A look inside Poughkeepsie's Witchcraft District
Joe Mendillo, known to friends as Joe Netherworld, was a charismatic creative, collector, showman, and Satanist (more on that below), who coined the term “The Witchcraft District” for a stretch of Victorian homes in Poughkeepsie that he, his friends, and other eccentrics lived in.
At the heart of the district was Mendillo’s home, a rundown 1870 Carpenter Gothic house on the corner of South Clinton and Church streets that he purchased in 2000. He saw potential and chose to preserve some of its history, including smoke stains in the living room from a fire in which the previous tenant perished.
It became known as the Halloween House year-round, a reflection of Mendillo’s spooky decor inside and out. This past January, fire revisited the home when a masked arsonist set it ablaze, an act that infused even more mystery and media attention around Mendillo, who passed away in 2020.