Rob Lowe on History: 9 urban myths cracked in The Lowe Files

Hollywood actor Rob Lowe is touring the US with his two sons to hunt down some of the nation’s most formidable urban legends.

Rob Lowe, the American actor who has appeared in hit shows such as The West Wing, Parks and Recreation and Californication and movies such as Wayne’s World and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, is now taking to the American roads with his two sons Matthew and John to explore supernatural legends and phenomena across the US.

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The show's tagline is 'It’s more Fun to Believe', so we’re expecting a fun, family-friendly mystery show that may even be a little tongue in cheek.

Here’s a sneak peek of each of the legends and locations the fearless family will be exploring.

Haunted Boys’ Reformatory

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Built in 1890, the Preston School of Industry in Ione, California is known as one of the most haunted buildings in the US. It was one of the oldest boys’ reform schools in the country, and according historical records and sources, horrific physical and sexual abuse and even murder went on behind closed doors.

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This was not only towards the students from their tutors and supervisors, but also from the students towards their superiors. For example, in 1950 head housekeeper Anna Corbin was brutally beaten to death. The murder case remains unsolved.

The school has been abandoned since 1960, but is preserved on the National Register of Historic Places. Rob and his sons will explore the desolate building in the dead of night – with nothing but night cams and torches for company.

The Secret Underwater Bases

Could there be a secret base under the Pacific Ocean off California? It’s been a prevalent rumour with UFO and supernatural enthusiasts since the 1970s, when a bizarre geographic anomaly was discovered. Seemingly showing the entrance to an underwater structure, there’s been mass speculation that it is some kind of roof.

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Lowe has been fascinated with this phenomenon since childhood, and recent Google Earth images that again show the odd phenomena have only further fuelled this curiosity. Lowe and sons will set out to explore just what exactly is going on offshore of Malibu, but the nearer they get to some explanation things quickly go awry…


The idea of a giant hairy man-like monster living in the American backwoods may sound bizarre to us Brits, but a surprising amount of Americans are firm believers that Bigfoot, or Sasquatch, exists. Lowe and sons head to Northern California to seek out the mysterious creature.

A Native American tribe and Bigfoot expert named Matt Moneymaker act as their guides. While we won’t reveal what they find, we will let you know that’s it’s worth tuning in to see Rob Lowe attempting to entice Bigfoot out of hiding with his howling.

Alien Abduction

Next the family travel to the remote deserts of Arizona to see if they can spot a flying saucer or two. Meeting with the famous alien abductee Travis Walton, they hear his intriguing story and then meet with their family friend Shaman John who guides them to The Superstitious Mountains. He also says he can help open an interdimensional portal to encourage UFOs to show themselves.


the lowe files

Rob’s son Matthew must head back to law school for an exam, so Rob and John Owen head up to Boise, Idaho to visit the Old State Penitentiary – in pitch darkness of course. This terrifying historical prison was established in 1872 and is now operated by the Idaho State Historical Society.

Execution of inmates by hanging was commonplace here, and there have long been rumours that the buildings are riddled with ghosts and dark spirits. Rob and John meet with here with a psychologist who an expert in the psychology of fear. He puts them through their paces by orchestrating a terrifying night for them alone in the empty penitentiary. 

America’s Secret Space Programme

The whole family takes a trip to Dugway Proving Ground, a military training base in the remote Utah countryside. Widely regarded by UFO conspiracists as the new Area 51 (an Arizona military ground believed to be where alien activity and experiments have taken place), members of the public have come forward claiming to have seen UFOs and experiencing close encounters with aliens.

The team meet UFO expert Melissa Tittle and set off towards the base to see if they can  lift the lid on the supposed UFO mysteries that lie within it.

Mind Games

The hit book and movie The Men Who Stare at Goats is the true story of a unit of telekinetic US soldiers. Inspired by their work, the Lowes visit telekinetic experts to try and learn the art of communicating with one another telekinetically.

Once they’re comfortable with their new skills, the family split up and attempt to communicate with one another over a distance of a few miles. Will this take father-son bonding to a new level or fall flat?

The Wood Apes

Bigfoot has supposedly been sighted all over America, and in addition to Northern California another Bigfoot hot spot is in the Midwest. The Lowes travel to Oklahoma where Bigfoot is traditionally known here as the Wood Ape.

Here they meet a group of Wood Ape enthusiasts who, dressed in camouflage, promise to lead the family to this mysterious creature. The group's members are almost certain it does exists, and are scientifically tracking its sightings and evidence to prove it.

It’s About the Journey

At the end of the series, the Lowe clan look back on their eight adventures. Has their opinion now changed on aliens, ghosts and sasquatches? Or are they now more convinced that they exist than ever?

Their theories are revised and reflected upon, and they celebrate their incredibly family bonding experience.

The Lowe Files begins on History, BT TV channel 327/379 HD on Sunday December 3 at 10pm.

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