The Ghost Story Behind a Bucolic Catholic Retr…

A brief, true
history of West Virginia’s Priest Field and “The Legend of the Wizard Clip.”


While mysticism and
Christianity often mingle, it’s decidedly not often that
religious sites are founded on straight-up ghost stories. That’s what makes the
pastoral center near Middleway, West Virginia, known as Priest Field, so fascinating. Priest Field,
a 38-acre outreach and ecumenical center operated by the Diocese of
Wheeling-Charleston, would not exist in the form it does today were it not for
a centuries-old haunted house story known as “The Legend of the Wizard Clip.”

The origins of the bizarrely named “Wizard Clip” mystery
go back to the late 1700s, when Virginia was still being settled, and before
West Virginia had become its own state. The story begins with a man named Adam
Livingston, a devout Lutheran who moved to the area in the early 1790s. According
to The Mystery of the Wizard Clip, a published account from 1949
that is still sold at Priest Field, Livingston arrived there from Pennsylvania,
where he had owned a great deal of land. For unknown reasons, his Pennsylvania
property had begun experiencing a host of calamities, from his cattle dying off
to his barn burning to the ground. Looking for a fresh start, Livingston and
his family packed up and moved. But as it turned out, his troubles were only

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