This story comes from Jefferson County, West Virginia and is attributed to Adam Livingston in 1794 in the small town of Middleway.
In 1790 Adam Livingston moved his family from Pennsylvania to a 75 acre farm adjoining the village of Middleway in Jefferson County, West Virginia. About four years after settling there, a middle aged stranger came and asked for board and lodging in the Livingston home. Since only two of the seven Livingston children were living at home at the time, it was thought there would be ample room for the stranger and he was permitted to stay.
Only a few days after the arrival of the stranger, he became ill. When his condition became worse, he called Adam to his bedside, informed him he was a Roman Catholic and asked if there was a priest in the neighborhood. Adam, who was an intensely bigoted member of the Lutheran Church, replied that he knew of none and, even if there were any, he would never knowingly permit a Catholic priest to cross the threshold of his house. When the stranger realized he was going to die, he pleaded desperately forth spiritual solace, but Adam turned a deaf ear and allow the man to die without the comforting aid of the priest.
Following the death of the stranger, Adam employed Jacob Foster, a young man of the community, to sit up with the corpse through the night. When darkness approached, some new candles were brought in and lit. These candles, however, would not burn; as fast as they were lit, the fire flickered momentarily and then died out thinking their newness prevented them from burning properly, Adam brought in to older candles from his own room and which had already burned about a third down. These were lit and placed on tables on opposite sides of the room, but immediately flickered out and left the room in darkness. Foster now became so frightened he ran out of the house and never returned. So Adam had to keep the wake with the corpse of the stranger.
The next night after the burial of the stranger, Adam was awakened by a noise that sounded like horses galloping round his house he arose and went to a window to see what the commotion might be he looked out into the bright moonlit night, but there were no horses to be seen.
In the days that immediately follow this incident, there came a series of misfortunes to add an Livingston. It was a time of such confusion that, of all of the narrators of the events of that time, it appears that no two have presented them in the same order of occurrence. Perhaps Adam, himself, in his time of troubles, did not remember the time of order in which they came. Nevertheless, there was the report that crockeryware jumped off the tables and broke on the floor; a huge rope closed off the road in front of the house and then just as mysteriously disappeared; all his money was taken away; his barn burned in his cattle died; and coals of fire jumped out of the fireplace and danced about on the floor.
Throughout this time, Adam was greatly annoyed but seem to meet these apparent tricks of witchery with stoic fortitude. But when the chilling clip of the wizard's scissors came, he was terrified. First, the heads of Mrs. Livingston's turkeys, chickens, and ducts were clipped off. Then the clipping of the shears could be heard in the various rooms of the Livingston house. Within a period of two or three weeks, the scissors had clipped half moons and other curious shape designs and the blankets, counterpane's, sheets, clothing, and draperies; even Adams' boots and saddles did not escape the wizard's shears.
Word of the strange occurrences at the Livingston Homestead soon spread much beyond the village of Middleway. An elderly lady of Martinsburg heard about it and, to satisfy her curiosity, decided to visit the Livingston's and see for herself.
On her arrival at the Livingston homestead and before leaving her carriage, she removed her black, folded it neatly in a silk handkerchief, and placed it in her pocket so that it would not be clipped by the wizard's scissors. Then she went inside the house.
After visiting there for about a half hour, she came out and entered her carriage to return home. When she removed the handkerchief from her pocket and unfolded it, she found herself
Three brash young men of Winchester, upon hearing this strange tales being circulated about the wizard, announced they did not believe such reports and would prove them baseless if given an opportunity. On their arrival at the Livingston home they explain their mission and were graciously invited us in the night there.
That night while the three men sat in the living room and made trite remarks about people who believed in wizardry, a large stone came out of the fireplace and, with great speed, whizzed about the room. In terror, the men fled from the house; they could hardly believe they had escaped from such a hazard without being harmed their sudden the parts are for Winchester indicated they had no further desire to question the presence of the wizard.
The mental torture that Adam Livingston suffered day and night without any relief brought him to the verge of nervous exhaustion. Now desperately seeking help, he had three self-styled "conjurers" to come and try to get the wizard out of the house, but they failed.
During one night of fitful sleeping, Adam dreamed of climbing high on a mountain. Upon reaching the mountaintop, he saw a person dressed in a black robe standing there. As he gazed upon the man, he heard a voice say: "This is the one who can save you."
When Adam awoke, he still recall the dream in vivid detail; yet he was adamant about not having a Catholic priest in this house. Then the thought came to him that the black robed person in his dream could've represented a minister of the Protestant faith. He knew an Episcopal minister who were Rove and his church services, so he went to him for help. That minister, however, told Adam he could not help them.
Finally Adam came to the conclusion he would have to see a Catholic priest to get relief from his troubles. At that time in Leetown, a village only a few miles east of Middleway, there lived the McSherry family who were of the Roman Catholic faith. To then Adam when seeking the whereabouts of the priest. Ms. McSherry informed him that the Reverend Dennis Cahill would be at the Catholic Church and Shepherdstown on the following Sunday.
When Sunday came, Adam arose early and rode over to Shepherdstown. He soon located the Catholic Church, entered and sat down in a pew near the door. When the priest came out to the altar, tears came to Adam's eyes as he whispered audibly: "That is the man I saw in my dreams; I'm sure he can help me!"
When the church service was over, Adam met the Reverend Cahill and explained the situation to him. Thereupon, the priest accompanied Adam back to Middleway. The priests first act on arriving there was to sprinkle holy water throughout the interior of Adam's house. Soon thereafter, Adams money, which had disappeared earlier, was returned to the front doorsill. The clipping noise, however, continued. The priest next suggested that mass be celebrated in the house. At the conclusion of the mass, the clipping sound stopped. Never again did the wizard disturb the Livingston home. Because of these strange occurrences, the village of Middleway was known for over a half-century after word as Wizard Clip and Cliptown.
Works Cited: Jones, James Gay. Haunted Valley, and More Folk Tales. Parsons, W. Va.: McClain Print., 1979. Print. "Miracles of the Church." : The Wizard Clip -Adam Livingston's Miraculous Conversion. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 July 2016. "The Legend of Wizard Clip." Middleway Conservancy. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 July 2016.