The Thomas Busby Chair

The Thomas Busby Chair

For some of us, a trip to the beautiful Yorkshire countryside would not be complete without a traditional roast dinner and a pint of real ale.

For the many tourists who pass by each year, there are few places better to stop than the quaint little inn that stands at the crossroads of the small village of Sandhutton.

Warm and welcoming, this Olde Worlde pub with its pristine whitewashed walls and baskets of tumbling flowers, tempts the passing traveler with the promise of genuine Yorkshire puddings and the finest beer in the county.

Look a little closer though and all is not as it seems…

Is that really a noose hanging above the door and what is the meaning of the unremarkable chair painted on the tin sign that swings silently in the wind?

The answer is that this is no ordinary English pub with a token ghost and a twisted past. This picturesque little tavern is the home of the most cursed chair in England, the Thomas Busby chair.

The Curse of Thomas Busby

The story of the cursed chair begins with a career criminal, Thomas Busby, in 1699. Sometime earlier in the seventeenth century, one Thomas Awety moved to the nearby area of Kirby Wiske and bought himself a farm, which he renamed Dannoty Hall.

Not content with farming, Awety continued his old occupations of coin clipping and forgery. When his daughter married, he brought his son in law, Thomas Busby, into the family business.

A foul-mouthed drunken reprobate, Busby enjoyed more than a tipple at the local inn and was notorious for being a violent and nasty drinker.

Sometime in 1699, a row began when Awety sat in the favorite chair of Thomas Busby in the aforementioned hostelry.

Busby, drunk and unreasonable, flew into a blind rage with his father in law and vowed he would take his revenge.

Later that night he sneaked onto Awety’s farm on the isolated Yorkshire moors and bludgeoned the older man to death with an iron bar.

After burying his father in law in nearby woodland, he no doubt thought he had got away with his crime. Fortunately, the body was soon discovered and Busby was dragged from his home to stand trial at York assizes.

In 1702, Busby was convicted of murder. Condemned to be dipped in tar before being hung, he was to die outside the inn where his crime began.

As the time of his death approached a large crowd gathered at the crossroads, no doubt keen to witness the gruesome spectacle that was to take place.

Bitter and angry to the end, Busby was dragged to the gallows not pleading for mercy and forgiveness but cursing the crowd around him.

Focusing his bile on the inn opposite he cursed anyone who had the audacity to sit in his favorite chair after his demise, promising that if they did, death would surely follow.

The event made such an impression on those who witnessed the hanging that after his death the pub was renamed the Busby Stoop Inn.

With the curse of Thomas Busby ringing in their ears the chair remained undisturbed and unoccupied for many years, the regulars too frightened or too sensible to tempt fate.

The Chair of Death

The story may well have ended there if it were not for an unfortunate chimney sweep who inadvertently sat in the chair in 1894.

Unaware of the curse he continued drinking with a friend until the pub closed. Tired and drunk, the unfortunate chimney sweep decided that he could not venture home until he had slept off a little of his over indulgence.

Lying down on the grass verge opposite the inn he settled to sleep. The following morning he was found hanged from a gatepost next to the old hanging gibbet where Busby’s body had been left to rot.

Murder, suicide or the curse of Thomas Busby, we will never know.

In recent times the curse of the Busby chair has gathered pace as either accidentally or filled with false bravado, people visiting the pub have sat in the chair.

Perhaps knowing that their life expectancy was short anyway, the young men in the RAF camp nearby tempted fate during the Second World War by daring each other to occupy the seat.

It wasn’t until they noticed that those that did so were less likely to return from bombing missions, that the daring temporarily ceased.

In 1967 two RAF men once again dared each other to sit in the chair. Young and foolhardy they were convinced that the curse was just a local superstition and they were safe from harm.

On the short journey home from the pub to their camp, the two young men crashed their car into a tree and were killed instantly.

Some years later a group of men were working nearby repairing a roof. Teasing the youngest member of their group, an apprentice, they dared him to sit in the chair.

The young man obliged and later fell to his death the same day.

The landlord was so shaken that he took the chair and locked it in the pub’s cellar determined that no one else was going to fall victim to the curse.

Unfortunately, the chair of death continued to wield its strange powers. Whilst cleaning the cellar a female employee stumbled and briefly sat in the chair as she tried to save herself from falling. Later developing a terrible headache, the poor lady died of a brain tumor.

In 1978 the chair was to claim its last victim. Delivering barrels of beer to the inn, a local drayman interested in antiques spotted the chair in the corner of the dark cellar.

Clearly unaware of the curse placed on the chair, he sat in it admiring its comfort and elegance before leaving the pub and continuing his rounds.

Later that same day his vehicle left the road for no obvious reason and he was killed instantly.

Thirsk Museum

At his wit’s end but loathe to destroy the historic object, the landlord of the pub decided it was time for drastic action and appealed for someone to remove the chair and keep it in a safe place.

The nearby Thirsk Museum eventually took the chair and placed it on display. It remains on display to this day but following the wishes of the pub landlord, it is fixed high upon a wall so that nobody is tempted to take a seat.

Despite this the museum receives requests and cash offers each year from visitors who want to sit in the chair.

A Japanese film crew went so far as appealing to the local council when their request to examine and sit in the chair was declined.


It seems absurd that a petty argument over a chair in a small village inn could cause so much death and destruction but it is undeniable that the fate has been sealed for many who have come into contact with this mysterious chair.

The question is, is the chair truly cursed or is there a sense of self- fulfilling prophesy?

If we are to believe the stories, some of the chair’s victims knew nothing of its macabre history before inadvertently taking a seat and dying soon after.

For now the cursed object is safe in a local museum. Despite constant requests by the brave, foolhardy or just plain mad, it is never taken down from the wall where it is displayed.

The owners of the museum are keen not to tempt fate any further. As long as it remains in their hands they have forbidden anybody from taking a seat on the Thomas Busby chair, ever again.

The Haunted Dibbuk Box

The Haunted Dibbuk Box

We’ve all done it, got carried away at an auction or made that mad impulsive purchase on eBay which we’ve immediately regretted. Most of us of course just end up a little out of pocket, poorer but wiser.

But for one Portland man attending an estate sale in 2001, the acquisition of an innocuous looking wine cabinet was to turn his world upside down.

Now known as the Haunted Dibbuk Box, the story of that antique wine cabinet and what happened to it, has gone on to capture the imagination of the paranormal world.

The Estate Sale

In 2001 antique dealer Kevin Mannis attended an estate sale and successfully bid on a small box shaped wine cabinet or cupboard that had caught his eye.

Keen to know a little of its provenance he was delighted when the granddaughter of the previous owner approached him and gave him a little of its history.

The cupboard had been owned by a Jewish lady called Havela. After escaping the holocaust in the Second World War, she made her way to Spain where she purchased the small cabinet.

She then traveled on to America where she lived until her death. Strangely the granddaughter referred to the cabinet as ‘the Dibbuk box’, a term Mannis had not heard before.

When he asked her what it meant, the lady explained that it was a term that her grandmother used to describe the cabinet.

On one occasion when she was asked about the origins of the cabinet, she spat three times and told her granddaughter it was a Dibbuk.

The old lady stressed that the box must never be opened or touched by anyone else. In fact she had been so concerned that it would be opened she insisted on the cabinet being buried with her.

For religious reasons this proved impossible. Hearing her story and realizing that the cabinet was a family heirloom Mannis offered to return it.

At this point the woman became agitated and upset making it very plain that she did not want it. Attributing her strange reaction to grief, Mannis took the box to his shop.

He was later to discover that a Dibbuk was the trapped soul of a malicious spirit and opening the cabinet he had just purchased was possibly the biggest mistake of his life.

Strange Events

Arriving back at his store, Mannis placed the box in the basement where he intended to clean and polish it before giving it to his mother as a birthday present.

He then left his business for a short period to run an errand. Almost immediately he received a phone call from his assistant.

She was hysterical and screaming claiming that there was an intruder in the basement smashing glass and shouting profanities.

Mannis rushed back to the store and ran into the basement. Strangely, every light bulb and fitting had been smashed and the smell of cat urine hung in the air.

There was no intruder in the basement and definitely no cat. The assistant left and never returned.

Two weeks later Mannis decided to make a start on refinishing the box.

Opening it he discovered that it contained two old pennies, a lock of blonde hair, a lock of black hair, a gold goblet, a dried rose bud, a statue engraved with the word ‘Shalom’ and a candle holder.

A strange collection of things but nothing sinister.

After polishing and tidying up the box, Mannis presented it to his mother when she came into his shop a few days later. Almost immediately his mother collapsed suffering a stroke.

Rushed to hospital, partially paralysed and unable to speak she managed to spell out H-A-T-E-G-I-F-T to her bewildered son. There was clearly no way that she was going to accept the cabinet.

Mannis then attempted to gift the box to various family members. Almost immediately they returned their gift.

Some complained that it smelt like jasmine flowers others like cat urine. Everyone who received the box reported feelings of dread, strange smells and unexplained happenings.

When a middle aged couple came into the shop and bought the cabinet, Mannis was relieved that it was out of his possession.

Three days later he found it sitting on the step of his store with a note attached ’This has a bad darkness’.

Almost everybody who came into contact with the box began to suffer from terrifying nightmares.

The nightmares often featured an old hag who would attack and terrorize the dreamer. Strangely the same old woman appeared in the dreams of different people.

Within months Mannis was at the end of his tether but loathe to destroy the box in case he unleashed even more mayhem, he made a very bizarre decision.

Ebay Auction

In June 2003, Mannis listed the wine cabinet on an eBay auction. Deciding that honesty was the best policy he recounted the box’s history and the paranormal phenomena he had experienced since purchasing it.

The strange listing attracted many watchers with some even offering to pray for Mannis and his family.

Of course the sensible amongst us wouldn’t dream of buying such a cursed object but human nature being what it is, bidding was brisk.

The successful bidder was a young man called Losif Neitzke. A student at Truman State University in Missouri, Neitzke began recording information about the box on his blog as soon as he received it.

What his motive was for buying the Dibbuk Box is unclear but if he thought he would be immune to its mysterious powers he was wrong.

Before long the student’s hair began to drop out, he suffered horrific nightmares and the lights in his home continually burnt out.

Jason Haxton

Jason Haxton, Director of the Museum of Osteopathic Medicine in Missouri had been following Neitzke’s blog with interest and offered to buy the Dibbuk Box from the young student.

A relieved Neitzke readily agreed.

Again the new owner or caretaker as he likes to call himself, began to suffer from bad dreams, vision problems, welts and hives as well as fleeting glimpses of shadow people.

This time though, instead of disposing of the box, Haxton decided to tackle the problem head on.

Removing the box from the vicinity of his family he worked with scientists, Kabbalists, Wiccans and experts in the paranormal, to put the box in what he calls a rest state.

He then sealed it in an Acacia wood ark lined with 24 karat gold. Haxton believes that as long as the box stays in its contained state, it cannot hurt anyone else.

Today it sits in his study, sealed and untouched.

So why not destroy it completely, it is clearly a very dangerous object?

Haxton himself confesses that he like others before him is strangely attracted to the Dibbuk Box and would regret losing it.

He can never envision a time when he is without the box and insists, like one of its previous owners, that it must be buried with him when he dies.


Curiosity surrounding the Haunted Dibbuk Box has not dampened over the years. Now the subject of books, films and documentaries, it’s story is known worldwide.

Despite its terrifying history there are still those who wish to own and possess it. Haxton receives countless requests from those who wish to examine or buy the box.

He declines them all.

Fortunately the Dibbuk Box is in safe hands, for now.

The restless soul trapped within is silent and powerless. Bought as an innocent looking wine cabinet and then sold in an online auction, the history of this little cupboard and the consequences of owning it are terrifying.

Any one of us could have bought this item and who can tell how many more there are out there in the world.

The story of the Dibbuk Box is a fascinating tale but it also provides a very important lesson. When it comes to buying at auction caveat emptor, let the buyer beware.

The eBay Haunted Picture – The Hands Resist Him

The eBay Haunted Picture

In February 2000 a strange listing appeared on eBay. Today the item is referred to as “The eBay Haunted Picture” and its history is rather spooky.

The listing described that the children depicted in the painting had been seen climbing out of the painting, and enter the room the picture was housed.

Even more disturbing were a series of photographs, which were said to be evidence of this paranormal activity.

The interesting post was quickly spread around the internet, and soon had over 30,000 views. Some of the people who viewed the listing and attached photographs reported that even after this brief exposure they had experienced unexplained and supernatural incidents.

Strange Paintings

This was not the first time a haunted picture captured the imagination of the public. There was the case of “The Anguished Man” which was was said to be possessed by the spirit of the artist, who painted the picture using his own blood and soon after committed suicide.

Another very popular case involved a range of prints showing children crying in distress, staring straight out of the picture at the observer. The most well-known of these was “The Crying Boy”.

In 1985 stories started being circulated that fires were occurring in the homes that contained these pictures and that after the fire the prints remained undamaged.

Stoneham’s Painting – The Hands Resist Him

The painting depicts a small boy standing next to a female doll, with a glass paneled door behind them. Behind the door there are many disembodied hands pressed up against the glass.

The artist, Bill Stoneham, created the painting in 1974 using a childhood photograph of himself and a poem, as inspiration.

Stoneham had been commissioned to deliver a painting and presented his finished piece to Charles Feingarten, who then featured it in his gallery.

The painting was reviewed by Henry Seldis who wrote a review about it in the Los Angeles Times. It’s first owner would be actor John Marley, well known for his part in The Godfather.

Within the next ten years Feingarten, Seldis and Marley were all dead and the painting slipped into obscurity for almost 3 decades, before being discovered by the couple who would eventually sell it on eBay.

When the couple found the painting they put it on display in their home where it remained until their young daughter started reporting some creepy events that were occurring.

She claimed that the boy and the doll in the picture where fighting and leaving the picture during the night.

Thinking this to just be a creation of the girls imagination, the father set up camera’s in the room to prove to her that there was nothing to fear.

But the images he captured did nothing but create more terror.

Paranormal Photographs

The photographs depicted the doll in the painting moving and using what appeared to be a gun to force the young boy out of the picture. Another showed the boy crawling out from the painting.

These eerie details were added to the eBay posting along with a disclaimer that indemnified the sellers from any liability.

The picture was sold for $1,025.00 to Kim Smith, another art gallery owner, and today it is housed in a storage room in the gallery.

Smith has been asked to display the painting a handful of times and each time the viewers have reported strange and uncomfortable feelings.

Even people who have bought prints of the painting have reported mysterious occurrences that they are convinced are caused by the picture.

Despite this Smith has been said that nothing serious has happened since he acquired the painting.

The artist, Bill Stoneham, has explained the representation of the images in the painting. He said that the doorway depicts the dividing line between the world as we know it and the world of fantasy beyond.

The doll represents a guide, which will escort the boy into this unknown realm, while the hands represent possibilities and alternative lives.

Stone said the picture left you wondering whether the hands were attached to bodies or whether they were dismembered.

Whether or not the eBay haunted picture truly is haunted or whether the hype surrounding it is purely fiction one thing is for sure; after viewing the image you cannot help but feel ever so slightly disturbed.

The Ed and Lorraine Warren Cases

The Ed and Lorraine Warren Cases

If you see Lorraine Warren today, you’ll probably see a frail 89 year old woman but looks can be deceiving! Back in day, Lorraine and Edward Warren were what you’d call the “Bonny and Clyde” of ghost busting.

You’d have to be from another dimension if you haven’t heard of the Ed and Lorraine Warren cases.

The couple’s profound interest in the supernatural led to the establishment of a ghost hunting team and an organization called the “NESPR (New England Society for Psychic Research)” which began in 1952.

The NESPR has and still is a big part of America’s history and involvement with the underworld.

The Paranormal Pair

These two were literally a match made in heaven to uncover hell! Staunch Catholics; self proclaimed demonologist and medium (clairvoyant – light trance), the perfect recipe for something very, very unnatural.

And let’s not forget that Ed served in World War II and again as a cop. We all know what happens with guys who’ve been to overseas war right? …the PSTD?

Probably one of the reasons why the ghost hunting duo has so many critics. Their fascinating stories and adventures during their ghost hunting days have also created a massive following too.

Some of their real life cases have been adapted into hair raising horror movies and blood chilling books.

With an impressive 10, 000 paranormal investigation cases under their belt(s), it’s no wonder Hollywood came knocking on their door to borrow their diaries to develop scripts.

Some of the most notable encounters with the supernatural which started in 1970 include (not in chronological order):

The White Lady of Union Cemetery – This was a case where Ed claims to have captured the essence of the ghostly lady on camera during an investigation following reports of the cemetery being haunted. He later wrote a book about it which was published in 1992.

The Annabelle Doll Mystery – The story goes that two roommates discovered that their doll (an old raggedy Ann doll) was possessed by a demon going by the name of Annabelle.

The couple is said to have confirmed the doll’s possession by an unearthly spirit and actually took it and included it as one of their prized collections in their backyard “Occult Museum”.

The Controversial Amityville Haunting – Now this is one story that has stirred up a lot of talk and people still continue to throw shadows of doubt on this famous couple based on this particular case.

Okay, the case went on to attract a few negative public reviews plus a couple of lawsuits in a bid to uncover the truth about the whole Lutz family haunted house saga.

A book published in 1977 and written by Jay Anson titled The Amityville Haunting is one of the many ways the Ed and Lorraine legend has been kept alive.

The haunted house tale is said to have been started by two sisters (11 and 13) when they told their mother of strange knocking on walls and moving furniture. See why it’s so easy to doubt it?

More ghost stories include the werewolf demon case, the demo possessed murderer, the witch haunting the Perron family and Smurl family haunting among others.

Some of the infamous cases like the Amityville case, the possessed doll (Annabelle) and the Perron family house haunting have been adapted in Hollywood movies.


Going by the large number of divided believers and skeptics, it’s extremely hard to tell whether the Ed and Lorraine duo really encountered any real ghosts during their ghost hunting career.

The fact however is that they used many credible factions in their investigations and this included members of the clergy, law enforcement and other professionals (notable figures) in the field of supernatural happenings.

This to some extent throws a little weight behind their bizarre claims and collected “evidence” over the years.

We wonder if the late Ed still calls in to check on his wife from the “other side”… that, would be some interesting headline!

We are still waiting for someone to come up with concrete proof that these two actually met some real ghosts or if they helped people get out of their haunted situations. We are not saying that the Ed and Lorraine cases are a hoax and neither do we say that we believe them but… yeah, there’s a but there.

The opposing sides (believers and skeptics) almost match each other in terms of the following which is the number one reason we are letting you have the final word on this matter.

What do you think?

Robert The Doll Curse

Robert The Doll Curse

The history surrounding the Curse of Robert the Doll started during the early 20th century with the Otto family in the town of Key West, Florida.

The doll’s involvement surrounded Mr. and Mrs. Otto’s young son, Robert Eugene, with whom the doll was eventually gifted to.

The cursed doll was made in 1906 by one of the family’s Haitian servants before she was dismissed by the household over allegations of practicing black magic and voodoo.

The Otto family were known to not treat their servants well and were reported to even mistreat them. It is believed that for this reason, the dismissed Haitian servant had placed a curse upon the doll before presenting it to the Otto’s young son as a gift.

The Doll

The doll stood an estimated three feet tall dressed in a sailor’s uniform and decorated with beaded eyes and straw-colored hair.

The DollHe appears with his own doll, a small stuffed animal that he holds underneath his arm. Due to the mistreatment the former servant endured, it is thought that she constructed the doll of human blood, hair, and clothes saturated with liquid of the deceased.

It was also thought that she infused the doll with dark spirits and the famous curse as an act of revenge against the Otto’s mistreatment of her.

She then presented the doll to the young family’s son as a parting gift. The Otto’s son took an immediate liking to the doll, naming it after himself and treating the doll as his constant companion.

Robert the Doll accompanied the Otto’s son on family outings, sat at the dinner table with them and even slept in the bed of the family’s son. This companionship continued throughout the boy’s childhood and into his adult life.


As the boy got older, he started to refer to himself by his middle name, Gene, after believing that the name Robert was that of the doll’s and not his to have.

Gene often had closed door conversations with Robert the Doll, in which servants sometimes noted a deeper voice answering to the son’s higher voice.

The Otto’s themselves witnessed moments in which their son was found cowering in the corner in apparent fear of the doll, with Robert hovering motionless above him in a menacing manner.

Gene was also becoming increasingly agitated, having outbursts towards his parents and the family’s’ servants in which he always connected to Robert the Doll.

Strange occurrences began to happen, with objects being thrown across the room apparently of their own volition. Additionally, the son’s other toys and possessions were often found mutilated.

When the Otto’s questioned their son about any of the strange events, he was always quick to blame the mischief on Robert the Doll, often quoting “Robert did it”. The boy’s aunt decided to pack up the doll and store him in the attic, to which the mischief resided.

Adult Life

Robert the Doll appeared in Gene’s life many years later after he inherited the Otto family home due to the death of his father. Having grown up to become an artist, Gene moved into his childhood home with his new wife.

Upon moving back into the house, Gene resurfaced his childhood toy and his attachment to Robert the Doll resumed as it had in his younger years.

Gene continued to have Robert the Doll attend outings with the couple, evening dinners and even sat him in a bedside chair next to the newlyweds’ bed.

Gene even built a specific room for Robert the Doll in the turret of the Otto’s home, and eventually Robert spent much of his time there.

Gene accompanied him, spending time on his paintings while conversing with the doll. Neighbors reported seeing the doll move around in the turret windows, and servants spoke of evil laughter or footsteps coming from the apparent uninhabited room.

There were even reports of people being locked in the room against their will…

Fort East Martello Museum

Gene passed away in 1974 in which the Otto house sat empty for a number of years, with Robert the Doll still residing in the Turret Room.

The tenants to follow continued to hear sounds and reported strange happenings with the residing doll, including sounds of demonic giggling and seeing the doll’s facial expression change.

In 1994, Robert the Doll was moved to a local museum, the Fort East Martello Museum in Key West. He sits in a glass box still holding his toy for visitors to see.

Museum staff warn visitors of the continued curse on the doll. The staff notify curious visitors that they must ask Robert to take his photograph, and only to proceed if he has nodded back.

If he has not nodded, a curse will be set on any person who photographs Robert without his permission.

Robert the Cursed Doll’s glass box is decorated with letters from unfortunate visitors who took his picture without his consent, in which they beg Robert to remove his curse upon them.

The Screaming Skull Of Bettiscombe Manor

The Screaming Skull Of Bettiscombe Manor

​A man named Azariah Pinney traveled from England to the West Indies in 1685. Pinney wasn’t exactly known for being a nice guy and many people believe he was banished to the Caribbean at the time!

When he returned a few years later to resume his English business he brought with him a African-descent slave who he abused on a daily basis.

Pinney died and passed the estates on to his children and, after a time, the slave slave followed suit.

As he lay dying on his deathbed the slave pleaded with the new head of the Pinney household to return his body to the Caribbean for burial.

Pinney’s son regarded this as an expense too far for a slave and instead buried him at Bettiscombe churchyard.

The Screaming

Within days of the slave’s body being buried at the (wrong) graveyard, strange happenings started to occur within the Pinney household.

At night the house would be filled by terrifying moans and screams along with severe poltergeist activity.

Within weeks the slave’s body was disinterred and brought into the Pinney’s house.

As soon as the body was set comfortably inside the home the screaming and the paranormal activity stopped.

The Skull

As the years went by the slave’s body decomposed within the house storage, the body bones became lost until only the skull remained.

Decades later one of the house owners decided that he had heard enough of this stupid paranormal legend and threw the skull into the pond outside.

Screaming Skull

Within hours the house was full of demonic screams and furniture smashed against the bedroom walls.

The owner quickly realized his mistake and threw himself into the pond looking for the discarded skull. He managed to find it and quickly returned it to it’s rightful place inside the home.

Once again the paranormal activity stopped.

Another, later owner, decided to try his luck at ridding the home of this grotesque object.

He dug a deep, deep hole in the back garden of the property and buried the skull at the bottom. He spent the next few hours filling the hole back up.

He managed to get through the night without any sort of paranormal response – surely the curse of the skull had finally been lifted?

When he ventured into the garden the next morning he was horrified to discover the skull sitting on the ground on top of the now filled-in hole.

The skull was taken back inside the home…

If you have any thoughts or opinions on the screaming skull Of Bettiscombe Manor, please leave them in the comment section below.