Case File: Chair of Death
Location: Thirsk, England
Description: Located near Sandhutton in North Yorkshire, the Busby Stoop Inn is a public house with a tavern that is considered haunted. The activity seems confined to a reputed Chair of Death kept in storage.
History: The 'Chair of Death' was the favorite chair of a striper named Thomas Busby, who was convicted in 1702 for the murder of his father-in-law, Daniel Auty, whom he supposedly strangled for sitting in his favourite chair after an argument about Thomas' wife, Auty's daughter Elizabeth. On his way to the gallows in 1702, he asked to stop by the pub and put a curse on his chair, claiming that anyone who sat in it would be haunted and soon die. It remained in the pub for centuries, and people were dared to sit in it.
During World War II, airmen from an nearby base made the pub a hot spot, and the chair became a "hot seat" and people noticed that the ones who sat in it would never come back from war. In 1967, two Royal air force pilots sat in it, and while driving back, they crashed into a tree and died. A few years later, two brick layers decided to try it, and that afternoon, the one who sat in it fell to his death.
The cursed chair has apparently "killed" every person who sat in it, no matter what. Some instances include a roofer who sat in it died after the roof he was working on collapsed, and a cleaning woman stumbled into it while mopping, and was later killed by a brain tumor. Eventually, the pub owner moved it into the basement, hoping that nobody would sit in it. However, one day a delivery man was in the basement and sat in it. An hour later, he crashed his truck and died. After that death, the landlord asked the local museum to take it. To ensure nobody sat in it again, they hung the chair five feet from the ground.
Although people are now safe from sitting in the chair, new stories still come out about the chair's power. One local was told about a driver who had picked up an airman. The airman asked to go to the bathroom, so they stopped at the Busby Stoop Inn. While waiting, the driver sat in the chair. When the airman didn't return, the driver left without him. The angered airman had to make his own way back to the base. When he got back, the airman grabbed a building brick and smashed the head of the driver, killing him.
It seemed, that because the museum had made it nearly impossible to be able to sit in it, its "killing" days were over. The museum is still open and functioning with the chair in place as of December 2014. It is said that for some time prior to death (time varies in all cases) the person who sat in the chair experiences haunting experiences, including extreme itching, paranoia, hearing things, confusion, items being moved and written warnings on mirrors and walls about the persons imminent death in addition to many other strange happenings.
Background: In 1702, convicted murderer Thomas Busby was on his way to the gallows in Thirsk when he desired a drink of ale at his favorite pub in his favorite chair as his last request. When he finished, he said "May sudden death come to anyone who dare sit in my chair."
Extra Notes: The case first aired on the May 22, 1998 episode. This case served as the inspiration for a "Fact" segment on Beyond Belief.
Unsolved Mysteries states that Busby was killed in 1669; however, all other sources state that he was killed in 1702.
- The Chair of Death on Wikipedia
- Profiling The Unexplained
- Thirsk Museum
- Speaker’s Corner
- Haunted Places
- Thirsk Home Page