A cleaner sweeps the floors following the stock market crash of 1929. (Photo by Wikimedia Commons).
There are many stories about the Great Depression, mainly that one of the causes was the stock market crash of 1929. One of the most widely-known rumors about the crash was that many investors jumped out of windows on Wall Street to end their suffering. However, is there any truth to this story?
It all took place on Black Thursday
On October 24, 1929, the United States stock market crashed, now known as Black Thursday. People began panicking over their financial future, and this included investors.
One of the biggest rumors about the crash was that investors jumped out of windows of their high-rise office buildings. They committed suicide after realizing that they were financially ruined.
We hate to break it to you, but this didn’t happen on Black Thursday. Nobody jumped to their deaths on that day. So, what’s the truth?
They were confused
During the stock market crash, around $50 billion US dollars were lost. Everyone was confused and devastated at the numbers, but they didn’t jump out their office windows on Black Thursday. Instead, they walked around Wall Street in a state of shock.
The suicide rate increased in the United States during the Great Depression, but that’s across the entire nation — not the stock investors on Black Thursday. So, where did the rumor originate? Well, there’s one small truth….
The story changed over time
There was one suicide during the stock market crash, but the day after Black Thursday, not on that day. It was reported by none other than Winston Churchill, who was visiting New York and saw a man jump out of a window of a 15-story building.
While this happened, no one knows why the man committed suicide. It could be because of the stock market crash, or it could be a number of reasons.
But thanks to a newspaper columnist, Will Rogers, it was rumored that men were jumping out of windows after the crash. He wrote, “When Wall Street took that tail spin, you had to stand in line to get a window to jump out of, and spectators were selling space for bodies in the East River.”
Just like many rumors, they were invented because of one false report. Then the rest was history.