On November 13, 1974, Ronald DeFeo murdered his family in a house in Amityville, Long Island, New York. Voices made him do that. A year later, a family moved in – and was reportedly haunted by creepy ghosts. What really happened in the Amityville horror house? What is real and what is fiction? We took a close look at the history of the most famous “haunted house”.
At least since the filming with Ryan Reynolds (“The Amityville Horror“), the gruesome story of the “Horror House” at 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville has been known. But the real story only began after the mass murder of Ronald DeFeo. Because one year after the massacre, the Lutz family and their three children move into the house. But the supposed dream house soon turns out to be a nightmare. After 28 days, the family fled the house – it was allegedly haunted. In fact, the family now believes that supernatural powers drove Ronald DeFoe to murder.
Here a man murdered his entire family
The Amityville House Murders: On November 13, 1974, Ronald DeFeo, 23 years old, ran into a bar. “Please! You have to help me! I think my mother and father were shot!” But the truth was even crueler.
In addition to his parents, the bodies of his four younger siblings Allison, Dawn, Johnny, and Mark were also found. The bodies were found dead on their stomachs in their beds. At first, Ronald DeFeo claimed that the Mafia had something to do with the murder, but only a day later he was convicted because the murder weapon was found in his room with his fingerprints on it.
He became more and more entangled in false statements until he gave in after lengthy cross-examination. “When I started, I just couldn’t stop. It happened so quickly,” he finally admitted, as found in the book “High Hopes – The Amityville Murders” by Gerald Sullivan, in which Sullivan tells the story of the murder and the subsequent trial.
There Sullivan also goes to the question of why Ronald should have murdered his entire family. To date, there has been no answer and Ronald himself is constantly changing his statement about the motive. At first, it was suspected that he wanted to get his family’s life insurance. But that was soon considered unlikely. It was also known that Ronald had been using drugs, heroin, speed, and LSD on a regular basis since high school. At one point he insisted that voices in the house forced him to murder his family.
William Weber, Ronnie’s defense attorney, took up this theory and therefore wanted to plead insanity in court. In 1975, however, the judges found him guilty of sixfold murder with conditional intent. He received 25 years imprisonment for each of the murders, a total of 150 years. The 68-year-old Ronald DeFeo is still imprisoned in the “Green Haven Correctional Facility” in Stormville.
On December 18, 1975, George and Kathy Lutz moved to the DeFeos house with Kathy’s three children. Due to mysterious incidents, they left after just 28 days.
This is where the real story of the “Amityville horror” starts. As “Amityvillefiles” write on their website, the Lutz family moved into the DeFeos’ house on December 18, 1975, around a year after the gruesome murders. Kathy Lutz, who brought three children into the marriage, looked for a house with her husband George that was big and cheap enough to accommodate the new found family. As they looked at the house on Ocean Avenue, she pointed out to the realtor that the DeFeo murder took place in that house. Despite the terrible events, the family decided to buy the property and even take over much of the furniture from the DeFeos.
Before the Lutzes moved in, however, they had their house blessed by the priest Ralph J. Peccoraro. Something strange happened to him: In a room on the second floor, he is said to have heard a voice behind him shouting “Get Out”, as reported by BILD, among others.
The priest advised the Lutzes not to use the room as a bedroom and not to stay there longer than necessary. The room was then used as a sewing room. But that was only the beginning of several disturbing events in the house.
According to the Lutz family, there were parts of the house that never got really warm, so that George constantly felt the need to put more wood in the fireplace. The family is said to have been woken up by strange noises in the middle of the night. Although it was winter, large swarms of flies are said to have flown through the house. In general, the atmosphere between family members has changed. They were constantly irritable, the children are said to have been much more rebellious towards their parents than usual.
There were also parallels to the murders. According to his own account, George Lutz woke up every night between 3 and 3:15 a.m. He later learned that this was when the murders happened. In addition, all three children are said to have only slept on their stomachs, although they never did that before.
The two distinctive side windows, which can also be seen in the film adaptation with Ryan Reynolds, have been replaced by normal square windows.
It should have been particularly creepy that the youngest daughter Missy started talking to an invisible friend she called “Jodie”. She described “Jodie” as a red-eyed pig. George is said to have seen this “pig” later and there were tracks of a pig in the snow. Mother Kathy is also said to have been plagued by terrible nightmares. Furthermore, there is said to have been a mysterious, hidden room with red walls, inexplicable bite marks, and green slime that stuck to the walls.
Because the family did not want to leave the house, they blessed it a second time. After that, things are said to have gotten so bad that the Lutz family refused to talk about them for years. They fled their home on January 14, 1976, and never returned.
As Amityvillefiles writes, the television reporter Marvin Scott wanted to investigate the house with the investigators for paranormal activities, Ed and Lorraine Warren, 20 days after the Lutzes moved out. As support, they got help from various parapsychologists and clairvoyants. Lorraine reportedly felt an “overwhelming sense of sadness and depression” the whole time, Ed felt like he was being pushed to the ground. However, the rest of the television crew felt no supernatural powers in the house, with the exception of a cameraman who suffered from palpitations and shortness of breath when climbing the stairs.
The fact is, however: a curious thing was discovered that night. A camera was set up on the second floor, which occasionally took random photos during the night.
There were no children in the house at the time. To this day it is a mystery who or what was recorded there that night.
George and Kathy Lutz swore the allegations were true until their deaths. Kathy died on August 17, 2004, at the age of 58, George on May 8, 2006, at the age of 60. no credible evidence has ever been found to support the history of the Lutzes.
On the contrary, some claims have even been refuted. For example, the secret red room turned out to be an old cupboard in the basement and a check of the weather report showed that there was no snow at all on the night the pig tracks were supposed to be found in the snow.
In addition, William Weber, the then defender of Ronald DeFeo, claimed today that he made up the story with the Lutz family over a few bottles of wine. He saw potential in history to make a lot of money with it. In addition, it would have helped his client Ronald DeFeo to be pronounced guilty if the family had also heard voices in the house. However, even during the trial, psychologists denied that DeFeo would hear voices or that he had a mental illness.
In an article in the lifestyle and youth magazine “Vice” from 2014, the author writes that DeFeo admitted to him that he just made up the story with the voices. In addition, several other families have already lived in the house and there have been no more strange incidents.
However, it is still unknown where the photo came from. Last but not least, everyone has to know for themselves whether they believe the haunted story surrounding the Amityville house. The only ones who really knew the truth were the Lutzes themselves.
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