Our greatly loved friend, and PPI President, Glenn Pitcher, passed away unexpectedly on March 2, 2009, from complications during his hospitalization. For many of us Glenn was no less than a close brother. We miss Glenn every day, but his good heart and many insights will always remain with us. Each of us leaves an indelible impression on the people with whom we share the journey, and Glenn touched all of our lives in ways it would be futile to express here in one paragraph. During the many hours that members of PPI shared with Glenn while sitting in the dark to find evidence of paranormal phenomena, each one of us grew close to Glenn in our own way.
Glenn's wishes for the disposition of his ashes were that a part of them be scattered at Big Bear Lake, California, a place that inspired Glenn in more ways than one. The Pitchers' family vacation cottage in Big Bear was one of his fondest memories, and he never neglected to talk about the area's beauty and his time spent there with family whenever the subject came up. Glenn would later take his own family to his favorite spots in Big Bear, and his PPI family was no exception. On one of our earliest cases, PPI investigators were called in for two investigations of a site in Big Bear where a fatal fire occurred. Glenn was deeply moved by the story behind the fire, which claimed the lives of two children. Before finishing the investigation, however, he took his colleagues on a little excursion where he eagerly played host to a tour of his childhood vacation haunts. "Haunts" was not just a figure of speech.
One of Glenn's earliest memories of his childhood visits to Big Bear Lake prompted a lifelong interest in the paranormal. When he was a boy, Glenn was awakened one night by strange sounds in his bedroom. He was shocked to witness a dresser drawer opening and closing on its own in the dim light of his room. That event unnerved him as a boy, but later in life it would remain the touchstone for his curiosity about paranormal phenomena. Rather than blindly accept that what he had experienced as a boy was genuinely paranormal, he strove to find rational explanations for it. That driving force of rationale thought made him one of our community's most trustworthy skeptical thinkers. He questioned everything, especially his own encounters with the paranormal, and he frequently reeled us back in from our flights of fancy when evidence seemed too good to be true.
Life Among the Ghosts
Glenn's forays into paranormal enigmas first took a serious turn in 2005, when he answered an ad for membership in a developing ghost-hunting group, San Diego Ghost Investigations. Like many such groups, it disbanded in its infancy, but members Dave Walters, Brian Johnson, and Glenn Pitcher regrouped soon after, and with Brian's input to name the group, Glenn and Dave co-founded Pacific Paranormal Investigations. Glenn purchased a web domain, and the co-founders devised an organizational strategy for building the group's case-load and increasing membership. By April 2006, membership had expanded from three to eight, and again to twelve by the end of that year. Glenn's enthusiasm and creativity, as well as his useful pragmatism, kept the group looking ahead, establishing its reputation, and achieving TAPS Family status (which it did in January 2007).
Like all members of PPI, though, Glenn had a life outside of paranormal investigating. He had a family, as well as a thriving career in IT Security. Glenn suffered a number of career ups and downs during those years, too, one of which forced him to downsize his life a bit. Few people knew the Glenn, however, who was implacably working hard to train for certification so that he could qualify for better paying positions within his company. There were at least several lengthy periods of course work, study and examinations, on which hinged his potential for promotion and job security. I recall many a PPI meeting when Glenn would discuss the latest topics of study for which he would soon be taking an exam. His sole motive, though, to improve himself was to provide for his family whom Glenn loved totally and was very protective over them.
Whether it was being punked on board the Star of India, or just having a serious conversation in the darkness of a paranormal vigil, Glenn was able to let down his guard among his colleagues of investigators, and in turn he inspired them to open up to him. When Glenn needed help building a complex swing-set, PPI colleagues arrived with tools, beer, and a cleared schedule so that a long Saturday of sunburn and sweat could turn into a Sunday birthday surprise for his child. Perhaps this is why so many of us have imagined him to be more like a brother than a friend: we all shared with him a kind of relaxed intimacy typical of close-knit families.
In 2008, when PPI experienced a major personnel split in September 2008, Glenn engendered a feeling of solidarity that kept PPI working together cohesively: new members were brought on and new projects were started, not the least of which was the development of a new website using a new platform. It was clear to everyone that Glenn was the only choice for the position of PPI President. Besides being one of the original co-founders of the group, his experience and his personal connection to us made him the most deserving, the most qualified, and the most trusted for the position. However, there were danger signs along the way of Glenn's health problems that no one recognized, and when he was rushed to Pomerado Hospital at the end of January, no one expected the problem to be gastrointestinal. After his diverticulitis ruptured on January 30, Glenn described it as the worst pain he had ever experienced in his entire life. Although his heart was reported as very strong and healthy for the procedure, doctors waited over a week before performing a radical surgery to treat the ruptured areas, partly in hopes of controlling the infection without the need for invasive surgery and partly because their CAT scans were inconclusive about the extent of the problem. Even by the time Glenn had accepted that surgery and a long road to recovery were unavoidable, he had made a promise to himself and his family that his lifestyle was going to change drastically, beginning with the end to a smoking habit that had been with him almost his entire adult life. To signal this major ninety-degree turn, he began growing his beard--something he did only at the most important times of his life.
After the surgery lasted almost six hours, Glenn's physician admitted that it was one of the worst cases of ruptured diverticulitis he had ever witnessed--far worse than even the CAT scans suggested. There's no doubt: without the surgery, Glenn would have perished by the end of the week. Those of us who were miraculously privileged to speak with Glenn during this ordeal knew the depth of his commitment to change his life. He felt he had been divinely given a second chance. Plans were already in motion to move him to a physical therapy program where, over the next six months, he would work to regain his strength and eventually shed the colostomy bag that would be an unwelcome souvenir of his experience. Glenn and all of his loved ones had practical reason to feel optimistic for his chances. He had survived the ordeal.
And then the sad news came. Under circumstances that are still not fully understood (or resolved), Glenn succumbed in the early morning hours of March 2, 2009. To this day, we still have questions about the particulars of his passing, but mostly we question the nature of fate and why Glenn had to be given a second chance only to have it taken away. It seems too cruel even to contemplate. We grieve for the loss of such a good man, and for the absence of a husband and father in his family's life. We grieve for our friend who gave so much to our lives and to PPI, from its origins to its present incarnation. For that reason, we make this memorial to Glenn Pitcher a permanent feature of this website. It may sound sentimental, but we continue working here as a tribute to him. We invite you to enjoy the following pictures of our dear friend and, if you knew Glenn, to share some of your stories about him for inclusion in this ongoing tribute.
Glenn, if you're there, anywhere, reading these words and looking at these pictures, know that we love you and miss more than you can imagine.
Many of the images of Glenn and other media embedded in the following article are from PPI's own case files and archives, but a goodly portion of the photos are used with the generous permission of his sister, Cheryl. Others have been kindly contributed from Glenn's family, Brian Johnson, Dave Walters and Ellie Glidewell. We invite you to add your own voice to this page and remember Glenn in your own way as well.