The Amityville Horror is one of the most famous and controversial haunted house stories in American history. The story has inspired numerous books, films, and documentaries, but how much of it is true? And what really happened in the house at 112 Ocean Avenue?
In this blog post, we will explore the facts and myths behind the Amityville Nightmare, and try to answer some of the questions that have puzzled generations of horror fans.
The DeFeo Murders: The Beginning of the Nightmare
The story begins on November 13, 1974, when Ronald DeFeo Jr., a 23-year-old man, shot and killed his parents and four siblings in their sleep at their home in Amityville, Long Island. He then ran to a nearby bar and claimed that his family had been murdered by a mob hitman.
The police soon discovered that DeFeo was lying, and that he had committed the murders himself with a .35 caliber rifle. He confessed to the crime, but gave various and contradictory motives for his actions. He claimed that he heard voices in his head telling him to kill his family, that he was possessed by a demon, that he was influenced by drugs and alcohol, or that he was abused by his father.
DeFeo was convicted of six counts of second-degree murder and sentenced to six consecutive life terms in prison. He died in custody in March 2021.
The Lutz Family: The Haunting Begins
A year after the DeFeo murders, George and Kathy Lutz bought the house at 112 Ocean Avenue for a bargain price of $80,000. They moved in with their three children and their dog in December 1975.
They claimed that they were unaware of the house’s history when they bought it, but later learned about it from a friend. They decided to have the house blessed by a Catholic priest, who allegedly felt a presence in one of the rooms and heard a voice telling him to “get out”.
The Lutzes said that they experienced a series of terrifying paranormal phenomena during their 28-day stay in the house. They reported hearing voices, footsteps, knocks, and doors slamming; seeing apparitions, glowing eyes, and swarms of flies; feeling cold spots, foul smells, and levitation; witnessing objects moving by themselves, walls oozing slime, and crucifixes turning upside down; and having nightmares, personality changes, and physical injuries.
They also claimed that their dog tried to hang himself, that their daughter befriended an imaginary pig-like creature named Jodie, that George found a hidden red room in the basement that smelled like blood, and that they saw a hooded figure with no face outside their window.
The Lutzes fled the house on January 14, 1976, leaving behind most of their belongings. They later contacted Ed and Lorraine Warren, famous paranormal investigators, who conducted a séance and confirmed that the house was infested by demonic forces.
The Amityville Horror: The Story Spreads
The Lutzes’ story caught the attention of Jay Anson, an author who interviewed them and wrote a book based on their account. The book, titled The Amityville Horror: A True Story, was published in September 1977 and became a bestseller.
The book was adapted into a film in 1979, starring James Brolin and Margot Kidder as George and Kathy Lutz. The film was also a huge success, grossing over $86 million at the box office. It spawned several sequels, prequels, remakes, and spin-offs over the years.
The book and film also sparked a debate over the veracity of the Lutzes’ claims. Some people believed them and considered them victims of a real haunting. Others doubted them and accused them of fabricating or exaggerating their story for fame and money.
The Controversy: The Truth Revealed?
Over time, several facts emerged that cast doubt on the Lutzes’ story. For example:
- The priest who supposedly blessed the house denied ever visiting it or encountering any evil presence there.
- The neighbors of the Lutzes did not witness any unusual activity or disturbance at the house during their stay.
- The original owners of the house after the Lutzes did not report any paranormal phenomena either.
- The red room in the basement was actually a small closet that was used to store paint and tools.
- The hooded figure with no face was likely a reflection of a streetlight on the window.
- The Lutzes admitted that they had financial problems and were facing foreclosure on the house.
- The Lutzes collaborated with William Weber, Ronald DeFeo Jr.’s lawyer, who wanted to use their story as a basis for an insanity plea for his client. Weber later confessed that he and the Lutzes made up the story over bottles of wine.
In 1979, Weber sued the Lutzes and Anson for breach of contract and fraud, claiming that they had violated their agreement to share the profits from the book and film. The lawsuit was dismissed by the judge, who ruled that the story was not a factual account, but a work of fiction based on a “creative imagination”.
The Lutzes maintained that their story was true until their deaths. George died in 2006 and Kathy in 2004. Their children also supported their parents’ claims, but gave different and inconsistent details about their experiences.
The Mystery: The End of the Nightmare?
The house at 112 Ocean Avenue still stands today, but has been renovated and remodeled several times. It has changed owners several times as well, but none of them have reported any paranormal activity.
The house is currently valued at over $600,000 and is considered a landmark by many horror fans. However, it is also a source of annoyance for the residents of Amityville, who are tired of the attention and curiosity that the house attracts.
The Amityville Nightmare remains one of the most enduring and debated haunted house stories in history. Whether it is a true tale of horror or a hoax, it has captivated and terrified millions of people around the world.
Question: What is your opinion on the Amityville Nightmare? Do you believe it or not? Why?
Answer: This is a personal question that has no definitive answer. Some possible answers are:
- I believe it because I think there are things in this world that we cannot explain or understand, and that some places can be haunted by evil spirits.
- I don’t believe it because I think it is too convenient and sensational to be true, and that there is no credible evidence or witness to support it.
- I’m not sure what to believe because I think there are some aspects of the story that are plausible and others that are not, and that there may be some truth mixed with fiction.The Amityville Horror – Wikipedia