Haunted Housekeeping: Chair of DEATH

What’s that tingle? Patrons of the Busby Stoop Inn, located in Kirby Wiske in North Yorkshire, UK could count on a few things while stopping for the night: a good story, warm ale, and a fair chance of dying horribly if you sat in a particular chair. In 1702, Thomas Busby and his father-in-law, Daniel Awety, were in cahoots to rob the crown of its full weight of gold by shaving coins to make counterfeits. A notorious drunkard with a short temper, Busby overreacted to the sight of Awety sitting in his favorite chair at a pub after an argument over business by bludgeoning the man to death with a hammer later that night at Awety’s home, then dragged the body into nearby woodland. When Awety failed to show up for breakfast the next day, a search ensued and the corpse discovered. 

Busby was arrested for the murder, tried, and was condemned to hang soon after with his corpse slated to occupy a hanging iron cage, as a warning to others who thought of foul deeds. Before his hanging, Busby was heard to curse anyone who dared to sit in his chair to die a cruel death. Since that time, his ghost has been reported to have been seen, noose hanging limply from his broken neck, near the site of his hanging. The chair remained in the pub and the legend grew. Locals would dare each other to test their fate against the dead man’s chair until a slew of accidents made them pause and wonder if indeed, Busby had his revenge.

Late in the 18th century, a chimneysweep who had sat in the chair the evening before was found hanging from a gatepost next to the Busby’s gibbet. Years later, airmen who had visited and encouraged each other to sit in the chair both died from injuries incurred from a car crash the same day. More deaths followed as reports of several bicyclists and motorists were involved in fatal car crashes soon after sitting in the chair. After a young man working as a laborer fell through the roof after resting in the chair earlier that day in the late 20th century, the pub owner locked the chair away in the cellar. Donating the cursed chair to the Thirsk museum, he made them promise to never let anyone sit in the chair again, where it has hung from a wall for over thirty years.