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The Amityville Horror – 28 Days of Terror (Part 2)

While Ronald 'Butch' Defeo was 6 days away from hearing the jury's verdict in December 1975, another family was moving into 112 Ocean Ave, Amityville NY. You can read all about how 'Butch' Defeo murdered his family in Part 1.

The Lutz family was well aware that their new home had been the scene of a sextuple murder. In fact, that horrific crime gave them the opportunity to snatch up the massive waterfront property for a steal. 4,000 square feet (371.61 m²) cost them $20 per square foot.

George Lutz was the newest addition to the family. He married Kathy and took on her 3 children. By all accounts, George wasn't the dad of the century. His step-children have alluded to the fact that he may have been a bit abusive towards them, demonic possession or not.

The Amityville Horror

Considering that a family had just been brutally murdered a year prior, the 'horror' was only beginning. That's what the author of the book, The Amityville Horror would have you believe.

When the Lutz family moved in, they also bought the Defeo family's furniture for $400. So not only did they move into a house where a mass murder had occurred, but they kept the decorations. Hopefully the mattresses were replaced.

One of George's friends insisted that they get the house blessed by a Catholic priest. Kathy, being a delinquent Catholic herself, thought that there was no harm in it. They got Father Ralph J. Pecoraro to perform the blessing.

Father Pecoraro was allegedly told to “Get Out” by a disembodied, yet masculine voice. He was in the room that had belonged to the youngest Defeo's at the time. The priest then advised George Lutz not to let anyone sleep in that room.

George and Kathy turned the bedroom into a sewing room, because giving a malevolent ghost needles is a great idea.

Shortly after his visit to 112 Ocean Ave, Father Pecoraro developed blisters on his palms. He assumed it was stigmata, a Catholic miracle where the most pious are blessed with the wounds of Christ.

Strange things started happening in the house. As though the demonic entity was annoyed by the priest's attempts at blessing the place. Doors slammed shut with such force that they were ripped from their hinges. Cabinets opened and closed of their own accord. There was even a window that would open and close on its own, but only if you stepped on a certain spot on the floor.

The pig headed demon that George Lutz saw while living in the Amityville Horror House
You having door trouble, George?

George would wake up at 3:15 am every morning, the exact time that 'Butch' committed his crime. He often heard someone slamming the front door, and stomping around downstairs. Upon going down to investigate, he would find his dog sleeping peacefully in front of the door.

Other times he would feel compelled to peer out at the boathouse, upon waking. The door would be open, and he would go out to close it, because his new boat was precious to him. When he turned to face the house again, he apparently saw a pigman staring back at him from one of the upstairs windows.

Young Daniel was thrown up the stairs, and into walls. He claims that a demonic force would lift him and hold him against the walls. This is reminiscent of what Ronald Defeo Sr. did to his son, 'Butch'.

Green slime would ooze from the ceilings of the house. Strange smells assaulted the Lutz family. There was even a seemingly biblical plague of flies in 2 of the rooms. No matter how many flies they killed, there would be thousands the next day.

The family fled after 28 days in the Amityville Horror house. Straight into the arms of Ed and Lorraine Warren, and Jay Ansen. The Warrens' investigation would take place one year after the Lutzes fled, in 1976.

The Investigation

Ed and Lorraine Warren have elevated many ghost stories to unprecedented fame. The self-proclaimed demonologists built a career out of convincing people that they have special knowledge. Ed knows demons, and Lorraine is psychic.

The pair brought a team of researchers to investigate the Amityville Horror House. As they so usually do, they concluded that the home was infested with a powerful demonic presence.

Other investigators, who would later deny ever visiting the home, were said to levitate upon entering the house. The Lutzes and Warrens obviously claim that the denial was a lie.

Gene Campbell, a photographer brought on by the Warrens, captured one of the most famous ghost photos of all time. He set up automatic cameras that would take infrared pictures every 5 minutes.

The photo allegedly shows one of the Defeo boys peeking around a corner. Skeptics believe that the photo actually shows one of the paranormal researchers, Paul Bartz. Whether a real ghost-boy or not, the photo helped skyrocket the Amityville Haunting to international fame.

Haunting or Hoax?

William Weber, Ronald 'Butch' Defeo's lawyer, admitted years later that he and the Lutzes came up with the haunting. They apparently spent several nights crafting the tale over several bottles of wine.

Weber's motivation was to give him an edge in the appeals proceedings for 'Butch' Defeo. He reasoned that if the house could be linked to a demonic haunting, then the judge might be lenient to Defeo's claim that he heard voices that made him do it.

George and Kathy Lutz were in it for the money. At least according to Weber. They wanted to sell their story to the highest bidder, as a way to cover some of the mountain of debt that they were in.

Stories of demonic hauntings were quite popular in the mid 70s. The Exorcist had just rocked audiences in 1973, turning the devil into something worth believing in. Prior to the release of The Exorcist, people didn't think of Satan and demons as a real threat.

George, Kathy, and the children maintain that their story wasn't a hoax. They claim that Weber was simply trying to discredit them. Whatever the case may be, the Lutz family mad a bit of money off of the sale of their story. First with Jay Ansen's novelization, The Amityville Horror, and then with the subsequent Hollywood film adaptations of that novel.



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