The 13th Floor

This Vintage Chair May Carry a Deadly Curse

At the turn of the century, a forger named Daniel Awety bought a rural property in Thirsk, North Yorkshire. His son-in-law, Thomas Busby, joined him in his illicit business. Busby was allegedly a bully, and stumbled home from the pub to find Awety seated in his favorite chair. The two argued, and Awety threatened to take his daughter Elizabeth away from her husband. Busby went back to the pub, but returned later that night to kill Awety in his sleep. He bludgeoned him with a hammer, then Busby hid the body in the woods. The body was discovered, and Busby was tried and convicted for the murder. He was sentenced to hang and be covered in pitch (though I don’t know if that was before or after he was dead).

On his way to the gallows, Busby asked to stop by the inn, across the street from where he was to hang, where he is said to have cursed his chair, proclaiming that anyone who sits in the chair will be haunted until they eventually die. It remained in the pub for centuries, and is said to have killed over 60 people.

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In 1894, a chimney sweep who sat in the chair slept on the side of the road that night. He was found hanged the next morning, at the site of Busby’s execution. His death was ruled a suicide. During WWII, the Busby Stoop Inn (as it is known to this day) was frequented by many airmen. Those who sat in the chair did not return home from the war. In the late 1960s, two men dared each other to sit in the chair. They did, and were in a car crash later that day. Both died on the way to the hospital. Some construction workers came into the pub and one was dared to sit in the chair. That day, the man died on the worksite. At this point, Tony Earnshaw, the landlord at the time, locked the chair in the cellar.

The death did not end there. In 1978, a delivery driver sat in the chair and was surprised that such a comfortable chair would be locked in the cellar. He was killed later that afternoon in a car accident. Earnshaw asked the Thirsk Museum to take the chair, and put it on display – providing that they make it impossible for anyone to sit in the chair. The chair was hung from the ceiling, a good five feet off the floor. The chair still hangs there today – but is it all an elaborate hoax?

Dr. Adam Bowett, a furniture historian (I didn’t even know that was a thing) has examined the Busby chair and said that it is unlikely to have been made before 1840, and the chimney sweep’s friend made a deathbed confession to his friend’s murder. But the aero squadron suffered higher-than-normal casualties during the time period, and there are several other deaths after that are just too coincidental to ignore.

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