The Amityville Horror




The Amityville Horror





A Note from Blair;
Between the research, re-writing & construction of this story, it took nearly 11 hours. I uncovered enough information
to literally write a book on the subject. I`ve taken all the information & condensed it into the following story. Many pictures were also considered, but were not used (especially the crime scene) because they were extremely graphic
.
A new update published September 2008 follows at the bottom of this page, and be sure to watch the six part video about the Real Amityville Horror at the bottom of this page.
NOTICE:
There seems to be a misconception by some people that this home & property is a museum or legitimate tourist destination and that they have a right to visit & trespass. This could not be further from the truth.
This home & property is a private residence. It`s owners & neighbors are sick & tired of having their privacy invaded by people that seem to think that they are above the law & have some sort of right to invade their neighborhood.
If you step foot onto the property without permission, you are guilty of trespassing and trespassing is illegal. Although the property is up for sale now, I would strongly advise that you go through the realtors or property owners and get permission before showing up there and looking around. If you trespass on this property you risk being arrested.


THE HOUSE

The house originally located at 112 Ocean Avenue, later changed to 108 Ocean Avenue in a failed attempt to deceive sight seers, was built in 1924 by John Moynahan. In the 1960`s it was bought by the Riley family & sold to the Defeo family later in the decade. It was then bought by George & Kathleen Lutz in 1975, one year after the murders. Rumors have spread that years ago the property was an indian burial ground, another legend is that the land was an insane asylum for sick & dying indians. Seth Purdy of the Amityville Historical Society says that none of that is true, he also says the water table is too high to support a graveyard (the property is on the bank of a river).

For a long time it`s been said that a witch from Salem by the name of John Ketcham owned land right across the street. GhostHauntings.org did a lengthy investigation & learned that a John Ketcham did live nearby, but according to our findings, it`s not the same John Ketcham that was well known during the Salem witch trial era. Rumors suggest that John Ketcham practiced witchcraft on that property & the "red room" located in the basement of the house was somehow haunted by his spirits, but historians say that room was a plant room built for the Moynahan`s.


THE MURDERS

The murders took place on November 13, 1974, Shortly after 3 am. 24 year old Ronald Defeo Jr.(commonly known as "Butch") shot & killed his parents Ronald & Louise, his two sisters Dawn & Allison, & two brothers John & Mark with a 35 caliber rifle. All of the victims were asleep in their beds & Their bodies were discovered 15 hours later. Ronald Defeo Sr. reportedly was a strict man with a very hot temper & Ronald Jr. aka Butch was said to be much worse & had issues with anger, drugs, & alcohol. His drugs of choice were heroin & LSD.
Even though Butch tried to claim that he was innocent, eventually he confessed to the killings. Butch was convicted of 6 counts of second degree murder & sentenced to six 25 to life terms. He is imprisoned at Greenhouse State Prison in New York.


The victims




THE LUTZ FAMILY`S CLAIM OF HAUNTING

In December 1975 George Lee Lutz, his wife Kathleen & their offspring moved into the house. Immediately after moving in, the Lutz family alleged the house was haunted. They reported being awakened in the middle of the night by what sounded like a 50 piece marching band, Mrs. Lutz claims that while she looked in the mirror, she saw an extremely aged version of herself looking back at her.

She also reported of being awakened during the night by an entity laying on top of her leaving her paralyzed for several minutes & on another occasion being levitated by some unknown force above her bed.

The Lutz` also reported green slime oozing from key holes, one bedroom was always infested with flies, & looking out the bedroom window to see a pig floating in the air with bright red eyes. The Lutz` also claimed that while sitting downstairs they always heard footsteps coming from the upstairs bedrooms when no one was up there, & one incident of a face outside with glowing red eyes peering in the living room window at them. George threw an object at it, & it ran away squealing like a pig.
Mr. Lutz then contacted Dr. Stephen Kaplan, said to be a well respected Long Island parapsychologist to visit the house. According to Lutz, Dr. Kaplan showed up at the house one day with 6 witches & a T.V. news crew. Furious by this, Mr. Lutz kicked them off his property & didn`t let them in the house.

George Lutz then contacted Ed & Lorraine Warren, founders of The New England Society For Psychic Research. Ironically, accompanying the Warrens were a T.V. news anchor, a few clairvoyants & investigators from Duke University. Lorraine says that much of the furniture in the house was the same furniture from the Defeo murders. Lorraine sat on the bed in the master bedroom (only the mattress had been replaced since the murders) & was overcome by what she describes as a very evil demonic force. She then went to daughter Missy`s room (same mattress & furniture, Mr. Lutz allegedly allowed his children to sleep on the Defeo children's death beds). Lorraine says the evil was so overwhelming that she became weak, disoriented & could hardly stay conscious while leaving.

This photo was allegedly taken by George Lutz

Around the time he & his family were fleeing the house.

An image of an evil looking boy peering out

of one of the bedrooms






Another anamoly caught in photo that is undetermined as paranormal or processing error


Downstairs in the living room, Lorraine tried to ask the entities why they were there, but the clairvoyants became so ill that two of them began vomiting. One of the news crew literally passed out from absolute intense horror, & one of the Duke University investigators began suffering from heart palpitations & ran from the house fearing for his life. Everyone left from the house in fear & after only living in the house for 28 days, the Lutz family fled leaving all of their possessions & belongings behind. They were too horrified to retrieve them & decided it just wasn`t worth it.

THE SKEPTICS, NEIGHBORS & TOWNS PEOPLE
Butch Defeo`s lawyer William Weber, claims that he & George Lutz created all of the paranormal allegations one night after a few bottles of wine. George Lutz claims that is false & that Weber is saying that because he wanted to write a book about the hauntings & make money, but was beaten to it by Jay Anson (The Amityville Horror, by Jay Anson). The local newspaper printed a story claiming that the Lutz` admitted whole story was a hoax. The story also claims that George & kathleen Lutz even admitted that they conspired the hoax out of fascination of the famous movie "The Exorcist". Oddly though, it turns out that the reporter that wrote that article was the police chief`s son. Some say they printed that erroneous story in an attempt to get rid of vandals & sight seer`s.

Dr. Stephen Kaplan (the parapsychologist Lutz kicked off his property) alledges it was all a hoax & that Lutz`s paranormal claims are the result of him reading many books about demonic possession. Ed & Lorraine Warren (New England Society for Psychic Research) claim that Kaplan is bitter for getting kicked off the property & that he has no degree of any kind from any educational institution to prove he`s actually a doctor.

George Lutz insists that there were entities in the house & it was haunted, but nothing at all like the movie portrays (The Amityville Horror 1979). In 2005 Lutz filed a libel suit against Dimension Films & Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer the makers of the 2005 remake, claiming that he was misrepresented in the movie & defamation of character. In the 7 hours that I spent researching this story, I did not find any documentation that anyone from the Lutz family ever admitted that the whole thing was a hoax. In fact I even saw documentation that George & Kathleen took a polygraph test & passed.

The occupants of the house at 108 Ocean Avenue (formerly 112) of today are very private & want to be left alone. They resent people driving by to gawk at the most famous haunted house in american history. The towns people feel the same way & the police patrol the street regularly to prevent such activity. Is the house still haunted? The new occupants refuse to comment.

Some people wonder how Butch Defeo was able to fire 9 gunshots in the murder spree without waking up the rest of the family allowing them to flee & why didn`t the neighbors hear it, especially since the neighboring houses are only 40 feet away? Lorraine Warren calls it "Phantomania", a paralyzing condition enhanced by either fear or spirits.

Incidentally, during the research of this story, I learned that George Lee Lutz passed away of natural causes on May 8, 2006, at the age of 59.


 112 Ocean Ave
108 Ocean Ave


UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2008

Below is the history of owners after the Lutz family abandoned the house & contains their statements insisting that there is no paranormal phenomena & that the entire Amityville Horror is nothing more than a hoax

In a 2000 interview with The History Channel, Kathy Lutz claimed that a tragedy befell every family that lived in the DeFeo home.

Jay Anson's book suggests that the property is cursed because it had once belonged to John Ketcham, a suspected witch, who had fled Salem, Massachusetts before taking up residence in Amityville.

During an August 9, 1979 press conference, Jim Cromarty, then owner of the Amityville house, said,

"I was born in Amityville. I knew every family that grew up in this house. And that is another crock. The Lutzes say that every family that was brought up in this house had bad things happen to them. It happens to be a fact that only one family had a tragedy happen to them in this house. Every other family had nothing but good things come out of the house."

In the late 1600s, Amityville was part of Huntington Township. A check of the historical society located in Huntington, a town approximately 13 miles from Amityville, revealed that there were several John Ketchams in the area.

Because records of this time period are sketchy at best, there was no clear proof that any Ketcham ever resided on or near the property. The most definitive proof against any John Ketcham's being a witch came from the Ketcham family's own extensive research into their genealogy. After careful investigation, they have been able to determine there never was a witch named John Ketcham.

According to deeds and information compiled by the Amityville Historical Society, the Ocean Avenue property had once been farmland belonging to the Irelands, one of Amityville's most prominent and influential families. On January 14, 1924, Annie Ireland sold the property to John and Catherine Moynahan. The following year, Amityville builder Jesse Perdy constructed the large Dutch Colonial that still stands there today.

John Moynahan died in the home in 1939 after a long illness. When John and Catherine Moynahan died, their daughter, Eileen Fitzgerald, moved in with her own family. She lived there until October 17, 1960, when John and Mary Riley bought the house. Because of marital problems, the Rileys divorced and sold the house to the DeFeos on June 28, 1965.

The DeFeos lived in the house for more than nine years until on November 13, 1974.

After the DeFeos, the Lutz family moved into the property and then moved out in 28 days. Their stay was so short that they did not even make a payment on the $60,000 mortgage they had on the house. On August 30, 1976, the Lutzes returned the house to Columbia Savings and Loan.

On March 18, 1977, Jim and Barbara Cromarty purchased the home from the bank. Although plagued by hordes of tourists searching for supernatural phenomena, the Cromartys managed to live there happily for a decade. Nonetheless, they found it necessary to change the address to confuse the curious.


The Cromartys in their living room.

During a press conference to refute the Lutzes' allegations, the Cromartys issued a two page statement. An excerpt read;

The quiet village of Amityville, Long Island, has been made infamous by a hoax. It will possibly never be the same. It is Long Island's equivalent to Watergate. None of us would be here today if a responsible publisher and author had not given credibility to two liars, and allowed them the privilege of putting the word true on a book in which in all actuality is a novel. The credibility of the hoax stems from using a charlatan Catholic priest, who has been banned from performing his religious duties by the Diocese of Rockville Centre, the equivalent of disbarment of a lawyer. This charlatan priest has been involved with a complicity to a lie and, therefore, deserves no credibility, and should be dealt with accordingly.

The Cromartys sued the Lutzes, Jay Anson and the publishers of The Amityville Horror. Their multi million dollar suit argued that not only was the book an invasion of privacy, but that "false misrepresentations were made willfully and solely for commercial exploitation." Eventually, the parties arrived at an undisclosed settlement.

As a child, Jim Cromarty played in the house, and both he and his wife were determined to make the home a part of the community again. Eventually, the curiosity seekers proved unbearable, and the Cromartys were forced to put the house on the market. They left friend Frank Birch to tend to the property and act as house-sitter while they were away. Neither Mr. Birch nor the Cromartys ever reported any supernatural happenings. The Cromartys eventually moved back in and took the house off the market. They remained in the house happily until 1987 when David Roskin, Barbara's son from a previous marriage, reportedly passed away in a hospital.

On August 17, 1987, Peter and Jeanne O'Neil purchased the house from the Cromartys. During their stay, they changed the famed eye windows to square ones and filled in the DeFeo pool. Since the yearly property taxes are in excess of $10,000, neighbors state that the O'Neils moved to save money for their children's college tuition.

On June 10, 1997, Brian Wilson purchased the house for approximately $310,000. Since 1997, Wilson has renovated the property. Among the many improvements, he has strengthened the foundation of the sinking boathouse and added a sunroom to the back of the house.


The renovated boathouse.

Since the renovation was anything but cheap, it is quite preposterous to think that a malevolent force resides there. The only thing the current house owners want is for the hoax to end and for the tourists to leave them alone, so they may enjoy their property in peace. With MGM's remake of The Amityville Horror released in 2005, it is likely that hordes of tourists will flock to the small seaside village once more.

 

 

 

DATE
OWNER
PRICE



Jan 14, 1924 - Jan 1960 John & Catherine Moynahan $unknown
Jan 1960 - Oct 16, 1960 Eileen Fitzgerald (inheritance)
Oct 17, 1960 - June 27, 1965 Joseph & Mary Riley $35,000
June 28, 1965 - Nov 13, 1974 Ronald & Louise DeFeo $unknown*
Nov 14, 1974 - Dec 17, 1975 (vacant owned by DeFeo estate)
Dec 18, 1975 - Jan 14, 1976 George & Kathleen Lutz $80,000
Jan 15, 1976 - Aug 29, 1976 (vacant owned by Lutzes)
Aug 30, 1976 - March 17, 1977 (vacant owned by bank)
March 18, 1977 - Aug 10, 1987 James & Barbara Cromarty $55,000
Aug 11, 1987 - June 9, 1997 Peter & Jeanne O'Neill $325,000
June 10, 1997 - present (current owner) $310,000

 

*documents show that the DeFeos bought the house for "ten dollars and other valuable consideration."

As of May 2010 we have now learned that this property is now up for sale

 

 


 The Real Amityville Horror pt 1



The Real Amityville Horror pt 2



The Real Amityville Horror pt 3



The Real Amityville Horror pt 4



The Real Amityville Horror pt 5



The Real Amityville Horror pt 6

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