Gallery B

A Bandit's Curse
Page 2
Page 3

The Infamous "Chair Of Death"

By James Donahue

Hanging strangely elevated on a wall in the Thirsk Museum, in Kirby Wiske, North Yorkshire, UK, is an old wooden chair that has a lethal history. The chair’s very existence is perhaps part of the charm that draws visitors to the Busby Stoop Inn, a very old and historic pub in that English community.

There is a belief that this chair has been cursed and that anybody who dares to sit in it will face a horrible death within hours after doing so.

The story behind the chair involves two would-be bandits, Thomas Busby and his father-in-law, Daniel Awety, who in 1702 made plans to pull off a major robbery. Before they completed the deed, however, the two men got into a violent argument while drinking at the pub. After Awety dared to sit in Busby’s favorite chair, Busby went into a drunken rage and bludgeoned Awety to death with a hammer.

The murder reportedly occurred later that night at Awety’s home. The body was then dragged into the woods. Busby was later arrested, convicted of the crime and sentenced to be hung in the gallows. Local towns people reportedly heard Busby curse anyone who dared to sit in his chair at the pub again. He said if they used his chair, they would certainly die a cruel death.

After Busby was hung, locals began to dare each other to test their fate by sitting in the cursed chair. And sure enough, those who took up the challenge, and even those who innocently used the chair without knowing about the curse, ended up dying sudden and violent accidental deaths.

Some of the stories:

A chimneysweep who sat in the chair one evening was found hanging from a gatepost next to Busby’s gibbet the next morning.

During the wars, people noticed that servicemen who frequented the pub and sat in the chair, never came back from the war. In 1967 two Royal Air Force pilots dared each other to sit in the chair. While driving back to the base their car went off the road, crashed into a tree, and killed them both.

On another occasion, two brick layers became interested in the curse. One of them boldly sat in the chair. That same afternoon the man fell to his death on his job.

Another man, a roofer, fell to his death when the roof he was working on collapsed.

A cleaning woman who stumbled into the chair while mopping the floor died from a brain tumor.

After being convinced that the chair was, indeed, cursed, the pub owner moved the chair in the basement so it would no longer be used. But one day a delivery man got into the basement and he sat in the chair. An hour later he crashed his truck and died.

After that, the museum took the chair. And to make sure nobody ever sat in it, the chair was bolted five feet off the floor. It has reportedly been hanging there for the last 30 years.