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1670 in Thirsk, United Kingdom

Busby Stoop Inn

Story - told by Philip Dainton

Along the A61, halfway between Skipton-on-Swale and Carlton Miniott you will find a roundabout like no other. Formerly known as Busby Stoop, this small cluster of buildings holds some grizzly secrets. In the late 1600s a drunkard thug named Thomas Busby ran the local inn with an iron fist from his favourite oak chair.

Busby married a local petty criminal’s daughter, Elizabeth whilst engaging in illegal coining activities with her father, Daniel Awety. Thomas’ relationship with Awety was rocky at best, but nobody could have predicted the outcome of Busby’s untethered rage.

The details are vague on what precisely happened that fatal day. But witnesses state that Busby and Awerty had been seen arguing at the inn. Busby had returned to the inn, in a drunken stuper, to find Awerty sitting in his favourite chair threatening to take Elizabeth home with him. This infuriated Thomas, who immediately evicted Awerty from the premises.

Later that night, fuelled by more alcohol, Thomas stormed over to Dannotty Hall yielding a hammer. He bludgeoned Daniel Awerty to death, and then tried to hide the evidence in the woods to no avail.

He was found guilty of murder, and executed by hanging in 1702. His body was dipped in tar with his remains displayed on a stoop directly opposite his inn.

The spirit of Thomas Busby still remains at this site in many forms. Local folklore speaks of Busby drunkenly shouting out a curse whilst being dragged out of the inn to the gibbet to be hung. His final words cursed any soul that dare sit in his favourite chair.

Busby declared that death would fall upon anyone who sat in his chair. Whether or not this is true, there have been a number of suspicious deaths surrounding naïve visitors testing the legend’s validity.

In 1894, the chair claimed its first victim. A local chimney sweep enjoyed a drink in the chair with his friend one evening, but never made it home. His body was found the next morning hanging from a stoop next to where Busby was hanged.

During World War II airmen would dare each other to sit in the chair with tragic consequences. Not a single one of them returned from their missions, two even died in a car crash returning to the airfield after only hours of sitting in the chair.

Other reports have included cyclists suffering fatal road accidents, a man who died of a heart attack, and a builder who fell through the roof of a building after sitting in the chair.

After that, the owner donated the chair to a museum in Thirsk, where it hangs from the ceiling high above any curious bottoms.

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