Luibeilt Lodge Poltergeist

maximus otter

Recovering policeman
Joined
Aug 9, 2001
Messages
10,440
On a Christmas climbing trip in 1973, two young climbers experienced a frightening series of events in a remote mountain bothy.

Phil MacNeill was 18 and a member of Glasgow's Langside Climbing Club when he and his friend Jimmy Dunn set out from the city for the Lochaber hills.

Luibeilt-1.jpg


Phil MacNeill was 18 when he visited Luibeilt Lodge in 1973

They took the train to Balloch and then hitched a lift north to Kinlochleven, near Fort William, from where they set out on foot about 10 miles (16km) to Luibeilt Lodge.

Luibeilt-2.jpg


The property is a ruin today

A former deer stalking lodge, now in ruins, the building had been adapted for use as a bothy - an overnight shelter for hillwalkers and climbers tackling the area's mountains, which include Britain's tallest - Ben Nevis.

Luibeilt-Lodge-Fortean-01.jpg


The men, whose story has been recounted by Phil for BBC Radio 4's Uncanny show, were told there were people living off-grid at Luibeilt, but it remained open and welcoming to visitors.

Phil and Jimmy hoped to use it as a base for their climbing trip.

When they arrived the door was locked. Looking through windows the men could see dishes in the sink but no-one inside.

The pair headed off to do some climbing in the snow and ice before returning at about 21:00.

"It was pitch dark," says Phil. "We shone our torches through the windows and nothing seemed to have changed."

The men were able to get inside through an unsecured window.

There was a table set for Christmas dinner, with crackers still to be pulled open.

First they heard footsteps, then noises of the bed being put together followed by what sounded like the rock from the window sill being rolled across the floor.

Phil next recalls being awoken at 04:00 when the living room "erupted" with the sounds of objects - including the men's ice axes - being thrown "all over the place" in the darkness...

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-59698147

maximus otter
 
Last edited by a moderator:

CharmerKamelion

Who knows where it will end?
Joined
Feb 27, 2021
Messages
803
Location
Lightyears from Zanzibar
Fascinating stuff. I enjoyed the 'Uncanny' 2-parter on Radio 4 over Christmas (with some reservations about a few unclear details at times).Thanks for the photos, Max. Especially the one of the building itself. Looks very creepy. I bet it looked just as creepy back in 1973. Not somewhere I would have relished bedding down in. I wonder if anyone else who visited the place has ever gone on record about what they experienced there, such as Phil's hiker friends Jimmy and Bill (the sceptical guy who bravely accompanied Phil the first time he went back there).

Kam
 

Paul_Exeter

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Jan 9, 2012
Messages
1,085
Thank you so much for posting this, its really helpful to be able to picture how the lodge would have looked and also its size.

Its also helpful to have this in writing:

"Almost the minute we blew out our candle there were noises upstairs."
First they heard footsteps, then noises of the bed being put together followed by what sounded like the rock from the window sill being rolled across the floor.
Phil next recalls being awoken at 04:00 when the living room "erupted" with the sounds of objects - including the men's ice axes - being thrown "all over the place" in the darkness.
"I am absolutely petrified," says Phil.
The room fell silent again. Phil lit a candle but it was sent "flying across the room".
Next, the sound of footsteps again, but this time stomping down a spiral staircase from the upstairs to the closed living room door.
Grabbing his ice axe, Phil went to the door and threw it open but he says no-one was there.
It was then the climbers decided to make their escape out of an opened window.
Shining their headtorches to the upstairs bedroom window, Phil says they saw the curtains were now closed. The men fled for Kinlochleven.
Phil, who has sought out other people's experiences of the bothy, believes no-one could have been hiding in the lodge or arrived after they did.
"We would have seen their footprints in the snow," he says.

I feel I better understand their experience now and it has answered some of my doubts
 

staticgirl

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Oct 12, 2003
Messages
833
Such a shame it's been left to ruin like that. It was probably quite nice once. The Uncanny's pet experts tend towards the same explanations for everything so I have started switching the show off at that point....
 

Paul_Exeter

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Jan 9, 2012
Messages
1,085
Such a shame it's been left to ruin like that. It was probably quite nice once. The Uncanny's pet experts tend towards the same explanations for everything so I have started switching the show off at that point....
A common tactic seems to be not addressing the incident itself but bringing up a different 'solved' case (eg the house proud mouse) to cast doubt on what, ultimately, he is unable to explain. Maybe he should have been a politician :)
 

CharmerKamelion

Who knows where it will end?
Joined
Feb 27, 2021
Messages
803
Location
Lightyears from Zanzibar
The Uncanny's pet experts tend towards the same explanations for everything so I have started switching the show off at that point....
I can tolerate the expert contributors on "Uncanny", even though they do often cause me to roll my eyes (both the sceptics and the believers sometimes). I think they generally try to stay polite and balanced, and resist the temptation to say either "it is impossible so they must be making it up" or "what they saw was obviously a ghost". I hope we haven't heard the last of the Luibeilt story, one way or another. I would be intrigued to have some loose ends and unanswered questions tied up..... How about a BBC book covering the case and other 'Uncanny' files? "The U-Files", perhaps?
 

IbisNibs

Exotic animal, sort of . . .
Joined
Oct 30, 2016
Messages
2,596
Location
Outside my comfort zone.
I find the host Danny Robins increasingly frothy and gullible, which annoys me. I like the stories though, and the witnesses, who seem sincere and sympathetic.
 

Frideswide

Fortea Morgana :) PeteByrdie certificated Princess
Joined
Jul 14, 2014
Messages
14,431
Location
An Eochair
Had people heard of this case before the Uncanny broadcast?
 

Spookdaddy

Cuckoo
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
7,111
Location
Midwich
Had people heard of this case before the Uncanny broadcast?

I mentioned a couple of haunted bothies I'd previously heard of on the Uncanny (BBC Programme / Podcast) thread:

From the teaser at the end of the last episode I'm going to make a small bet with myself that the next takes place at either the Corrour bothy, or the Ben Alder cottage (sometimes confused with the former, being relatively close to a different Corrour).

Both have reputations.

The Corrour bothy is mentioned in Affleck Grey's, The Big Grey Man of Ben MacDhui. A little outwith the specific remit of that book, I seem to recall that Grey actually recounts an experience of his own, one which is somewhat more subtle than the theatrical shenanigans hinted at the the Uncanny teaser.

I've actually not listened to the haunted bothy episode yet - and don't know if the location was specified.

Never heard of Luibeilt Lodge until reading this thread.

A friend and work colleague of mine - who lives in Dundee, but who with his partner spends most of his spare time in the Highlands - has a bothy based tale to tell. I know it's not based at either of the two referenced above, because I mentioned them by name. I have a feeling that he's quite uncomfortable with the whole thing - but I'll get it out of him eventually.
 
Last edited:

Kondoru

Antediluvian
Joined
Dec 5, 2003
Messages
9,252
I have a mental picture of gear being stacked poorly and coming down with an awful crash in the night.
 

SimonBurchell

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Sep 15, 2001
Messages
1,073
Location
Somewhere in the labyrinth
Such a shame it's been left to ruin like that. It was probably quite nice once. The Uncanny's pet experts tend towards the same explanations for everything so I have started switching the show off at that point....
Don't switch off too soon - the show tends to follow a pattern along the lines of:
  1. Initial spooky stuff witness testimony
  2. "Expert" jibber-jabber
  3. "And then something EVEN MORE shocking happened" witness testimony
  4. Final round up by experts and witness
 

Spookdaddy

Cuckoo
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
7,111
Location
Midwich
Finally listened to the Luibeilt Lodge episode of BBC radio’s Uncanny series.

I've vacillated over whether to post here or on the dedicated Uncanny (BBC Programme / Podcast), but I think the subject deserves a slot of its own (although it might be worth expanding this one to cover haunted bothies in general - I think I’ve found some more stories); and the latter thread - given that it covers a dozen or so separate stories, is possibly in danger of becoming unwieldy.

Anyway, listening to the second instalment - did anyone notice the odd extraneous sound that followed that of the falling masonry/stone?
It may be some sort of technical anomaly - I don't know enough about sound recording to make any sort of judgement - but it's definitely there.

The episode – The Curse of Luibeilt - is here.

The sound of falling stones/masonry/slates/whatever starts at 22.56.

Our intrepid climber immediately responds:

"My god - what happened there…Ah, that's very strange"

Just before the 'ah', and then as the word 'strange' is being spoken, two odd sounds occur. (You might have to turn your sound right up to catch it, or use headphones.)

I could almost convince myself that the first was a single utterance of the ‘go back’ call of a red grouse, although it seems too high pitched. The second phase sounds like a snippet of garbled conversation.

I don’t hear anything similar on the rest of that section: there are environmental sounds – what could be the sound of the Abhainn Rath, and/or possibly that of rain, there’s wind noise, maybe emphasised by the rustling of the few trees at the site, and also a couple of mic bumps – but I don’t catch anything else like the sounds mentioned. (There’s also very soft hu hu sound just before the odd ones – which could almost be a dog barking in the far distance, but which I’m pretty sure is the night call of a bird. It’s a familiar sound from my own night time experience, but I couldn’t tell you precisely what it was – could be an owl at rest, but it’s much softer than a full blown hoot.)

Anyway, does anyone else hear that? Has it been mentioned elsewhere? Aural pareidolia? Digital recording anomaly?
 

SimonBurchell

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Sep 15, 2001
Messages
1,073
Location
Somewhere in the labyrinth
Finally listened to the Luibeilt Lodge episode of BBC radio’s Uncanny series.

I've vacillated over whether to post here or on the dedicated Uncanny (BBC Programme / Podcast), but I think the subject deserves a slot of its own (although it might be worth expanding this one to cover haunted bothies in general - I think I’ve found some more stories); and the latter thread - given that it covers a dozen or so separate stories, is possibly in danger of becoming unwieldy.

Anyway, listening to the second instalment - did anyone notice the odd extraneous sound that followed that of the falling masonry/stone?
It may be some sort of technical anomaly - I don't know enough about sound recording to make any sort of judgement - but it's definitely there.

The episode – The Curse of Luibeilt - is here.

The sound of falling stones/masonry/slates/whatever starts at 22.56.

Our intrepid climber immediately responds:

"My god - what happened there…Ah, that's very strange"

Just before the 'ah', and then as the word 'strange' is being spoken, two odd sounds occur. (You might have to turn your sound right up to catch it, or use headphones.)

I could almost convince myself that the first was a single utterance of the ‘go back’ call of a red grouse, although it seems too high pitched. The second phase sounds like a snippet of garbled conversation.

I don’t hear anything similar on the rest of that section: there are environmental sounds – what could be the sound of the Abhainn Rath, and/or possibly that of rain, there’s wind noise, maybe emphasised by the rustling of the few trees at the site, and also a couple of mic bumps – but I don’t catch anything else like the sounds mentioned. (There’s also very soft hu hu sound just before the odd ones – which could almost be a dog barking in the far distance, but which I’m pretty sure is the night call of a bird. It’s a familiar sound from my own night time experience, but I couldn’t tell you precisely what it was – could be an owl at rest, but it’s much softer than a full blown hoot.)

Anyway, does anyone else hear that? Has it been mentioned elsewhere? Aural pareidolia? Digital recording anomaly?
I can't remember where in the recording, but voices were audible in the background. This was clarified in a later episode, where Danny clarifies that the climber was not alone at the bothie, and his companions could be heard in the background.
 

Spookdaddy

Cuckoo
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
7,111
Location
Midwich
I can't remember where in the recording, but voices were audible in the background. This was clarified in a later episode, where Danny clarifies that the climber was not alone at the bothie, and his companions could be heard in the background.

Right. Bugger. Mystery solved. Haven't listened to the rest of the series yet.

Checking out maps of the area, I see that the Meanach bothy is only around 250 metres away, across the Abhainn Rath from the Luibeilt site.

The Mountain Bothies Association gives 1977 as the date of Meanach’s renovation. I can’t find out if it was used as such prior to this, or if the date is actually when it first started being used as a bothy. If it’s use did predate 1977 far enough back to be contemporaneous with the events described, then, although very isolated, Luibeilt could have had at least one near neighbour – which I suppose increases the chance of outside interference on the night in question. My old OS map of the area (Landranger 41) also indicates two buildings at the Luibeilt site – although one could have been a byre or other type of service building, and may have been nothing but a ruin at the time of the events described.

An interesting note about the Luibeilt site is the presence of what appears to be a rowan tree close to one of the walls. These were traditionally supposed to ward of witches and witchcraft, but they were I think pretty commonly planted close to properties in the Highlands – a not uncommon tradition UK wide, I believe.

However there does appear to be something unusual about it. From certain angles it looks like two trunks close together, but the view from other angles suggest that it has been deliberately trained into an arch (there’s a suggestion on at least one mountaineering forum that this is the case). I’m not sure how common this might have been. I’ve found one blog which suggests that such arches were created outside byres to protect livestock from witchcraft (presumably they had to pass through the arch) but I can’t find other references just now, and searching ‘rowan arch’ doesn’t appear to conjure up any examples.

It's quite difficult to find a clear picture of the (I think) rowan – this is the best I could find, snaffled off Google Earth:

luibeilt.png


(I suppose I should have listened to the rest of the series before posting - possibly all that's been mentioned, too.)
 

Spookdaddy

Cuckoo
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
7,111
Location
Midwich
I can't remember where in the recording, but voices were audible in the background. This was clarified in a later episode, where Danny clarifies that the climber was not alone at the bothie, and his companions could be heard in the background.

Just listened again. He does at one point claim, 'I'm here alone' - but I suppose he must be referring to being alone within the ruin at that particular point, rather than altogether alone at the site.
 

SimonBurchell

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Sep 15, 2001
Messages
1,073
Location
Somewhere in the labyrinth
Just listened again. He does at one point claim, 'I'm here alone' - but I suppose he must be referring to being alone within the ruin at that particular point, rather than altogether alone at the site.
As I recall, Danny references that exact point, clarifying that the climber was with friends but had walked away from them a little at that point.
 

Spookdaddy

Cuckoo
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
7,111
Location
Midwich
As I recall, Danny references that exact point, clarifying that the climber was with friends but had walked away from them a little at that point.

I'd have to listen again but I'm pretty sure he doesn't in the original episode - I think that must be clarified in the follow up you mentioned. (And knowing that there are other people around rather diminishes the drama of the falling stones.)

It appears to have been a kennel...

On my OS Landranger 41 (dated 1992) only two structures appear to be indicated: the southernmost - which from its relationship to the track and the small plantation I take to be the lodge - and the one just north of it. The northernmost structure(s) on the older map are unmarked on the 1992 version (unless they've been lumped together).

I realise now that I have walked by Luibeilt - although I have no real recall of it. I originally bought the OS map on a trip to the Highlands in the mid-90's - and specifically for the walk from Corrour Station to Ben Nevis. I walked up to the southern shore of Loch Treig and actually along the Abhainn Rath, but none of that registered when I heard the podcast - just when I started looking at the map. I must have bumbled right past the place.

Edit: The structure in the very top right of the snapshot of the older map, appears to be the site of the Meanach bothy.
 
Last edited:

SimonBurchell

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Sep 15, 2001
Messages
1,073
Location
Somewhere in the labyrinth
I'd have to listen again but I'm pretty sure he doesn't in the original episode - I think that must be clarified in the follow up you mentioned. (And knowing that there are other people around rather diminishes the drama of the falling stones.)



On my OS Landranger 41 (dated 1992) only two buildings are mapped: the southernmost - which from its relationship to the track and the small plantation I take to be the lodge - and the one just north of it. The northernmost structure(s) on the older map are unmarked on the 1992 version.

I realise now that I have walked by Luibeilt - although I have no real recall of it. I originally bought the OS map on a trip to the Highlands in the mid-90's - and specifically for the walk from Corrour Station to Ben Nevis. I walked up to the southern shore of Loch Treig and actually along the Abhainn Rath, but none of that registered when I heard the podcast - just when I started looking at the map. I must have bumbled right past the place.

Edit: The structure in the very top right of the snapshot of the older map, appears to be the site of the Meanach bothy.
Yes, it was in the follow up.
 

Spookdaddy

Cuckoo
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
7,111
Location
Midwich
Just found the following story about Luibeilt on this blog.

The whole story - which dates from a 1977 expedition in the Highlands - is here.

I've filleted out the relevant bits here. It's part of the account of a tramp that finishes for the day at Luibeilt:

... After the ridge it was some walk out it was dark in deep snow. We arrived in the pitch dark soaked after many river crossings. As always I put the stove on whilst the others got sorted and then changed into out track suit bottoms, dry top and socks and spare jumper. We had a few candles and our torches for light, the bothy was very basic. We had been in the bothy for 10 minutes all in our own world, there was lots of wood inside and we soon had a raging fire. The bothy lightened up and we saw that there was someone else in the bothy. A figure stood up and spoke; he said he was getting away from the world and was staying in the bothy. He was not a happy man we were intruding on his privacy but it was an open bothy. We tried to have a conversation but he was not having it. Jim stoked the fire up and soon it was roaring and the bothy bright as day our visitor was there cutting wood with his knife in the shadows, it was scary. I offered him some food but he did not want it. We ate and were in bed early with our gear drying by the fire. It was a scary night but Jim and Terry slept the sleep of the just, I was worried and before I went to bed I gave him some chocolate that was so vital for our trip and for food on the hill and said jokingly “kill them first please” He just looked and continued with his knife drills? We survived the night and were away by 0600. Our visitor was fast asleep and the fire still glowing...

...Many months after the walk our “bothy visitor” arrived at RAF Kinloss and dropped of a bottle of whisky, he had been very depressed and been contemplating suicide. He had sorted himself out and apologised for his behaviour, he was a very successful business man from down South and we had a good chat...

I've never much liked staying bothies myself - partly because you have no choice over your companions. The above being a fine example of the issue.
 

Spookdaddy

Cuckoo
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
7,111
Location
Midwich
I’m always interested by the sounds that accompany alleged hauntings. It’s clearly a well-known fact that certain noises - which might seem perfectly innocent in other circumstances - are ubiquitous in poltergeist cases (although I do not believe they are exclusively limited to that alleged phenomenon). Knocking and banging would be the classic examples - but the dragging sound described by Phil the climber is also a not that uncommon. I'm going to have to check the book - but I'm pretty sure that the dragging noise is an element in at least a couple of the cases covered in Andrew Mackenzie's classic, Hauntings and Apparitions – it also appears in several other descriptions that come to mind. (I've always thought that such dragging sounds would be a much more sinister and unnerving thing to hear than all that knocking and rattling).

I think the description in the Luibeilt case – as if a filled rubble bag was being dragged along the path – is somehow very effective, and really quite unnerving; possibly because the apparent neutrality of the image evoked contrasts so wildly with the stress of the situation and the actual implications of the sound described.

In some of the other cases I have read about the sound is interpreted as furniture being dragged across bare boards – even when the sounds originate in a loft space with exposed joists and no floorboards. Suspending all judgement for a while, I’ve often suspected that, if these experiences are real, then although described as ‘moving furniture’ or similar, the witness is describing a kind of aural pareidolia, or the closest comparison, rather than the actual sound – although often such experiences are reported in terms of the latter.

On haunted bothies in general:

Sometime the next couple of weeks I’ll try and pin down those uncanny bothy experiences I mentioned earlier - described in Affleck Gray’s, The Big Grey Man of Ben MacDhui* (neither of which experiences is specifically related to the Big Grey Man himself). I’m pretty sure both of these took place at the Corrour Bothy, the other side of the Dee from Ben MacDhui.

The two I recall are one of Gray’s own from the 1930’s – something to do with the door to a bothy being audibly shut and barred from the outside while he was on his own in the place. The second I think took place in the 1970’s – involving a very experienced mountaineer suddenly finding the atmosphere in the bothy so frightening that he chose to spend the night out of doors in horrendous weather.

*A thoroughly interesting read - and a very well-balanced discussion of the subject.
 
Last edited:
Top