Amityville – The Haunting

amityville_house I doubt there are many who aren’t familiar with the Amityville Horror, the story of Ronald DeFeo Jr., who shot and killed the members of his family and George and Kathy Lutz who bought the house for a bargain basement price and then left 28 days later fearing for their lives.

But are these events the work of the paranormal? Was Ronald DeFeo coerced into killing his family by a dark force or was it just an abusive father and drug use that sent him over the edge and to prison for the rest of his life?

As with all good stories that deal with the paranormal and strange events, the house in Amityville is rumored to be located on, or right next to an Indian burial ground. And not just any burial ground, but one where the inhabitants were buried face down so they could stare into the abyss of hell for all eternity. These souls were apparently cast outs, misfits and perhaps even the mentally disturbed. Whatever the case may be, these spirits do not seem to be at rest.

The problems start when Ronald DeFeo and his family move into the house. Turbulent times are in store for the family as disagreements come to the surface, strange events begin to occur, and Ronald DeFeo begins to surround the house with religious icons. He had the feeling something was going wrong and tries to ward of some unforeseen evil. His moods became dark and violent and he begins to violently lash out at his family. His son Ronnie Jr. eventually tries to escape the house and his father. Multiple times he disappears only to have his father drag him back to the house.

Ronnie starts a downward spiral of drug use and erratic behavior. He begins to hear voices in his head and feels he is being driven to act out. At one point he even takes a loaded rifle and points it at his father. He goes so far as to pull the trigger, but the gun doesn’t go off. Ultimately, Ronnie will fire that gun and kill everyone in the house. Six people are murdered while they sleep and he is found guilty of the crime. But there are all sorts of questions, such as why no one heard the shots and why didn’t anyone in the house wake up?

In 1976 the Lutz family is looking for a new home and the Amityville location is offered at an exceptional price. They are informed of the troubling events that took place, but they discuss the matter and take the place anyway. Almost immediately they begin to have their own problems. A priest is brought in to bless the house and he feels cold spots in the sewing room (which is a former bedroom of one of the victims) and a voice say "get out". From there, the family hears banging noises, door opening and closing, shadows moving in the house and glowing red eyes. George feels cold all the time as though he is wrapped in a cold spot and nothing he does makes him warm. George also claims that the family is starting to sleep in odd positions reminiscent of the way the murder victims were found. There is also the infamous swarm of flies that occupies the room. Even in winter the flies fill the windows.

The Lutzes try their own form of house blessing and go from room to room saying the Lord’s Prayer. They claim to hear voices saying, "will you stop that?" The family is also suffering from the same outbursts that Ronnie suffered from.

Voices, shadows, noises, rocking chairs moving and voices from nowhere prove to be too much and the family decides to leave the house. They leave all their possession behind and turn over the house to the bank. All the contents are sold off at auction and the family moves to California. Even though they’ve moved across the country they claim some of the paranormal activity has followed them.

During the time of crisis, many investigators are brought in to determine the nature of the problems. Even Ed and Lorraine Warren come to investigate the house. They feel the house is occupied by a malevolent spirit.

But are the hauntings real? Is there paranormal activity going on in the house or are there just stories of trouble youth who got tangled up in drugs? Is the house plagued by evil spirits or rather is it old and settling and noises and creaks are to be expected? Considering the excitement and media coverage that ensued over the original murders, was the whole story cooked up to take advantage of a tragic set of events that happened previously. Did George and Kathy take the events of the past and give them a demonic spin and claim dangerous events with the intent of their story being sold for movie and TV rights? There’s quite a few breach of contract lawsuits out there and George even put a trademark on the name Amityville Horror.

And what of the residents who have lived there since? What do they experience? There is very little evidence that says any more activity has occurred since the Lutz family left the home. Did the entity move on to another location? Did the Lutz family let their imaginations and knowledge of the previous murders get the better of them?

In many ways the entire affair has been debunked and claimed as a hoax. There is so little real evidence that many simply discount the whole affair as a work of fiction between a story writer and some actors who were willing to play along. Others however, feel the activity was real and forces within the house were acting out. That the area is restless with Indian ritual and even demonic overtones going all the way back to the Salem Witchtrials and John Ketchum.

While the house will live in infamy with a hose of Hollywood, the town of Amityville isn’t so keen on the publicity. The real house has had the exterior look changed while the address has been changed to keep away curious visitors. It’s one of the most well known haunted houses in the country, but is it real?

Regardless, it’s a great story. Some decent movies out of it at least.

Learn More:

Amityville Horror on Wikipedia
History’s Mysteries – Amityville: The Haunting (History Channel) – Amazon
History’s Mysteries – Amityville: The Haunting (History Channel) – Netflix
Amityville – Horror or Hoax?
Official website of the Amityville Horror
The Amityville Murders
Amityville on Snopes
Interview with Lorraine Warren

Other Articles of Interest:

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