Our Echo
Title, story type, location, year, person or writer
Add a Post
View Posts
Popular Posts
Hall of Fame


Story ID:10450
Written by:Frederick William Wickert (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:In Memory
Location:Chester New York USA
Person:David Pitkin
View Comments (8)   |   Add a Comment Add a Comment   |   Print Print   |     |   Visitors

By Fred Wickert

Today I have thought a lot about a friend. It was about two years ago around now that I learned of his death. I knew it was coming. I just didn’t know when, and when it did happen nobody told me so I didn’t find out right away.

His name was David Pitkin and though I mentioned him once or twice in my posts, he was otherwise never on Ourecho. For reasons I don’t know he often commented on my posts but he never did it on Ourecho. He always did it by e-mail. If he had posted on Ourecho he would have been one of the most interesting writers. He published several books. All but two of them were about ghosts.

David was a divorced bachelor. He had a girlfriend he cared for very much, but never remarried. David was a high school teacher in Saratoga Springs, New York. It is the same town where the world famous horse race track is. Something happened in one of his classes one day and he asked who had done it. No one spoke up so he said, “Okay, maybe a ghost did it.” When he said that the class laughed. That is, most of them laughed but David noted one girl in the back of the class was not laughing.

When the bell rang and the students rushed out for their next class, that girl approached his desk looking very serious. She said, “Mr. Pitkin, you shouldn’t make jokes about them like that. They might not like it.”

“who might not like it?”{

“The ghosts. They might get mad and do something.”

David laughed. “There is no such thing as ghosts. Don’t you worry, they won’t do anything because they don’t exist.”

“Oh no? If you don’t think so, you come to my house and I will prove it to you.”

That Saturday David had nothing to do and he knew where that girl lived so he decided to drive out to the farm where she lived. When he arrived the girl answered the door. He told her he was there for her to show him this ghost she was talking about.

The girl told him to follow her and she began walking towards a large red barn some distance behind the house. She opened a door in the front of the barn and walked inside about a distance of ten feet and the girl stopped. It was a large empty barn with a dirt floor.

David asked, “Okay, where is this ghost you are talking about?”

“Just stand here and wait a couple of minutes and you’ll see,” she said.

Suddenly David started to feel the hair start to rise on the back of his neck. He could hear the thump of boot steps pacing back and forth on a plank floor about ten feet above the dirt floor of the barn. The trouble is there was no floor there. It was all empty space. His eyes were telling him this is impossible. There is no one there and there is no floor there, but his ears were telling him something completely different. Was it a ghost or not, he did not know. He knew for certain that something very strange was happening that was not as it should be, but exactly what it was, he did not know.

David thanked the girl for showing him and telling him about this strange thing and then he got in his car and drove back to town. He hadn’t eaten any lunch so he pulled in to a diner. Inside as he finished his meal and lingered over a cup of coffee, there were some customers engaged in conversation there. The waitress came over to refill his cup and he asked her if she knew of any haunted places around the area. She called to one of the other customers and asked him about a place she thought might be haunted. The man assured her she had the right information. Then another man spoke up and said there was another one that was supposed to be haunted too.

David got directions to both places and after he left the diner, he went to those two places and talked to the people there. Sure enough, there were strange things going on at those two places too.

From that time on, when David was in a diner or at a gas station or in a bar having a beer, he made inquiries as to whether or not anyone had knowledge of any local places that were reputed to be haunted. He was astonished to learn they are rather common place. There was no shortage of them at all. He continued doing it and soon had information on a hundred different places all within Saratoga County.

David began writing in his spare time. He wrote a book about One Hundred Haunted Places in Saratoga County. He made arrangements with a printer and he had four thousand copies printed. He spent a lot of money doing it and thought he probably had made a big mistake. He believed he was going to end up getting stuck with them and lose a bundle of money.

He went around to stores and places asking them to sell them for him for a commission. He went to bake sales and sat outside grocery stores with his books. In two months he had sold out. He decided that he knew what he was going to do when he retired, and ordered five thousand more copies to be printed. It was a great success.

David became interested in numerology and the more he learned about it the more fun he had with it. He had so much success with the book he had written about ghosts in Saratoga County that he decided to write a book about numerology and that one was a flop. It did not find very much interest at all.

David turned his attention back to ghosts. People began to attach things ghostly to his name and they called him or sent letters to him telling him about different ghost occurrences. He made note of them and interviewed the people involved. Many of them he investigated and researched in great depth. He had a friend in my own county, Schoharie that was well known in the region as a dowser. I knew of the man and had met him once or twice but didn’t know him personally. I knew he had an impeccable reputation.

For those not familiar with it, dowsing refers to a procedure in which the sensitive person holds a forked stick or two bent rods or some other device and walks around certain areas. If there is any water there the person will be able to tell you. They can tell you the best spot in which to drill a well and they can even tell you how far down you will have to go. They can tell if there is an underground spring or an underground stream. If so, they will tell you how deep it is and can trace the path of it underground.

David’s dowser friend had some interest in the ghost investigations and often assisted David with them. In addition he had yet another friend. This was a lady who was psychic. She too, often assisted with the investigations. Together they were able to put together some amazing information and all three of them saw during these investigations some stunning things. Later, David himself developed some psychic abilities.

David gathered so much information that he began writing more books. There was one on ghosts of New York State, one on the North East and another on New England. He had one of the Eastern United States in the works and was thinking of even more. He got the idea for a thriller novel and he wrote and published that. It was a wonderful book, but it was fiction and it was a distinct departure from all his other books. When I read it, there was an unexpected surprise for me. He had made me a judge who presided over the marriage of the hero of the story. He was working on yet another one but sadly, I don’t think he ever finished it before he died.

One day I found an e-mail in my box that was from him. It was an e-mail to tell me good bye. He explained that they had found the cancer and that it was too late. He was resigned to his fate and was not upset or feeling sorry for himself or having any regrets. He was taking treatments to buy him a little more time so he could use it to tie off some loose ends. He told me how he had valued our friendship and thanked me for it.

About six months before that something very strange had happened. I had most of his books. He sent me most of them autographed and they were advanced copies. I had them a month or two before they were actually on the market. One day I was in my office writing something. I wanted to refer to something in one of David’s books. I wanted to be sure to get it right so I went to get the book so I could look it up.

I could not find the book. I looked everywhere for it and it was gone. Then I noticed his other books were not where I kept them. I began a search all over, trying to find not only the first one, but to find any of them. I could not find any of them. They had all vanished.

I sent him an e-mail telling him about it. I thought perhaps he might have a theory of some kind on some sort of ghostly prank and maybe have a suggestion or two. He acknowledged my e-mail and wrote that it was indeed a strange occurrence, but offered no more than that. One day about two weeks later the UPS truck was turning around in my driveway. I was curious. I thought maybe my wife ordered something. I went to the door and the driver handed me a box.

I took the box in my office and laid it on my desk. I could see it had been sent to me by David Pitkin. Inside the box was a complete set of all David’s books up until that time. Each book had been personally autographed to me. There were more than a hundred dollar’s worth of books in that box. That is the kind of man that David Pitkin was.

After he retired from teaching, David found a very old house that needed a lot of tender loving care. It was located in the town of Chester in the Adirondacks. David loved old buildings and architecture. He purchased that old house and moved in to it. He told me he planned to restore it a little at a time. There was an old red barn on the property and David soon had it full of boxes of books he had not yet sold.

The last time I actually saw David he had been engaged to speak at the Library in Middleburgh, NY where I had once been the police chief. It was a couple of weeks before Halloween and they had hired him to give his talk because of the nearness of Halloween. The dowser gentleman and I sat together in the front row for his presentation. He introduced the two of us to the crowd.

David had a busy schedule at that time of year. He was in great demand for lectures and interviews and radio and TV appearances. He was also involved in another service to mankind. David liked to quietly help people. He had for years been interested in and studied the ancient Japanese art of Rekei. He had spent two different summers in Japan to study it and became a Master in the ancient practice. He became the head of the Association for the North Eastern United States.

It was a system sort of like healing by the laying on of hands, but it was not necessary to actually lay hands on. There was no fee involved and it was strictly free of charge. I happen to know another practitioner of it in New Hampshire. She is a nurse by profession. When they are asked for help, all members of the chapter are notified and every day at a specified time, every one of them stops what they are doing and they pray for the sick individual who needs help. Many people were cured by them.

I miss David a lot. He was a good author, a good man and a good friend. The Christmas before his death David sent me a picture of him and his girlfriend. I went on Amazon to see if any of his books were still available there. I was pleasantly surprised. His second novel was completed and is available. There are a couple more of his ghost books he must have had almost ready to go that are also on there. Currently nine of his books are there and there is one more with a title that is the same but has a different cover. It is probably a reprint, or possibly a paper back version. I highly recommend them for his books are the kind you can’t put down.

Sometimes I wonder how greatness is measured. Some men are named in history as great men that I don’t think are all that great. I know history will not consider David Pitkin a great man, but to me he was a great man. I miss him. I am sharing with you the photo he sent me of him and his girlfriend.

Please visit my website at: