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Murder in the Mid-State

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The Nelson Rehmeyer hex murder house in York County, Pennsylvania

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On the Monday October 30th, 2017 edition of WITF’s Smart Talk:

Halloween is creeping around the corner and on the Monday edition of WITF’s Smart talk we’ll dissect a pair of terrifying stories from the region that border on urban legend.

In late November of 1928, three men walked onto a remote farm in southeast York County and murdered the reclusive Nelson Rehmeyer.  The ring leader, a down-on-his-luck transient named John Blymer, had convinced his accomplices that Rehmeyer was using witchcraft to cast spells. 

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L: A window in the floor of the hex murder house reveals burn marks remaining from Nelson Rehmeyer’s death / R: Rehmeyer’s copy of Pow-Wows

Lawyer and author J. Ross McGinnis has studied the case for decades, collating his research in the 2000 book Trials of Hex.  McGinnis will join Smart Talk to tell a tale of destitution, mysticism and murder.

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Lawyer and author J. Ross McGinnis

Also, in 1879, six men in Lebanon County conspired to murder a neighbor.  A hefty insurance policy was purchased on the victim right before his murder.  The six defendants all had blue eyes, garnering the collective moniker the “Blue Eyed Six.”  Their trial was precedent-setting and the outcome favorable for the hangman.

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The ‘Blue Eyed Six’

Gary Ludwig, author of The Blue Eyed Six, will join Smart Talk to break through the urban legends that have fascinated Lebanon residents for more than a century and share the true story of the first insurance murder in American history.

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Gary Ludwig, author of The Blue Eyed Six

Smart Talk encourages you to join the conversation by calling the program at 800-729-7532 or via email at  Follow us on twitter at @SmartTalkWITF.


on Hex Murder – 

– I’m hoping you could ask your guest about how the victim was perceived as an outsider in the community, thus possibly susceptible to violence like this. I find it fascinating, but also very sad!                                         – Sarah, Chambersburg

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