If you ever visit Thirsk in the UK, I recommend you stop by the Thirsk museum, a small museum that houses some rather interesting pieces. This includes rooms featuring certain people, places, and timelines. This museum was created in 1975 with the goal to preserve items from the past, allowing others to view them. The building containing the museum is in itself a historical wonder with a number of famous people having been there. One of the most popular sights to see there is a seemingly normal wooden chair hanging from the ceiling by pieces of string. This chair is known by the name Busby’s Stoop Chair, the former owner of it was Thomas Busby.
Thomas Busby’s Background
Thomas Busby is not someone you would consider a good citizen. He resided in North Yorkshire during the 1600s and was known as a drunk, would constantly steal, and some refer to him as a thug. Eventually, Busby married a woman by the name Elizabeth, she was the daughter of a man named Daniel Awety. Awety consistently committed petty crimes, he purchased a farm he was able to customize to accommodate for his illegal activities. The farm was in Leeds and was called Danotty Hall. He supposedly had built a hidden chamber in the home connected by a secret passageway to the cellar. Busby befriended Awety and together they committed many crimes. Busby owned a small inn near Sandhutton which was three miles away from Danotty Hall.
The Murder of Daniel Awety
The last day of Daniel Awety’s life was far from uneventful. From what we know, Awety and Busby had a heated argument at some point during the day which accelerated greatly over the next hours. No one is quite sure what they had argued about but there are theories that it could’ve been regarding Elizabeth or their illegal activities. Though arguments were not unusual in their relationship, the extent of this one was. One part we are sure of in this story is; Thomas Busby arrived at his inn drunken and in a volatile mood when he sees Awety who threatens to take Elizabeth away from Busby. But Busby was already focused on the fact that Awety was sitting in his favorite chair. They continued to argue and it ended in Busby physically forcing Awety out of the chair.
Later that night Busby was still riled up and seething from the argument and in his fragile state, he got hold of a hammer. He made his way to Danotty Hill and bludgeoned Awety to death using the hammer. Busby hid the body in the woods afterward, but people quickly became suspicious of Awety’s sudden disappearance. A search was made in the area where he lived and they discovered the remains. Thomas Busby was immediately arrested and charged with murder.
During the Summer of 1702, they held the trial for the conviction of Thomas Busby. In the end, it was determined he would be sentenced to death. He was supposed to be hung from a gibbet, then his body would be dipped in tar and gruesomely displayed in front of his inn, still connected to the gibbet. The Inn remained until 2012, renamed Busby Stoop Inn.
The Curse of Busby
This next part of the story is not clear how the events happened, but we do know that either way Busby was determined to make misfortune strike again. In one version, it is said that Busby was allowed to have a last drink in that favorite wooden chair of his. When he finished his drink and was taken from the chair, he screamed a final warning, that anyone who sat in the chair after his death would die. The other way some people believed the curse came upon the chair was him shouting it shortly before he was hung from the gibbet. His spirit was also believed to be haunting his beloved inn, but the chair has been the main focus.
The first recorded death that has been linked to the chair took place after a man and his friend sat in it during their visit to the pub. They both became intoxicated and one of them decided to sleep on the road that night, never making it home. His body was found in the morning hung from a tree near where the gibbet was. The friend he had been with admitted to robbing then murdering the man, but he did not reveal this until he was on his deathbed. The next significant one was during the late 1960s when two airmen dared each other to sit in the chair, unassuming of the fate they would suffer hours later. That night when they were on their way home, their car ran off the road and hit a tree. Both men died on their way to the hospital. Some other honorable mentions include someone falling through the roof of a building, a woman suffering a brain tumor, a heart attack, and many more vehicular accidents. All of these took place shortly after people sitting in the chair and all of them ended in death. The chair can be linked-to around 60 deaths.
Because of all the misfortune that took place after sitting in the chair, the decision was ultimately made to have it hung on the ceiling. Many people feared that someone would unknowingly sit on it or bump into it and have some freak accident kill them. To this day it still resides in the Thirsk Museum. Would you take the chance and sit in Busby’s Deadly Stoop Chair?