Katy, bar the door

The expression Katy, bar the door means to watch out or serves as a warning of impending disaster. It dates to at least 1902 when it appears in Hugh McHugh’s (George V. Hobart’s) It’s Up to You:

It was “Katie, bar the door” with her.

But who was Katy (or Katie) and why was she locking the door?

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