Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Cursed Busby’s Chair

Today this chair can be found on display at the Thirsk Museum in North Yorkshire, England. It hangs on the wall five feet up in order to prevent anyone from sitting on it. Legend states this infamous chair is cursed--if anyone “dares” sit in it they will shortly meet their death.

This curse began in the 18th century. In 1702, Daniel Awety, a coin-forger bought a farm and named it Danotty Hall in the rural area of Kirby Wiske. His son-in-law, Thomas Busby who partnered him in crime was a thief, drunk and bully who owned an inn 3 miles from Danotty Hall.

One day, Busby drunk as usual returned to his inn to find his father-in-law sitting in his favorite chair. He demanded Awety move immediately, but the older man refused. The two men got in a heated argument and Busby kicked his father-in-law out of the inn but not before Awety threatened to take his daughter back with him to his farm.

Later that night, Busby sneaked into Danotty Hall and murdered Awety, he then hid his body in the nearby woods. But when it was noticed Awety had disappeared the local police organized a search. Awety’s body was found and Busby was arrested and sentenced to death by hanging.

On the day of his execution, Busby drunk had to be dragged from his favorite chair. As he was led to the gallows, at the crossroads near his inn, he cursed the chair vowing, “that anyone who dared to sit in it would die a sudden and violent death.”

Busby Stoop Inn
In the years following Busby’s threat, the inn was renamed Busby Stoop Inn. The new owner at first not believing in this curse kept the chair out on the floor for use. As news of the curse spread curious visitors started to flock to the inn.

There were also reports that Thomas Busby haunted the inn. Reliable witnesses announced they had seen Busby’s ghost wandering around the second floor. This drew even more visitors to the Busby Stoop.

A chimney sweep who sat in the chair in the late 1800s was found dead the next morning. He was found hanging from a gatepost near where Busby was executed. This incident sealed people's belief in this curse.

Friends would often dare friends to sit in the chair--although very few did. The few who were brave enough to take the dare all met untimely ends.

During the Second World War across the road from Busby Stoop an airfield was built that the Royal Canadian Air Force used. These men would often partake of the inn’s ale. Several crewmembers were dared to sit in the Busby chair. Those who took the dare never returned home from bombing sorties over Germany.

One previous owner tells how two airmen dared each other to sit in the chair. Both sat in the chair and later that day their car hit a tree and both men died.

A group of builders having lunch at the inn dared a young worker to sit in the chair. This young man obliged and after returning to the building site he fell through a roof and died. After this death the landlord locked the chair away in the cellar.

In 1978, a deliveryman sat in the chair in the cellar. He told the landlord it was a very comfortable. He suggested that such a fine chair should not be locked away in a damp cellar. Within hours after this, his truck veered off the road and crashed, killing him.

There are many more stories connected to this cursed chair. An Air Force pilot was killed the day after sitting in the chair. A motorcyclist died on his bike shortly after leaving the inn, a hitchhiker was knocked down and killed two days after visiting the inn. A local man in his early thirties died of a massive heart attack the night after he sat in this chair.

At a recent innkeeper’s request the Busby chair has been moved out of harm’s way. The chair had been in this inn for over 275 years.

It is the most popular piece on display at the Thirsk Museum. Visitors still ask if they can sit in the chair but it is never taken down off the wall.

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