The Wizzard Clip –part 3 of 3

Posted by | October 22, 2014

The bulk of the following is from “Wizzard Clip,” by W.W. Laidley, published in the West Virginia Historical Magazine Quarterly,
 January 1904

Part 3 of 3

“The result of the inquiries led Adam Livingston to visit an Episcopal minister, who then resided in Winchester, but he derived little satisfaction from this visit, and returned home much disappointed.

“He was then advised to see the McSherry family, who were Roman Catholics, and who resided in a very fine estate called “Relievement,” about a mile east of Leetown, at which place the priest was often in the habit of stopping while discharging his spiritual functions in that neighborhood.

“Late in the evening of the same day Mrs. McSherry saw a man coming to her home; she met him at the gate when he told her he wanted ‘to see the priest.’ She informed him that the priest was not at her house, but there would be church in Shepherdstown the following Sunday, when the visitor would have an opportunity of seeing him.

“Mr. and Mrs. McSherry, in company with Mr. Joseph Minghini, went to church on the appointed day, and there they saw the man who had inquired for the priest, and who proved to be Livingston.

“As the priest appeared at the altar, vested for Mass, Livingston seemed to be perfectly overcome. He wept bitterly, and exclaimed loud enough to be heard by the small congregation: ‘This is the very man I saw in my dream; he is the one that the voice told me would relieve me from my troubles.’

“When the service was over, Livingston promptly called on the priest and told him his sad story; but the priest, Father Dennis Cahill of Hagerstown, laughed at him and told him it must be some of his neighbors who were plaguing him, and that he must go home and keep a strict watch for them.

“Richard McSherry and Joseph Minghini, who were present at the interview, were much moved by the old man’s tears and tried to comfort him. After much urgent persuasion, Father Cahill, accompanied by Mr. McSherry and Mr. Minghini, agreed to visit Livingston’s house and to inquire into the strange transactions which he had related.

Church and Graveyard, Middleway, WV

Church and Graveyard, Middleway, WV

“They found his story corroborated not only by the family, but by most of the people with whom they conversed in Smithfield.

“Father Cahill resorted to the remedy of sprinkling the house with holy water, which did not expel the troublesome visitor from the house. However, this attempted remedy yielded a deposit on the doorsill of the exact amount of money that Livingston had mysteriously lost a week after the unnamed traveler’s death.

“The strange clipping still continuing after that time, it was determined by Father Cahill to have Mass celebrated in the house, which was done, and Livingston was relieved from all annoyances of his ghostly visitor.”

The West Virginia Historical Magazine article fails to mention that the old Lutheran farmer was so deeply grateful for having obtained the relief that had been promised him, that he and his family decided to convert to Catholicism.

At this time, in the fall of 1797, a young Catholic priest was sent by Bishop Carroll of Baltimore to investigate the strange happenings at the Adam Livingston house. Father Demetrius A. Gallitzin started as a skeptic but, after interviewing witnesses and seeing the phenomena himself, changed his mind.

Father Gallitzin befriended Mr. Livingston and remained close to him and the family up until Livingston’s death. “Mr. Livingston removed from Virginia to Bedford County, Pennsylvania, where he died in the spring of 1820,” says Gallitzin in his memoirs. “I had Mass at his house repeatedly. He continued, to the last, very attentive to his duties, but did not receive the rites of the Church in his last sickness, which carried him off too quick to afford any chance of sending for a priest.”

Sources: The Mystery of the Wizard Clip, by Father J. M. Finotti, Baltimore, 1879
Mystery of the Wizard Clip, by John B. Piet, West Virginia, 1879
The Mystery of the Wizard Clip, Our Lady of the Rosary Library, Prospect, KY

http://www.wvculture.org/history/notewv/wizardclip1.html

“Haunted House,” by Mark Gauvreau Judge, The Wall Street Journal, October 31, 2003

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