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Rob Lowe Says He Had a Near-Death Experience With Bigfoot

The encounter happened when he was filming his supernatural docuseries, The Lowe Files.

Unless you were paying close attention to cable TV reality shows in 2017, you probably missed Rob Lowe's stint as a paranormal investigator. In his A&E docuseries, The Lowe Files, the actor and his then college-aged sons explored a wide range of supernatural phenomena, from poltergeists to alien abductions, revealing an enthusiasm for all things woo and an almost child-like tendency to want to believe.

In one particular adventure deep in the mountains of Oklahoma, Lowe got a lot more than he bargained for. In a series of interviews following the series, the actor shared details of the deep-woods camping trip that led to an "incredible encounter" with Bigfoot that left him fearing for his life. Read on to learn more.

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Lowe had waited a lifetime to look for Bigfoot.

Of all the legends the family pursued, Lowe was particularly taken with Bigfoot, an interest that he said during the show's Television Critics Association panel, as reported by IGN, started with seeing the 1972 B-movie The Legend of Boggy Creek as a child.

"There are very few things I can say with a totally straight face that I've waited my whole life to do," the actor tells sons Matthew and John Owen in the third episode of The Lowe Files. "Going to look for Bigfoot is one of them. Every time I've tried to camp throughout my entire life, I've stayed up all night hoping to find Sasquatch."

This passion led the crew to investigate the legend in not one but two episodes, first pursuing the extra-large ape in Northern California in the third episode before heading to Oklahoma to find the creature referred to as "The Wood Ape" by locals. While the first adventure found them teaming up with Finding Bigfoot host Matt Moneymaker to try to lure Sasquatch out of hiding via a series of calls and knocks, it wasn't until they went camping in Oklahoma that Lowe's childhood dreams would come true, or so he says, in a terrifying way.

Lowe said he found himself "surrounded by creatures" in the Ozarks.

Matthew Lowe, Rob Lowe, and John Owen Lowe in 2017
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

After filming the docuseries, Lowe hit the press circuit to promote the show and appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon sharing a clip of his family and a team of heavily armed Bigfoot pros watching shadowy thermal camera images and identifying glowing orbs they call "eyes" on it. While the clip doesn't necessarily offer hard case for Bigfoot's existence, Lowe is enthusiastic: "We found ourselves 200 miles in the Ozark Mountains, where no human being would ever be at three in the morning surrounded by creatures that were making this noise," he said, imitating an ape-like whooping. He shared more details about his "incredible encounter with what locals call the wood ape" with Entertainment Weekly, as reported by Entertainment Tonight, saying, "I was lying on the ground thinking I was going to be killed," then admitting that he knew he sounded "like a crazy, Hollywood kook."

The Bigfoot expert they worked with later set the record straight.

Rob Lowe on The Lowe Files

Months after Lowe's audacious claim, Brian Brown, part of the North American Wood Ape Conservancy (NAWAC) that had accompanied the Lowes to the mountains of Oklahoma, shared his version of events in a blog entry on the organization's website provocatively titled "My Long, Strange Night With Rob Lowe." Brown corrected a few of the details in Lowe's tale, noting that the trip took place in Oklahoma's Ouachita Mountains rather than the Ozarks, and that while things didn't happen exactly as edited on the series, something strange did occur in the woods that night.

First, Brown said he heard a couple of whoops early on, including one he described as being so perfectly clear he was initially convinced the production crew had faked it. While the show makes it look like another member of the NAWAC crew admits to making the whoop, Brown says that wasn't the case and that it doesn't fit with the group's level of dedication.

When it came to the whooping in the middle of the night, the NAWAC member agreed, "Some of us were hearing faint ape-type pant-hoot sounds. Hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo! Quiet but seemingly pretty close." As for the glowing orbs on the thermal camera, he writes they "went from looking marginally like eyes to looking more like people with flashlights." And  as portrayed later on the show, the mystery was solved when they turned out to be a lost group of overland clubbers.

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"It's more fun to believe."

Rob Lowe in 2022
David Livingston/Getty Images

Years later, Lowe would call the show "a gift" and one of his and his sons' all-time favorite memories in an episode of the podcast Armchair Expert. But as for whether or not he actually believes he met Bigfoot in the woods? "I don't know," he said on The Joe Rogan Experience in 2020. "I mean, here's the thing, like the slogan for The Lowe Files was it's more fun to believe, and that's really where I come down."

Joel Cunningham
Joel Cunningham is a writer and editor who lives in Brooklyn. Read more
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