What do daddies do? Rob Lowe takes his sons on quests for ghosts and aliens

My interest in ghosthunting-type reality shows is approximately zero. Still, I found it kind of interesting to see the "Lowe Files" opener -- which debuts at 10 p.m. Aug. 2 on A&E -- and very interesting to hear Rob Lowe and sons talk about their oddly adventurous life. Here's the story I sent to papers:

By Mike Hughes

What's it like when your dad is a Hollywood star with a fluid

Rob Lowe's sons say
it was great when they were chasing monsters. “When we were really
young, we would go on Sasquatch hunting trips,” said John Owen

His brother Matthew
agrees. “Bigfoot ... was always the one I was most excited for.”

But that was long
ago and maturity has intervened – for the kids, at least. John
Owen, 21, studies science technology at Stanord; Matthew, 23, is in
Loyola Marymount's law school.

And what have they
been doing lately? The father and sons scurried around on weekends,
looking for ghosts ... and Bigfoot ... and a “wood ape” ... and
alien-abductees ... and even an undersea alien base.

Hey, blame it on the
drive-in movies. In 1972, when Rob Lowe was 8, he saw “Legend of
Boggy Creek.” He says it had “a guy in a horrendous suit, you
know, terrorizing people. And it so traumatized me that I was
obsessed with Bigfoot forever on.”

He passed that on to
his kids, John Owen said. “(He'd say,) 'We're going looking for
Sasquatch. Let's get the baby monitor on the roof and (search) for
aliens. Whatever ridiculous thing it was that day.”

Now Rob is reviving
that on TV. “It's like the 8-year-old boy trapped in a 53-year-old
man's body's sort of dream,” he said.

Crammed into
weekends, between their classes and his work on “Code Black,”
they had adventures that Rob calls “Anthony Bourdain in a blender
with Scooby Doo.”

Some of the trips
found nothing, John Owen said. “We would come out of some episodes
and be like: 'Well, that was a bust, totally a bust.”

But others were like
the one that will be shown in Wednesday's debut.

“Preston Castle,”
as it's now called, was a reformatory in central California from 1894
to 1960. There were several deaths there, including the 1950 murder
of the head housekeeper. Closed for 50 years, it's been used for
tours and a low-budget scripted movie.

Other ghost-hunter
shows have been there, but Rob said they hit the jackpot. “The
furniture was moving and the voices were talking and the lights –
all of that.”

And when other
adventures failed ... well, John Owen said that happens a lot with
his dad. “He likes to entertain these fantastic, ridiculous ideas
.... It's hilarious what he believes in. To give him some credit,
it's way more fun to be around somebody like that.”

And some old pals
would encourage this. When Rob and his brother Chad were young, their
mother moved them from Dayton, Ohio, to Malibu, where they grew up
alongside Sean Penn, Dean Cain, Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen ...
who much later told Rob's kids that the moon is hollow.

“In fairness,”
John Owen said, “he had pretty good talking points.”

Some of this was
total nonsense, the Lowes say, and all of it was interesting. “It's
just more fun to believe,” Rob said.

And what about
Sheryl Berkoff, his wife of 26 years and the boys' mother? She did
make sure they had a shaman for the Preston adventure, Rob said, but
she's mostly a skeptic with real-life concerns.

She couldn't care,
he said, “whether we were killed by Sasquatch, Bigfoot, shot by
rogue hunters. But she was very concerned that we might get ticks.”

-- “The Lowe
Files,” 10 p.m. Wednesdays, A&E.

-- Opener (“Preston
Castle” reformatory) is Aug. 2, rerunning at 11:03 p.m. and 2:03
and 3:04 a.m. It then repeats at 3 p.m. Friday, 1 and 2 p.m.
Saturday, 4 p.m. Sunday and 2 and 4 p.m. Aug. 9, when the second
episode deals with alien abduction.