Feature by: Jack Foley
THE events surrounding The Amityville Horror continue to divide
people into those who believe they are true and those who insist
they are a hoax.
What is known, for sure, is that on November 13, 1974, Suffolk
County Police received a phone call that led them to 112 Ocean
Avenue, in Amityville, Long Island.
Inside the large Dutch Colonial house they discovered that an
entire family had been slaughtered in their beds.
The murderer was Ronald DeFeo Jnr, the eldest son of the DeFeo
family, who had taken a rifle to his parents and four siblings
while they slept.
Although he confessed to the crimes, Ronald claimed 'voices'
in the house drove him to commit the murders but he was subsequently
found guilty of six counts of first-degree murder.
It's what came next that is open to speculation.
One year later, a new family moved into the house - the Lutzs,
comprised of George, Kathy and her three children from a past
relationship - and they, too, claim to have experienced supernatural
forces at work.
They survived only 28 days, fleeing without any of their belongings.
Their story became a best-selling book (by Jay Anson) and an
extremely popular film and has subsequently been revisited in
a remake of The Amityville Horror.
But surf around the internet and there is plenty to suggest that
the Lutzs claims weren't true.
According to the Lutzs, strange things began to happen from almost
the moment they moved into the house - locked windows and doors
would inexplicably open and close, while strange noises seemed
to surround them.
An attempt to exorcise the house by a Catholic priest ended
with him fleeing in fear and prompted the strange occurrences
The Lutzs claimed to have seen a devilish creature outside the
house at night, while George became seemingly possessed by an
The family was further terrified by ghostly apparitions and
swarms of flies, while their youngest child claimed to have struck
up a 'friendship' with a girl called Jodie.
Amazingly, however, the family never
called for police assistance and remained in the house for as
long as 28 days.
The story was subsequently investigated by a paranormal investigator
from New York, named Dr. Stephen Kaplan, who subsequently declared
it to be a hoax.
He claims to have met with a lawyer, William Weber, who confessed
to his part in it.
Weber was the lawyer who represented Ronald DeFeo and he claimed
that he and George Lutz had concocted the story over a few bottles
of wine in an attempt to secure a new trial for DeFeo.
Lutz, for his part, was struggling with mortgage payments he
could no longer afford.
In addition, an investigation into the house itself proved a
number of the Lutzs claims to be totally false, including a Red
Room, which was found to be nothing more than a small pipe well,
and the old front door still in place (which the Lutzs claimed
had been blown off).
What's more, there have been no further reports of supernatural
activity by anyone who has since lived in the house, which exists
to this day.
But the conspiracy theorists and believers in the supernatural
still have arguments to fuel their case.
Several people connected to The Amityville Horror have since
met strange deaths.
Dr Kaplan, himself, almost died from a heart attack in 1976
and then passed away several years later, in an untimely fashion.
While a writer named Paul Hoffman, who was responsible for the
original story that appeared in newspapers, died a few years after
he broke the story in mysterious circumstances.
Jay Anson, the author of the best-selling book that inspired
the film, also died shortly after he received his first million
dollar advance for his next book.
While a demonologist (Ed Warren) who conducted one of the first
investigations into the house suffered a heart attack a few years
later which he maintained was caused by the house.
The coincidences are numerous and further investigation on websites
and in books that have subsequently been published on the subject
are sure to fuel the debate surrounding The Amityville Horror
for years to come.
The new film, starring Ryan Reynolds and Melissa George, is only
certain to stoke up the debate still further, while serving to
ensure that Amityville beocmes a tourist attraction once again.