They were definitely not part of an official sort of organization, they were incredibly secretive, and according to Abarta Heritage , they were born from an upper class that had been enraptured by the Enlightenment Philosophy. What does that mean? It means they were testing the boundaries of society and good taste, turning their backs on what they had been taught about morals, and essentially seeing what they could get away with. Turns out they could get away with a whole lot.
Others sprang up in the following decades and quickly became known for drunkenness, debauchery, orgies, and just a dash of murder. The secretive nature of their members gave rise to a ton of rumors, but were any of them true? Well, yes. The members of the Hellfire Clubs had a few things in common: They were rich, had no regard for the morals of society, could keep secrets, and had enough privilege that they could get out of pretty much any trouble they happened to get into. That means the common folk were left to tell stories about what they thought went on behind those closed doors, and those stories explain just what people thought of the club and its members.
Hellfire Clubs were commonly linked with tales of Satanic rituals and demonic dealings.
Simon Luttrell was the sheriff of Dublin City when he was in the Hellfire Club, and there were whispered rumors that he'd sold his soul to the Devil … and the Devil had come to collect via Abarta Heritage. There's also a story that involves a card game with an unfortunate player who dropped a card. As he bent down to pick it up, he noticed that one of his fellow players had a cow's foot.
He regained his composure, but after a few hands he revealed what he'd seen. The hoofed player disappeared, and the man who'd seen his true foot promptly died. According to popular legend , Dublin's Hellfire Club always left one seat empty in case the Devil decided to join them, during their evenings that began with setting fire to a cat.
He was just as much of a rake and a drunkard as the rest of them, Abarta Heritage says, but he liked a healthy dose of murder with his mayhem.
Lord Santry employed a sedan chairman to carry him around, and history has recorded what happened to the servant when he was ill and bedridden one day: Santry forced him to drink a quart of brandy, then set the bed on fire. There's another, similar story credited to Santry, which says he was attending a Hellfire Club meeting when he forced a man to drink so much brandy it filled his stomach and throat, then lit him on fire. He was never prosecuted for that he had a tendency to bribe people to keep quiet , but he was arrested for events that happened during a gathering of the Hellfire Club in Palmerstown, Dublin.
When someone laughed at Santry, legend says he drew his sword and stabbed a tavern employee. Bribes worked — for a while — but he was eventually put on trial. He attempted to defend himself by claiming the man died from a rat bite, but he was found guilty. Santry only dodged execution because his wealthy, land-owning uncle threatened to cut off Dublin's drinking water, and Santry scored a royal pardon. Headstuff says mixing fire and booze was a particular pastime of Hellfire Club member Richard Chappell Whaley.
He had an unhealthy obsession with fire, so unhealthy that he earned the nickname "Burn-Chapel," and eventually burned Hellfire Club's Montpelier Hill headquarters to the ground after dousing a servant in brandy and setting him on fire.
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Again, it's unclear just what's truth and what's fiction because the Hellfire Club most commonly met at the Eagle Tavern, not Montpelier Hill. But historians do seem to agree that club meetings were kicked off with a drink called scaltheen, which was essentially whiskey, butter, pepper, and sugar. The Herald says one of the more popular drinking games they played was drinking "while standing close enough to a roasting fire to melt the marrow in their bones," and basically the last man standing was the winner. Regardless of whether they were drinking to the devil, they were definitely drinking via The Hellfire Club.
Chapter members in England recorded some of their cocktails, and they were given names like "Gin and Sin" and "Strip Me Naked," which might be some indication of what else was going on there. They also referred to members as three- or four-bottle men based on how many bottles of port they could drink at a time. Simon Luttrell was one of the more notorious members of Ireland's Hellfire Club, and one biography called him "everything that can be conceived as odious and horrible. The basics of the most commonly told story are this: Kelly became pregnant with Luttrell's child and tried to blackmail him.
He accused her of being a witch, and she was tried and executed. Perhaps it was this very act that made the name of the Hellfire something of a by-word in debauchery. Images of grown men sitting in the dark Hellfire caves wearing hooded or caped costumes tend to lend credibility to satanic worshiping or black masses. So was this a social club for the elite or a secret satanic sex cult?
I guess we will never know. Add it to your conversation to resurrect it, and connect with our shared past. Your Email required. I enjoy reading, spending time with my pitbull Ruby, and a great cup of coffee!! Skip to content. Related Articles. Previous Previous post:. Next Next post:.
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Many of the locals were terrified that the man had offended the old pagan gods, especially after a powerful storm blew the roof off his new home shortly after construction. In the early 18 th century, William Conolly, then the Speaker of the Irish House of Commons and one of the richest men in Ireland, was casting about for a suitably impressive location for an expansive hunting lodge he wanted to build. The site and the views of Dublin soon convinced Conolly that this was where he wanted to build his hunting lodge, which he named Mont Pelier Cnoc Montpelier.
Reportedly, the magnificent lintel over the fireplace was a large standing stone of the type used to build henges, like Stonehenge found on site. Both standing stones and cairns were known as ancient grave markers, but Conolly forged ahead anyway. And shortly after construction was completed in , a powerful storm blew the roof clean off his new hunting lodge.
The locals claimed it was retribution for desecrating the burial site; some said by the pagan gods of old, some said by Satan himself.
Neither possibility seemed to disturb Conolly in the slightest. He promptly built an arched stone roof for his lodge, again using stones from the cairn and around the site. That stone roof still exists today.
Conolly died in , and for several years, Montpelier was largely abandoned. Which only added to the appeal for the Hellfire Club Club Thine Ifrinn , who began renting the hunting lodge from the Conolly family in Royal edict, however, was no impediment to the idle, titled rich congregating and engaging in immoral acts.
Sheriff of Dublin Simon Luttrell was also a member.
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