Known locally as the Hex House, this was once the home of Pennsylvania Dutch “Pow Wow Doctor” Nelson Rehmeyer, until he was beaten to death in it in 1928 in a scuffle over curses and spells.
“Pow wow medicine” was an esoteric practice related to faith healing and witchcraft, inheriting traditions brought over by the Pennslyvania Dutch settlers from Germany. In the US, the practice centered around a book of magical recipes called “Pow-Wows or The Long Lost Friend” by Johann Georg Hohman.
It seems that Rehmeyer ran afoul of another local witch, John H. Blymire, who claimed that Rehmeyer had placed a hex on him causing his bad health. On November 28, 1928, Blymire and two teenaged accomplices broke into Rehmeyer’s house seeking his copy of “Long Lost Friend”, and demanded the hex be undone. When they were not appeased (the details are fuzzy), the intruders beat Rehmeyer to death and then set the home ablaze. That the house did not burn down was seen as further proof of occult forces at work.
The resulting trial, known as the “York witch trial,” and the underlying stories of modern witchcraft and violence caused a sensation at the time. All three men were convicted and imprisoned, but all were eventually released.
Descendants of Nelson Rehmeyer opened the “Hex House” to the public in 2007, with displays from his life and murder.