With “The Amityville Horror” hitting theaters last weekend, there is no doubt that people will be talking about what happened over 30 years ago at the famous address of 112 Ocean Ave. There will always be skeptics that say the story was nothing but a hoax. After all, there is never any actual evidence that a haunting has occurred; you just have to take someoneʼs word for it. On Oct. 24, 2003, at Penn State University, that is exactly what people did as George Lutz, the man that lived in the house, came to talk about it. Lutzʼs testimony of what happened that day is horrific to most, but not uncommon when compared to most haunting cases. In fact, there have been other cases that would seem even worse, such as the “Bell Witch,” (witch unleashes hatred for Tenn. man in 1800s) or the “Smurl Haunting,” (unseen force terrorizes family in West Pittston, Penn. from 1985-1987) so why does a haunting like Amityville get so much hype? The movies are just the movies, but readers might find that George Lutzʼs story is a lot more interesting than the movie. Strange events were happening in this house long before the Lutz family moved in. Prior to their purchase of the home, Ronald Defeo, Jr. tragically murdered his entire family as they slept. Armed with a .35 caliber Marlin rifle, he moved from room to room and fired eight shots in all.
When confessing to the murders, he claimed to have heard voices telling him to do it and claimed to have seen dark shadowy figures moving about the house. He also said a pair of dark hands handed him the rifle. None of the family heard the gunshots, nor did any of the neighbors around the house. Defeo remains in prison today where he is serving six consecutive life sentences.
When the Lutz family moved in, they knew about what had happened. “The realtor eventually told us what happened in the house and asked if we were still interested in looking at the home,” said Lutz at the Penn State event. “The kids didnʼt seem to have any reservations about whether to at least look at the house, so we went through with it.”
On moving day, strange events started occurring almost immediately. They had a priest come to bless the house and when he was leaving, Lutz said that he could tell some abnormal things happened in the house. The priest said he was not particularly comfortable about the house at all, but there was one room in particular that really bothered him and he told the Lutzs not to make it a bedroom. Instead, they made it a sewing room. While the Lutzes were unpacking, their dog, Harry, was tied out back. George discovered that he had jumped the fence in an attempt to leave the property and hung himself in the process. Harry survived, but this was very unsettling to the family.
As the Lutzs settled in, strange things started to gradually occur. “The house was very patient,” said Lutz. “It was willing to wait.” epulsive odors pervaded the home. A green Jell-O-like substance leaked from the walls. The water in the toilet bowls turned black, and swarms of houseflies were found at times in the sewing room. A strange black gooey substance oozed from the keyholes in doors. The family was also affected by personality changes. George would wake at 3:15 each morning. He would go for days without bathing, was often sick, and was losing a lot of weight. His wife Kathy had awful nightmares, and the children often fought with each other.
Footsteps could be heard in the house. The front door would slam in the middle of the night. “The sound was very distinctive,” said Lutz, but when he would get down the stairs everything would appear fine.George began hearing a strange sound at night like a marching band tuning up, or an unorganized musical sound coming from downstairs. One of the Lutzsʼ guests also witnessed this and said his family was bombarded by similar noises when he was a child. He said his parents used to open the windowsand go through the house saying the lordʼs prayer. They figured it could not hurt, so the Lutzs gave it a try. George said, “It didnʼt work.”
Kathy Lutz would be in the kitchen and feel things coming up behind her. The Lutzs would see red eyes peering in at them from outside the window. George would race out of the house to see what was there only to find hoof prints leading away in the snow. One night Kathy launched a chair at the eyes peering at them only to hear the sound of a squealing pig piercing the night air.
Their daughter Missy had an imaginary friend which did not seem strange at the time, until Missy told them that “Jodie” had said, “Your going to live here forever.” George knew this could not be normal. “That was too strange a thing to come from a four or five year old kid,” said Lutz. They knew it was time to leave their dream home. The last night in the house the family knew there was a storm going on outside, but later when the reports were checked the weather was fine. “I donʼt care what the weathermen said. For us that night there was a storm raging,” said Lutz.
George Lutz said he is not comfortable talking about this night to anyone, so some of the events that occurred are somewhat unclear. There was a big rush on the part of the Lutzes to leave the house. While packing just a few things together, things went from bad to worse.
The home fluctuated from chilling to hot. Strange banging noises were heard, and the interior walls of the house seemed to shift about, making some kind of groaning noise. As they were leaving the house, George encountered an apparition on the second floor landing. It was a motionless hooded figure pointing directly at George Lutz.
Lutz showed photographs of the house that were taken by investigators.
The house looked as if it had been abandoned in haste. Clothes and food were thrown about, and plants were withered away. It looked like a war zone, he said. It is said in some of the photographs of the house misty faces or strange ghostly figures can bseen.
Lutz said it is important for people to know about things like this so they can learn more about such a phenomenon. However, he also said he would never wish what he went through on anyone.