CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Jon-Erik Gilot will present “The Wizard Clip–The History and Memory of West Virginia’s Earliest Ghost Story” in the Archives and History Library at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston, on Thursday, Oct. 13. The program begins at 6 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

In the late 18th century, “alleged” spirits were persecuting a family in Middleway, Jefferson County. Strange rumblings, flying items and invisible scissors cutting sheets and dresses into crescent-shaped strips were heard and seen. A Russian prince turned Catholic priest ended the demonic manifestation, which was soon replaced with a new spiritual manifestation, one that instructed the family in the Catholic faith. The “voice” predicted that the land would become “a great place of prayer and fasting and praise.” This forecast was fulfilled in 1978 with the establishment of the Priest Field Pastoral Center.

Gilot will trace the history and popular memory of what many consider to be West Virginia’s original ghost story and how the Wizard Clip story is still being written, this time, in Rome.

Priest Field Pastoral Center of the Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston is located in Kearneysville, W.Va. Ecumenical and interfaith in outlook, it hosts a wide range of individuals and groups who find the grounds and facilities ideal for gatherings, educational conferences, working retreats and programs for spiritual growth.

Gilot is the director of archives and records at the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Bethany College and a master’s degree in library and information science with an emphasis on archives from Kent State University. He is a board member of the West Virginia Independence Hall Foundation and The Association of Catholic Diocesan Archivists, and sits on the Wheeling Historic Landmarks Commission.

For additional information about the Archives and History lecture series, contact the Archives and History Library at (304) 558-0230.

Patrons may park behind the Culture Center after 5 p.m. on Oct. 13 and enter the building at the back loading dock area. There also is limited handicapped parking available in the new bus turnaround. Visitors parking there should enter at the front of the building.

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, cabinet secretary. The division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the division’s programs, events and sites, visit The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.