“Cats are a mysterious kind of folk. There is more passing in their minds than we are aware of. It comes no doubt from them being too familiar with warlocks and witches.”
Sir Walter Scott
I love this time of year and cats always seem to be intertwined in Halloween legends, here are a couple of spooky stories featuring cats, enjoy if you dare!
Celtic mythology tells of the Sith Cat, a black cat with a white patch on its chest. The Sith Cat was a witch who could transform into a cat and back nine times, if she chose to transform a ninth time she would remain a cat for the rest of her life. Many believe this is the origin of the thought that cats have nine lives. On Samhain it was good luck to leave a saucer of milk out for the Sith Cat to drink.
In the late 1700’s outside of Dublin, the Killakee Stewards House was home to the Hellfire Club, a group of Ireland’s elite who would gather for nights of debauchery and vice. Rumors of their activities included black masses, devil worship and murder. Some stories include sacrificing a black cat and other say black cats were used in ceremonies as representatives of the devil. Many say the darkness brought by the Hellfire Club has left a mark on the house that remains to this day.
In 1968, Margaret and Nicholas O’Brien purchased the Stewards House and intended to renovate it into an arts center. Unaware the house was the site of the infamous 18th century Hellfire club, they hired a crew and began renovations. Several of the crew members began living on site to get the work done quickly and keep an eye on the house at night.
That’s when the sightings began. Every night the workmen would hear growling and see the shape of something stalking around outside. Mrs. O’Brien was informed of the strange animal like noises and decided to go see for herself. She decided to spend the night to get to the bottom of things. As she was walking down the hall to her room she saw an enormous black cat with glowing eyes. She looked around to determine how the cat had gotten in the hallway and when she looked back the cat had disappeared. Her painter Tom McAssey also had an encounter with the cat. One night after closing all of the windows and doors, Tom noticed that one of the doors had reopened. The large black cat with glowing eyes was there and spoke that the door must always remain open. Tom panicked and slammed the door and ran out of the room. After his encounter he painted an image of the cat he saw. The painting is still hanging in the house to this day, you can still see it but legend says if you ever make eye contact with the painting or turn the painting upside down the Killakee cat is sure to return.