|America’s Haunted House Turns 40:
The Amityville Horror
By William Henry Pratt
It’s almost hard to believe that it has been 40 years since we
first heard of this great American horror story. It was December
1975 when newlyweds George and Kathy Lutz moved into what
they thought was their dream house. That dream house would
soon turn into a living nightmare for their family and become the
most famous haunted house in the U.S.
Just one year before the Lutz’s moved in, a truly nightmarish
event occurred in the house. When on November 13th 1974, 23 year old Ronnie DeFeo slaughtered his
entire family. Deep in the dark of night, young Ronnie crept from room to room starting with his mom
and dad and killed them in their sleep with a shotgun. After this ghastly deed, he then went to the rooms of
his siblings and murdered them in the same fashion.
One year later after the murders, The Lutz family moved into the house on Ocean
Avenue on Long Island, New York. George, his new wife and her two children
from a previous marriage thought that this new home would be a new beginning
for them. They could not be any more wrong. Soon after moving into the house,
strange things started happening. Things started to go missing, objects moved
on their own and a demonic force seemed to hang over the house. A cold chill
seemed to always be about and hordes of flies seemed to come from nowhere.
Blood started to come from the walls and George seemed to be possessed by
something evil. When a priest attempted an exorcism on the house a voice called
out and said “Get Out” to the holy man.
In short, less than a month after moving into their new home, the Lutz family ran
out of the house, never to return again. The story of this demonic residence may
have ended there but the story of the events the Lutz’s experienced would be told
in a book written
by author Jay Anson. Published in 1977, the book titled The Amityville Horror
went on to tell the story of not only the real nightmare that took place in the house
from Ronnie DeFeo, but the supernatural events that followed the Lutz family.
Soon the bestselling book was then turned into a Hollywood feature film released
in the summer of 1979. The movie gave way to a remake in 2005, 30 years after
the Lutz family haunting.
Today The Amityville Horror has become American’s most famous haunted
house. It’s story known by the world both by its very real murders and the spooky
events that followed that bloody event. The house itself is visited many times as
people drive by the house hoping to get a glimpse of a ghost or some super-
natural poltergeist. The very look of the dwelling is very forbidding with its iconic
upper windows glaring into the night like two malevolent eyes. And although the house since that night has
never shown its darker side to newer owners over the past 40 years, the house still remains a scary and
intimidating location for those who believe. I saw George Lutz in 2003 and even then the events of that
house still haunted him and did so right up until his death. He seemed withdrawn and overcome by the
house like it still had its reach upon him.
Whether real, faked or something else.…..The Amityville Horror has become a staple in American folklore
when it comes to haunted houses. In film, books and in nightmares, the house will always remain America’
s haunted house.