CHRISTINE MILLER takes a look at Northern Ireland’s Greatest Haunt’s Dobbin’s Inn episode
On the outskirts of Belfast, the team head to the supposedly haunted Dobbin’s Inn, where a man nicknamed as ‘Buttoncap’ and his mistress Maude are said to still frequent, even in death.
Andy speaks to an employee of Dobbins Inn who, over the last six years of working at the hotel, has had more than her fair share of unnerving experiences.
In the bar area her apron being tugged by an unseen force, and in the kitchen, she explains that pots and pans have been known to fall from their secured location.
Maude’s favourite spot is the first floor of the building, and in particular room 21, where the employee is extremely reluctant to enter. She claims she has often experienced the sensation of a pair of unseen eyes watching her as she carries out her duties, and an all-round feeling of uneasiness.
Encouraged by Andy, the employee does venture into the room (looking clearly uncomfortable) but she outright refuses to go into the bathroom area, where she feels Maude’s presence is strongest. Andy goes in the room and exits after calling the atmosphere ‘dense’.
The story of Maude and Buttoncap is an interesting one. The story goes that Buttoncap was a soldier stationed at nearby Carrickfergus Castle, who fell in love with an officer’s wife, called Maude. The officer was so incensed on hearing about the affair that he murdered Buttoncap. It is widely reported that Buttoncap still walks the passageways of the castle looking for his lover.
Psychic Marion arrives at Dobbin’s Inn and immediately senses an underground part to the building and is sure there is a tunnel underneath. Andy checks this with a local historian who says that, although there is no definitive proof of tunnels running under Dobbin’s Inn, there are many, many stories which allude to secret passageways underneath the building that would run directly to the nearby castle.
Marion picks up female presence in Dobbin’s Inn
On the first floor, Marion picks up on a female presence, who she senses is not keen on the crew’s presence in the building. She feels the energy is ‘heavy’ and that it would lead people to feel a sense of dread. Moving into room 21, Marion feels a choking sensation and she believes that there was either a suicide by hanging or that someone was strangled to death. This is the same spot where previously the employee refused to move enter.
Far from believing the spirit in room 21 is Maude, both Marion and Andy agree that the entity is a man who is malevolent.
The team decide to try an experiment to capture on camera and changes in aura as Marion moves into, and out of a trance. tries it with Marion. In theory, all the photos should note no change in colour, however just as Marion is about to go into trance, the colour dramatically changes to a bright pink. Once she is in the trance the colour in the photos again changes to an unmistakable purple. Marion herself notes that she did not believe the camera would pick up anything to deduce her changes of conscious state.
The team move to room 21 where Andy enlists dousing rods. The team put a camera on Marion to see if they will uncover any changes in her body temperature through the investigation, while another member of the team in a separate room, will observe and note any changes.
The dousing rods seem to indicate that the malevolent male presence is in situ, so Marion begins to attempt to communicate with him and help him to be at peace and the team believe that he has left thanks to their assistance, while Maude’s energy still happily frequents the inn.