profit. In fact, because of the number of such forgeries crafted during this era it is to this day difficult to reliably tell if a purported Muramasa katana is authentic or not.

In addition to cursed items are various pieces of cursed media, with music being first and foremost amongst them. One of the most recurring and pervasive types of curses within the world of music is that of cursed songs. One of the most infamous of these was a piece originally composed by the Hungarian pianist and composer Rezső Seress in 1933, and originally entitled Vége a világnak (The world is ending). The song, which later went on to be known as Gloomy Sunday, was a relentlessly sad, haunting piece meant to illustrate the deep despair of war, and ended with a somber prayer about the sins committed by man. The song would go on to be covered by other artists after its release, such as the poet László Jávor, who wrote an especially depressing new version of the song called Szomorú vasárnap (Sad Sunday), that emphasized a desire to commit suicide after a lover’s death, as well as the first English version of the song, Gloomy Sunday, which was performed by Hal Kemp in 1936. The song was well known for being a terribly sad song dripping with melancholy, but it would become notorious for a sinister series of events that would earn it its new nickname “The Hungarian Suicide Song.”

Not long after Gloomy Sunday’s original release, Hungarian authorities noticed a significant and alarming surge in the number of suicides occurring throughout the country, which coincided with the increasing popularity of the song. It was surmised that the song was so incredibly bleak, desolate and depressing that it was literally driving people to commit suicide. It was not long before the media caught on to this macabre link between Gloomy Sunday and the wave of suicides, and the story became major national news. With all of the fanfare and the ever escalating number of suicides that were being attributed to the song, authorities imposed a ban on the airing of Gloomy Sunday nationwide. This ban would be joined by a similar prohibition against the song in London, England; a ban that would not be lifted until 2002.

Eerily, in the wake of all of this bad publicity, the song’s original composer himself, Seress, would go on to make the chilling claim that he had written the piece in memory of his girlfriend, who had also committed suicide. Making things even more sinister was Seress’s own suicide attempt, when he leapt from a hotel balcony in Budapest. Although he survived the attempt, later when he was hospitalized for his injuries from the fall, Seress would strangle himself to death with a length of copper wire, his own suicide adding to the dark mystique and legend steadily congealing around his hit song.

Rezső Seress

The ban, lurid media reports, and the death and controversy surrounding Gloomy Sunday did little to stop the song’s popularity, and it became well-known across Europe and indeed even the United States, where it was covered by Paul Robeson and notably by the famous American musician Billie Holiday. Bizarrely, Holiday’s version was also blamed for an increase in suicides, further creating a whirl of rumors that the song still retained some dark, cursed ability to instill maniacal suicidal thoughts in listeners. In particular, the Holiday version of the song was blamed for a rash of deaths of people who would kill themselves days or even hours after listening to it. It got to the point that even in America the song’s airplay on radio stations and in nightclubs was curbed, and some states even unofficially banned the song. It was around this time that Gloomy Sunday accrued for itself the title of “The Hungarian Suicide Song.” The song’s lyrics are undeniably morose, reading:

Sunday is gloomy, my hours are slumberless
Dearest the shadows I live with are numberless
Little white flowers will never awaken you
Not where the black coach of sorrow has taken you
Angels have no thought of ever returning you
Would they be angry if I thought of joining you?
Gloomy Sunday
Gloomy is Sunday, with shadows I spend it all
My heart and I have decided to end it all
Soon there'll be candles and prayers that are sad I know
Let them not weep let them know that I'm glad to go
Death is no dream for in death I'm caressing you
With the last breath of my soul I'll be blessing you
Gloomy Sunday

Was the song Gloomy Sunday actually cursed? Did it have a particular penchant for instilling in listeners madness and a desire to end their own lives? It is quite possible we will never know. Gloomy Sunday is certainly not the only song to have an air of supernatural menace to it. One song that seems to have crept up to become a sign of misfortune and death is the iconic 1969 Frank Sinatra tune My Way. Written by Paul Anka and performed by Frank Sinatra, My Way went on to become one of the most recognizable and famous songs in the singer’s library. Over in the Philippines, the song has gone on to become a favorite of the country’s ubiquitous karaoke clubs, but this is where a decidedly sinister quality to the song begins to take shape, which has launched it into the pantheon of the most dangerous songs ever made.

For some, ill-defined reason, the Frank Sinatra classic has come to be synonymous with an uncommonly high number of fights, unruly behavior, and murder in the Philippines. Here, where karaoke is ridiculously popular, the singing of My Way seems to have a way of bringing out the worst on people. It seems that this song has a habit of instilling hate-fueled, vicious brawls that have ended with the senseless deaths of at least a dozen victims within the last decade, and no one is quite sure why. Authorities have attempted to come to some answers, chalking up the deaths to the already raucous, rowdy quality of the Philippine karaoke scene, alcohol, and a mix of the song’s popularity combined with the audience’s lack of patience for those who sing too off-key or who break karaoke etiquette, such as microphone hogging, choosing songs that have already be sung, or laughing or jeering at less than satisfactory performances. Is the death associated with My Way indicative of some mysterious curse inherit to the song itself, or a result of the country’s many infamous alcohol fueled nights of belligerent, raucous karaoke sessions?

Indeed, brawls and shootings are seemingly commonplace among the country’s many karaoke bars, but it is the song My Way that seems to incite the most rage. The song has become so infamous in the country that many people refuse to sing it, even at family gatherings, and the song has been banned from the playlists of countless karaoke establishments. The song My Way, and the violence it seems to drag in its wake, have given rise to numerous urban legends among Filipinos, and the killings have managed to create for themselves their own category of crime, called “The My Way Killings.” There are few people willing to dare to try out My Way in a karaoke bar here. No one is sure just how many have actually died due to Sinatra’s song, but it seems that when in the Philippines, it may be a good idea to not try and belt out the song at karaoke, just in case.

Frank Sinatra

Another type of cursed media that seems to cause insanity in certain instances are videos. Many of the creepiest videos to be found on the Internet are those that are said to be cursed or haunted, or to at least inflict a profound, inexplicable sense of dread upon the viewer. Perhaps one of the most well known of these is a video usually referred to as “Suicidemouse.avi,” which allegedly appeared on 4chan on Nov. 25, 2009 and subsequently on YouTube, under the title “Suicide Mouse — Unseen Freaky Footage” and posted by a user going by the name Nec1. It at first seems innocuous enough, featuring old-fashioned footage of the iconic Disney character Mickey Mouse walking down a looped city street with his head down and his hands clasped behind his back, but mere moments into the clip things begin to feel rather unsettling indeed.

The first thing that gets the hairs standing up is the decidedly creepy music playing over the whole thing. The music is played on a piano and is off-key and out of tune, at times seeming to be someone just randomly punching at the keys. This bizarre music creates a noticeable sense of dread and revulsion almost immediately, and it gets worse as it becomes more garbled and strange until it sounds like just white noise or static. Another thing that adds to the disturbing quality of the video is that it becomes quite apparent that rather than his usual jovial self, Mickey Mouse here is depicted as quite morose and despondent, in addition to his whole general design and representation seeming off somehow. As the video goes on the images allegedly begin to contort and become steadily more erratic until the screen suddenly goes black at the 1:50 mark.

This might seem to be the end of the video, but it resumes again, with the original poster claiming that the blank screen lasted until the 6 minute mark before resuming. When the video starts again, the soundtrack is at first absent, with only an eerie silence, but when the off-kilter music returns it has been infused by the sound of garbled mumbling and indistinct voices punctuated by a woman’s screams, which begin to build in intensity as Mickey cracks an obscene smile. The images also become bent and distorted until finally buildings are supposedly collapsing and crumbling all around, until Mickey falls down dead, a syringe in his hand. A blurry Mickey Mouse logo then supposedly is shown and a card is displayed which reads in Russian, “The sights of hell bring its viewers back in,” before the video goes black once more, this time for good. Others who have seen the video claim that it has fleeting images that pop up throughout, such as a wild-eyed man and a winged demonic entity of some kind.

Alleged screen grab from Suicide Mouse

Besides the already innately unsettling quality of the whole thing, which has reportedly left some people with potent panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, madness, and a sense of absolute terror, other rumors quickly swirled about the footage as well. Another rumor was that the famous film critic Leonard Maltin was reviewing old Mickey Mouse cartoons from the 1930s to determine which would be part of a DVD compilation when he came across Suicidemouse.avi and was so horrified that he immediately voted it out. It was also allegedly so deeply unsettling to him that he actually had to leave the room, although he had  a digital copy saved out of curiosity and for his own records.

Even weirder still, the editor who he assigned to the digitizing process reportedly died in a freak accident not long after the project was done. One story was that it had literally driven the editor to insanity. After watching the film, the man allegedly had a meltdown, running from the studio screaming “real suffering is not known!” before attacking a security guard, stealing his gun, and shooting himself in the head. Indeed, one of the effects often associated with this “cursed video” is the onset of suicidal thoughts or tendencies. It is hard to know what truth any of this has, and the original alleged video seems to have disappeared, although there are several clips that have been posted online that claim to be the original but are though to be remakes. Whatever the truth behind “Suicidemouse.avi” is, it has remained a much talked about Internet legend.

Another fairly well-known cursed video is that of a Japanese Kleenex commercial from the 1980s, which was one of a series of three and shows a woman sitting on a bed of straw next to what looks like a baby dressed as a red ogre. Over the whole thing is an eerie song called It’s a Fine Day, by the musicians Jane and Barton. Almost immediately upon release people complained about how unsettling and off-putting it all was, and there were even rumors that the featured song had chanting in German saying “die, die,” and that the music would change or morph depending on the time of day. Such was the deluge of people who filed complaints to Kleenex about the strange, thick sense of dread the commercial produced that they ended up pulling the ads altogether, but this would only be the start of the weirdness.

In the wake of the commercial being pulled from the air, it is said that many of those who were involved with its creation met tragic ends in a variety of freak accidents or misfortune. For instance, the baby supposedly died in a car crash not long after shooting wrapped and the main actress was said to have suffered a mental breakdown and was put in a mental hospital, where she would later hang herself. Various crew members such as editors, cameramen, and the director all apparently died in a string of strange freak accidents, mishaps, and illnesses. It was also rumored that many people who watched the commercial had been overwhelmed with suicidal thoughts and had killed themselves.

It is hard to say how much of any of this is true, although the actress, a Keiko Matsuzaka, definitely was not institutionalized, but adding to the creepiness is that the video has seemed to have remained cursed well into the Internet era. Besides the persistent rumor that watching it tends to bring up dark and suicidal urges, it is said that watching the video online can cause all kinds of strangeness, such as the young woman’s voice turning into that of an old lady or the baby ogre inexplicably changing color from red to blue. The music is also still said to morph into cryptic German chanting at certain times of the day or night.

In particular, weird things are said to happen if you play the “cursed” commercial on YouTube at exactly midnight, when it will apparently cause the video to become very distorted with some sort of interference and to cause the player to crash, with some reports saying that a pair of sinister black eyes will flash across the screen shortly before this black out. Other reports have said that playing the video at this time will cause whole system crashes or various computer glitches such as suddenly depleted batteries and problems akin to a virus, or even cause the power to whole homes to black out. Whatever is going on with this commercial it is a creepy story to be sure. 

With all of these cases we are left to wonder whether there is anything to any of this or if it is all pure urban legend and superstition. Are there objects, songs, and videos out there that hold to them some dark and sinister forces that worm their way into our minds to make us lose control and lose our grip on sanity? If so, why should this be? Whether any of it is real or not, such stories tend to mesmerize and incite wonder, and they are all damn weird, regardless of the final answers. 

Brent Swancer

Brent Swancer is an author and crypto expert living in Japan. Biology, nature, and cryptozoology still remain Brent Swancer’s first intellectual loves. He's written articles for MU and Daily Grail and has been a guest on Coast to Coast AM and Binnal of America.

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