Otto Teachers Pen "The Ghosts of Saratoga"
Otto Teachers Pen "The Ghosts of Saratoga"
Posted on 10/30/2019

David Dampf teaches Social Studies at Otto Shortell Middle School and David Ossont is a retired Science teacher from OSMS. Together, the pair penned a book of historical fiction. The title is "The Ghosts of Saratoga."

It was quite the process, beginning more than 17 years ago! Dampf says Ossont initially had the idea for the story. Ossont brought him a storyboard and together they wrote a story for the main character and his role during the Battle of Saratoga. “We hadn’t written a book. We decided it might be fun. So, we did- and it was!“ said Ossont.

Dampf Ossont

The story follows a young rifleman. It’s a fictional character, but a lot of the characters and events are based on historical fact.

“We like history, especially local,” said Ossont.

“It’s a lesser known battle for how important it was. If there is no revolution than none of those other things happen,” said Dampf.  “The lesson of the story is that you can’t go through something like that and remain unchanged.”

After the story was written, the challenge was finding a publisher. “We would shop the book around every once in a while,” said Ossont. “We have a folder full of rejection letters,” he added with a grin.  After retiring, Ossont submitted the book to publishers once again. This time, an offer stuck. The publisher even drew the cover artwork for the book.


The reaction has been great from friends, family and students. Dampf says with a chuckle that some of his current students are telling substitute teachers that he is a famous author!

So, are there any plans for a sequel? “We talked about where we would go next with our character. We certainly have other actions that we could bring him to. Everyone seems to write trilogies nowadays, so that seems like the way to go,” said Dampf. “Maybe once I join Ossont’s rank in retirement and I have more time.”

Regardless of whether another book happens, this was something the authors are proud to have accomplished. “To do something like this with someone who is such a good friend who I am so close with, there was not an argument to be found,” said Dampf.

“Whether it ever got published or not, it was a nice experience,” said Ossont.

The Ghosts of Saratoga can be found on Amazon and an independent book seller called Indie Bound ( You can also find a copy at many MidYork Libraries.


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