In the Thirsk Museum in England, you will be able to explore the small town’s historical collections. A peculiar chair in one room hangs high against the wall so nobody would sit on it. They would die if they did.
This chair, known as Busby’s Stoop chair, is believed to be cursed. Anybody who sits on it dies a horrible death.
Let us go back to the late 17th century to the story’s origins.
Thomas Busby’s Curse
Leeds native Daniel Auty (sometimes spelled Awety) moved into a small barn near Kirby Wiske along with his daughter Elizabeth. When Elizabeth married Thomas Busby, Auty established a secret coin counterfeiting business with his new son-in-law. Unfortunately, their partnership was not prosperous.
Busby owned an inn, loved to drink, and always fought with Auty. One day, Busby came home to discover his father-in-law sitting in his favorite chair. He was infuriated. Alternate stories claim Auty threatened to take Elizabeth back home with him. Whatever happened, it was the last straw.
Late one night, Busby bludgeoned Auty to death with a hammer and hid his bloodied body in the woods. Locals took notice of Auty’s absence and searched for him. When Auty’s corpse was found, Busby was arrested and sentenced to be hanged.
Some sources claim Busby cursed his chair as authorities dragged him away. Others mention he requested one last drink in his favorite chair before he faced execution.
Busby was hanged not too far from his inn. After his death, his body was dipped in tar and left for public view. Imagine entering town and seeing a hanging corpse covered in tar. Not a welcoming sight, isn’t it?
You Sit, You Die
After Busby’s execution, his inn was renamed Busby’s Stoop Inn. The earliest accounts of the cursed chair started in 1894 with a chimney sweeper. The man sat on the chair and was later found hanged. It was a mystery for a while until his sweeping buddy confessed he robbed and murdered him.
Later during WWII, two pilots dared each other to sit on Busby’s chair. Both were killed in a car accident. Was it part of the curse or merely an unfortunate drunk driving accident? Other deaths included:
- A malignant brain tumor killing a cleaning lady after she bumped into the chair
- A man dying from a heart attack
- A young construction worker falling to his death
Landlord Tony Earnshaw was fed up with the deaths surrounding the cursed chair. He placed it in a cellar so nobody else would sit on it. Of course, a visiting delivery man decided it was a great idea to put his derriere on the chair. He too died in a car accident. Earnshaw decided enough was enough and finally gave away the chair to the Thirsk museum in 1978.
How come there were no Busby chair related incidents recorded until the late 19th century? What about the 1700s? The chair has been around for so long it’s a surprise it hasn’t fallen apart yet. Perhaps the chair isn’t as old as we think.
Furniture historian Dr. Adam Bowett claims the chair has been made around 1840, a little over a century after Busby’s death:
“The Busby Stoop chair is a type now known as a ‘Caistor’ chair, because of its association with the chair maker John Shadford. Shadford worked in the north Lincolnshire town of Caistor between c. 1843 and 1881. It is unlikely to be older than c. 1840 and could have been made as late as 1900.” (source)
Flips the whole Busby legend, right? On the other hand, one chilling confession from Busby Stoop Inn landlady Karen Rowley might have you thinking:
“I’ve been here for the last seven years and the locales are still afraid of the chair and its curse. I saw a figure on the landing upstairs, it was a very tall human-like figure with no arms and no clear face. It moved sideways and disappeared through a wall. I was absolutely terrified.” (source)
Was Thomas Busby making sure nobody else was sitting on his precious chair? Maybe this ghost was the real culprit and not the chair itself.
Would you take a seat? I’d rather not.
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