Busby's stoop chair

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External image
The chair in Thirsk Museum

The Busby's stoop chair or the Dead Man's Chair is an allegedly haunted oak chair that was cursed by the murderer Thomas Busby before his execution by hanging in 1702 in North Yorkshire, in the United Kingdom. So many deaths were later attributed to people sitting in the chair, that the landlord donated it to the Thirsk Museum.


Busby was arrested, tried and condemned to death after he murdered his father-in-law Daniel Auty (or Autie) in 1702. Auty and Busby were running a coin counterfeiting business (as well as other criminal enterprises) and they argued about the business which ended with Busby killing Auty.[1] One variation of the story has Busby cursing the chair whilst on his way to his execution, whereas another says that he was drunk in the chair when he was arrested and cursed it then.[2]

Busby was gibbeted at Sandhutton crossroads,[3] beside an inn, which later had its name changed to the Busby Stoop Inn.[4] The site of the execution, opposite the pub on the A61 and A167 crossroads (now a roundabout), was said to be haunted by Busby's ghost.[5]


Locals claimed that during the Second World War, Canadian airmen from the nearby base at Skipton-on-Swale, went to the pub and those who sat in the chair, never returned from bombing missions over mainland Europe.[4] In the 1970s some fatal accidents were linked with the chair.[5] In 1978 the chair was ultimately hung from the ceiling of Thirsk Museum[5] to prevent occupancy, even by maintenance. A furniture historian examined the chair and found it to have machine-turned spindles, whereas 18th-century chairs were made using a pole lathe. He dated the chair to 1840, 138 years after Busby's execution.[6]

Cultural references[edit]

Busby's chair, as depicted in Hetalia: Axis Powers

In Episode 26 of the webcomic Hetalia: Axis Powers, England monologues to himself that he will get revenge on America using "Busby's Chair". However, Russia sits in the chair instead, causing it to explode in a red aura.[7] This is also mentioned in one of the character song from Russia named "Pechka, Light My Heart" that "even the Busby's chair gets blown into bits". Also in the same show, a character song from England named "Pub and Go" reminds that if you sit there (in Busby's chair) you will die and you will be "dragged straight down to hell".

Busby's chair was mentioned in an episode of the television programme Unsolved Mysteries, and a similar story about a cursed chair was included in an episode of Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction.


  1. ^ Grainge 1859, p. 157.
  2. ^ Thomas, Peter (2005). Yorkshire's historic pubs. Stroud: Sutton Publishing. pp. 179–181. ISBN 0-7509-3983-4. 
  3. ^ Peach, Howard (2003). Curious Tales of Old North Yorkshire. Sigma Leisure. p. 98. ISBN 1850587930. 
  4. ^ a b "Eating Owt...at The Busby Stoop". Darlington and Stockton Times. 29 March 2005. Retrieved 1 November 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c "The infamous Busby Stoop Chair". Thirsk Museum. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  6. ^ Minting, Stuart (29 October 2014). "18th Century murderer's chair continues to captivate supernatural fans". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 1 November 2017. 
  7. ^ Hetalia: Axis Powers - Episode 26 (SUB) (DVD) (in Japanese and English). 9 June 2010. Event occurs at 1:08. Retrieved 7 August 2015.