DREAD: The Unsolved Looks Into the Haunted History of The Amityville House

November 13th, 1974. Amityville, Long Island, New York. Henry’s Bar. A disheveled man pushed through the front door and shouted that his parents had been shot. They lived fairly close to the bar, just down the road. The man in the bar was Ronald “Butch” Defeo, and what happened in the house at 112 Ocean Avenue would kick off over 50 years of speculation, multiple books, and 16 films.

A few patrons inside the bar followed Defeo back to his home. When they arrived, they found Defeo’s parents shot dead in their beds. One of the members of the group called the police. When they arrived, they would go on to find all four of Defeo’s siblings dead in their beds as well. Defeo was taken into protective custody by the police due to him claiming that he believed his family was killed by mob hit man Louis Falini.

Falini had a strong alibi, and the police began putting pressure on Defeo after noticing inconsistencies in his recounting of the events. Just one day after the murders, Ronald Defeo confessed to police, admitting that “once I started, I couldn’t stop. It just went so fast”. He had killed his family, hidden the evidence, taken a shower, and gone to work as if nothing was wrong.

In November of 1975, despite a strong defense – which featured an insanity defense after Defeo claimed to be acting out the orders of unseen voices – Defeo was found guilty of six counts of second-degree murder, one for each of his family members. He was sentenced to six sentences of 25 years to life.

Ronald Defeo Jr. is a host of mysteries all on his own. He claimed to have drugged his family members before slaying them, but toxicology reports found no substances in their systems. He claimed his sister had killed the family and that he had knocked her out and shot her in defense. He even claimed that mysterious voices told him to kill. There has never been a concrete motive for the killings.

On the night of the killings, no gunshots were reported in the neighborhood that Defeo lived in. The only noise reported by neighbors was the sound of the Defeo’s dog barking through the night.

December 1975: George and Kathy Lutz have found a steal at $80,000: a sprawling, 4,000-square-foot home with its own dock and boathouse. The Lutzes soon closed on the house and moved in with their family. There are reports that they were never told about the gruesome history of the house. The real estate broker who showed them the house is on record saying that they told the Lutzes about Defeo.

No one can ever say for certain what happened in the following 28 days in the Amityville home. To hear George and Kathy tell it, they were run out of the house by evil spirits. George knew something wasn’t right from their first day in the house. He talked to a friend who advised that he get the house blessed. George claims he called a priest, Father Pecoraro, to bless the home. He states that the priest was slapped and heard a disembodied voice telling him to get out.

The priest would later allegedly experience a form of stigmata, with blisters forming on his hands. After some time in the house, George claimed he began waking up at 3:15 every morning, the same time the Defeo family had been murdered. The family claims to have seen green ooze coming out of the walls. Assorted bangs, bumps, and clatters were reported by the family, as well as cold spots. George claimed to have seen a pig-like creature with red eyes watching his family through the windows of the house.

Through numerous retellings, the content of George Lutz’s claims seems to change. In his other versions of events, the priest experienced true stigmata with bleeding from the hands. Instead of cold spots, George reported feeling so cold all the time that he kept the fireplace roaring day and night. He would also claim that Kathy had transformed, in front of his eyes, into a 90-year-old woman.

On the 28th day in the house, the family claimed they were chased up the stairs by a growing blob of green goo. They left that night, and George is quick to tell everyone that they were so scared that they left even the furniture in the house. Very few people mention that the furniture came with the house for an added 400 dollars.

2 months after the Lutzes left, a group of world-renown psychics, including the future subject of her own episode of Dread: The Unsolved, Lorraine Warren. They slept at the house and Warren reported a sense of “horrible depression.” Of all the photographs taken by the group, only one shows something that begins to defy explanation.

Was the Amityville house built on a burial ground?

Over time, many people have been brought to the house in Amityville to investigate the Lutz’s claims. In 1977, a medium who toured the house stated that it was haunted by the ghost of an Indigenous chief, upset because the house was built on a sacred burial ground. They even went so far as to claim that this chief possessed Defeo. Though there are no records of such a burial ground having existed on the property, this claim is largely uncorroborated.

The Montaukett tribe of Long Island called foul, saying there is no record of any burial site in Amityville. Joe Nickell is a professional skeptic, who has clearly made his mind up regarding the house. He has stated, “The bottom line is that…it was a hoax, or is, simply, at best, a matter that’s not proven. And that’s not very good for America’s most famous haunted house.”

Today, the house at 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville doesn’t exist. The couple that bought the house after the bank foreclosed on the Lutzes had the address changed to avoid spiritual thrillseekers looking for their next hit of the supernatural. Three owners have inhabited 108 Ocean Avenue since that dark 28 days in the winter of 1975. None of them have reported any strange incidents.

So what do you think? Is the famous Amityville house haunted, or was it all a hoax to drum up some quick cash? Let me know in the comments or at Twitter @DreadUnsolved, Instagram @DreadTheUnsolved, or on Facebook. Do you have a mystery that I should look at? You can send tips to TheUnsolved@DreadCentral.com You can catch a new episode of Dread: The Unsolved on Dread Central and Youtube every Thursday.



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