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Civil War center, history department to host November 12 virtual discussion about Wizard Clip legend

ISSUED: 3 November 2020
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University’s George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War and Department of History are hosting a virtual program titled “Wizard Clip: Legend and Legacy” on Thursday, November 12, at 6:30 p.m. on the Civil War center’s Facebook page. The event is free and open to the public.

In 1794, the residents of Smithfield, Virginia, (now Middleway, West Virginia) were seized by panic and fear following the sudden death of an anonymous traveler at the Livingston farm. Allegedly, the stranger died without receiving Catholic rites, leading to a series of strange occurrences attributed to his vengeful ghost. The legend of “Wizard Clip” or “the Clip,” so named because of the invisible ghost’s fondness for cutting fabric in his victims’ households, became a folklore staple of the Lower Shenandoah Valley.

The Civil War center and history department will host a panel discussion on the enduring significance of the legend in Jefferson County. Panelists will discuss the content of the legend and how it has changed in printed remediations and oral folklore over the last 200 years. Panelists will also attempt to shed light the legend’s historical context and the ethnic and religious landscape of the Valley in the late 18th century and will explore the legacy of the legend in Jefferson County today.

For more information, contact Dr. James Broomall, Civil War center director, at, or Dr. Benjamin Bankhurst, assistant professor of history, at, or visit the center’s Facebook page.

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