Amityville Horror House: Unveiling Secrets

  • By: Gareth Popovic
  • Date: 15 December 2023
  • Time to read: 10 min.


The Amityville Horror House, situated at 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, New York, has become an iconic symbol of paranormal activity and terrifying tales. Known for its haunting legends and supernatural phenomena, the house has captured the imagination of people worldwide and left a lasting mark on popular culture.

In this article, we will delve into the history of the Amityville Horror House, explore the eerie stories that surround it, examine its portrayal in popular culture and media, and consider the various visitor experiences and urban legends associated with this enigmatic residence.


Amityville Horror House
Amityville Horror House | Credit: cinefilosoficial

The Amityville Horror House gained notoriety in the 1970s due to a gruesome mass murder that occurred on November 13, 1974. Ronald DeFeo Jr., the troubled son of the DeFeo family, killed his parents and four siblings while they slept in their beds. This horrifying event shocked the local community and the nation at large. Following the murders, the house remained vacant for over a year.

The Lutz family purchased the house in 1975, unaware of its dark history. George and Kathy Lutz, along with their three children, moved in with hopes of starting a new life. However, their stay in the house was short-lived, as they claimed to experience a series of unexplainable and terrifying events. They reported poltergeist activity, eerie apparitions, and a constant feeling of malevolence within the walls of the house.

In addition to the DeFeo family murders, there have been other reports of unfortunate events occurring at the Amityville Horror House. Some historical accounts mention that several previous owners experienced financial troubles, family strife, and untimely deaths, though the veracity of these claims is challenging to verify.

As time goes on, legends and historical facts intertwine, making it increasingly challenging to separate the truth from fiction. Regardless of the real story behind the haunting, the Amityville Horror House has become an enduring icon in the realm of paranormal folklore, leaving a lasting impact on the world’s fascination with the supernatural.

Haunting Legends and Supernatural Phenomena

The DeFeo Family Murders

The DeFeo Murders, more commonly known as the Amityville Horror, is one of the most notorious cases of alleged paranormal activity in American history. However, the tragic facts underlying the legend are undeniable. On the night of November 13, 1974, six members of the DeFeo family were murdered in their home in Amityville, a small town located on the south shore of Long Island, New York.

The victims were Ronald DeFeo Sr., his wife Louise, and four of their children: Dawn, Allison, Marc, and John Matthew, all of whom were found shot to death in their beds. The sole surviving member of the immediate family, 23-year-old Ronald DeFeo Jr., initially told police that he discovered the bodies upon returning home from work. However, after inconsistencies in his story began to arise, he became the primary suspect.

Under questioning, DeFeo Jr. confessed to carrying out the murders himself, claiming that he heard voices in the house that compelled him to commit the heinous act. His defense attorneys attempted to plead insanity at his trial, but this was rejected by the jury. In November 1975, DeFeo was found guilty of six counts of second-degree murder. He was sentenced to six concurrent sentences of 25 years to life.

Was Ron Defeo possessed?

In the period leading up to the horrifying murders of his family, Ronald DeFeo Jr., the man who would later be convicted of the crime, reported experiencing a series of strange occurrences within the Amityville house. DeFeo Jr. described hearing unsettling sounds akin to whispers and footsteps, as if unseen people were moving around the house. These auditory anomalies were coupled with a persistent, chilling sensation, an inexplicable coldness that seemed to pervade the house. The unnerving experiences reported by DeFeo Jr. suggest a sense of foreboding, an unseen menace lurking within the house’s walls, instilling a pervasive dread.

Ronald DeFeo Jr.’s actions on the night of the murders were undeniably horrific and beyond the comprehension of most people. His subsequent claims of hearing voices and experiencing unusual phenomena within the house have led some to speculate about possible possession. However, these claims were made after the murders and could potentially be viewed as an attempt to evade legal responsibility for his actions.

Why were no shots heard?

Parapsychologist Hans Holzer, a prominent figure in the study of the paranormal, offered a unique, albeit speculative, explanation for one of the enduring mysteries of the DeFeo family murders at the Amityville house. The grisly crime, in which six members of the family were fatally shot while they slept, was marked by a peculiar absence of sound. None of the victims appeared to have been awakened by the gunshots, and no neighbors reported hearing the shots either. Holzer proposed a theory grounded in his expertise in paranormal phenomena to explain this anomaly. He suggested the presence of a potent psychic field within the house, which could have interfered with the perception of sound.

According to Holzer, such a field, possibly generated by intense negative energy or a malevolent entity, could have created a kind of psychic ‘white noise’ that muffled the gunshots or rendered them inaudible to the human ear. While this theory has not been empirically substantiated and remains the subject of debate, it offers an intriguing perspective on the perplexing silence that shrouded the deadly events of that fateful night.

Paranormal Activity

When George and Kathy Lutz moved into their new home in December 1975, they had high hopes. Little did they know that they had walked into what would become one of the most infamous haunted houses in American history – the Amityville House.

Within a mere 28 days of moving in, the Lutz family was fleeing for their lives, driven out by what they described as intense and terrifying paranormal activity. Unexplained cold spots permeated the house. Mysterious and pungent odors would rise, seemingly from nowhere, and then disappear just as quickly.

Objects moved or even levitated without any human intervention. More disturbing were the claimed physical transformations – Kathy Lutz reported aging decades in mere moments, her hair turning white and her face wrinkling up like an old woman’s.

The Lutzes recounted terrifying visions of a demonic, pig-like creature with glowing red eyes that would peer into their house at night. They also claimed to have been attacked by unseen forces – slapped, punched, and jostled by a malign presence that could not be seen.

Their dog too fell victim to the inexplicable phenomena, behaving strangely and at one point, even levitating. They reported hearing phantom sounds – footsteps, doors slamming, even an invisible marching band tuning up in the middle of the night.

Rolling Thunder

One of the most enduring legends tied to the Amityville Horror House is the supposed curse placed upon the property by Chief Rolling Thunder, a Native American spiritual leader from the Shinnecock tribe.

According to local lore, Chief Rolling Thunder cursed the land after a dispute with the European settlers who forcefully took the land from the tribe. The curse was said to bring tragedy, death, and misfortune to anyone who lived on the property.

Amityville Horror House
Amityville Horror House – Credit meindolphnflogr

While the existence of Chief Rolling Thunder and the curse remains unsubstantiated, some locals and paranormal enthusiasts believe that the curse is a compelling explanation for the unsettling events that have unfolded at the house over the years.

It is worth noting that skepticism surrounds these claims. Critics and skeptics have questioned the legitimacy of the Lutz family’s experiences, suggesting that they fabricated the haunting to profit from the media attention. Nevertheless, the legend of the Amityville Horror House persisted, captivating both believers and doubters alike.

Alternative theories

The narrative of the Amityville house is further complicated by the eerie legend of John Ketchum. According to local lore, Ketchum was a man expelled from Massachusetts due to his practice of witchcraft, a taboo and feared craft in the days of early America. Seeking refuge, he reportedly found solace on or near the site of the present-day Amityville house. The legend suggests that Ketchum continued his nefarious rituals of devil worship unabated until his death, his life and practices steeped in the occult. Tales even suggest that his remains may lie buried somewhere on the property, further intertwining his fate with the land. While historical documents neither confirm nor refute the existence of Ketchum or his association with the site, the legend itself adds a chilling facet to the lore of the Amityville house, deepening its eerie reputation.

New owners

Following the Lutz family’s hasty departure, the Amityville house changed hands multiple times. Despite its infamous reputation, subsequent owners have reported no paranormal activity, casting doubts on the Lutz family’s claims of haunting and spectral phenomena.

After the Lutz family, the house was purchased by James and Barbara Cromarty in 1977. The Cromartys lived in the house for over a decade and reported no occurrences of the paranormal activity that had supposedly plagued the Lutz family. They did, however, express distress over the hordes of curious onlookers and horror enthusiasts who trespassed on their property, drawn by the house’s notorious reputation. In an effort to deter these unwelcome visitors, the Cromartys changed the house’s address and even altered its iconic quarter-circle windows.

The house was sold again in 1987 to Peter and Jeanne O’Neill, who also reported no unusual happenings during their time there. It’s worth noting that the Amityville house remained a subject of public fascination despite the lack of further reports of paranormal activity. The enduring allure can be largely attributed to the numerous books, movies, and documentaries that kept the story of the Amityville horror alive in popular culture.

In recent years, the house has continued to change hands, with each new owner seemingly undeterred by its macabre history. These later owners, much like the Cromartys and O’Neills, have not reported any paranormal experiences. However, the legend of the Amityville house remains firmly embedded in the annals of American folklore, its story a chilling reminder of the intersection between fact, speculation, and the supernatural.

Popular Culture and Media Coverage

The Amityville Horror, a chilling tale rooted in real events, has left an indelible mark on popular culture. It all began with Jay Anson’s bestselling book, “The Amityville Horror: A True Story” (1977), which detailed the Lutz family’s harrowing experiences in their haunted home. The book’s success led to Stuart Rosenberg’s iconic 1979 film adaptation, “The Amityville Horror,” starring James Brolin and Margot Kidder, which further propelled the story’s fame.

Since then, the Amityville Horror franchise has spawned numerous adaptations across different media. Films like “Amityville II: The Possession” (1982), “Amityville 3-D” (1983), and “The Amityville Curse” (1990) continued to explore the sinister presence within the infamous house. Other notable entries include the 2018 film “The Amityville Murders” and the various documentary features that further dissect the haunting phenomenon.

The Amityville Horror story has also found its way into television programs. The popular paranormal investigation series “Ghost Hunters” aired an episode titled “Amityville Horror House” in 2005, where the team explored the alleged haunted reputation of the Amityville residence.

Additionally, the renowned paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, known for their involvement in the Amityville case, have been central figures in various films, including “The Conjuring” series, which showcases their encounters with the supernatural, including Amityville.

For those fascinated by the intersection of true crime and supernatural phenomena, the book THE REAL AMITYVILLE HORROR: The True Story Behind The Brutal DeFeo Murders” by Frances J. Armstrong is an essential read. This work delves into the harrowing details of the DeFeo murders, an incident that led to the infamous legend of the Amityville haunting. Armstrong’s well-researched and compelling narrative takes readers beyond the sensationalized accounts, offering a thorough examination of the crime, the investigation, and the subsequent trial. The book unravels the complexities of the case, shedding light on the human tragedy and the mystery that have continued to captivate public imagination. If you’re interested in separating fact from fiction and exploring the true story behind one of America’s most notorious haunted houses, this book offers a gripping and informative perspective. It’s a must-read for anyone eager to delve into a story that transcends simple categorization, existing at the nexus of crime, psychology, and the unexplainable.

The enduring popularity of the Amityville Horror is evident in its pervasive presence in popular culture. Halloween costumes, haunted house attractions, and references in other horror films and TV shows pay homage to the chilling story. Despite debates surrounding the authenticity of the events, the Amityville Horror remains a captivating and iconic tale that continues to send shivers down the spines of audiences worldwide.


The Amityville Horror House remains an enduring enigma, with its history of tragic events and haunting legends continuing to captivate the world’s imagination. Whether one believes in the supernatural occurrences or dismisses them as urban legends, the cultural impact of this infamous residence is undeniable.

Its influence on popular culture, media, and urban legends serves as a reminder of the power of a compelling and chilling story, even if the truth behind the haunting remains elusive.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Amityville Horror House

Q: Where is the Amityville Horror House located?

The Amityville Horror House is located in Amityville, New York.

Q: What happened to the DeFeo family in the house?

In 1974, Ronald DeFeo Jr. murdered six members of his family in their sleep at the Amityville Horror House.

Q: What did the Lutz family experience in the house?

The Lutz family reported a series of terrifying events during their brief stay, including strange odors, disembodied voices, and unexplained cold spots.

Q: Is the Amityville Horror House open to the public?

The Amityville Horror House is a private residence and is not open to the public.

Q: Has anyone investigated the paranormal activities in the house?

Over the years, numerous investigators and psychic mediums have visited the Amityville Horror House to explore its supernatural presence and document their findings.

Q: Is there evidence to support the haunting claims?

The evidence surrounding the haunting claims at the Amityville Horror House is highly debated. While some believe in the authenticity of the experiences, skeptics argue that they were embellished or fabricated for commercial gain.

Q: Can visitors tour the Amityville Horror House?

Due to its private ownership, the Amityville Horror House is not open for public tours. Visitors are advised to respect the privacy of the current residents

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