Welcome to another True Crime Sunday! This week, we’re going to take a look at a case involving witches, curses, and murder. Am I talking about Salem in the 1600s? Nope. This case happened in Pennsylvania in 1928 in Rehmeyer’s Hollow, also known as Hex Hollow.
For some time prior to the murder, John Blymire had been experiencing a pretty nasty run of bad luck. Money woes, health issues, failing crops, you name it. At this time, a particular folk magic called Powwow was practiced in that area of Pennsylvania. The poor guy came to the only possible conclusion for his bad luck: he’d been cursed.
Blymire visited a local witch who revealed that Nelson Rehmeyer, another Powwow practitioner, was the one responsible for the curse. He must have been surprised to discover the guilty party since sources claim that Rehmeyer once cured an illness he had using his magic. He was skeptical at first, but the witch, Nellie Noll, told him to take a dollar out of his pocket and stare at George Washington’s picture. When that picture transformed into Rehmeyer, that was all the proof that was required, it seems. Noll told Blymire that if he wanted to end the curse, he had to get a lock of Rehmeyer’s hair to bury six feet deep or collect his copy of The Long Lost Friend, a book of folk magic published in 1820, and burn it.
Blymire and a friend visited the Rehmeyer house but could not find the book. The pair returned the next night with a third man. Nelson Rehmeyer claimed he did not have the book, and the men searched but were unable to find it. A struggle began, and when it was over, Rehmeyer was dead.
The three men then set the house on fire. Reportedly, the men believed that Rehmeyer’s death and the destruction of the house would also be a way to lift the curse. Plus, it would get rid of evidence of their crime. However, things didn’t quite go according to plan.
The fire soon burned itself out, which some took as proof of Rehmeyer’s abilities, and the house was left mostly intact. There was plenty of evidence left behind, and John Blymire confessed to the crime.
Blymire and his accomplices were arrested and convicted of murder. He and one of the other men were sentenced to life in prison, and the third was sentenced to ten to twenty years in prison. All three were eventually released before the end of their sentences.
It’s been said that Blymire claimed he could feel the hex breaking at the time of Rehmeyer’s death. So, there’s that, I guess.
Join me next Sunday when we take a look at another one of history’s famous or little known true crime stories!
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