Terrible Hex Murder of 1928, associated with Halloween, actually happened at Thanksgiving

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This is my favorite photograph of the Hex Murder house, scene of the killing of a suspected witch in 1928. A trio murdered Nelson Rehmeyer, acting with the belief that he had cast a spell on one of them. This York Daily Record/Sunday News photo makes the house appear to be rising from the Rehmeyer Hollow field in southern York County, Pa. All Hex Murder posts from the start.

The Hex Murder case and trials of 1928-29 have become associated with Halloween.

The North Hopewell-Winterstown Fire Company helped make it so by offering hayrides for years into Rehmeyer’s Hollow. This year, the fire company revived the event, offering tours of the house itself. (Those tours are over for this year.)

That’s interesting, given the fact that the murder happened at Thanksgiving, 1928. The trio of John Blymyer, John Curry and Wilbert Hess set out to Rehmeyer Hollow on the evening of Nov. 27, according to ‘Trials of Hex’ author Ross McGinnis. Thanksgiving that year was Nov. 29. In fact, that was the day Rehmeyer’s body was discovered by neighbor David Yanover. “There he was on that Thanksgiving day of 1928, lying on the floor, face down, his head resting on a block of kindling wood, a piece of rope around his neck … ,” McGinnis wrote.

So as York County was observing the holiday and prepping for Christmas shopping and other holiday festivities, the trio of young men plotted and carried out their plan to gain some items from Nelson Rehmeyer that would break a spell. That plan went awry and the subsequent trial gained international headlines.

Halloween is an expected link because the moment involved witches and spells, a dark and remote area, murder, a partially burned body.

All this draws attention to this terrible moment in York County history, but we must always remember that it was a terrible moment.

A man died.

The victim’s and assailants’ families suffered.

It was a terrible, terrifying moment in York County history.

Check out:

This YDR Media Center gallery carries 29 photos associated with the Hex Murder.

Winterstown: Beautiful area with two ugly moments

Also of interest:
Powwowing: ‘… It was here, and it had many adherents …
‘Powwowing was done for good’
Hex headache cure: ‘Tame thou flesh and bone’
Relative: Evil in Hex murder came from outside
Hex murder fascinating tale of mysticism, occult: Part 1
‘Trials of Hex’ makes sense of notorious murder case: Part 2
Little-known facts about Hex murder trial emerge
Hex murder compared to O.J.’s, Anna Nicole Smith’s cases
Hex house visit offers surprises
Visiting the scene of the crime.

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.

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