Amityville Horror

21/6/19

On 13th November 1974 Ronald 'Butch' DeFoe murdered his parents and younger siblings in their home at 112 Ocean Ave in the quiet Long Island suburb of Amityville. A year later the house was sold to Kathy and George Lutz who moved in with their three children and their dog named Harry. 28 days later they moved out of the house reporting horrific hauntings, strange happenings, terrorising voices and manifestations such as demonic footprints in the snow. They reported finding secret red-painted room and hearing voices tell them to "GET OUT!". A priest performed blessings to try and rid the building of whatever was causing these hauntings but eventually they left, describing their last night as "too frightening" to recount fully.

The Lutz's gave an account of their story to writer Jay Anson and it formed the basis of the best-selling book and subsequent movie 'The Amityville Horror'. The town - and the house - have become synonymous with the book but strangely since the Lutz's moved out, no subsequent owner has reported anything untoward, despite the claims of it being a true story. Many of the claims in the book do not match recorded events: it wasn't snowing when the demonic footprints were supposed to have happened, despite reports of smashed locks and door hinges the new owners say they are all original and undamaged, and most damagingly of all, the lawyer for the murderer Butch DeFoe, William Weber, sued the Lutz's claiming they had reneged on a contract to create the story.

1979 issue of People magazine, Weber wrote: "I know this book is a hoax. We created this horror story over many bottles of wine." The allegation is that he and the Lutz's concocted the story of the hauntings. For the Lutz's it was to get a payoff and for Weber it would create an alibi for his client (who was found guilty of the murders). The house still stands in the sleepy suburb and is looked after and lived in; undisturbed except for the large numbers of sightseers and occasional paranormal investigation.

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