In 1907 Henry DeMenil was in the Yunan province of China to possibly to teach. He was given two guides/guards to escort him through the province.
According to Henry's diary, he began to have mental problems and to act erratically.
Henry fired two warning shots to “motivate” one of the guards that he believed wasn't walking fast enough. He fired one shot up and to the right, and another shot up and to the left. A Buddhist priest (lama) was walking up over a hill and one of Henry's shots struck him in the right eye and killed him.
Because of the extraterritoriality treaty, Henry, as an American citizen, was tried in an American court and not a Chinese court. The closest American Court for China was in Shanghai. On the way to Shanghai to stand trial, Henry stopped at the dead lama’s parents home. Henry promised them that he would take care of them now that their son was dead.
The judge of the American court was Judge Lebbeus Redman Wilfey, who had been a resident of St. Louis. He even wrote in his decision that he knew the DeMenil family.
Henry was found not guilty by reason of temporary insanity, and released. Henry immediately left China.
In Yunan Province, there is an ancient tradition that predated both Islam and Buddhism, whereby a person could go to a practitioner of the “black arts” and for a fee, have a curse placed on individuals and their families. We think that the Buddhist priest's parents may have done this on Henry, his family, and Lebbeus Wilfey. As far as we know, Henry never did send them money or provide any other support.
The first person to feel the curse was Judge Wilfey. He was accused of financial improprieties, recalled to washington, and was tried by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Though acquitted, he lost his judgeship.
Next came Henry. He died of a sudden, massive heart attack in December, 1924 in front of his wife and kids at the VFW family Christmas party.
His father Alexander died of a sudden massive stroke on Thanksgiving Day, 1928.
His brother George and his wife Ida were only able to live in the beautiful mansion for a few months before they had to leave. The brewery next door had become a shoe factory, and they tanned leather on site.
We also have a sneaking suspicion that this could be the cause of the mysterious damage to our front steps!