Crime & Scandal In the News

The Real Amityville Horror

We revisit the frightening paranormal reports that gave “America’s most haunted house” its reputation.

Thirty miles outside of New York City, nestled in the Long Island town of Amityville, stands the house forever linked to the Amityville Horror phenomenon. On November 13, 1974 the estate was the scene of a mass murder. Using a .35 Marlin rifle, 23-year-old Ronald J. DeFeo Jr. murdered his entire family while they were asleep, which included his parents and four siblings.

Thirteen months later, the Lutz Family purchased the 5-bedroom, 3.5 bathroom home at a drastically reduced price of $80,000 (due to the murders) but only lasted 28 days before leaving it. Their spine-tingling tales of paranormal activity is what propelled the legend of the Amityville Horror, “America’s most haunted house,” and spawned a torrent of books, documentaries, and films — the latest being the horror/thriller Amityville: The Awakening, which stars Bella Thorne and Jennifer Jason Leigh, opening this weekend.

Check out some of the frightening tales claimed by the Lutz Family, as well as other interesting facts about the infamous house whose horror has yet to die.

The Supernatural

  • Stepfather George Lutz had a history of dabbling in the occult.
  • Lutz was said to wake up at 3:15am every morning, which was around the time Ron DeFeo carried out his murders.
  • The Lutz Family claimed to smell strange odors, see green slime oozing out of the walls and keyholes, and experience cold spots in certain areas of the house.
  • When a priest came to bless the house, he allegedly heard a voice scream “Get out!” He told the Lutzes to never sleep in a particular room in the house.
  • Other paranormal activity: A nearby garage door opening and closing; an invisible spirit knocking a knife down in the kitchen; a pig-like creature with red eyes staring down at George Lutz and his son Daniel from a window; George waking up to wife Kathy levitating off their bed; sons Daniel and Christopher also levitating together in their beds.

The Fallout

  • After telling their story, George and Kathy took a lie detector test to prove their innocence. They passed.
  • The couple were bogged down in legal and financial issues, which prompted skeptics to believe they had motive to create a fantastical story to sell to the public.
  • The Lutz’s former lawyer William Weber — who fell out with them over money issues — came out in 1979, claiming the three of them came up with the horror story “over many bottles of wine.”
  • Son Daniel Lutz, who lives a quiet life in Queens, New York, as a stonemason, claims the house ruined his life and that he continues to have nightmares to this day.
  • Murderer Ron DeFeo, who’s still alive and serving six 25-year-life sentences at a New York correctional facility, claimed he heard voices urging him to kill his family. He has since changed his story multiple times.

The Amityville House Today

  • The Amityville House officially sold on February 2017 to an undisclosed owner for $605,000, which was $200,000 less than the original asking price. It had been previously owned by four other families since the murders, one of which had the address changed to 108 Ocean Ave. (The house originally stood at 112 Ocean Ave.)