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>Busby's Stoop Chair
Stoop chairs are iconic, tall wooden chairs you still see across the United Kingdom. This particular chair, however, belonged to one Thomas Busby, an infamous killer from North Yorkshire who was pried out of his chair during his arrest and executed in a vicious manner. His chair was appropriated by a nearby inn, who turned it into something of a gimmick attraction, though the owners always avoided it themselves. That turned out to be the correct call, as the chair got quite the grisly reputation later down the line. While rumors stayed hushed for the first few hundred or so years, mostly a relic of a past felon, people began to notice an odd trend starting from the 1900s: people who sat in the chair, put plainly, wound up dead.
First it was some canucks, then it was a string of accidents and misfortune so peculiar it motivated the owners at the time to finally offload it (with a donation) to the Thirsk Museum, where it was hung up in the air, so as to prevent any further victims. Yet the story doesn't end there; to make matters worse, the chair linked to all these untimely deaths was finally examined by a professional... who determined it to be fraudulent. It was indeed very, very old, dated in the 1840s, but it was much too new to have ever been Busby's, too new by nearly 140 years.
If it wasn't Busby's chair, how had it wound up in this position, replacing the (historically verified) original- was it a replacement, had the original been "swapped out" or stolen either from the inn or at the museum, and if so, why would it still be haunted? In fact, regardless of its authenticity, if not for Busby, what curse or haunting could have possibly made the new chair so lethal? What would happen if you sat in it now?
These mysteries remain unsolved to this day.
This is funny enough, I'll bite.
The Baleroy Mansion of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is widely known as the most haunted home of America. Originally built in 1911, it housed numerous antique pieces including a haunted portrait and grandfather clock.
Perhaps better known, however, is the so-called Blue Room and its "Chair of Death". Supposedly once owned by Napoleon of France and now haunted by a malevolent spirit called "Amelia", the Chair of Death supposedly would see anyone taking a seat upon it die within two weeks' time. Those who had been put under the effect of the curse were said to be stalked by Amelia herself, manifest in a type of blue mist that would follow the victims all the way back to their own homes. It is said that at least four people were killed in this fashion before a cord was fastened over the chair to prevent people from sitting down on it.
The chair, alongside many other antiquities of the mansion, eventually was sold to either private collectors or local museums. It's current whereabouts are unknown.
That's a pretty dope chair, but have you heard of the Witch's Chair?
This one has a pretty straightforward story:
Merritt P. Wright, the Witch of Bristol, Pennsylvania, was a minor local legend until she died in 1911. She was "honored" with a wrought iron chair, i.e. "cold iron," (wrought being low-temperature iron admixture specifically...) which is thought to be animus to magical or bedeviled creatures in colloquial English & Anglo-American lore.
It is said that, at midnight and on days where the barrier between worlds is the weakest like the Solstice or Halloween (or sometimes the entire month of October), anyone sitting on the chair can feel her ghostly touch, her arms wrapped around them.
No one has attempted to move the chair to date. I'm not sure if anyone else has really pointed out the significance of a particularly wrought iron chair being placed over the grave of a witch, but many superstitions from the early 20th century and before have died, so I'm not surprised.
Image sourced from the Night Watchmen, a group of private investigators who have covered a decent chunk of US stories (and disproved plenty). In this case they didn't find anything too spooky, but they were in a group & didn't try on any notable witching date, though it was at least the month of October. Curiously, the investigator on the chair did say he felt colder on one side of his body than the other, but they didn't find anything else that night or their next visit.
is this real?
They are in fact real chairs, yeah. The worst ones tend to get strung up or locked down to prevent further injuries/curses/etc from people getting dared to sit on them, but the more mild ones (like the Witch's Chair or the Baird Chair from MO) are still accessible.
The Museo de Valladolid in the Spanish city of the same name houses a piece of furniture known as La sillon del diablo, or "The Devil's Armchair".
As the legend goes, the chair originally belonged to Andres de Proaza, a man of either Portuguese or Jewish origins who studied medicine at the University of Valladolid in 1550. He notably took part in the first-ever course on human anatomy held in Spain, taught by the renowned physician Alfonso Rodriguez de Guevera, who had acquired his own knowledge on the subject in Italy.
This is significant in as much as that anatomy was a truly new discipline, yet de Proaza astonished his peers by having a seemingly inherent understanding of it. More astonishing were the constant rumors of nightly screams coming from the basement of de Proaza's house. When a young boy went missing, his terrified neighbors finally alerted local authorities.
Needless to say, they found the boy down there - cut open, alongside numerous dissected cats and dogs. During his hearing, de Proaza admitted he had killed all of them, but this was just the beginning: He also admitted he had made a pact with the devil himself, using an armchair he bought from a Navarrese necromancer as a means of communication. It was by sitting on it that he had gained all of his seemingly supernatural knowledge about anatomy. However, the chair was picky - if anyone other than a well-qualified physician was to sit in it, de Proaza warned, said person would surely die.
He himself certainly did - being sent to the gallows by the Inquisition and all. After his death, the chair and the rest of de Proaza's belongings were to be auctioned off, but as no-one wanted to touch the property of a self-confessed Satanist, they ultimately were mothballed in a warehouse near his old university.
Much later, in the 19th century, chance saw a tired university beadle stumble upon the chair. He was found sitting inside of it and very much dead three days later. After the scenario repeated with a second beadle, the chair was taken and hanged upside-down in the university's own chapel, and remained there until it was moved to its current resting place in 1890. A neat red ribbon has been spanned across his arms to politely discourage visitors from increasing the tally.
One of the fascinating things about cursed chairs is the sheer death tally some of them rack up. Most "cursed objects" have one or two people die in an untimely manner weeks or months later, cursed chairs tend to claim people within days or even while they are sitting in the very chair itself. I can see an argument that it's due to proximity & duration (you spend more time on a haunted chair than touching, say, a haunted door), or that it's due to something more symbolic, but I do think it is notable and worth considering.
Symbolically speaking, I think the underlying theme is wrongfully taking the position of someone else. Can be as general as "not a proper physician" for >>661 , or more specifically about sitting in the favorite chair of someone/something else.
If anything, it's slightly disappointing that impending death seems to be the only form of curse tied to chairs. A haunted chair that gave you diarrhea if you dare sit on it would be much more amusing.
I have found mention of the Devil's Chair in Jefferson, Texas, giving people spontaneous diarrhea, but I can't find anything more about it. I suspect that the emphasis on death is in part because death is easier to correlate to the chairs, or more dramatic and noticeable, than other effects. People generally don't watch out for chairs when they think "cursed object," another reason the number of rumors and stories around them is intriguing.