Black Cat of Killakee
Friday 25th, June 2021
Opposite the entrance to Massey's Wood is a private residence once known as the Stewart's House. Stewart's House was part of the former Lord Massey's estate and has its own ghostly story. Hugh Massey squandered his wealth and the banks repossessed his vast ancestral home and it was subsequently demolished. Following the demolition the Stewarts House became known as 'Killakee House'.Built around 1765 by the Conolly family of Castletown as a hunting lodge, Killakee House sits off the Killakee road in the Dublin mountains. The house was visited by many well known names in the early twentieth century, the likes of W.B. Yeats, Katerine Tynan and George Russell among others. The Conolly family were responsible for the building of another famous building the area, the Hell Fire Club.

Killakee house is said to have been a recommended location by Countess Markievicz for men on the run from British forces for the way the stairs were laid out in the property.

With the house moving ownership in 1924 from the 8th Baron Massy to a Miss Margaret Fox, Baron Massy's daughter. There was further changing of hands of the property in 1968 when Killakee house was acquired by the O'Brien family, the O'Brien family went on to develop the house as an arts centre and tea room.

When the ownership moved over to the O'Briens this is where the start of some unexpected incidents. It started when Mrs. O'Brien had spent two night on her own in the property, she reported to have been terrified by noises on both nights with her dogs howling "a weird howling, as if they were scared out of their skins", Mrs. O'Brien woke up to find damage throughout the property inside with no evidence of any breakin. This is just one of a few experiences the O'Brien family would endure.

The O'Brien family required work to be done on the property and hired a tradesman to complete the work but the tradesman refused to stay in the house due to "ghostly" occurrences like a freezing atmosphere and a door that wouldn't remain closed even when the bolt lock was closed over. On another night a carpenter reportedly saw the door with the bolt lock open to allow a huge black cat "as big as an Alsatian" in, the cat proceeded to glare at the carpenter before disappearing. No one believed the carpenter even when there had been following sightings of black cats around the property.

Following on from these event an artist by the name of Tom Massy was helping with some decorating when he witnessed a cat crouched in the hall staring at Tom, the creature as described as "A monstrous black cat with red-flecked amber eyes crouched there in the half-light".

Another incident was when Tom and another artist were in the house they witnessed a 3 foot tall cripled man standing at the door of the hall, when the two men went to leave they reported that the small man turned into a cat. This incident is backed up by a discovery, in 1971 the body of a small man was found buried under the kitchen of Killakee House alongside an effigy of a horned and tailed demon.

As these incidents occurred there were nightly noises on the property which eventually got so bad it made it impossible to sleep and so in the early 1970s the decision was taken to have the place exorcised.

After the exorcism activity seemed to cease on the property until one night when a group of actors stayed and had a few too many drinks decided to hold a seance at Killakee house, following this seance its reported that the black cat was back and that now two nuns where seen from time to time in the gallery.

There have been many different sightings of the Black Cat of Killakee in the area. Locals believed it was not the spirit of a cat, but rather an elemental spirit. Those who have encountered the black cat report that it is capable of speech, and has a face that can only be described as disturbingly humanoid.

On a side note to the story of Killakee house that is worth mentioning is a local legend that tells how Richard "Burnchapel" Whaley a local member of one of the richest families in the area, and a member of the Hell Fire club revelled in the rituals performed there. They are said to have included the burning of black cats alive and the worshipping of cats in place of Satan himself.
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