The Appalachian Legend of the Wizard Clip: America's First Poltergeist

Type: Books

In the early 1790s, a Lutheran family in Appalachia fell victim to a menacing spirit that Lutheran, Methodist and Episcopal clergy as well as Folk magic practitioners failed to remove. The entity, which came to be known as the Wizard Clip, was said to cut or slice anything made of cloth or leather. Was it a ghost or a demon? After years of torment, the deeply Protestant family finally found respite from a seemingly impossible ally, a Catholic exorcist. This legend has eerie parallels to lore of ghosts and witches from the Old World as well as the early American Republic. As American religious leaders sought to find a place for their congregations in a post-Revolutionary time of enlightened secularism, tales like these helped churches define themselves, and this particular story was used to distinguish Catholic supernaturalism from later spiritualism.

Author Michael Kishbucher tells a spooky and incredibly compelling story that shines a light on the region's religious history.