The Powwow Guy

Home of Robert Phoenix and Traditional Christian Pennsylvania German Powwow

Rehmeyer Memorium

Nelson Rehmeyer was a Powwower that lived in York County, Pennsylvania. In late November, 1928, Nelson Rehmeyer was murdered by three local boys who believed he had put a curse on them.

The story made national news and cast a negative light on the beliefs of the Pennsylvania Germans and "Dutch" about Powwowing and Witchcraft.

In 2015, the documentary Hex Hollow: Witchcraft and Murder in Pennsylvania was released. This movie highlighted the events leading up to the murder of Nelson Rehmeyer, as well as took a deep dive into the lives of his murderers. I was very blessed to be a part of this documentary, being asked to speak about the subject of Powwowing. 

This page is a memorial to Nelson Rehmeyer, who lived just a short distance from me and who has inspired me to stay fast and true to the tradition of Powwow for over two decades.

I've always felt a kinship with Nelson Rehmeyer because he liked to be alone and keep to himself. Even though he was married and had two daughters, he still lived alone, while his wife and daughters lived in another house just up the road. I can personally relate to this need and desire for seclusion and solitude. Nelson was available to those who needed him and, in fact, folks would show up all hours of the day or night for his help. Nelson's story is sad and his grave is a lonely and forlorn place. Two years ago, I laid two coins on his grave. When I went to visit the grave again just a few months ago, the coins were still exactly as I had placed them. To me, that speaks of a solitude (and loneliness) that I know very well. His neighbors and the folks in his community didn't always understand him. They didn't always agree with his views on certain issues (ex. he was a Socialist), and they often tried to talk him out of being who and what he was. But these things didn't deter him. And literally, until his death, he remained true to who and what he was. And I wish I could have known him. But I like to think I carry on his work and keep his memory alive. I am blessed to have had the opportunity to speak on his behalf as a Powwower in the Hex Hollow movie, which forever makes my voice a part of his story. + + +

This is the artwork from the Hex Hollow film that I have displayed in my home. These are the original drawings that were done by Wesley Blymire, great nephew of John Blymire, the man responsible for the murder of Nelson Rehmeyer. Wes is a great guy and was shocked to learn that his great uncle was a murderer. He honors Nelson's memory by contributing his amazing artwork to the Hex Hollow movie. I feel blessed to have the originals in my own private collection.

Below are some photographs I took while visiting the house and the Hollow.