The Nature of Curses and Cursed Objects
Before we get to the goods, let's level-set: What exactly is a cursed object? In a nutshell, it's any item—including furniture—that's been hexed or had evil powers imparted to it through dark magic. The curse is like a malevolent spirit attached to the object itself. Its powers can affect those who come in contact with it through bad luck, sickness, and sometimes even death.
Cursed items differ from merely haunted ones, which play host to ghosts. With a cursed object, the object itself emanates the negativity, not an external spirit. Though a haunting and a curse can sometimes overlap.
So why are we so fascinated with these harbingers of havoc? There's something about tempting fate that gives people a secret thrill. Cursed objects also tap into our desire for meaning—the hope that tragedies have some supernatural cause rather than striking randomly. And let's be honest, their often macabre backstories are the stuff of great fireside tales!
Infamous Cursed Furniture: A Catalog of Doom
With those basics covered, it's time for the good stuff: the most infamously cursed furniture ever crafted. We'll start in the quaint village of Thirsk, England, home to an unassuming wooden chair with a deadly reputation...
The 'Chair of Death' - Thomas Busby's Lethal Legacy
In 1702, an English criminal named Thomas Busby was about to be hanged for murdering his father-in-law Daniel Auty. As Busby stood enjoying his last meal at his favorite pub, he declared, "May sudden death come to anyone who dare sit in my chair." Ever since, the chair he cursed—now displayed at the Thirsk Museum—has supposedly caused the deaths of dozens of people foolish enough to tempt fate.
The stories say that everyone from chimney sweeps to pilots met their maker after sitting in Busby's deadly chair. The museum has even hung it from the ceiling to prevent people from resting in it! So next time you're in Thirsk, look but don't touch. Unless you're ready to put Busby's curse to the test!
The 'Conjure Chest' - A Tale of Revenge and a String of Untimely Deaths
Remember that chilling campfire story from my childhood? The cursed protagonist was an antique chest of drawers from Kentucky, USA—the infamous "Conjure Chest." Its horrifying history traces back to the mid-1800s, when a slave named Hosea was killed by his cruel master Jacob Cooley over a shoddily built chest.
Seeking vengeance, Hosea's fellow slaves had a conjure man curse the chest. What followed was a wake of premature deaths among Cooley's family, including his first-born son. The curse purportedly claimed seventeen victims before being lifted by a counter-spell. Of course, no one has dared store clothes in the chest since! Clearly its conjured powers were not to be trifled with.
'The Crying Boy' Painting - A Fiery Curse That Spares Only Itself
In the 1980s, several bizarre house fires in England had one eerie detail in common: an undamaged painting of a crying boy would be found amidst the ashes and rubble. The portrait, one of many mass-produced prints by Italian artist Giovanni Bragolin, was thought to be cursed.
One fireman-turned-investigator took note after the painting mysteriously survived multiple blazes he responded to. Concerned citizens began destroying copies of the "cursed" artwork, even holding bonfires to purge the perceived evil. To this day, the legend of the 'Crying Boy' curse persists. And I sure wouldn't want that sad-eyed child glowering at me from my living room wall!
The 'Dybbuk Box' - A Wine Cabinet with a Sinister Spirit
Of all the haunted furniture I've researched, few objects have a more blood-curdling backstory than the 'Dybbuk Box.' A dybbuk is an evil spirit from Jewish folklore that latches onto souls and objects. This particular wine cabinet traces its sinister origins to 1920s Poland, where it first imprisoned the restless soul of a Holocaust victim.
Since then, the box has changed hands many times, leaving a trail of horrifying occurrences in its wake. Its victims report health problems, horrific nightmares, and a whole host of violent paranormal activity. The box's last owner was so tormented that he eventually buried it after a disastrous attempt to auction it on eBay. Some demons are better left undisturbed!
Modern Cursed Items - The Continuation of the Curse in Contemporary Objects
The cursed artifacts I've covered so far may seem like relics of the past. But modern furniture can become cursed too, whether through tragic events, malicious intent, or a sensitivity to the supernatural.
For example, there are reports of a haunted bunk bed set from the 1980s that brought a plague of misfortune onto a Wisconsin family. A Virginia woman's chest of drawers from the 1970s also purportedly caused a rash of accidents and even some deaths.
And most notoriously, there's Annabelle the Doll, whose story inspired the horror film The Conjuring. A demonic presence inhabits her—one so strong that she's kept in a glass case lined with Holy Water at the Warrens' Occult Museum. Even child's toys are not immune from evil's influence, it seems.
The Stories Behind the Curses
Cursed furniture doesn't just spontaneously manifest its powers. There's always an intriguing—if often tragic—backstory behind the item's transformation into an instrument of doom.
Sometimes it begins with a gruesome death or malevolent spirit attaching themselves to the object, as seems to be the case with the Dybbuk Box. Other times, the curse is deliberately conjured through black magic rituals, like the conjure man's hex on Jacob Cooley's chest.
The lore surrounding the objects can reinforce their reputations through retellings that enhance the mystery and horror. For example, Thomas Busby's chair might not have had the same infamy without all the embellished deaths attributed to it over the centuries. The objects become notorious as much through their legends as their actual powers.
The Impact of Cursed Furniture on Owners
No exploration of cursed furniture would be complete without accounts of their effects on those unfortunate enough to acquire them. The consequences range from benign to utterly chilling.
Some owners report minor symptoms like headaches, mood changes, and bad dreams after bringing a cursed object home. Others experience full-blown paranormal activity: levitating furniture, strange voices and apparitions, objects flying across rooms. The unluckiest ones succumb to illness, injury, and even untimely demise.
And the curses don't just impact individuals; they can place a dark pall over entire households. Family discord increases, pets fall sick, children have behavioral problems, and finances spiral out of control. Whether through paranormal forces or self-fulfilling prophecy, the curse's malevolence takes root and spreads.
Cursed Furniture in the Public Eye
Given the draw of the macabre, it's no wonder that cursed furniture has made the leap from private hell to public spectacle. You can now find these ominous artifacts proudly on display in museums, auction houses, and even tourist attractions.
Prestigious institutions like the British Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art exhibit objects with disturbing histories, often playing up their cursed narratives. Meanwhile, private collectors shell out millions for pieces like the famously cursed "Hand Resist Him" painting.
And for the right price, you can book a night's stay in the room containing the Myrtles Plantation mirror, which supposedly traps the spirits of a murdered slave family. The commercialization of cursed objects certainly feeds the public appetite for the paranormal. But one does wonder if profiting from such evil is wise, or even ethical.
Dealing with Cursed Furniture: Cleansing and Neutralization
Encountering a piece of cursed furniture needn't be a death sentence though. There are various methods for cleansing or containing the curse once it has attached itself to an object you own.
Telltale signs you're dealing with something sinister include headaches, nightmares, and unexplained accidents that start suddenly after acquiring an item. If the activity escalates to apparitions, moving objects, or unseen forces, then be certain something is amiss!
Many cleansing techniques originate from folk magic and mysticism, like burning sage or burying the object to form a barrier. Others are faith-based, such as performing blessings or exorcisms to drive out the evil spirits empowering the curse.
Of course, the most surefire way to rid yourself of a curse is to remove the object from your home entirely. Then the choice becomes whether to banish it or pass it along to someone else. If you ask me, it's best to destroy the sucker outright! But I know museums or collectors may think otherwise.
The Power of Belief and Suggestion
There's one more angle to examine in any analysis of cursed objects: What role do our own beliefs and psychology play in the power of the curse?
The fact is that belief in the supernatural has tangible effects on human health and behavior. If you genuinely expect a chair to kill you, your stress and anxiety could make you ill. Or you may react recklessly to what you assume is a preordained fate, causing accidents.
Our minds also can play tricks, making us imagine curses are having physical effects when it's really power of suggestion. Someone in a supposedly haunted room feels chills down their spine, but it's not ghosts—it's their own brain creating the sensation through expectation.
So could some of these cursed furniture stories be more fabrication than fact? Certainly, in the absence of evidence, there's room for skepticism. But having extensively studied the paranormal, I also know there are phenomena beyond current scientific explanation. The key is keeping an open but objective mind.
Well, those are just a few of the most bone-chilling cursed furniture tales that I've dug up in my research. As a Bigfoot investigator, I'm no stranger to mysterious phenomena. But I've got to admit, these sinister sagas give even me goosebumps!
It's unsettling to think any antique store purchase could bring such misfortune. Yet also captivating that inanimate objects could wield such dark power. And I'm certainly not brave enough to put Busby's death chair or the Dybbuk Box in my own home!
But would I like to study or at least see them one day? Absolutely. The paranormal investigator in me remains fascinated by these artifacts and the stories behind them. Just be sure to keep some protective charms on hand if you ever go antiquing. Because you never know what forgotten evil might be lurking in that handsome wooden cabinet!