Northern Ireland’s Greatest Haunts ran on the BBC for two series, consisting of 10 episodes, from 2009-2010. CHRISTINE MILLER looks back at the paranormal reality series.
Northern Ireland’s Great Haunts was a television programme that aired from 2009 to 2010 which did exactly what it says on the tin, pardon the pun.
Narrated by Northern Ireland’s favourite son, James Nesbitt, (not to be confused with Van Morrison, who is actually Northern Ireland’s grumpiest son – but that’s by the by) the show revolves around a team of paranormal investigators led by Andy Matthews, touring the country in search of proof of the afterlife.
They are joined by psychic medium, Marion Goodfellow who has long had an active interest in the paranormal and being born on Halloween, perhaps it was inevitable that she would pursue a life dedicated to contacting the other side.
The show ran for two series. Below is the episode guide with all episodes.
Northern Ireland’s Greatest Haunts Series 1
Episode 1: Woburn House
Location: Millisle, County Down
Andy, Marion and the team are at Woburn House for the very first episode of Northern Ireland’s Greatest Haunts.
Now a training college for the PSNI, the stunning Georgian property known as Woburn House was once a borstal and is alleged to be haunted by a murderer.
One chilling story surrounds a staff member who was on a break when they suddenly felt ice cold on what was a warm summer’s evening. When the staff member tried to stand up, he had the feeling of being tightly held around the waist by an unseen force.
Terrified, he attempted to shout for his colleagues, but then a hand covered his mouth to silence him. Wrestling with this unseen force, the man fell to his knees and managed to escape. Incredibly after that, the staff member still works at Woburn.
Could this have been the ghost of the butler, who was alleged to have gotten one of the maids pregnant, then murdered her and threw her into the sea, and proceeded to hang himself in the Tower Room in Woburn?
Andy feels a very strong sense of energy though the entirety of the building.
The Northern Ireland’s Greatest Haunts team want to focus their investigations in the tower room and so, using a frequency sweep, the group ask out for a name and a message to see if they can make contact, and do find an increase in hertz, which they find difficult to explain.
Resident psychic, Marion Goodfellow is the last of the group to gather at Woburn House. From the outside of the house, Marion picks up on the spirit of a young woman of around 23 years old, who tells Marion she is “in the well”, which is situated under the main dining room in the building and beside a tunnel. The location of the well and the tunnel is verified as being correct by a member of staff. It is also confirmed that the tunnel runs under the house and out to the beach which from there is where the young woman’s body was said to have been thrown into the sea.
Looking at Census records from 1901, Andy find one Robert Barclay, 50 years old, occupation – butler, although they cannot definitively confirm that this Barclay is associated with Woburn House.
Next, the Northern Ireland’s Greatest Haunts team discover there is movement on one of the cameras that was set up prior to the start of the investigation, as well as what appears to be a shadow move across a bible, which is being used as a trigger object. Eerily, there is the faint sound of footsteps heard also.
Marion attempts to make contact with any spirits willing to participate and she again senses the young lady. Although there is no audible response, the team pick up surges in electronic frequency on their computers after each question Marion is asking the spirit. After further analysis of this electronic frequencies, the team believe they have received some distinct EVP.
Interestingly, and after discounting dust or flying insects, the Northern Ireland’s Greatest Haunts team discover they have pick up on a rather distinct orb in the tower room on one camera, where the butler met his fate.
The following morning, Marion attempts again to communicate with the maid outside, where she first made contact with her. Marion picks up on her name being “Ann”, and Ann explains to Marion that she did not meet her fate at the hands of an employee of the house. The baby’s father murdered her, but this was not the butler. Ann is aware of the butler, and does not like him, but he she is clear that he had no hand in her murder.
Legend, it seems, has made a convenient scapegoat out of an innocent man.
Episode 2: Direct Wine Shipments
Location: Belfast, County Antrim
Situated in what once was known Sailors Town, Belfast, Direct Wine Shipments is a wine merchants owned by the McAlindon brothers.
The building is home to a lot of paranormal activity. On locking up at night for instance, footsteps have been heard walking across the stone floor when no one else (living, at least) was present. Also reported is the feeling of someone being present and watching the employees as they carry out their duties.
The owners do not feel that the energy is a particularly malicious spirit, but it does give the building, particularly the third floor, a very uneasy feeling.
Easily, it is this third floor which holds most of the paranormal activity – chairs have been tipped upside down when no one else in the building and coffee cups have been knocked out of people’s hands by forces unseen.
When Marion arrives, she picks up on an energy next door to the wine merchants – a barrel-chested spirit called John who tells her he once worked in a hotel as a doorman. Marion says John is a bit concerned about her as it’s “a rough area” (coming from Belfast myself, I would tend to agree with John’s statement) and she laughs as she says, “he wants to look after me, he thinks I’m a lady”.
On entering the wine merchants, Marion picks up on an energy which is scared. Although she cannot see her psychically, she can strongly sense her presence and she believes this female lost her life on the premises. Marion begins to feel what she describes as “utter panic”. Meanwhile, the spirit of John has followed Marion into the building in from next door, and shows her a tall, skinny man who she believes is the murderer of the woman.
Continuing on to where the chair was moved on the third floor, Marion says she feels like something is “sucking the life out of me”, while picking up on a man who was extremely depressed whom she believes committed suicide by hanging in this very room. Disturbingly, she adds that he was more strangled than hanged, and that his death would have been a slow and painful one.
Andy asks Marion if the spirit of this man is strong enough to move objects and she answers in the affirmative, so he then proceeds to tell Marion the story of one of the owners returning to his desk in the room only to find the chair had been tipped upside down. Marion tragically states that she believes this would have been the man kicking the chair away in order to hang himself.
Both owners say that this room on the third floor has always felt to them cold and dismal, leaving some staff members feeling so uneasy that they have refused to come into the room.
Somewhat surprisingly, Marion and Andy both believe that the spirit of the hanged man is attached to both the owners, and not the building in particular.
Marion picks up on the name of Jamie whose spirit begins praying and then moves to another part of the building but they have difficulty locating to where exactly.
They eventually find him in the kitchen and try to help him move on to be at peace in the afterlife.
After much concentration, Andy and Marion believe that they have been able to move Jamie on.
Six weeks on, Direct Wine Shipments has felt much more peaceful and the atmosphere calmer, so much so that one of the owners asks, “it’s actually quite boring now, can you bring them back?”
Episode 3: Armagh Gaol
Location: Armagh, County Armagh
For the third instalment in the series, the Northern Ireland’s Greatest Haunts team are at Armagh Gaol, one of the oldest prisons in Northern Ireland. Closed in 1986, it is said that some of the prison’s former inhabitants have been surprisingly reluctant to leave…
The dark and violent history of the building dates right back to the 1700s and public executions were commonplace here. Voices, shadows and apparitions have been seen in the windows of the gaol by drivers passing by.
On touring the men’s block Andy, who is relying on nothing but his own psychic abilities and dousing rods, uses these to contact a man he claims is called “Daniel”. Almost immediately, Andy becomes overwhelmed with emotion and breaks down, whilst asking Daniel to move away from him. Andy wants Daniel to move on and believing himself not to be “strong enough”, decides that Marion will be the medium to help Daniel cross over.
Marion arrives at Armagh Gaol and says here a large number of voices psychically connecting with her, something which she says can take a bit of getting used to. She comes up with a variety of names on her walkabout of the building, but “Daniel” is the one that sticks out to her the most.
In one of the blocks, she senses a lot of anger and the spirit of one foul-mouthed Jack Banyan, who she claims is calling her an “English whore”. He is so angry, that Marion fears if he was with her in the flesh, she would be in grave danger.
Andy decides to conduct a lone vigil in the Eastern wing of the prison and for reasons unknown decides to play the ghostly inmates a bit of “Jailhouse Rock”. He explains later with a wry smile on his face, that it was worth having a bit of fun with the spirits to see if he could illicit a response from them. Perhaps Armagh Gaol’s prisoners must have been from the Buddy Holly fandom, as Elvis didn’t quite encourage them to participate.
Conducting a night vigil in one of the cells, two members of the Northern Ireland’s Greatest Haunts team decide to ask out loud to see if any spirits wish to make contact. They appear to catch a shadow walk past at the same time one of them felt something distinctly brushed across the back of his neck.
Analysing earlier audio, the team believe they have caught some interesting EVPs, including the phrase “please help me”.
Keeping his word, Andy brings Marion to the place where he and the spirit of Daniel first met, in an attempt to see him at peace in the afterlife. Marion talks Daniel through this and brings the spirit of his mother forward in order to help him into the light. After encouraging them both, Marion is certain that the ghost of Daniel is now at peace.
Next, they move onto someone whose mother probably wouldn’t be so happy to see him, the old potty-mouth that is Jack Banyan. Marion decides that she is willing to become processed by his spirit, something she describes as being akin to being “locked in a cell with a madman”.
Marion gives the group fair warning that when possessed, spirits can cause her to spit, swear, and her nose runs profusely.
And that is indeed pretty much what happens.
Marion, upon becoming possessed shouts, “f*** off, I’ll punch your face in” to the group, while Andy becomes aware of a strong smell of smoke. Asking Jack to look for his mother, and enter into the light, Marion is able to come out of her trance state. Once recovered, she feels that the atmosphere isn’t as oppressive thanks to Jack’s departure.
Episode 4: Limavady Workhouse
Location: Limavady, County Derry/Londonderry
The Northern Ireland’s Greatest Haunts team heads east of “Stroke City” (or Derry stroke Londonderry) for episode four to Limavady Workhouse.
Two resident ghosts are seen by terrified staff in the workhouse. One is the supposed spirit of a ward maid who strangled her young baby and then hanged herself. The security staff have heard the distinctive cry of a baby late at night. Other phenomena reported includes distinct shadows that have been seen walking through the corridors and disappearing up a flight of stairs.
Having just two resident ghosts seems surprising given that 10,00 souls passed through the doors of Limavady Workhouse, where they were met with hard labour, cold comfort and just enough sustenance to keep death at bay. To come here, one would have been at their wits end, and some of the most desperate and defenceless within society.
Mercifully, the workhouse was closed in 1932 and turned into a hospital by Dr Catherine Robinson, who is believed to be the second spooky spectre that still frequents the rooms and corridors of the ominous building. She died in 1935 after tragically being thrown from her horse.
While setting up off camera, one of the team discover that they have been scratched on their back, and this is before the investigation has even started.
Marion arrives at the workhouse the next day, and no sooner has she stepped out of her taxi, she says she is getting cramps, “like I’ve been hit in the stomach” and then starts to feel ill, although does continue on with the investigation.
Her and Andy Matthews enter the building and into one of the dormitories, where Marion feels a plethora of energies of very ill women who were once forced to inhabit the room. She likens what she senses to Oliver Twist. Next, at the staircase, where the figure has often been seen, Marion immediately senses a house maid in uniform.
Meanwhile, the rest of the paranormal team take a break, but two of its members claim they heard the unmistakable cry of a baby, which unfortunately was not caught on camera.
Back at the staircase, the entire Northern Ireland’s Greatest Haunts team collect at the staircase where they ask for the house maid to knock on the window, and what comes next does indeed sound like a very loud knock. Is this proof of an intelligent haunting?
While some members of the teams are reviewing their cameras, they discover a figure-like shadow moving in the courtyard outside of the main entrance and into the wall where it disappears. It is quite remarkable looking footage. A member of staff states that there used to be a doorway that was blocked up about five years previously, where the ghostly figure disappears.
On leaving, Andy shows Marion a portrait of Dr Robertson, but Marion says that this woman’s spirit is unequivocally not present through the building.
Episode 5: Bellaghy Bawn
Location: Magherafelt, County Derry/Londonderry
As a settlement dating back to the 1600s, Bellaghy Bawn is reputed to be the oldest haunted house in County Derry/Londonderry. It is one of the original 12 Irish Plantation settlements and has many of its original features.
There is much activity within the walls of this ancient building. One staff member has heard court shoes walking the wooden floors, and upon turning round, saw no one.
Other unusual phenomena includes an employee returning to their office one morning to find that everything was covered in dust, no clear evidence as to why this occurred.
Strangely, one employee found themselves locked out of a room, and had to manoeuvre to get past a small gap in the door only to find it had been jemmied closed with a chair tightly (and strategically it would seem) placed making entry into the room almost impossible.
Andy first heads for the oldest part of the building – the tower room and senses a presence so he attempts to communicate with dousing rods which they affirm that Andy is not the only presence in the room. Reviewing the audio recording, Andy believes he has picked up on some interesting EVP which answers his questions. He asks, “are you here?” to which the response is “No”.
Marion is, as usual the final member of the Northern Ireland’s Greatest Haunts team to come to the house. She smells smoke and burning and believes there might have been a catastrophe or massacre here. Is it turns out, in the 1600s, 200 horsemen surrounded the castle and raised the castle to the ground.
Marion also says she believes the house may have been used as a hospital. Although not wholly accurate, there was a Dr Thompson who did perform operations within the walls of the building in the early 20th century.
Upon entering the tower room, Marion says she senses a female energy, who appears to be a very gentle soul. She was witness to the fire that broke out and Marion is certain that she is not willing to leave Bellaghy Bawn.
Moving throughout the building, Marion picks up on a soldier who abruptly asks what she wants. She claims he is arrogant and angry. Climbing a flight of stairs, the soldier tells her firmly that she is not allowed to go there, but Marion pays no heed and continues. Small boy eight years old who hides in a room at the top of the stairs. He’s unsure and afraid.
Andy meanwhile attempts a controlled object test to see if any spirit will attempt to move a bottle he has placed on the floor. Left overnight with a series of cameras fixed on said bottle, it unfortunately does not move. As Andy says though, “it was worth a try”.
Later in the evening, the team set up a white noise experiment within the tower. They ask questions out loud and encourage any spirits who want to communicate to come forward. After analysing the tapes, they find that there is a few EVP that is picked up on audio. Asking for a spirit to knock twice, although not audible to the human hear at the time, very distinctive knocks (the type one might use to knock on a door) are picked up on audio along with a voice saying something that cannot be clearly understood.
Bellaghy Bawn sadly refused to give up its secrets to the Northern Ireland’s Greatest Haunts team during their investigation.
Episode 6: Galgorm Castle
Location: Ballymena, County Antrim
For the final instalment in the series, the Northern Ireland’s Greatest Haunts team make their way to Galgorm Castle which is a former Jacobean stronghold and allegedly, the most haunted castle in Northern Ireland.
The owner, Christopher says of one of the former owners, a Dr Colville sold soul to the devil, thus giving him enough earthly riches to build Galgorm. Dr Colville was by all accounts an unpopular man and a royalist, who was brought before the local council for dealing in the dark arts.
His portrait is not allowed to be moved from the house due to the suspicion that a great disaster would befall the house if it where to leave the castle grounds.
One strange happening that befell the owner’s grandmother was, she was once woken up by the ghost of a woman who wore a shawl and maid-like attire. The first time the ghost woke her she bravely followed it, and the spirit took her outside onto the balcony. The second time she was awoken by the spectre, it told her that her horses had escaped, and without checking the field, the woman drove straight into nearby Ballymena only to find that indeed her horses were running amuck in the streets of the town.
Before arriving at the castle, Andy meets Marion about a mile away to attempt a psychometry test with the original key to the Galgorm Castle – Marion handles the key and states the key is keeping something in rather than keeping something out. She says it feels “dark, not nice, and as if there’s a secret…and it’s not a good secret”.
They next venture to the castle where Marion does not like the energy from the outside. She says she witnessed a young woman in spirit form named Rosemary, moving up the courtyard. However, instead of entering the main door she moved around to the side of a building, which gives Marion the impression that the woman may be a servant. Whilst inside the castle, Marion picks up on a plethora of names of servants whilst inside the building, but by far the strongest is the energy is Rosemary.
Later, when walking the grounds with Christopher the owner, she senses Rosemary again strongly in the grounds and particularly in the outhouse, where she most definitely was not allowed to have been. Marion surmises that she might have been in one with one of the outdoor male servants – perhaps a stable boy, but she is not sure.
Christopher the owner, says that there was a maid that worked for the doctor, who was arrested I Scotland for stealing, and also accused of witchcraft. When she was asked where she learnt the dark arts, it is claimed she said, “from the Doctor”. Could this be Rosemary, whose spirit wanders in the courtyard?
While the Northern Ireland’s Greatest Haunts team are setting up for this evening investigation they pick up on camera a ghostly voice repeating what a member of the team had just spoken. The team member asks one of her colleagues, “are you sure?” and this same phrase is repeated straight away by a deep, unknown voice.
The next day, the team decide to hold a Ouija board session (in the daylight, rather refreshingly) which does bring some activity, but once they ask for communication with the doctor, all responses suddenly stop.
While speaking to Andy, Christopher states that the doctor had an aged relative named James Colville who was living in the house in secret, although no one is entirely sure why this was such a secret. However, he was most definitely hiding from someone or something, and it is believed that he may be the same James Colville who had escaped from the Tower of London. This would therefore explain his reluctance to leave Galgorm Castle.
Meanwhile, Marion wants to draw the illusive doctor forward and sits in front of his portrait and asks out for him to give her any sort of sign. She then becomes very cold and asks the doctor to blow out a candle she has resting beside her but gets no response. She calls Andy for assistance who does a temperature reading which is quite low. Asking aloud for the spirits to further drop the temperature, it does continue to decrease.
Throughout the entirety of the investigation, the doctor point blank refused to communicate to any of the team, something which has left Marion slightly disheartened.
Well, you can’t win ‘em all, as they say.
And there you have it, a synopsis of Northern Ireland’s Greatest Haunts, series one. Why not spend a bit of time revisiting the series, and share your thoughts with us in the comments section below?
Stay safe and stay spooky!
Northern Ireland’s Greatest Haunts Series 2
Episode 1: Prehen House
Location: Preheen, County Derry/Londonderry
Prehen is an 18th century house located on the outskirts of Derry/Londonderry that is famous for the legend of half-hanged McNaughton.
The story goes that Andrew Knox, MP for Donegal, owned the house in 1740. John McNaughton, his old friend had recently lost all his money and so elected to stay with the Knox family until he could change his fortunes. Knox’s fifteen-year-old daughter fell for McNaughton, and he tricked her into a secret marriage. When this was uncovered, Knox banished his one-time friend from Prehen House, but McNaughton continued to stalk his young bride after her interest in him had long waned.
On a trip to Dublin, Knox and his daughter were accosted by McNaughton on horseback who shot into their carriage, fatally wounding Knox’s daughter. McNaughton was sentenced to hang for his heinous crimes but when his time came the rope broke. Bizarrely, McNaughton wanted a second try – which this time was successful.
Aptly named “The Ghost Room”, McNaughton is said to still frequent this part of Prehen House, unable to let go. People who have slept in the room regularly report the same phenomena having taken place – apparently without any prior knowledge, An invisible human figure crawls into the bed with slumbering visitors, and when they reach out to feel into the dark, there is no one there. One woman who stayed in the room overnight was shocked to find that the spirit “cuddled into me”.
Marion states that she has no prior knowledge of the location she is coming to tonight, but states that she was provided with a nugget of information – from an anonymous spirit of a man who has told her to look in the bedchamber as “all is not what it seems”.
Now on location at Prehen, Marion picks up on a woman’s voice and asks her for her name, receiving the answer of “Ann-Mary”, or “Mary-Ann”. The old family bible confirms that “Mary-Ann” was indeed the young daughter of Knox who married the wicked McNaughton.
Searching through the various bed chambers, Marion comes across the one that the spirit had foretold her about – a place, it would seem, where terrible tragedy occurred. This was the room where young Mary-Ann, aged just 20, was laid out after her heinous murder.
With the rest of the Northern Ireland’s Greatest Haunts team having set up, the group begin their night-time investigation. The team move to various locations in the house, while the names of Knox, McNaughton and Mary-Ann are called out. Bar from a few orb-like anomalies at the exact moment Knox’s name is called out, little is captured on camera. However, one of the PSI members claims to have been a male figure with his head looking downwards walking close by to him. Unfortunately, the camera angle means that this figure was not caught on film.
Some apparent EVP comes through but it is difficult to make out, although according to the group it sounds like a male saying “help me”, and so the team decide to try and do just that. Believing the voice to be the spirit of Knox, who is still traumatised by the early demise of his daughter, Marion attempts direct contact just outside of The Ghost Room.
Marion says that Knox begins by asking her where his daughter is, and adds “I can see her”, to which Marion replies, “that is your grief, sir”. Reassuring Knox that he does not have to stay here she encourages him to leave Prehen House with her outside to be free.
Throughout Marion’s conversation with Knox, the EVP did pick up some responses to Marion’s questioning of Knox, which are remarkably clear. “I’m stuck inside”, he says to her at one point. When she asks him, does he need help, a clear male voice says, “yes”.
The team believe that Knox’s grief struck spirit has been freed from Prehen House thanks to Marion’s encouragement.
Episode 2: Coneen House
Location: Coonen, County Fermanagh
Cooneen House in County Fermanagh is an abandoned cottage in the woods which it has been claimed is plagued by paranormal activity.
Now a ruin, it is still considered to be the location of one of Northern Ireland’s most infamous cases of paranormal activity.
The story goes that in 1913, widow Bridgit Murphy and her six children assumed residence in the cottage. One night the mother and daughters began to experience noises in the loft but could not find anything. This was their first brush with paranormal activity. Soon after however, items of furniture began to be thrown around the rooms and violent episodes began – a chest of drawers slammed shut of its own accord onto one the daughter’s fingers. Two priests became involved and tried their best to bring to family peace, but they were unsuccessful in taming the activity.
A few years ago, two documentary makers decided to spend the night Cooneen, and Andy gets the chance to talk to them about their experience. One of the men states that problems with equipment began to occur, batteries draining etc, began almost immediately. They suffered extreme temperature drops, and something sinisterly blowing on his face; they soon had the strong feeling that they had outstayed their welcome. They began to heard banging throughout the building, and one final threatening thud brought their vigil to an end. The pair had had enough.
Andy visit a local man who knows the history of the cottage well. The man proceeds to tell him a fortifying story – a sheet contorted itself into the shape of a human body lying on the bed in one of the rooms. The form began to breathe with difficulty, in such a manner the man referred to it as “hard death” breathing. The form soon stopped breathing and the figure began to unravel from the sheets and slowly disappeared, living the sheet crumpled in a pile.
Andy discovers in local records that Murphy and her daughters left for America in 1915, but chillingly, it is claimed that the ghost followed them, forcing them to move several times more. Mercifully, as the children grew up, the poltergeist began to leave them alone.
Next, Marion arrives at the cottage ruin and she senses a disagreeable presence. The energy she describes as “awful” but she has no idea why she feels so uneasy. Andy begins to feel exactly the same. She begins to sense a man who has taken umbridge to their presence at the cottage Marion believes his name is John, and she describes him as deeply unpleasant and someone who “likes to hurt and scare people”. Although he didn’t live in the cottage, he frequented the building frequently, Marion believes.
As the evening falls, the team attempt an experiment to see if any spirit present might tap to the music, as has been previously reported to have happened. Sadly, this experiment is not successful.
Next, they set up a smoke dispenser to uncover whether they can catch the figure of a spirit although they draw a blank here also.
Marion endeavours speaking aloud to ascertain whether she can acquire a response. Knowing that the energies within Cooneen House do not want her or the team here, she asks them to tell her to leave – by speaking or by ringing a bell. The response she gets is an icy cold sensation on her back, and even Andy can feel.
The next morning, the Northern Ireland’s Greatest Haunts team attempt to check the audio but find very little EVPs either.
The team try one more time and after asking out loud, one of the camera’s batteries begins to drain. Suddenly all three of the cameras begin to drain without any explanation. They hear from outside what appears to be the sound of something being thrown and at this stage, they decide to leave.
Episode 3: Ardglass Castle
Location: Ardglass, County Down
For the third instalment in the series, Andy, Marion and the Northern Ireland’s Greatest Haunts team head to Ardglass Castle in County Down.
Andy meets one former owner of the castle who claims that on the top floor where he had a snooker table, he would sometimes hear the clunking of the balls moving across the table when no one else was in the castle.
Moving to the oldest part of the building, the former owner says he has felt a firm hand on his shoulder but upon turning no one was there.
Staff members have reported that when she attempted to close a fire door, she suddenly felt a presence beside her, accompanied by what sounded like very loud breathing that “almost echoed through the room”. The same staff member also claims to have seen the figure of a female ghost close to this fire door.
With Marion now having arrived in the village, she picks up on a presence of a bedraggled young boy who is lost just outside of the castle. Marion becomes visibly emotional talking about the boy, who she is determined to help.
Moving to inside the castle, Marion picks up on an energy in the same spot that Andy earlier had sensed activity. She picks up on a “tall, elegant man” wearing some sort of long cloak. He is the former owner of the castle, Marion believes.
She and Andy next move to the snooker room, where Marion senses two little children who would have lived in the castle.
As night falls, the rest of the team arrive at the castle and begin setting up for their investigation. Once completed, some of the team begin a vigil and ask out loud for any spirits present to come forward to communicate with them. One of the crew members feels that someone rubbed the back of his neck as he had his head bent down in the snooker room, and is visibly shaken by this.
Andy analyses his audio recording from his time earlier in the snooker room. It appears he has caught an EVP whispering, in the child’s voice, his name. He plays it back to Marion who also agrees that this is what she hears.
The next day, Andy finds something of great interest. Where he and Marion both picked up on the presence of the tall man, a secret room was uncovered many years ago during restoration. Upon opening the room, the body of a tall man in a green cloak was uncovered. However, when the air hit the room, his boy disintegrated. Furthermore, in another part of the building during the same restorations, a small coffin containing the body of a young boy was found.
It also turns out that cholera camp was set up just outside the castle, where Marion sensed the tragic spirit of the young, bedraggled boy and she is determined to help him over to be at peace. Asking for the boy’s family to come forward, she believes the young boy has been taken with his parents. Andy confirms with the use of his dowsing rods, that the boy is no longer present outside of the castle.
Episode 4: Dobbin’s Inn
Location: Carrickfergus, County Antrim
On the outskirts of Belfast, the Northern Ireland’s Greatest Haunts 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.
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 Northern Ireland’s Greatest Haunts 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 Northern Ireland’s Greatest Haunts team believe that he has left thanks to their assistance, while Maude’s energy still happily frequents the inn.
Marion Goodfellow about Northern Ireland’s Greatest Haunts
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