The Writer Within
Amityville is a multi-faceted story as first it took the form of mass murder of a whole family was in 1974 on November 13th Ronald DeFeo Jr. shot and killed his family of six. It took place in the small town of Amityville at 112 ocean Avenue in Long Island. New York. He would later be convicted of 2nd Degree murder.
Twenty-three-year-old Ronnie "Butch" DeFeo was wrought with emotional and drug problems went from room to room shooting his parents, four brothers and sisters in their beds with a .35 caliber Marlin rifle. killing his father first with two shots then shot his mother twice before proceeding in killing his brothers and sisters. At the trial, DeFeo pleaded not guilty due to insanity claiming he had heard voices and something made him commit the murders. The jury denied the plea and sentenced him to six life terms. He later admitted he lied about hearing voices to make his insanity plea more believable.
Later in 1975 in December the house again acquired new residents by the name of George and Kathy Lutz with their three children. Their residents only lasted less than a month when they fled the house claiming paranormal activity.
The story has been told in many forms including film and print.
In print, the first book closely related to the real story was produced by Jay Anson entitled "The Amityville Horror: A True Story" published by Prentice Hall in 1977. It appears not to be in print anymore so if you find one at a yard sale it might be worth a read and keepsake.
The book was based on a true story about a family that lived at 112 Ocean Avenue that had remained vacant for over a year and then occupied by George and Kathleen Lutz in 1975. Prior to this, the house was occupied by the DeFeo family where the husband had killed his whole family. Lutz purchased the Dutch Colonial home with its gambrel roofline for $80,000 which at the time was a real bargain. Especially since the home had its own pool and boathouse which sat along a canal. It appears that of late the pool is no longer there.
George and Kathy Lutz had been married in 1975 of which had prior homes of their own. Being newly married they wanted a home that they could call theirs. Kathy had three children from her prior marriage who were 9 yr old Daniel, 7 yr old Christopher and 5 yr old Melissa who they called "Missy." The family also had a dog which was a crossbred Malamute and Lab who went by the name of Harry. The Lutz's were well aware of the murders as the real estate agent had informed them. They felt it posed no problem and wanted the home and moved in on December 19, 1975. The house had still contained much of the DeFeo's original furniture as the Lutz agreed to pay an extra $400 for it to remain. A friend of Georges knew well of the murders in the house and recommended the house be blessed so the friend got a priest named Father Ralph J Pecoraro to bless the house. In the book, the priest took the name of Father Mancuso for privacy reasons. On December 18th the Father went to the house to carry out the rite and as he saw George they exchanged waves and the Father went in the house to carry out the blessing. Georg went on to offer to pay him but he only refused but said he felt something strange in the one upstairs bedroom. After he described the bedroom I told him that it was going to be Kathy's sewing room anyway and it was not going to be used as a bedroom. He said that was good and it should not be slept in and left. When he started to drizzle holy water he heard a man's voice telling him to "get out!" The father left never telling the Lutzes of what she had heard. On the 24th the Father called George and advised him to stay out of the second-floor room which had been the bedroom of Marc and John DeFoe. Kathy was going to use it for a sewing room but before George could relay this the phone call was cut short by static. The father later stated that he developed a high fever and blisters on his hands and related it to being stigmata. At the start, George and Kathy had not experienced any abnormalities. In January of 1976 Gorge and Kathy attempted to have the house blessed again. it was then they decided to leave the house for good leaving even the clothes in the closet and the food in the refrigerator. Movers who were hired to remove the possession stated they experienced no abnormalities. George stated even on the first night there seem to be cold spots in the house but paid it no mind. He said there was one in the stairway, one in the basement as well as in the boathouse. The one in the boathouse was more profound and the one in the basement seem to be off and on. Although things were subtle it was at this point that the torment started to increase and unfold. Lutz confessed stated they experienced strange phenomena such as odors that appeared and then would disappear. At times his wife would smell of perfume but of the old lady type. As time progressed she was turning old fast and even her mother saw it. Sounds would be heard and the front door would slam shut in the middle of the night. it was hard to get warm in the house and they would burn the fireplace burning night and day to try and stay warm. Things started to happen more as we would hear footsteps in the house. Kathy had called George at work as said she found this hidden room in the basement. She told me it was all red and behind the bookcase. The realtor never showed it to us when we looked at the house. The Lutz's acquired the blueprints of the house and the room was never in the plans. it was big enough for two people and strange odors came from it at times. They took Harry the dog to it but he would not go near it and just backed away. Many times George would say that his wife would appear as an old woman with a wrinkled face and just old-looking of women in her nineties. George and Kathy began to withdraw from life and the family members were changing. George barley went to work anymore and he lost a lot of weight and was always sick. Kathy had signed up for a class but never went to class. They would invite people over and they would hear footsteps upstairs and the kids were all sleeping. His friends would say things that were out of his character and things that one would never say and not nice things to talk about.
George also claimed that he was awakened every day at 3:15 in the morning at the same time that DeFeo was estimated to happen. On one occasion he heard his child's bed slam up and down on the floor. When he attempted to stop it some unknown force held him alongside the moving bed. On that same night, he awoke to see his wife levitate and move across the bed. Even when they took the advice of Father Ray to get away for the night it followed them to Kathy's mother's house as Kathy experienced levitation there and the kids could not sleep and the dog was even affected.
When the Lutz's moved out a team of psychic researchers assembled in the house to analyze the claims under the direction Of reporter Laura Dido. One of the researchers Lorraine Warren said she felt an overwhelming feeling of "horrible depression" in the house. George Lutz believed that the house's horrors may have driven DeFeo to commit the murders he did.
When questioned during a 1970's lawsuit about the facts Father Pecoraro stated that he had only phone conversations with the Lutz's and that he had experienced no abnormities. However, this seems to contrast to what Lutz said in an interview with Jeff Belanger as he stated he was asked to come down to the diocesan offices in Rockville Center, Long Island to meet with Father Pecoraro. Lutz went on to say they called him Father Ray for short and said they had met multiple times to explain the process of blessing the house. However, he later stated he did hear a voice saying "get out!" but gave it no meaning. He also said he felt like he was slapped in the face and did confirm he had blisters on his hands. Father Pecoraro left the church and just seem to vanish until his death in 1987.
George and Kathy Lutz had filed a lawsuit in May of 1977 against William Weber (who had been the defense lawyer for Ronald DeFeo Jr), Paul Hoffman (a writer who wrote on accounts of the happenings of the haunting). The Lutz's actually sought out Weber as they wanted to know what DeFeo had gone through in the house and Weber brought Hoffman with him and then wrote an article in Good Housekeeping without Lutz's consent. This brought a ton of media now down on the Lutz's and adding to the stress. Bernard Burton and Frederick Mars (both who were clairvoyants who examined the house) and Good Housekeeping magazine, The New York Sunday News, and the Hearst Corporation which published articles of the haunting. The mass media wanted to examine the house and after numerous psychic investigations, they confirmed the house was filled with something that never walked the earth and it would take a powerful clergy to expel it from the house. They also professed there were multiple forms of energy in the house just not one. Georg stated he had heard them refer to it as a supermarket of entities. They picked and chose who they wanted to play with. Lorraine Warren professed that "Amityville was a case that affected her personal lives more than any other case she ever worked on." She further professed it followed her to her home, followed her on the road. many dangerous things happened to her because of the Amityville case." Many people tried to attach themselves to the Amityville case. Some with good intent some with the intent just to prosper. Little concern was for the Lutz family. Many things took place from press conferences to articles without the approval of the Lutz's permission. Lutz's wanted their story to be tools so they sought out Jay Anson. George admitted that they had chosen to move out of New York and they would have never approached it this way if they knew it would have turned out the way it did. The Lutz's packed their bags at Kathy's mother's house and headed for the airport. They handed the keys and title to the car to the porter and took a plane to San Diego. The incident affected George's faith as he converted to Catholicism and made it a part of his daily life. MGM went on to make a new version of the movie claiming 'it was based on a true story" and they had found new research uncovering some of the events that happened to the Lutz family but that never included talking to the Lutz family. After repeated attempts by the Lutz's and never a reply, they decided to sue the Lutz's in motion for declaratory relief which they wanted the judge to give them the right to do the remake and whatever they wanted. The Lutz's had no choice but to countersue as they felt there were violations of the contract.
The Lutz's alleged misappropriations of names for trade purposes invasion of privacy and mental distress. Hoffman, Weber, and Burton filed a countersuit for $2 million alleging fraud and breach of contract. All claims against the news companies were dropped for lack of evidence while the rest were heard by the Brooklyn U. S. District Court under Judge Jack B. Weinstein. Judge Weinstein dismissed Lutz's claims in 1979 saying "what he had heard it appears to him the works of the Anson book was a book of fiction relying largely on what was professed by Weber. Weber later professed to People Magazine "I know the book is a hoax as we created this horror story over many bottles of wine."
George Lutz went on to claim that many aspects of the book were true and denied any dishonesty on his part. In 1979 George and Kathy took a polygraph in relation to what happened at the house and two top-notch testers of the time Chris Gugas and Michael Rice and both confirmed the Lutz's did not lie.
I think we have to separate the literary world and the real world for a moment as most in the literary world wants to do one thing "sell a story that will sell" and in the real world we try to verify the actual account which at times results can be boring. This is one reason I do not watch reality television as for as hard as they try you can tell the scenes are picked out and processed to gain attention as this sells the program.
When the house was sold in 1977 for $55,000 Jim and Barbara Cromarty said that the damage to the locks, doors, and windows were just items that had never been fixed. Cromarty who had bought the house in 1977 and lived there for ten years stated: "nothing weird ever happened except for those wanting to see the legend." The room that was called the "Red Room" had been a small closet in the basement which the Lutz's were well aware of and had been visible and not hidden in any way. Also, the claims that the house had been built on a former Shinnecock Indians had abandoned the mentally ill and dying was rejected by the local Native American leaders. The claim of cloven hoof prints in the snow on January 1st, 1976 was disproved as the weather reports showed there was no snow in Amityville on that date. Neighbors had reported nothing had been seen out of the ordinary when the Lutz's lived there. There was no bar in Amityville called "The Witches Brew at the time. Ronald DeFeo had been a regular at Henrys Bar which was close to the house. Many editions of the in Anson's book Father Pecoraro car changed from a Ford to a Chevy Vega and then back to a Ford. A vampirologist and ghost hunter Dr. Stephen Kaplan was called in to investigate the house and the Lutz's had a falling out as before he started that if there was any fraud about the house he would expose it. it appeared that he had a bias before he even started and he then went on to write a book with his wife Roxanne Salch Kaplan entitled "The Amityville Horror Conspiracy in 1995.
On March 6, 1976, the house was investigated by Ed and Lorraine Warren as they called themselves demonologist along with a television crew and reporter Michael Linder. During this investigation infrared time-lapse photographs where one image projected a demonic-looking boy with glowing eyes who starred at the foot of the staircase. The photo was not made public until 1979 on The Merv Griffin Show. The house was also investigated by parapsychologist Hans Holzer. Holzer went to the house with a medium who claimed to be able to talk to the dead. According to Holzer's account, the medium went into a trance and said there was an Indian chief who was on the warpath in the house because it had been built on the site of a sacred burial ground. Holzer thinks Ronnie DeFeo was possessed by the angry spirit of the Indian chief, and that the chief will not leave the house until it burns down and leaves the land bare. When questioned members of the Montauk tribe of Long Island were leery of Holzer's theory, saying there are no records of any burial ground in Amityville. Even if there were, "that doesn't mean we will go into somebody's body and capture their soul and control in a very negative way ... that's not us," said the tribe's Chief Straight Arrow Cooper.
George and Kathy decided to stay at Kathy's mother's house in nearby Deer Park while they would attempt to sort out what plans they would make for the situation. However, the abnormalities followed them as they stated greenish-black slime seem to appear out of the staircase and at them. Movers who were hired to remove the possession stated they experienced no abnormalities.
Lutz had given 45 hours of taped accounts to Jan Anson which he based his book upon.
Other books have been written about the place such as a series by John G. Jones with an added edition by Robin Karl called "The Nightmare Continues." Jones had gone on to publish his series with the titles:
1. The Amityville Horror Part II (1982)
2. Amityville: The Final Chapter (1985)
3. Amityville: The Evil Escapes (1988)
4. Amityville: The Horror Returns (1989)
Hans Holzer had also written three books related to the event called:
1. Murder in Amityville (This film was used as a base for the film if 1982 Amityville II: The Possession
2. The Amityville Curse (This was the base for the film in 1990 of the same name)
3. The Secret of Amityville
Gordon McGill in 2008 had written Mentally Ill in Amityville a factual account of the case of Will Savive.
Many films have been produced to approach the story
• The Amityville Horror (1979)
• Amityville II: The Possession (1982)
• Amityville 3-D (1983) (made in 3-D and has also been released as Amityville III: The Demon)
• Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes (1989)
• The Amityville Curse (1990)
• Amityville: It's About Time (1992)
• Amityville: A New Generation (1993)
• Amityville Dollhouse (1996)
• The Amityville Horror (2005 remake)
• The Amityville Haunting (2011)
• The Amityville Asylum (2013)
• Amityville Death House (2015)
• The Amityville Playhouse (2015)
• The Conjuring 2 (2016)
• Amityville: No Escape (2016)
• Amityville: Vanishing Point (2016)
• The Amityville Legacy (2016)
• The Amityville Terror (2016)
• Amityville Prison (2017)
• Amityville: The Awakening (2017)
• The Amityville Murders (2018)
Kathleen Theresa Lutz had passed away on August 17, 2004, from emphysema and George passed on May 8, 2006, from heart disease. They had divorced in the 1980's but had remained in contact and good terms. The house has been renovated and the address changed although I do not see how that helped to keep people away.
In May of 2010, the house had been up for sale for $1.15 million, and then in August of 2010, the house was sold to a local resident for $950,000. The owner sold the contents to the house in a moving sale where a hundred turned up to the event. They were not allowed upstairs or the basement.
ABC News, January 6, 2006 "Amityville Horror: Horror or Hoax"
By Seulatr - Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3022369
Most Factual Book
Most Factual Book
This was the first book to tell the most facts about the Lutzes at the Amityville home. It is no longer in print so if you can find one grab it.
Psychics cover the house The little boy with glowing eyes
Our Recent Work
Our Recent Work