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September 26th-26th, 2008
The Stanley Hotel
Estes Park, CO

When Cinegeek.com (Stephen and I), were invited to this event, held at the historic Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO, We have never been to Colorado before and we got to stay at the Stanley, a haunted hotel that hosted Stephen King years ago and was his inspiration for The Shining. The event culminated with us and other journalists going on a live ghost hunt with Jason and Grant Saturday night. I couldn’t fill up my quart size ziplock bag with the appropriate sized toiletries quick enough.

After the flight and getting our car with GPS, we were on our way. Let’s just put it this way, thanks to the GPS, we saw a little more of Boulder, CO than we planned. But, we were comforted by the fact that we were getting to see the home town of Mork and Mindy, so the diversion was fine.

After a spectacular drive through the mountains, we arrived in Estes Park, CO, a sweet little mountain town. We were not in town 5 minutes before traffic slowed so that a huge elk could saunter his way slowly across the street.

We arrived at the Stanley hotel and checked in. Do yourself a favor, do a quick internet search of this hotel and read the history and check out the pictures. In a word: incredi-ble.

The Sci Fi Channel Digital Press Event kicked off Friday night with a dinner attended by Amanda Tapping (Stargate and the upcoming Sanctuary), The Ghost Hunters (Ja-son Hawes and Grant Wilson), the Scare Tactics cast and Josh Gates of Destination Truth. Dave Howe, president of the Sci Fi Channel was also in attendance. Plus, a bunch of digital press journalists from every corner of the globe. Guess who sat at our table? Amanda Tapping. She was a gracious dinner companion and absolutely hysteri-cal. After lots of laughs and drinks consumed, we collapsed to prepare for the next day.

Saturday kicked off with a breakfast and Q and A with Sanctuary star Amanda Tapping. She not only stars in this exciting new series, but she also directs and produces Sanc-tuary. The show follows the adventures of the enigmatic Dr. Helen Magnus (Tapping), a brilliant scientist who holds the secrets of a clandestine population – a group of strange and sometimes terrifying beings that hide among humans. At the Q and A, Amanda shared stories of how the series transitioned from the internet to the Sci Fi channel, the interesting back-story of her character and the challenges of working with green screens. Sanctuary will have a 2 hour premiere Friday, October 3rd at 9/8c.

Next, was a short reel showcasing the Sci Fi Channel’s reality shows. Returning are fan favorites Ghost Hunters, Destination Truth and Scare Tactics. There are some excit-ing new game shows, Estate of Panic and CHASE. Channel President Dave Howe also announced a new show Reliquest – watch for that in 2009.

The Josh Gates Destination Truth panel was next. Gates was charismatic and shared some great stories of some of their adventures while exploring myths, legends and the unexplained around the world, some of these involved snakes and getting chased out of places at gunpoint. This show is reminiscent of an old school series called In Search Of which featured narration by Leonard Nimoy. Destination Truth airs on Wednesdays at 9/8c.

The funny guys of Scare Tactics were up next. Creator and Producer Scott Hallock, and pranksters Travis Draft and Gabriel Pimentel were on the panel. They talked about the origin of some of their most outrageous pranks and how Satan’s Baby and The Ratmonster came to be and how Tracy Morgan came to host the show. If you are fan of this show, the upcoming episodes feature some pranks you just have to see to believe. Scare Tactics airs off Tuesday October 7th, at 10/9c.

Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson of Ghost Hunters provided some great answers to questions from the journalists. Whether you’re a “believer” or not, Hawes and Wilson are just down to earth guys pursuing what they believe in a very straight forward and honest way. They answered questions from “do they ever get scared and run” to more thought provoking questions about how pursuing ghosts and the paranormal have changed their religious beliefs. They had some great stories of chasing ghosts in differ-ent locales to witnessing possessions. Ghost Hunters can be see on Wednesdays 8/c with a special live Halloween event at Fort Delaware. The Ghost Hunters previously did a special on The Stanley hotel and got everyone excited for the ghost hunt later that night.

Estate of Panic and CHASE are two new shows for the Sci Fi Channel that would be worth checking out. CHASE, hosted by Trey Farley, can be best described as a live ac-tion video game with participants being hunted by “agents”, that look like something out of The Matrix. The game is played out in real time all over Los Angeles. It is set to pre-miere on November 11th at 10/9c. Estate of Panic, hosted by Steve Valentine, is filmed at a beautiful locale in Argentina where participants have to survive rooms in an “estate” that can fill with water, sand or even crabs and bugs in order to get to the finish line. Estate of Panic is set to premiere on November 12th at 10/9c.

After a short break and dinner, we were split into groups and the ghost hunt began. Not only did we get to ghost hunt with Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, but Dave Tango and Steve Gonzales were there too. We got to try out some of the tech that they use to in-vestigate, such as some nifty thermal cameras. In the room with Jason and Grant, they utilized a K2 device and we did seem to get some activity. Something or someone was responding to yes and no questions by lighting up the device. So, I think everyone was sufficiently getting some chills up their collective spines then, especially after quite a few journalists experienced some weird stuff in their rooms, such as windows that shattered for no reason and faucets that turned on by themselves.

The ghost hunt was a great end to the weekend. The Stanley hotel was really cool, Colorado was beautiful and the Sci Fi Channel put on a great event showcasing some of their great shows. Now, how do I get my hands on one of those K2 devices or ther-mal cameras? And, will I ever put the memory of seeing Elk and Trout jerky out of my mind?