Syracuse, New York
Aaron Sagers is an entertainment journalist and host/co-executive producer of Travel Channel's Paranormal Paparazzi. He is also the founder of the popular entertainment site ParanormalPopCulture.com and a contributor to CNN.com's Geek Out! He has gained a reputation for his specialty knowledge on the topics of paranormal entertainment, ghosts in pop culture, zombies, apocalyptic cultures, horror movies, curses in movies and celebrity ghost stories. Sagers has spoken at San Diego Comic-Con, New York Comic Con, Dragon Con and many other large fan events on those topics. Additionally, he teaches journalism at New York University in New York City, where he resides.He recently attended Scare-A-Cuse Horror & Sci-Fi Fan Convention.
I became interested in all things paranormal because: The paranormal and my fascination with scary movies always went hand-in-hand for me. As a kid obsessed with the unexplained, I loved horror movies and stories and "real" tales of the paranormal. From reading Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King, and following the films of George A. Romero or reruns of Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone, to researching aliens, monsters and spectral theories, I devoured this stuff. Throw in a love of comics and the adventures created by Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, and you have a rich childhood that I continue to celebrate today.
I went here to: Talk about zombies, movie monsters and curses in paranormal pop culture, and to geek out in the company of horror icons like Adrienne King (Friday the 13th) and Kane Hodder (Victor Crowley in the Hatchet movies series and Jason in 4 Friday the 13th movies).
I traveled here with: My buddy Frank Cinelli aka "Dr. Spectre," a healthcare professional who applies his knowledge to the paranormal.
The best way to travel here is: I like hopping in a Jeep and driving the 4 hours or so to the event.
I stayed at: The event was held at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, NY, with accommodations at a local La Quinta Inn and Suites, Fairfield Inn and Suites and Microtel Inn and Suites. Two major event parties were held at the Recovery sports bar next to the Fairfield, so that was convenient. However, if you stay at the casino, you can catch a shuttle offsite.
When it comes to packing, be sure to bring: A fun, comfortable costume to wear at the zombie bash, complete with zombie makeup. Whenever you attend a pop culture con like this, you don't want to miss the chance to join in the festivities. Don't be the person at the party not in a costume. Besides, when you dress up as a favorite pop culture character or as a zombie, you become a celebrity for the night, and everyone will want a picture with you! Personally, I rocked a Shaun of the Dead costume, and pulled off a good enough impersonation of "Shaun" actor Simon Pegg that a few people didn't recognize me with strawberry blond hair.
The best thing I ate was: The brain hemorrhage drink served in a glass skull glass at the Recovery sports bar. A combination of peach schnapps, Irish cream liqueur and grenadine, this sweet drink looks like the gooey stuff a zombie would like to devour -- but it's good enough for any living, thirsty human.
I wish I hadn't: Had so many brain hemorrhages!
Don't miss: Getting your picture taken in the Batmobile! No self-respecting nerd (or aspiring caped crusader) can miss a chance at the wheel of Batman's ride.
Next time I will definitely: Spend more time on the convention floor roaming around and talking to vendors. Sometimes there's just not enough time to see everything, but I did manage to buy a few toys, tees and posters, and had thought ahead enough to pack an extra bag to put these in.
My favorite part of the convention was: Talking at length with Judith O'Dea ("Barbra" from Night of the Living Dead) and Night of the Living Dead co-writer John A. Russo. They shared information about one of my favorite flicks, while also shedding light on why they think zombies continue to be so popular.
My advice would be: Bring a digital camera with lots of memory to get your photo taken alongside horror celebrities, cosplayers and lots (and lots) of zombies. Also, attend the variety of panels and indie film screenings. There is a wealth of horror-ific and paranormal personalities talking about a wide swath of topics. And film fanatics can check out independent filmmakers who might be producing the next big Hollywood hit.