Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Amityville Horror Story

When the Amityville Horror is mentioned, what comes to mind?  For me, it's the oddly shaped windows on the well-known house, and the murders that occurred in the house.  For some people, the book that was supposed to be based on true events may come to mind.


Ronald DeFeo Jr. shot and killed six members of his family, in the house at 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, NY.


The Amityville Horror: A True Story was written by Jay Anson, and was published in September 1977.  The book centers around the Lutz family and the house located at 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, NY.    The Lutz family was said to have purchased the six bedroom house for $80,000. 

According to the book, the Lutz's also acquired the furniture of the previous owners for an extra $400.  A friend of the family heard of the house's history and insisted the house be blessed.

Some of the paranormal activity mentioned in the book included:
  • father waking up at 3:15 each morning (the time the murders took place)
  • cold spots
  • strange odors
  • swarms of flies
  • apparitions
  • strange sounds
  • glowing red eyes
  • slime oozing from the walls
  • cloven hoof prints in the snow outside the house
The book also claims that a second house blessing was conducted in January 1976.  After this blessing failed, the Lutz's took the necessities with them to a family member's house nearby.  The family claimed that the paranormal activity followed them.  The Lutz's officially moved out of the house on January 14, 1976.


There has been much debate on whether The Amityville Horror: A True Story was actually a true story to begin with.  Some of the things skeptics have brought up have been:
  • the book looks too much like what occurred in The Exorcist
  • research of documented events in the house do not coincide with what the book claims
  • the priest that blessed the house has given different accounts of what took place
  • there was no snow on the ground the day the cloven hoof prints were supposed to have been seen
  • changes were made in the text with different editions of the book
With all of the evidence debunking the events in The Amityville Horror: A True Story, I think it is safe to say that it is a work of fiction.  To claim truth of a paranormal story is a popular tactic, as is people's willingness to believe everything they read/see, even if told the book/movie is fictitious.  Other sources we've seen this in have been The Blair Witch Project, the Paranormal Activity movies, The Da Vinci Code, and more.

Also, the events recorded in the book were said to take place over the course of 28 days, with the Lutz's moving out January 14, 1976.  The book was released in September 1977.  The author was said to have used 45 hours of recorded tapes on which to base his story.  From what I have learned during the past year while I've studied the craft of writing, it takes a lot longer than a year and some change to come up with a novel of historical facts.

What are your thoughts?


  1. I think I saw the movie when I was a kid. Scarred me for life.

    1. I saw it an number of years ago. I don't really remember being scared, but I do remember the dad sitting at the piano, playing in a macabre way. For some reason, it reminded me of the main character in The Shining. Maybe it was just the behaviors....