How Christine Chubbuck’s Suicide Video Became an American Broadcasting’s Very Macabre “Holy Grail”
the 1974 on-air suicide of Florida morning show host Christine Chubbuck, then 29 years old, who shot herself in the head while doing a live broadcast. Chubbuck, insofar as she had a legacy, was defined exclusively by her final act for decades after her passing because she was by no means a well-known newscaster at the time of her death.
With the emergence of internet subcultures that specialise on graphic, difficult-to-find videos in the late 1990s, Chubbuck’s tale was given new life. To serve those audiences, websites like Ogrish and LiveLeak were created, and today you can find videos there of brutal street murders, beheadings carried out by jihadis, or the infamous public suicide of Pennsylvania politician R. Budd Dwyer.
However, you won’t find any video of Chubbuck’s demise there. All of them, it seems, have failed to capture any footage of Chubbuck’s dying moments. Some claim to have seen it, but their only evidence consists of fuzzy memories from a time before streaming video.
When people learn about Chubbuck, they become fascinated and obsessed with it because of how rare it is. The two Sundance films’ upcoming release will only increase this desire. Chubbuck’s significance is partially explained by the fact that video of her public suicide has grown to be one of the most enigmatic and sought-after films in history, which is a sick irony.