The Amityville Horror
The Amityville Horror is one of the most documented and well-known cases of a haunted house in the history of paranormal research.
The story - which was alleged to have happened to the Lutz family when they moved into a large Dutch colonial house at 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville - has been the subject of a series of best-selling books and a string of movies.
When George and Kathy Lutz, along with Kathy's three children, first moved into their new house in Amityville on December 18th, 1975, they thought they had found their dream home. It's near the school suiting the kids well and the neighbors are friendly with Kathy even envisioning herself enjoying friendly casino poker games with them. That is, of course, until that dream became a living nightmare, as they started experiencing the strange paranormal occurrences which eventually drove them out of the house.
Prior to the Lutzes' occupation of the Amityville house, the residence had been the scene of a horrific murder spree. On November 13th, 1974, 23-year-old Ronald DeFeo shot dead his father, mother and four younger siblings. However, not being superstitious, the Lutzs still bought the house.
By January 14th, 1976, when the Lutzes fled the house forever, they claimed to have been terrorised for 28 days by an unspeakably evil entity. Their horrific experiences included ghostly apparitions of hooded figures, swarms of flies in the sewing room and the children's playroom, breaking window panes, spine-chilling cold alternating with suffocating heat, personality changes, nightly parades by spirit marching bands, levitations, green slime oozing down the stairs, foul odours, nausea, inexplicable scratches on Kathleen's body, objects mysteriously moving, constant disconnection of the telephone service, and even communications between the youngest, Melissa, and a devilish spirit pig by the name of "Jodie".
But more shockingly, even the Devil himself is said to have actually appeared in the house.
Even visitors to the house were affected by the strange atmosphere permeating through the place. Kathy's brother, Jimmy, and his new bride mysteriously lost $1,500 in cash. And Father Mancuso, the local priest who gave the house his blessing, suffered a horrible bout of sickness that left him physically drained. As a result, he eventually transferred to a distant parish. He is said to have heard a voice from an unseen entity ordering him to "get out" when he sprinkled the house with holy water.
In 1977, The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson was published. The book became an instant bestseller, and led to a top-grossing movie in 1979, starring James Brolin and Margot Kidder. More Amityville Horror books followed, written by different authors, which gave alleged accounts of the demonic entity still following the Lutzes, even after they had fled the Amityville house.
As is often the norm with cases like this, many skeptics claimed that the Amityville haunting was just a big hoax, and they were quick to point out various discrepancies in Anson's book. Even Jerry Solfvin, of the Psychical Research Foundation, who was contacted by George Lutz in early January 1976 about paranormal activity at the house, found the whole case rather questionable. All the evidence was subjective. Also, Father Mancuso was regarded as being a poor witness, as he had visited the house only the once. It took Anson three or four months to write his book, and he worked mostly from tapes of telephone interviews. Apparently, he made only a superficial effort to verify the Lutzes' account.
The most significant aspect of the case is the interview that Ronald DeFeo's lawyer, William Weber, gave a local radio station in 1979. He claimed that the Lutzes' concocted the whole Amityville Horror saga around their kitchen table whilst drinking bottles of wine. He also said that after approaching them with the idea, the Lutzes broke away from him, and so he decided to sue for his share of the book and movie royalties. But the Lutzes countersued, arguing that their experiences were genuine. Mrs Lutz's story was later analysed on a Psychological Stress Evaluation. The results of the test confirmed her claims.
Although it's possible that the hauntings at the Amityville residence may have actually happened, many observers have deemed the Lutzes' story to be over-dramatic when compared to other cases of paranormal activity.
When the Lutzes moved out, the house became quiet. The subsequent owners, Jim and Barbara Cromarty, reported no incidents of paranormal activity whatsoever. But they became so annoyed at the large amounts of tourists and thrill-seekers who were repeatedly converging on the place that they eventually sued the Lutzes for $1.1 million. They won a settlement for a lesser amount.
Thirty years on, the current owners of the Amityville house maintain that they have not experienced a single instance of ghostly activity, a fact which only gives added weight to the arguments of the skeptics who claim that the Lutzes' story was phoney.
To this day, the worldwide fascination with The Amityville Horror continues, as unabated and as intense as ever, and the debate still rages on as to whether there was even a grain of truth in the Lutzes' claims that their house was infested by some demonic entity. Whether it was true or not, one thing is certain: The Amityville Horror will go down in history as one of the most controversial and terrifying stories ever written.
The Official Amityville Horror Website
To find out the latest news on The Amityville Horror case, check out this website: Amityville Horror Truth
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