Colorado is known for its Rocky Mountain scenery, snowy winters, and now, for its ghosts thanks to Dennis Baker, whose new book, Ghosts of Colorado explores over 40 of the state’s haunted locales. Dennis Baker is also a filmmaker who is best known for a character he plays called Denton Rose, an Elvis look-a-like (sort of) ghost hunter who goes in search of the paranormal. Ghostvillage.com caught up with Dennis to ask him about his new book.
How did a boy who grew up in a haunted house in Michigan make his way to Colorado?
Dennis Baker: I got a job at IBM in Boulder. Oddly enough, I lived in Colorado for most the 80s and moved back to Michigan in 1990 only to return to Colorado in 2000.
On your Web series, you play a character named Denton Rose, an Elvis impersonating ghost hunter. How much of Denton Rose comes with you on your own investigations?
I try and keep the two separate. Denton Rose is now under the direction of the creator of Disney’s Ernest which was huge in the 80s and 90s. Jim Varney passed away- oddly enough, I recently moved to Nashville near John Cherry who created Ernest P. Worell. We are now working on a new series Denton Rose: Investigator of the Paranormal. Denton will have a new look as well as be filmed in a real studio. There is talk about a feature film, but for the immediate future a ghost hunting spoof from the creator of Ernest will be out by Halloween.
But back to the question — a little Denton comes out in my real ghost hunting. But I try and keep the two separate to respect the real ghost hunters out there. I don’t want everyone thinking I believe it’s all just a joke. I do have a new series “Haunted America” it is kind of like Ghost Hunters but more history, and we team with local investigators in each state.
You’re also an actor and filmmaker. Do you find yourself drawing on real legends as inspiration for your fiction work?
Yes indeed! The best fiction is based on real life. Entertainment is always better if it’s plausible or based somewhere in fact. Vampires are not that scary because you know it’s not real. But a movie like the Exorcist, well it really happened. Acting is in essentially making something believable.
What is your favorite Colorado haunt?
Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs. It’s very old, and a lot of history. We had the most activity there as well.
Do you think Colorado’s mountainous terrain plays any role in the legends and haunts of that state?
I do — something about the state at night, especially. The terrain seems to have a life all its own; it is so big it comes to life in your mind. I think this plays into the stories about local hauntings.
Have you personally encountered any ghosts in Colorado?
At the Stanley Hotel something knocked my glasses across the room in the middle of the night. And the bed kept shaking. In the Hotel Colorado at about 1 AM, walking down the hall I ran into the smell of lilac perfume, but no one was around. A legend has it, it is from a local ghost who died from a bad love affair 100 years ago.
But the strangest thing I encountered was with a friend in the late 80s. We pulled up to a stop sign in the middle of nowhere. There was a street lamp with the light on (it was dark). As we pulled up, we noticed the thing was shaking wildly. We thought, is it windy? We stopped and no wind could be felt. We took off of course — no clue what that was.
What future projects are your working on?
Denton Rose has a new Halloween special coming to Joost, Veoh, and the Horror Channel. Written and Directed by John Cherry the Disney man behind Ernest. Haunted America is going state-by-state looking for the best local haunted history and seeing if there is any current proof. Darrel a new comedy romance series is in development. Early stages — it is kind of like Quantum Leap. And The Visitors with Calicoo Cooper will begin shooting in November of this year.
What is Denton Rose’s favorite Elvis song?
“All Shook Up” reminds him of when Scobby and Shaggy see a ghost.
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