The Magnum Opus was first seen in Dublin in Ireland in the late 19th Century. It was first felt at the Temple Bar and then seen at the Halfpenny Bridge and soon it was at all points in between. Nowadays the Opus lurks in the recesses of streets everywhere in the world and in the back of all our minds.

The Opus is a figment of people’s imaginations, it’s an urban myth, it’s cold reality on a sunny evening, and it’s always just out of sight – a convenient shadow to point to in the dusk and dawn.

The Opus has been sighted by many people and has surprised ten times as many. A flashing pair of eyes, a hiss in the night, a warm caress of bare legs, a fleeting sight on a nearby wall – most of the time that’s all there is.

Those who say they have seen this creature believe it to be a giant cat with large whiskers and yellow teeth that lurks in the shadows and hunts rats to stay alive. Its mischief knows no bounds.

From a safe hiding place on a fence, the Opus has knocked off people’s hats as they walk by and tapped others on the shoulders and then miaowed in their face when they turn around.

Underfoot it lurks on cellar steps and trips up those who have just come out of the bar. It steals food from bags that have been left on the pavement by weary shoppers waiting for the bus. You just see a flash of feline heading to the other side of the road carrying its prize.

The Opus can walk along washing lines and either unpeg washing from the line or scratch its claws on sheets left to dry. It goes through open windows and steals food from houses. It will drink the last sip of sherry from your bottle; push your favourite glasses behind the iron, and paw your papers on to the floor. You hear a purr of satisfaction.

This mercurial messenger will pull your tissues out of their box, upset your cup of tea over the cake, and change the TV channel when you’re not in the room. It will move the bookmark in your book to a different page, cause the CD to skip a track, and remove one sock from the washing machine. You just hear a swish of a tail.

Batteries lose their charge after a paw has been laid on them, lights dim with a low purring sound, and matches blow out when struck. You feel the presence of an apparition of a cat that doesn’t wish to be seen.

The Opus is everywhere and nowhere at the same time – however, if you need an excuse it will appear as if by magic.