The Amityville Horror – Facts, Fiction and Terror

Amityville – there are few town names that can inspire horror with only their mere mention like this sleepy enclave on the south coast of Long Island, NY.

Amityville – there are few town names that can inspire horror with only their mere mention like this sleepy enclave on the south coast of Long Island, NY.  The alleged incidents of haunting, poltergeist activity and demonic possession that occurred in 1975 at 112 Ocean Drive would go on to become one of the 20th century’s most infamous cases of haunting – but what really went on in Amityville?

The Amityville House

Ronald DeFeo Jr. – a macabre murder at 112 Ocean Drive

While Ronald “Butch” DeFeo was clearly a mentally troubled young man (planning mock bank robberies and threating a friend with a rifle), no one ever could have predicted that he would become a mass murderer. On November 13, 1974, Butch shot and killed six members of his immediate family: his parents, two brothers, and two sisters. It was a horrific crime that rocked the idyllic community of Amityville, and it would be the catalyst for a series of events that would make the town synonymous with terror.

The Lutz Family Moves In

Just over 12 months after the DeFeo murders, Kathy and George Lutz purchased the Dutch Colonial stunner at 112 Ocean Drive for the discount price of $80,000. They were made aware of the recent murders, but were convinced to sign the deed by the spacious waterfront property that had plenty of room for their three young children.

Less than 28 days later, the Lutzes would move out with nothing but the clothing on their backs, claiming to have been terrorised by malevolent spirits and paranormal phenomena.

Horror, Ghosts and Possession

Upon moving in, the Lutzes did not want to take any chances. As staunch Catholics, they asked Father Ray Pecoraro to bless the house, but this did nothing to prevent the haunting. Almost immediately upon inhabiting the space, the family claimed that they began to experience ominous and frightening portents.

Mysterious flu-like symptoms, strange visions, a pervasive freezing feeling and voices shouting “GET OUT” would only be the beginning; over the following weeks the Lutzes asserted that they witnessed the children’s beds move without explanation, saw each other levitate in bed, encountered a green gelatinous substance oozing down the walls, and felt chilling calls toward violence. George Lutz maintained that he was awoken every night at precisely 3:15am – he would later find out that this was the estimated time of the DeFeo murders.

Most disturbing of all are the accounts of “Jodie” that emerged from the mouth of the youngest Lutz child, Missie . She insisted that she was regularly visited by a demonic pig-like creature with glowing red eyes, and cloven footprints were indeed found in the snow surrounding her bedroom window.

The Amityville Horror – Elaborate Hoax or Haunting & Terror?

Less than 2 years later, author Jay Anson would pen the family’s tale of fright and haunting, titling it “The Amityville Horror.” The public ate it up, and by 1979 a splashy horror film was in theatres, breaking box office records and spawning over a dozen sequels. Clearly, theatre-going audiences were eager for more information about this tale, and yet these commercial pursuits prompted a number of detractors to come forward and cry, “hoax!” The family’s eagerness to cash in on their experience seemed highly suspect to many.

With that said, countless psychics and paranormal experts have toured the home, most famously Lorraine Warren. She claims to have felt an ‘overwhelming feeling" of "horrible depression"’ upon touring the home, and she has maintained contact with then-10 year old Daniel Lutz, now a grown man who insists the ordeal was authentic. A recent documentary film chronicles Daniel Lutz’s forty year experience of horror at the hands of the Amityville presence.

Is the tale of the Amityville Horror one of true terror, or a thinly veiled attempt at profit by a family plotting to cry “ghost!” upon buying a murder house? The debate rages on, even today.