The Hellfire Club Part I (Ireland)
The Hellfire Club on top of MountPelier Hill in Ireland
On top of Montpelier Hill near Dublin, Ireland sits a dark and rugged structure in ruins called the Hellfire Club; named after the members of the Hellfire Club themselves. When it was first constructed by William Conolly in 1725. It was meant to be used as a hunting lodge and was known as Mount Pelier Lodge, which the hill soon followed the name being called Mountpelier Hill.
There once was a cairn with a prehistoric passage grave at the summit of the hill that was torn down and the stones were used to build the lodge with. A passage grave would often use megaliths and smaller rocks sometimes dating back to the Neolithic Age, often having engraved art etched into the stones. These tombs would hold multiple graves and the passage itself would often be aligned so that the sun would have a direct path into them during certain times of year, like at sunrise during the winter solstice. A nearby standing stone was used as the lintel over the fireplace. Not too long after the lodge was built a massive storm blew the roof off leaving locals to believe that the location was cursed for using the stones from the cairn. The people at the lodge started making paranormal claims.
The Irish Hellfire Club, active from 1734 to 1741 heard about the location and chose it as their own meeting lodge. Soon afterwards the lodge was just referred to as the Hellfire Club. The Irish Hellfire Club had five or more members that would meet around a table, often leaving one seat empty for the devil to sit in. They drank a mixture of whiskey and hot butter known as scaltheen. Their mascot was a large black cat and they were known to have held black mass rituals.
Some of the strange rumors spread around Dublin were shocking, such as one tale of a stranger showing up at the lodge during a storm. They said he sat at the table with the Hellfire Club to play cards and when one member dropped a card he knelt to pick it up, noticing a hoofed foot on the stranger, only to raise up to see what appeared to be a case of spontaneous combustion, leaving nothing but a trail of smoke in the air.
Another story claimed that during a black mass, the club was going to sacrifice a large black cat, then a priest showed up and performed an exorcism on the animal, releasing the spirit of a demon upon the land. (A Black Mass is a ceremony supposedly celebrated during the Witches’ Sabbath, which was a sacrilegious parody of the Catholic Mass)
Shortly after William Conolly’s son had decided not to renew the lease with the Hellfire Club, the lodge caught on fire leaving the building unusable. A servant accidentally spilled a drink on one of the Hellfire members; the member then set the servant on fire. The raging flames spread throughout the lodge leaving several staff members dead as well. People have seen and heard apparitions believed to be those servants crying out in agony, as well as those that were once buried in the passage grave. Black clouded mists have been known to move throughout the structure and many other things are said to have happened there as well.
The Steward House is also haunted
After the fire, the Hellfire Club moved down the road to a place known as The Stewards House. Many apparitions have been known to show themselves at this location. Several events are linked to the paranormal claims at The Stewards House, such as seeing the apparition of a large black cat which many believe is the demon that was unleashed on the hill. People have often seen two nuns called Blessed Margaret and Holy Mary who had taken part in black masses on Mountpelier Hill as well.
Some of the most prominent documentations of the claims happened in the late 1960’s when the new owners, Nicholas and Margaret O’Brien hired a crew to redevelop the grounds. Members of the construction crew began to see apparitions of the nuns, a large black demonic looking cat, and a ghostly dwarf. They claimed they could hear a bell ring and various voices. The local news began reporting on the stories. The crew members were often too afraid to return to work and some left screaming and angry.
The Evening Herald and Evening Press became even more interested in the claims when a plumber discovered the corpse of a dwarf while digging to lay down pipes. One of the rumors of the town had always been that the Hell Fire Club once sacrificed a dwarf during a black mass. As the paranormal claims built up, and the dead were found – it looked as if there was more to the folklore than they knew. People around Dublin are probably a little less skeptical about what some used to believe were tall tales. The evil activity of the Hellfire Club has obviously concocted a paranormal breeding ground.
Now, what about the story of the hoofed man? Could the devilish man be the demonic figure that some call The Goatman?
~ William C. Raustler