May 3, 2010

Mysterious Furniture: The Cursed Chair of the Busby Stoop Inn

Settle in, dear readers. This week’s blog leaves behind the here and now, transcending far into the realms of the unknown and unexplained.

But wait — isn’t this a blog about furniture?

Indeed, it is! But who says furniture can’t be adventurous? Like most everything in this world, sometimes there is more to furniture than meets the eye…

And thus begins a new installment at the Official EDF Blog: Mysterious Furniture.

From time to time, we’ll regale you with creepy, unnerving tales of phantom futons, cursed credenzas, and possessed pedestals. So sit back and grab a flashlight if you must, as we delve into this week’s tale: The cursed chair of the Busby Stoop Inn.

Inside the Thirsk Museum, in North Yorkshire, England, is the infamous chair of Thomas Busby. The chair hangs on a wall, about five to six feet up, in order to prevent anyone from sitting on it. Legend holds that the chair is cursed, and anyone who dares sit in it will meet an untimely end soon after.

The story behind the chair dates back to the 18th century. In the summer of 1702, coin-forger Daniel Awety moved to the rural area of Kirby Wiske, where he bought a farm and renamed it ”Danotty Hall” (a play on the name Dan Awety). From there, he would continue his illicit coin-forging business.

Soon after, Awety partnered with his son-in-law, Thomas Busby. Busby, a reputed thief as well as a drunk and a bully, owned an inn just three miles from Danotty Hall.

One day, Busby returned to his inn and found Awety had sat in his favorite chair. A heated argument ensued and Busby kicked Awety out. Before leaving, Awety threatened to take his daughter back to Danotty Hall with him.

Later that night, Busby snuck into Danotty Hall, murdered Daniel Awety, and hid his body in a nearby wood. Awety’s sudden disappearance aroused suspicion and police organized a search. They eventually found Awety’s body and Thomas Busby was arrested and sentenced to death by hanging.

On the day of his execution, a drunken Busby had to be pulled and dragged from his favorite chair inside his inn. As he was being led to the gallows (located at a crossroads near the inn), he cursed the chair, vowing that anyone who dared sit in it would die a sudden and violent death, just like the one he was about to face. After Busby’s death, the inn was renamed the Busby Stoop Inn.

More than 300 years later, the Busby Stoop Inn still stands and the tale of Busby’s cursed chair continues to dare the foolhardy and fill men’s hearts with fear. When the inn was taken over, the new owners kept Busby’s chair out on display. Stories about the curse, as well as alleged sightings of Busby’s ghost wandering the second floor, drew many curious customers to the inn. Friends stopping by for a drink would dare one another to sit on the chair, though very few did.

But according to several reports and eyewitnesses, those who were brave enough to sit in Busby’s chair all met an untimely demise.

Consider the following:

  • Across the road from the inn lies an old airfield. It was home to four squadrons of the Royal Canadian Air Force during WWII. Their crews would regularly drink at the Busby Stoop Inn. It is said that those airmen who sat in the Busby chair never returned home after bombing sorties over Germany.

  • The inn’s previous owner recalls two airmen daring each other to sit in the chair. Both airmen sat in Busby’s Chair. 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. The brave young man obliged. After returning to their building site, the young man fell through a roof and died. After the young worker’s death, the inn’s landlord locked the chair away in the cellar.

  • In 1978, a delivery man sat in the Busby chair in the cellar. He told the landlord how comfortable the chair was and suggested such a fine piece of furniture should be in the bar and not locked away in a damp cellar. Hours later, the delivery man’s vehicle inexplicably veered off the road and crashed, killing him.

There are countless other stories about the chair’s victims, including a Royal Air Force pilot who was killed a day after sitting in the chair, a motorcyclist who died on his bike shortly after leaving the inn, a hitchhiker who was knocked down and killed two days after visiting the inn, and a local man in his late thirties who died of a massive heart attack the night after sitting in the chair.

Busby’s chair has since been moved out of harm’s way, at the innkeeper’s request. It is still one of the most popular pieces on display at the Thirsk Museum. Though it hangs on a wall several feet above the ground, many patrons still ask to sit in it, but it has never been taken down.

But the question still remains: Is there really a curse on Thomas Busby’s chair, or are people letting their imaginations get the best of them? More importantly, if you had the chance, would you sit in his chair?

Narratives are for entertainment purposes only and frequently employ literary point of view; the narratives do not necessarily reflect the opinions of El Dorado Furniture, its officers, or employees.