Amityville - The True Story
112 Ocean Avenue, Suffolk County, New York

Amityville The True Story
112 Ocean Avenue, Suffolk County, New York

In December 1975, George and Kathleen Lutz and their three children moved into 112 Ocean Avenue, a large Dutch Colonial house in Amityville. This was a suburban neighborhood which was located on the south shore of Long Island, New York.

Thirteen months before the Lutzes moved in, Ronald DeFeo, Jr. had shot and killed six members of his own family at the house. After 28 days, the Lutzes left the house, claiming to have been terrorized by paranormal spirits and poltergeist activity while living there.

Amityville is a village in the town of Babylon in Suffolk County, New York, in the United States.

Amityville is best known as the setting of the novel The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson which was published in
1977, and has been turned into a series of films made between 1979 and 2005.

The story of The Amityville Horror can be traced back to a real life murder case in Amityville in November 1974, when Ronald DeFeo, Jr. shot and killed six members of his family at 112 Ocean Avenue.

In December 1975 George and Kathy Lutz and their three children moved into the house, but left after twenty-eight days, claiming to have been terrorized by paranormal  phenomena produced by the house.

At first, George and Kathy Lutz experienced nothing unusual in the house. Talking about their experiences subsequently, they reported that it was as if they "were each living in a different house."

After deciding that something was wrong with their house that they could not explain rationally, George and Kathy Lutz carried out a blessing of their own on January 8th, 1976. George held a silver crucifix while they both recited the Lord's Prayer, and while in the living room George allegedly heard a chorus of voices telling them “Will you stop?!”

By mid-January 1976, and after another attempt at a house blessing by George and Kathy, they experienced what would turn out to be their final night in the house. The Lutzes declined to give a full account of the events that took place on this occasion, describing them as "too frightening."

Amityville Horror (1979) Documentary

Some of the experiences of the Lutz family at the house have been described as follows:

  • George would wake up around 3:15 every morning and would go out to check the boathouse. Later he would learn that this was the estimated time of the DeFeo killings.
  • The house was plagued by swarms of flies despite the winter weather.
  • Kathy had vivid nightmares about the murders and discovered the order in which they occurred, and the rooms where they took place. The Lutzes' children also began sleeping on their stomachs, in the same way that the dead bodies in the DeFeo murders had been found.
  • Kathy would feel a sensation as if "being embraced" in a loving manner, by an unseen force.
  • Kathy discovered a small hidden room (around four feet by five feet) behind shelving in the basement. The walls were painted red and the room did not appear in the blueprints of the house. The room came to be known as "The Red Room." This room had a profound effect on their dog Harry, who refused to go near it and cowered as if sensing something negative.
  • There were cold spots and odors of perfume and excrement in areas of the house where no wind drafts or piping would explain the source.
  • While tending to the fire, George and Kathy saw the image of a demon with half his head blown out. It was burned into the soot in the back of the fireplace.
  • The Lutzes' five year old daughter, Missy, developed an imaginary friend named "Jodie," a demonic pig-like creature with glowing red eyes.
  • George would be waken up by the sound of the front door slamming. He would race downstairs to find the dog sleeping soundly at the front door. Nobody else heard the sound although it was loud enough to wake the house.
  • George would hear what was described as a "German marching band tuning up" or what sounded like a clock radio playing not quite on frequency. When he went downstairs the noise would cease.
  • George realized that he bore a strong resemblance to Ronald DeFeo, Jr., and began drinking at The Witches' Brew, the bar where DeFeo was once a regular customer.
  • While checking the boathouse one night, George saw a pair of red eyes looking at him from Missy's bedroom window. When he went upstairs to her room, there was nothing to be found. Later it was suggested that it could have been "Jodie".
  • While in bed, Kathy received red welts on her chest caused by an unseen force and was levitated two feet off the bed.
  • Locks, doors and windows in the house were damaged by an unseen force.
  • Cloven hoofprints attributed to an enormous pig appeared in the snow outside the house on January 1st, 1976.
  • Green slime oozed from walls in the hall, and also from the keyhole of the playroom door in the attic.
  • A 12-inch (30 cm) crucifix, hung in a closet by Kathy, revolved until it was upside down and gave off a sour smell.
  • George tripped over a four foot high china lion which was an ornament in the living room, and was left with bite marks on one of his ankles.
  • George saw Kathy transform into an old woman of ninety, "the hair wild, a shocking white, the face a mass of wrinkles and ugly lines, and saliva dripping from the toothless mouth."

Amityville Horror - Good Morning America
George and Kathy Lutz

George and Kathy Lutz appear on Good Morning America on July 26th, 1979, alongside actor James Brolin (who played George Lutz in the original Amityville Horror movie).

Kaplan's 'The Amityville Horror Conspiracy' argues that Lutz deliberately defrauded the public.

According to Kaplan on February 16th, 1976, shortly after the Lutzs abandoned the house, Dr. Kaplan received a phone call from George Lutz. At the time, Kaplan was the executive director of the Parapsychology Institute of America, based on Long Island and a frequent guest on the popular WBAB radio program "Spectrum with Joel Martin".

Kaplan was seeking fame and notoriety through involvement with paranormal cases though the A
mityville case is the only one he is really known for.

Lutz requested that Dr. Kaplan and his associates at the Parapsychology Institute investigate the home.

As Dr. Kaplan recalled in his account of the incident, The Amityville Horror Conspiracy, this initial conversation immediately aroused his suspicions as to the validity of George’s claim that the house was haunted.

Kaplan claims when Lutz asked about a fee for the group
's services and Kaplan told him that they did not charge for the investigation but that "if the story is a hoax...the public will know." Shortly after, Lutz called and canceled the investigation.

After getting in touch with Father Mancuso, the Lutzes decided to take some belongings and stay at Kathy’s mother’s house in nearby Deer Park, New York until they had sorted out the problems with the house.

They claimed that the phenomena followed them there, with the final scene of Anson's book describing "greenish-black slime" coming up the staircase towards them.

On January 14th, 1976 George and Kathy Lutz, with their three children and their dog Harry, left 112 Ocean Avenue leaving most of their possessions behind.

The next day, a mover came
in to remove all of the possessions to send to the Lutzes. He reported no paranormal phenomena while inside the house.

Amityville Horror Trailer 1979

Starring: James Brolin, Margot Kidder, Rod Steiger, Don Stroud, Murray Hamilton

George and Kathy Lutz, a newly married couple with three children, move into their stately, beautiful new house in Amityville, New York--only to discover that the house already has demonic inhabitants. Unbeknownst to the couple, a multiple murder took place at their house, many years prior.

Jay Anson's novel is said to be based on these events but has been the subject of much controversy.

The house featured in the novel and its film versions still exists, but has been renovated and the address changed in order to discourage tourists from visiting it. As of May 2010, the house is on the market for $1.15 million dollars.

Kathy Lutz died of emphysema on August 17th, 2004 and George Lutz died of heart disease on May 8th, 2006. The couple divorced in the late 1980s, but remained on good terms.

During the period that the Lutz family was living at 112 Ocean Avenue, Dr. Stephen Kaplan, a self-styled vampirologist and ghost hunter, was called in to investigate the house.

Kaplan and the Lutzes fell out after Kaplan said that he would expose any fraud that was found. Kaplan went on to write a critical book titled The Amityville Horror Conspiracy with his wife Roxanne Salch Kaplan.

The book was published in 1995 and Stephen Kaplan died of a heart attack in the same year.

The 1995 book The Amityville Horror Conspiracy by Stephen and Roxanne Kaplan was critical of the Lutzes' version of events on the night of March 6th, 1976 the house was investigated by Ed and Lorraine Warren, a husband and wife team self-described as demonologists, together with a crew from the television station Channel 5 New York and reporter Michael Linder of WNEW-FM.

This image shows a "demonic boy" with glowing e
yes who was standing at the foot of a staircase.

The photograph did not emerge into the public domain until 1979, when George and Kathy Lutz and Rod Steiger appeared on The Merv Griffin Show to promote the release of the first film.

During the course of the investigation Gene Campbell took a series of infra red time-lapse photographs.

One of
the images allegedly showed a "demonic boy" with glowing eyes who was standing at the foot of a staircase.

The photograph did not emerge into the public domain until 1979, when George and Kathy Lutz and Rod Steiger appeared on The Merv Griffin Show to promote the release of the first film.

112 Ocean Avenue was also investigated by the parapsychologist Hans Holzer. 

The Warrens and Holzer have suggested that the house is occupied by malevolent spirits due to its history.

George Lutz registered the phrase The Amityville Horror as a trademark in 2002, and it is referred to as The Amityville Horror™ on his official website.

Lutz claimed that the film producers embellished or fabricated events portrayed in the 1979 version and the 2005 remake.

He also claimed that the producers of the 2005 film did not involve his family, and that they used his name without permission.

In recent years many websites devoted to The Amityville Horror have been created, often taking a strong stance either for or against the events.

Virtually every aspect
of the story has been disputed at some point, and rivalry between researchers has been a longstanding feature of the case.

  Based on the true story of George and Kathy Lutz, The Amityville Horror remains one of the
most horrifying haunted house stories ever told - because it actually happened.

The Real Amityville Horror

The house known as 112 Ocean Avenue still exists, but it has been renovated and the address changed in order to discourage sightseers from visiting it.

The famous quarter round windows have been
removed, and the house today looks considerably different from its depiction in the films.

The house in Toms River used as the location for the first three films has also been modified for the same reason.

For the 2005 film version, the house was renamed 412 Ocean Avenue.

The 2005 film remake says that the basement of the Lutz home was built in 1692, but 112 Ocean Avenue — also known as High Hopes — was built around 1924 for John and Catherine Moynahan.

The local residents and authorities in Amityville, New York are unhappy with the attention that The Amityville Horror brings to the town, and tend to decline requests to discuss it publicly.

The website of the Amityville Historical Society makes no mention of the murders by Ronald DeFeo, Jr. in 1974, or the period that the Lutz family lived at 112 Ocean Avenue.

When the History Channel made its documentary about The Amityville Horror in 2000, no member of the Historical Society would discuss the matter on camera.