In the early evening hours of November 13, 1974, the patrons of Henry’s Bar, a tavern located at the corner of Merrick Road and Ocean Avenue in Amityville, chatted while sipping their beers and cocktails. To them, the start of the evening seemed just like a typical one in Amityville: calm and uneventful. By night’s end, however, life in Amityville would never again be the same. In light to Halloween, join the X-Files today as it opens the file on the shocking story behind the AmityvilleHouse murders.
Mediums and psychic investigators have claimed that there is a curse on the property, while others believe the gruesome history has been invented as a money-making scheme. The video below sets out to discover the truth about one of American folklore’s most notorious mysteries and features George Lutz’s last on-camera interview before he died in 2006.
The ghost story began in 1974, when six members of a family were killed in that house by their youngest son, Butch DeFeo. The house was sold the following year to George and Kathy Lutz, who moved in with their three children. Soon after, the Lutzes said they encountered terrifying supernatural forces. A ghost ripped doors from hinges and slammed cabinets closed, noxious slime oozed from the ceilings, and demonic faces and swarms of insects threatened the family.
The Lutzes told their story to a writer named Jay Anson, who published “The Amityville Horror: A True Story,” in 1977. It quickly became a best-seller, then a hit horror film that spawned nearly a half-dozen sequels. It’s a scary story that spooked millions of people. But is it true?
Researchers who double-checked claims made by the Lutzes and Anson found numerous holes in the Amityville story. Researcher Rick Moran, for example, compiled a list of more than 100 factual errors and discrepancies between their story and the truth. Over and over, both big claims and small details were refuted by eyewitnesses, investigations and forensic evidence. Still, the Lutzes stuck to their story, and reaped tens of thousands of dollars from the book and film rights.
Eventually Butch DeFeo’s lawyer admitted that he, along with the Lutzes, “created this horror story over many bottles of wine.” The house was never really haunted; the terrifying experiences that the Lutzes described, and that were later embellished by Anson and other writers, were simply made up.
The Amityville Horror Hoax House may cost $1.15 million, but ghosts and demons aren’t included.
- •The Lutz family said it discovered a small secret room in the basement, a room that appeared in no blueprints of the house. It was painted solid red – and had the smell of blood. In one of the red walls, Lutz saw a vision of a face – a face that he would later find from newspaper photographs was that of Ronald DeFeo.
- •A bartender who had worked at a party in the house at 112 Ocean Avenue when the DeFeos had lived there told Lutz that he had found the secret red room in the basement and that after seeing it, “I used to have nightmares about it. Sometimes I’d dream that people – I don’t know who they were – were killing dogs and pigs in there and using their blood for some kind of ceremony.”
Interesting Trivia on the Amytiville House:
- The Rileys (who lived in the home prior to selling it to the Defeos in June of 1965) got divorced; in large part because Mrs. Riley fell in love with a doctor.
- TV star Christine Belford (of Beverly Hills 90210 fame) actually grew up in the “Horror House”in the early 1960s (her parents were the Rielyes).
- Ronald Defeo, Jr. brutally murdered his entire family while living there in the wee hours (between 3:00 and 3:30 am) of November 13th, 1974.
- David Roskin (the son of Barbara Cromarty from a previous marriage) died in the house from an undisclosed cause. His bedroom was Ronald Defeo, Jr. old room (the third floor room with the two infamous half moon, eye like, windows) His family, the Crommarties, lived in the house between 1977 and 1987.
- In April of 1984 a group of drug addicted teenage Satanists consisting of Ricky Kasso 17, James Troiano 18, and several others made a pilgrimage to the Infamous House of Horrors. They proceeded to construct a make shift alter on the front lawn, screamed to the house “Hail Satan”, and then pledge their lives, and souls, in service to the Prince of Darkness. Ricky Kasso, who was the leader of this rag tag group, had been obsessed with the Amityville House, and had idolized the Amityville murdered Ronald “Butch” Defeo, Jr. for years. That following Summer Ricky Kasso, with the alleged help of James Troiano stabbed 17 year old Gary Lauwers to death in Northport Long Island; largely because of a drug dispute, and the fact that he wouldn’t say that he loved Satan. Kasso confessed to the police and killed himself while in custody (via hanging) two days later. Troiano went to trial, and nine months later was acquitted of being an accomplice. The above incidents are covered in much greater detail in the 1987 true crime novel Say You Love Satan by David St. Clair.
- Peter O’Neil, Jr.; who grew up in the house on Ocean Avenue. Died in the Twin Towers during the Tradgic events of 9/11. His parents owned the house on Ocean Avenue between 1987 and 1997. Ironically they moved out of the Horror House to save money for their children’s’ education, so that they could have a better future.
- The Latitude and Longitude of the Infamous House (as close as it is humanly possible to determine) is Latitude +40.666851 Longitude -073.414986.
- Ed and Lorraine Warren who (along with several others) investigated the house on Ocean Avenue in March of 1976. Were nearly killed in an auto accident shortly there after (a matter of a few months).
Paul Hoffman, who wrote the article for Good House Keeping in April of 1977 (the first national article about the Amityville Haunting), died from an undisclosed cause several years later.
- Paranormal Talk Show Host Joel Martin’s ex-wife was killed by a hit and run driver just before he interviewed Ronald Defeo, Jr. then lawyer William Weber about The Amityville Horror, in August of 1979. This incident is related in more detail in Stephen and Roxanne Kaplans’ book The Amityiville Horror Conspiracy.
- Amityville Horror author Jay Anson died of a heart attack (the last of several dating back to before he penned his infamous book about flying demonic pigs, and old wells that doubled as gateways to Hell) in 1980. This occurred shortly after he finished his second novel, a work of Horror Fiction titled 666.
- Ed Warren suffered several heart attacks over the course of the next few years, after his vist to the Infamous address in 1976.
- Prosecutor Gerard Sullivan (who presided over Ronald Defeo, Jr. murder trail for the state of New York) died of an undisclosed cause in the early 1990s.
- Stephen Kaplan, who wrote the 1995 book the Amityville Horror Conspiracy attempting to debunk the haunting claims, died of a heart attack (the last of several he suffered since 1976) around the time his book was first published.
- Kathy Lutz (who was the matriarch of the Lutz family whose 28 days of terror is chronicled in the best seller The Amityville Horror) passed away on August 17th, 2004, after many years of struggling against a debilitating illness.
- Ronald Defeo, Jr., David Roskin, and Peter O’Neil, Jr. were all the eldest sons of their respective families.