The Conan Doyle Case Book

The Conan Doyle Case Book EP1: Leonard Low

October 06, 2021 Ewan Irvine Season 1 Episode 1
The Conan Doyle Case Book
The Conan Doyle Case Book EP1: Leonard Low
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Leonard Low was born in Upper Largo in 1967. He has a passion for the morbid ghastly side of history - especially the Witch killing years. He has amassed a sizeable library that holds the source materials for most of the known Witch trials in Britain and uses this for research. He has a medieval tower in Pittenweem in which he lectures on his book THE WEEM WITCH. This book is a history of the 26 Witches found in Pittenweem.

He has a keen interest in the Paranormal and in this episode we look at his first experience of encountering his sister after she had died, as well as a very strange hospital in London, the Pittemweem Clock Tower and the Kennoway Poltergeist.

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Ewan Irvine  0:04  
Welcome to the Conan Doyle Case Book, where there's always a story to tell.

Good evening and welcome to the Conan Doyle case. My guest tonight, Leonard Lowe, who was born in upper Largo and 1967, and has a passion for the well the more but ghastly side of history, and especially the witch killing years. There is a master fear library holding the source materials for most of the known witch trials in Britain, and uses us for his research. He lectures on the subject at all, and he has a mediaeval terror, which have actually visited and pet him when, and is brought out a number of books appeared on TV, and papers and magazines, and today, we are going to be talking about his other interest in the paranormal. Good evening, Lenny.

Leonard Low  1:21  
Good evening. How are yourself? How are you? Good, good. Sam. I've been suffering I saw back recently, but it's not kept me. Mobile. I've been I've been very active.

Ewan Irvine  1:34  
And on demand for

Leonard Low  1:37  
Yes, yes.

Ewan Irvine  1:39  
So you know, I I've known you for a number of years now. And I facilitate and pittenweem Tower and certainly, it well, from my old accounts, and I've experienced that definitely a haunted location. But I'm just wondering, go back What got you interested in the paranormal.

Leonard Low  2:01  
I, I as a child, we used to show it to the Western islands, for our holidays. And we'd have a stopover at path. Usually a fantastic bookshop. And we were allowed to, we're allowed to choose a book before our holidays, you know, I was 10 years old. And I got a book, john. Scottish ghosts, I think it was just called. And it covered a lot of the castles in the traditional stories, but they were new to me. And that fascinated me because we're actually visiting some of the castles where these stories came from. Nothing, nothing supernatural happened. But it gripped me and through to my youth. I've also had a fascination for it. But it wasn't until I came across it firsthand, that that intrigued me like nothing else. And that firsthand. incident was when I was 27. And would you believe my my sister died, she was only 36. I'd be a b. c 27. And there was it was a day before a funeral. I was in Largo, my mother's house, my mother's got a grand old house of five bedrooms built in 1776. And so it is a sad occasion but her death wasn't unexpected. It was a kind of attrition, really with kidney failure that finally got her but it was during during the night to have all my clothes prepared for the funeral a sad day the next day. And I had mould room I was living in London a time sores back up from London I had mould room in the house and went to bed. Shut lights off also read fresh forgot bed, put the book down and settled. And the next I got a strange blast. The wind came across me a freezing cold breeze, which was not unnatural mom's house because it was so old. But this is summertime. And I immediately looked around the room and the voice came and when it's me it's your Lorna, which is my sister's name. And I looked at the edge of my bed and there was my sister sitting on the edge of my bed and again, as you smiled at me and I could see her reflection in the mirror. This is real and I bet my cushion and screamed like a little girl would you believe? I honestly did. As mon sister. I screamed and screamed into my kitchen like I go. I got up and she was still there. And she looked shocked and then she just vanished. She just faded Get away. I was freaked out. This is this is one o'clock in the morning. I got up a dressed. I went to see my brother. He told me I was going mad. And what does I got? I got we have Butler whiskey, and I walked up the near 1000 foot larga law. And I sat there all night. I was in bits. I was an absolute, but I love my sister, but I was in bits. But she always said, she said Cheerio to me before she went, you know, this is her no hospital. And she always said she said Cheerio to me. And that's that was my first supernatural experience. What I saw, what I saw was real and it was personal. And it moved me and moved me. And later, later a years when when I wasn't working, I would go to investigate problem places in London. And I started getting results start catching these these these things on camera. And I just got to archery hospital, actually hospitals, North London. And so there's a big General Hospital 350 odd beds has, but it's got history going back to rich the third. And it was originally a leper colony. Now the I was, I had the terror at a time to think I mean you were involved in the tower. At that time. I must be a bit 2006 seven. But when I first met you, and I caught something on camera in the tower, and it made the made the Sunday papers like a double spread the Sunday papers and file was in the hospital in London. The papers were getting spread around and they saw me they recognise me. So they said, Look, we've got something going on in the basement of the hospital here.

two floors beneath the ground. We've got the old leper hospital. It was a smallpox hospital. No, it's a general hospital versus what don't you ever got loads and loads of corridors of files. And occasionally we've got to go down there but our nurses won't go down there on their own. They have to be accompanied because of seeing and hearing something. So would you go down and investigate now? I'd love to. So I did. I went to the hospital and I got one of the administrators of the of their pals team. And she was she was a big hefty woman. And she she she took me down the stairs in a big bunch of keys when these are smallpox fighters going back to World War One, and the samples, no kinds of nasties down there. So in the wrong hands. Somebody could have a great time down there. But anyway, I went down with her and I'm we're wandering the corridors and the brickwork I was seeing wasn't mediaeval. This is kind of new brickwork. So I said, we're in the wrong area. This isn't the small this is the leper hospital. So we came to what was a fire station with the the hoses and the extinguishers and stuff. And there's a big massive wooden board and I moved the wooden board and lo and behold, behind the wooden board, there's a passageway, and I went, this is the mediaeval hospital I went in, and it was it was incredible. It was an array of arches, big arches underneath the hospital. The ground was crystallised. No one had been here for many hundreds of years. It was crystallised like snow on the ground would hold your weight then you'd crunch through into it. And this was what I'd expect to be the old leper hospital. And we were wondering about there when the administrator and with started to panic because she'd seen something up front and she knocked me fly and she had enough she was getting out of there and should not be flying. And I look around and I got my camera out and there was something foreman and you know, 1520 yards in front of us something was forming and a yellow thing I started rattling off photographs. As I was reversing because the doors lock you can't get out you got to she's got the keys. So I've got one foot on the door another there. My hand firing with a camera, but rattle off of it six shots. And what I what I saw by this morning it was it was a child, but it was um it was a bit a metre off the ground. I mean it's for the full face of a child shoulders, chest and can't remember much else but the This is what came out in the photographs and we were we were amazed we were studying these later on and then I asked to ask the hospital because you know what was a child a metre off the ground and they said well we actually to make room for the files cabinets and stuff down there we had to dig down into the earth and we removed about two three feet of ground so this figure we've caught would have been standing on the original ground if it was back in the 1500s 1600s or whatever so that was that me very interesting to me. There's a finger still walking about from all these years ago and yeah,

Ewan Irvine  10:47  
that's being in the same way the previous

Leonard Low  10:51  
said the sorry, did that scare

Ewan Irvine  10:53  
you? What happens in the same way as the previous experience? Or we you know, starting to get a little bit more used to the idea of

Leonard Low  11:03  
Well, I think my laundry bill was huge after that one was what was most unexpected that was in your face can have ghostliness. with with with my sister, it was more I knew she was dead. Yeah, I'd watched her. Watch her David. I'd watch her deteriorate. I wasn't there within the end, but I knew who this person was in front of me and this person wasn't alive. I've gotten a funeral that day. That's that's what horrified me and a natural reaction. I mean, I bet my kitchen scream that big Jesse. I mean, one day I'll meet my sister again, I'm sure and then she just laughed at me.

Ewan Irvine  11:54  
Would you say to her quite sceptical about things are always logical,

Leonard Low  11:59  
but not nothing. Nothing has ever happened in that way to me. I'd never gone looking for it. I'd never, I'd never kind of had an experience such as that. And it's it's not like it's not like birdwatching when you're prepared to, to see something in front of you. It just happens. And then if you have a camera crack on, if not, you're very lucky to catch anything that it's the fright of it. Back in back in the town and pittenweem I, you know, we we had, I think you yourself, saw something the terror, but the least you felt it. And I sat in my terror, come up from London, the weekends, and I'd sit in my terror, and I'd have all my cameras and recording equipment, and I'd leave the building and stuff would still be running. And only because so many people had seen things, fill figures. I hadn't seen anything yet. I'd had it. I hadn't seen it. And I'd sit in the dark 10 months 10 months of absolutely nothing. And I came up from London every weekend I do a tour sit there to the early hours in the morning, trying to catch something and 10 months and nothing absolutely nothing. And then I had maybe three weeks of it was happening every night I couldn't believe it. It was incredible. And that's that's the thing about these these these ghost hunting programmes that I love the back teeth, whether they catch something on every single programme or not doesn't happen until you know

Ewan Irvine  13:53  

Leonard Low  13:56  
of course, the disgusting horrific history with the persecution of witches the the the phones 26 and in five different witch trials. In fact, the phone's phone another one I've just found it no more history of another one. They found me back in 1597. But she got let off. But I was I held the records for Peter beam parish for a while. And from these the I constructed my book the way in which which is the base of the biography of the witches of pet meme if you if you if you don't know it. It's a horrific period of Scottish history. But it was happening in every village every town. It's a disgusting extent. It's just in pittenweem, the buildings that took part of the torture and the court cases the still exists today. And the the history is embedded in the walls as you know yourself. You've been there many times

Ewan Irvine  15:10  
from Pittsburgh and very busy over the last year or even a couple of years there's been quite a you have some stories to tell.

Leonard Low  15:21  
Well I'm in London with with the with the Archie autograph that I got. I met Maurice Goss and Maurice Goss. If you can remember the name was the investigator and the Enfield Poltergeist case. These dead No, but I met him not long after, because because it was in the photograph went to about 40 different newspapers in Britain anyway. And then the states were spread like wildfire, and the photograph of this boy's face. And I got to meet Morris guys and I use the Enfield haunting, which recently did a film of it conjuring two, which was when I saw it was totally hilarious because the Americans think a council house is like a bit of a castle over this way. And what they portrayed It was hilarious. It's a three bedroom council house and Field House. But if you watch The Conjuring film, it's like a three bedroom mansion. The way that they've they've Americanized it anyway. I recently unlocked down naughty naughty. I got called to a house in Canada we know i don't know i don't have a name. There's two of us in his team. There's me and my pal Roger Wilson. Rogers he's a tech tech bot. And sound technician that's that's his trade and handyman to know when you're picking up whispers noises from from from these buildings. And you can put them on these machines and highlights what he catches is really good guy. There's me and him. That's it. You don't need a big group. We don't need a fancy name. And with me and him, we get results. We recently got Coulter house in Canada, rather modern 100 year old house. And the problem being was the woman in the house as a bungalow. A very modern looking lovely bungalow. I won't give the name of the people or the property The house was but quick private people that enemy they have two trapdoors in the roof of their of their house, one in the kitchen and one one in that kind of hallway and they started again Slater's start falling from one of the chat doors. And she went oh this is bad because it was love the damp so she got up in the loft and had a hunt around. what's what's creating this litres and in this process, she came across a suitcase and she didn't know it was there it's been there from the last owners she brought it down opened up. It was full of Masonic clothes, robes and clothes of the Masonic Lodge and they didn't have a care for this kind of stuff. So they bend it throughout the whole lot then these these these robes and stuff from the minute they did this. They started suffering bangs and crashes in the house. She explained to me how she went to the kitchen and all the all the upper units slapped up on their doors. She really got hit in the face on the all bashed open at one point she called me and Roger and we what what we do we go and we'll we'll do a bit history of the place. We'll get a feel for the place that and explain to the owners what we intend to do. Then we come back spread cameras all over the place motion sensors, cameras, we've got a recording gear and we'll go to town and it took her the first the first time we sat down and had a bladder there. We strange freezing cold air blasts would hit us coming from nowhere. And I thought yeah, this is this is interesting. The sudden this is going back to Largo when I saw my sister that was a premonition of before she arrived was this AC call blast. And we're getting that in the house. And so we we got permission to come back and we came back and we set up our stuff. Now in the house as they were telling me what was happening to them. I try and give similar cases to comfort them that They're not alone that you know, this isn't just happening to you. It's hard to tell us before. And one such case.

You know, the obviously this thing has started because she threw out the suitcase full of Masonic clothes. So I gave a case we'd gone right back to 1950s. Where a case in Fort William, where a couple moved into an old game keepers cottage, and they moved into near Fort William. And they were going to be crafters. And they came up from London set up, and they were doing great as upstairs downstairs house. But what what was annoying the woman was that with these massive roses that blocked out the light from our windows. So what she did was she does say the column so she went out and she chopped down the roses. But the military chop down the roses in the house. It was bangs and crashes and strange things going on at night, and terrifying the life of them. And they came to the point where they had a visitor and in the middle of the night, they both woke up with a load crash. Look down the hallway. And here on our hands, knees crawling towards them, was a really old woman pulling herself along the floor. They scream their heads off and go the house. And the phone the history was this little deer was the previous owner of the house. She was in a wheelchair, future bones and how she get herself to bed at night was she pulled the wheelchair to the stairs and improve herself up and Poulos. Legs did work. Then she put herself to bed. This is what she did every night. That's what they'd saw. But this women's pride and joy with the only pride joy was to feel a selfie outside and care for roses. Of course they've just ripped them down. Well, the family in America could go on and on about this case, but the family was there for the couple were there for six months, and they left. And the next couple that moved in, they had the same problem. And it got to the point where they state they blew the house up. No can nobody could live there. They blew the place that nothing exists of it anymore. Apart from the letters and stories of what I've just given. So this this is what I was telling the women in in canovee about this, you know you've you've you've thrown out something that belonged to the previous owner, like the host and Inverness for Williams story, they took down something they rip down the flowers that belonged to a previous owner. Anyway, that's what's that's what created the haunting. This is what I think what you have dogs going deaf. But what what what we left have left the house and the next day. Next day I got a phone call from the owners and they were in bits assess what's the What seems to be the problem this is you're not going to believe this. This is we went to bed as normal last night. And when we woke up in the morning, me and my wife, we were covered in rose petals. And I went you know what is this we were covered in rose petals. Something was listening to you last night. And and we are now even more terrified. The two days later, they opened up a cupboard in the kitchen and there was the head of rules. And this is we don't know where this came from. It's it's this is this is this is speaking so. So mean Raj.

We descended in the house the next three weeks, set up cameras all over the place. And at one point I was I was we've been asking questions and and we were getting a voice coming through on our tape recorders. There was a lot of swearing of us it was very unhappy with us being there and we're kind of taunting it with it. So it's not Masonic clothes getting thrown out. And it was gone to town Oh is it was telling me to eff off and everything. But we gave it a rest. And the owner said we like a cup of tea. And I said yeah, we'll sit down. And so we sat down in the living room. I got up to help the women in the kitchen. She was in my view, she went through and she's put on the cattle. And so we're just I'm just standing there chatting and she's she's fine. And basically we set up cameras when we do things so she'd be watching me speak in the kitchen and record this voice swearing at me. She'd be looking at television in the living room. of us doing this and all of a sudden she's just pouring the tea. Making making a cup of tea for us. Well, there's so my bag and she screamed, I looked at her she looked at me. What on earth was that? So I walked into the kitchen and a plate in the cupboard had just exploded. It exploded into three pieces. Like somebody hit it. The plate was the top, the top of maybe seven plates they had about an inch between the plate and the shelf above it. But so there was no trickery there was no hidden banger or anything to set this play off and try and train speakers is broken. I mean, this thing has exploded. So what what we're what we have here is is proper poltergeist activity. This thing is listening, acting and showing yourself. We caught it on camera and we went up another weekend when we got absolutely nothing It was really quiet. But then the next weekend, we got asked to come up and the couple were looking very scared This is just go in our bedroom and see what's happened. Since my wife was in the kitchen. I was in the garden digging. And from the garden I saw I saw a curtains in the spare room. just fly they flew the Cutlass flew. This is I went to the bedroom. And what happened was the curtains were on the other side of the bed that travelled to metres. But they've been completely you can only you can only get this effect if you grab the curtains and pooled with a heavyweight and the the actual fittings were ripped at the wall. There were over by the bed and a glass vase. disintegrated, hadn't smashed, it disintegrated. It was like a car windscreen. It was all over the floor glass everywhere. And again there's nowhere nobody was anywhere near this and to create that kind of damage. I don't know how you do it. The left things as the left things as it were for us to see. And we got fog. I mean we weren't there when it happened but this this thing this this thing is vicious. We've got a lot more swearing us that night on the recording and and then the thing disappeared as quick as you know the three months it terrorised this family for and it disappeared and ever since then. It's there's been nothing at all no action no nothing. They don't think they don't think the did anything special to get rid of it and appease it. They just stopped. So that's the that's the life of a poltergeist for you. Again are

Ewan Irvine  27:55  
already they feel more settled.

Leonard Low  28:00  
That they have to say that the house felt really uncomfortable. Every time we went in it didn't feel right. And you know that feeling when you go in a place? You've been in many No. But whatever was there left? Will it come back? We don't know. But we certainly we got the best of it on film and camera. And we will meet me Roger, we will be lecturing. We do we do a haunted ghostly lecture. Now we've got even more ammunition for the next ones we do.

Ewan Irvine  28:38  
Anywhere you would really like to investigate had the choice of anywhere.

Leonard Low  28:47  
I hate I hate the to do that. Neil. The I hate the word most haunted. This is you know Edinburgh dungeons. The most haunted place is what's that computer doing? I hate that kind of thing. I wouldn't go to a place because so many Mackenzie's tomb. I wouldn't go there. So many people have seen it. You're expecting to see it as it's become like a zoo attraction. I wouldn't. I wouldn't appreciate it. I prefer I think what we'd like to do, I'd like to stick a camera down the bottom dungeon in Santander's. No one's done that before but I'd like I'd like to know why while 20 years ago, I had to sit on endless hundreds of hours surviving on fish suppers and get nothing from my efforts of being a ghost hunter. Just waiting and watching and setting. No you can do that with like motion sensors, cameras, I can set cameras all over the place for three months. I don't need to be there which is fantastic. Neither of our get results these days if you get the right place in the right setting and a bit of luck you can you can actually catch these things and you don't need to be there

Ewan Irvine  30:11  
you have you have and the latest one I believe is the untold stories Scotland's untold stories of Scotland

Leonard Low  30:20  
Scotland's untold stories, there's there's no there's no ghost stories in this book. It's basically true history to true cracky history THROUGH THROUGH THROUGH Scotland. Not you know, we'll talk about Barkin here. Box scale skeletons in Edinburgh Museum, the scientist museum but what happened to here well I found what happened to here and that's one of the stories in the book. We had a we had a cannibal Sony been we have they know Sony being Sony beans have a story invented by the English to blasphemies the Scots but there was a cannibal family living and caught behind them Dean and monitors Monifieth way moneykey sorry. And I write a bit then. JACK the Ripper jack the Ripper 1888 Did you know that was a jack the Ripper 1888 terrorising pittenweem they didn't know that. And the murderers. The mere murderers were instant mornings and I have a chapter to a lot you got a very lucky escape when he was six years old, when a tall blonde woman tried to coax him into the back of her van. And his sister nick of time said No, you've got to come home. Otherwise, he would have ended up at Newark castle where the mirror martyrs went right after that. We might have had another sad story to to talk about. Another Chapter The mirror martyrs at Newark castle it wasn't for this boy's sister, these news stories I love my new book. My new book came out in December I thought brilliant got the Christmas market. The shops have stocked it and then shut down for six months. So I certainly know the books circulating and people can get access to it. But it is a cracker and it's available from the big shops Scotland's untold stories. Give it a go. I think you'll like it.

Ewan Irvine  32:35  
I was going to finish up in your book one week for Keystone. You're talking about this is fascinating. And it was a very, it was a witch from Orkney, who had a very

Leonard Low  32:49  
Yeah, she's in the book. She has a new book. She's fantastic. She's She's one of my heroes. So Walter Scott, went on his journeys round the Isles of Scotland, and with his biographer and wrote, wrote about the islands. And when he when he went to the Orkney, he met a woman who lived at the top of Stromness, and we bought the cottage. And there used to be I mean, she was a legend. This is at number 1815. She, she was an old deer, that leathery skin, he said, and he got to meet her, but her fame was all the fishermen before they went set off to go fishing. The guava see this, this old woman, I forget her name, but they'd go and see her and she'd sit with them, and she'd pay her some money. And what she used to do Is she used to turn around and they'd get her, they get their hands cut, you see ready to receive something. And and, and what she used to do Is she used to fart in the hands right and the catcher and, and then the tick this fart down to the bolts and where the ball is laying, ready to seal that. Throw the fart away. And it would give wind to the sails. There you go. She enterprising women aren't a fortune. And would you believe that? Sir Walter Scott actually received this token of fame from this woman paid his money, got his got his lovely wife art and the ticket down to the boats that they were using, and it worked.

Ewan Irvine  34:38  
Well, if anyone would like to find out more information or facility sites or find out more about your boots, where can you go to

Leonard Low  34:47  
buy my big sell on? You want a book, a book shop, any book shops, have my books, Leonard Lewis books. I've got five No, as I said latest one Scotlands untold stories. The I will have another book out possibly end of the year and that will be the lowdown on witches, which will be 30 cases of Scottish witchcraft. But that's in the future. You can, you can get me on Facebook, Leonard Lu, I've got one page, say hello to me, I'll invite you on. It's a private one, but it's all my ghosty stuff, and I think you'll like it. Otherwise. I try Amazon, you get all my books on Amazon. I don't receive much from Amazon when they sell books there. But that's where they are trying to book shops or even personal message me you can get by because of me.

Ewan Irvine  35:40  
What's been fascinating speaking to you, you've spoken to the centre before, many times and it's always fascinating conversation. So I hope you come back and we could talk traffic Sukhoi,

Leonard Low  35:55  
unless you're cheeky face.

Ewan Irvine  35:57  
So thank you very much for joining us.

Leonard Low  36:01  
It's not a promise and honour and your support what you do and I love your I love your little tokens and it's always a pleasure to be a guest.

Ewan Irvine  36:11  
Thank you very much.

Transcribed by

Visit from Sister in Spirit
Old Leper Hospital
The Work of a Paranormal Investigator
Fort William
Low's Books