Fallacies about ghost and demons have hidden their mask behind the Amityville horror. Over the years, the telling and retelling of the story have jumbled some folklore with facts, making it difficult for history to rightly document what transpired.
As one would expect, the various differing narratives of the hunted house in Amityville town, New York have inspired a handful of movies and several pieces of literature. Sadly, they did little to set the facts straight. If anything, the works further blurred the lines between the factual information and fictitious tales surrounding the event.
To stay a safe distance away from fiction while striving to get the true story of the Amityville horror, here are seven facts you should always have at heart.
7 Facts You Need To Know About The Amityville Horror
1. It started with the DeFeo family
The Amityville horror started sometime in November 1974, in the small town of Amityville Newyork, involving a family of seven. Their father, Ronaldo Defeo Sr. was a strict and abusive father while his wife, Louise Defeo was an emotional being who couldn’t hurt a fly. Their union was blessed with five children – Ronaldo Jr., Dawn, Allison, Marc, and John.
The family lived at 112, Ocean Avenue and their lives were short-lived as the whole family was murdered in cold blood while they were all asleep. After much investigation, it was concluded that the family, including Louise and Ronald DeFeo Sr. (parents), Dawn (18-year-old), Allison (13-year-old), Marc (12-Year-old), and John Matthew (nine-year-old) were shot dead in their sleep with a .35 caliber rifle. It is said that no one heard the gunshots except for the barkings of the family dog through the night which disturbed the peace of the neighborhood.
Though all dead, there was one member of the family who was left out, Ronald DeFeo Jr. popularly called Butch who was 23 years old as of the time of the incident. Ronaldo became the prime suspect and was then taken into custody. Initially, he structured deceptive measures to save his head, however, he finally confessed to the killings of his family.
2. The reason behind the killing
A lot of people tried to explain why Ronaldo murdered his own family mercilessly. There are records pointing to his traumatic experience while growing up and his use of an intoxicating substance. Moreover, he was also said to have been at loggerheads with his father and once threatened him with a gun.
The police believed Ronaldo committed the crime because he wanted to have some insurance money which was said to be about $200,000 then. On the other hand, his attorney William Weber argued the bloke was suffering from Schizophrenia and paranoid psychosis which he blamed on the traumatic experience he had while growing up. The attorney hired a psychiatric to make his case but another psychiatrist hired by the prosecutor agreed that Ronaldo had a few mental issues while asserting that he was fully aware of what he did.
3. What became of the killer
Ronaldo Butch faced judgment on October 14, 1975, despite all the reasons he came up with to justify the crime, he was handed six concurrent sentences of 25 years to life.
Ronaldo is currently paying for his sins at the Sullivan Correctional Facility in Fallsburg, New York. He has applied for appeals and parole but all his efforts to get out of jail have failed.
4. The Lutz’s story
Practically a month after Butch was sentenced, the Lutz family moved into the home but fled after just 28 days.
In an interview, George and Kathleen detailed why they believed the home was hunted. Apart from the invasion of flies, their daughter had an invisible friend and they reportedly experienced other unusual events that made them abandon the home.
There are a lot of discrepancies about their story with many unconfirmed and difficult-to-authenticate claims like the picture of a ghost standing on the stairway taken by Ed and Lorraine who were paranormal investigators.
5. Claims of the priest involved
A priest, Ralph Pecoraro blessed the house before the Lutz family moved into their new home and has spoken about his experience with the haunted house in an interview. He confessed to the fact that he felt an unusual feeling in the sewing room and a voice which ordered him to leave the vicinity. He also said he felt someone slap him at some point despite the fact that no one was there.
After his experience, he tried to communicate with the family to warn them about the house, however, he couldn’t get through because of some irregular noise which he believed was demonic interference. He further claimed that he developed blisters on his hands after his ordeal and his doctors couldn’t really place a tangible diagnosis.
6. Movies and books inspired by the Amityville horror
A book was first made out of the Amityville horror by an American author named Jayson Anson, the book was published in September 1977. After its production, the novel was acted in a movie which was released sometime in 1979, it later had a remake in 2005. Even as it is said that the book was written on the basis of the testimonies of George and Kathrine Lutz, it was highly fictionalized like the movies made out of it.
Despite how real the movies and the books inspired by the Amityville horror are, the Lutz family has insisted that fictional narratives were added to them.
7. The true location of the house
The alleged haunted house was located at 112, Ocean Avenue, Amityville, Newyork but has been changed to 108, Ocean Avenue. Since the property has been tagged as a haunted house, it has only abhorred four other occupants after the Lutz family. The home was placed on auction in 2010 and was later sold to another family in February 2017 at a lesser price.
During the shooting of the movie, the real house located at 112 Ocean Avenue was not used, the house used was located at 16 Brooks Road, Toms River, New Jersey – the exteriors of both houses are similar.