York Town Square

Part of the USAToday Network

Date nights in Rehmeyer’s Hollow and other stories about York County’s Hex Murder

Hametown in Shrewsbury Township, Pa., was the closest hamlet to Rehmeyer’s Hollow, where York County’s infamous Hex Murder took place in 1929. The trio of assailants passed through the village to and from their attack on Nelson Rehmeyer. The three were later convicted in what amounted to a witch trial that gained international fame. Also of interest: What happened to Hex Murder defendants, convicted in York County 80 years ago? and Hames made in Shrewsbury Township’s Hametown fueled early American horsepower.

Researcher Sean Coxen has done some good work in bringing interesting facts about Nelson Rehmeyer, victim of the Hex Murder of 1928 to light. (Read the summary of his findings here.)
His visit with Rehmeyer family members and to the Rehmeyer’s Hollow site where three young men killed the farmer and suspected powwowing practitioner, fueled by the belief that he had cast a spell on one of them.
Here’s one fascinating story from Sean’s research… .

This is the Rehmeyer’s Hollow house, scene of the Hex Murder at Thanksgiving, 1928. (Photos with this post come from Sean Coxen’s tour with relatives of Nelson Rehmeyer.)

One York countian tells about an incident when he was 18 and bagging groceries for a supermarket in York. An elderly gentleman asked him about his future plans. The bagger told him, and the older man warned him not to “do what I did.”
“It seems when the oldster was 18 himself, he got caught up in a murder, duped into believing his family had been hexed by the man he helped murder. It was Wilbert Hess,” Sean wrote, naming of the trio who was by then released from prison.
The bagger feels today feels that Hess and the others truly believed Nelson Rehmeyer was a maleficent hexer who did them mischief. Hess said he regretted his crime.
Coxen provided another story – this one also from the grocery bagger – shows how the Hex Murder has entered York County lore:
It has long been the custom for teens to have “date nights in the hollow.”
The bagger and a friend took their girls into the hollow one night in a Mustang. When they passed the hex house, the driver slipped off the headlights and declared it the work of Rehmeyer’s ghost.
“The girls screamed and hollered a bit, and when the guys thought they had had enough, (the driver) flicked the light switch back on — only the lights DIDN’T COME ON!
The driver and bagger were a little freaked out, too.
“Turns out, there was a short in the switch which (the driver) got fixed and experienced no further supernatural phenomena. That little joke rounded on the boys,” Coxen wrote.
Coxen thought a collection of other “date nights in the hollow” would be a rich opportunity for people to reflect on their experiences. If you have those, comment below.
Indeed, the Hex Murder continues to prop up around York County.
The York County Heritage Trust’s Junior Curators exhibit, “The Good, Bad and Ugly,” featured the art work of assailant-turned-painter, John Curry.
All this only from an incident that took place only about 80 years ago.

Also of interest:
To see all Hex Murder posts/photos from the start, click here.
Or if you prefer, click on these individual links with their extensive collection of photographs:
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.