Are you curious about the Amityville horror? I know I am. I love nothing better than a good ghost story. In this article, I will look into a haunted house, a rather well-known one. Buckle up, here come the bumps…in the night.
The Amityville Horror House
This house has been made famous through the movie, The Amityville Horror. The story and the horror began in 1974 when six members of the DeFeo family were murdered in the Dutch Colonial style home at 112 Ocean Avenue, Amityville, NY.
Ronald “Butch” DeFeo Jr. was born in 1951 and grew up emotionally troubled in what should have been a comfortable childhood in Amityville, New York. According to biography.com Ronald DeFeo, Sr. provided his family with an upper-middle-class lifestyle but was domineering at home. Ronald Sr. expected much of his eldest child and often fought with Butch. By the time Butch was 17 he was an LSD and heroin user. Trips to a psychiatrist, to help Butch with his anger, did not work. Butch did not feel that he needed help.
I believe that Ronald Sr. was perhaps more concerned with outward appearances of having a successful family, than actually having a successful, well-adjusted family. I say this because he and his wife, Louise, chose to reward Butch’s bad behaviour with a speedboat, a car, a job, and little to no expectation of Butch actually earning the salary he received. All of those gifts were given to Butch after he was expelled from high school for violent behaviour. Butch then used his salary to bolster his gun collection.
After Butch refused to be questioned by police regarding the robbery of a $20,000 deposit that he was taking to the bank, Butch threatened to kill his father. “In the early morning hours of November 13, 1974, Butch DeFeo acted on his threat.” It is believed that Butch used a .35-caliber Marlin rifle when he entered his parents’ bedroom and shot them in their sleep. Butch then shot both of his brothers in their beds. Then he shot his two sisters at point-blank range in their bedrooms. It took only 15 minutes for Butch to slaughter his family.
Butch attempted to cover up any knowledge of the crime, his alibi soon unravelled and he confessed to the police. The trial of Butch DeFeo began eleven months after the murders. In spite of the differing opinions offered from psychiatrists working for the defence and the prosecution, the jury found Butch guilty of six counts of second-degree murder. He was sentenced to six consecutive life sentences. All of his parole board appeals have been turned down. Butch remains in prison.
The Amityville Horror- The Story of the Lutz Family
This story begins in December 1975 when George, and Kathy Lutz and the three children from Kathy’s previous marriage, moved into the DeFeo home. The home apparently still contained some of the furniture that the DeFeo’s owned.
The story is said to be slightly different from the one portrayed in the movie, The Amityville Horror, released in 1979. The differences are:
- Yes, the house was blessed by a priest. Father Ralph Pecoraro has stated that he was blessing the sewing room and experienced cold spots, heard a deep voice say “Get out”, and felt a slap on his face. But the priest was not swarmed by flies as he was in the movie.
- The Lutz’s could easily afford the home, unlike the portrayal in the movie.
- The real house at 112 Ocean Avenue was not used in the movie. The exterior shots were of a home located at 18 Brooks Road, in Toms River, NJ.
- Kathy’s aunt was not a nun at the time of the haunting as the movie says. The aunt had been a nun but was married with her own family at the time the Lutz’s lived in the Amityville home.
- Chris Lutz has said in a 2011 interview with the Spooky Southcoast that the “eye” windows in the upper floor of the house did not shatter as they did in the movie. He claims that the windows of what had been Butch’s bedroom would swing open by themselves.
One event that does not differ from the movie is that the Lutz family did leave their home after only residing there for about 28 days. They were terrified of the paranormal activity and left to stay with Kathy’s mother. It has been said that George Lutz was a charismatic, salesman who could spin a yarn into a story with great ease. Some believe that the paranormal activity never happened at all. I cannot help but wonder though, if the house was easily affordable for the Lutz family, and no paranormal activity had occurred, why they would leave it after only 28 days or so of occupancy?
Proof of Paranormal Activity?
This photo was taken by a photographer named Gene Campbell who worked with the paranormal investigation team of Ed and Lorraine Warren in 1976. The photo is said to have been captured by an unmanned camera that was set to automatically take pictures during the night. This was the only image captured and some people believe it is the ghost of young John DeFeo, while others say it is an image of one of the investigators named Paul Bartz.
Lorraine Warren has said in the past that both she and Ed were accosted when they entered the home to research it in February 1976. Both of them were shoved around, with Ed falling to the floor at one point. They went to investigate about a month after the Lutz’s had abandoned the house. Lorraine believes that they experienced pure evil inside the Amityville home. Lorraine has not been back to the home since that first investigation but has said that the evil followed she and Ed home. Lorraine will not speak of what they experienced in their car on the way home, and in fact, she will not speak of it when in any moving vehicle.
Lorraine claims in the same interview with B. Alan Orange that both she and Ed had a run-in with evil when they returned home. Lorraine’s occurred in the master bedroom and Ed’s occurred in his basement home office. Lorraine used the sign of the cross and her faith to cast out the evil spirit, while Ed used holy water, along with his faith to cast it out of their home. Both experienced the evil at the same time.
If you are curious about checking out the Amityville horror house you will need to know that its address has changed from 112 Ocean Avenue to 108 Ocean Avenue, Amityville, NY. It has also undergone some exterior renovations as the photos show the “eye” windows have been replaced with rectangular ones.
Although Butch DeFeo is most definitely guilty of shooting his parents, there is a theory out there that his sister, Dawn may have been responsible for the murders of the other children. This theory claims that Dawn has gun-shot residue on her and that when Butch realized she had shot the kids that he snapped and shot Dawn too. There is conflicting blood splatter evidence, and it does seem strange that no one heard the 4 gunshots at 140 decibels each that killed the parents. All family members were found face down in their beds. Seems a bit strange that each family member slept in the same position.
My theory is, of course, limited to the information that is available for public consumption on the internet. I am wondering if the Amityville house was occupied by an evil entity before Butch slaughtered his family. Evil can cause health problems and personality changes in those that reside with it. It has been reported that Ronald DeFeo Sr. was a successful car salesman, meaning that he was charming when at work, but he was domineering and even abusive to his family when at home. Butch could have been even more affected by the evil presence as he was younger, and was under the influence of drugs. Butch was said to have anger issues and violent tendencies. The psychiatrist for the prosecution in Butch’s trial, Dr Harold Zolan, stated that Butch had an antisocial personality disorder.
Could the personality issues in both Ronald’s, Sr. and Jr. have been caused by an evil entity? I’m not sure, but it seems a bit strange that the evil entity was not experienced by any other occupants before the Lutz family in 1975-76. Did the evil entity begin its residency during the time the DeFeo’s lived there, or when the DeFeo’s died there? It seems strange that no further occupants of the home have reported any paranormal activity. Did the evil entity simply follow the Warren’s to their home after the paranormal investigation in 1976? Is that why it is no longer at the Amityville home? What caused it to start? Which came first? The chicken, or the egg? I see that my theory raises more questions than it answers. Sorry about that.
What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comment section, please.
Until next time.
The Other Half