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TBT: The Amityville Horror

Updated on January 25, 2018
Kristina Stancil profile image

Freelance Writer, Novelist, & aspiring Criminologist....member of the Horror Writers Association, MH English, Tiffin U

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When doing a series on the movies based on investigations that were done by Ed and Lorraine Warren one would be remiss if they did not review the original Amityville Horror. Amityville is an interesting case as it was not just a haunting. There was more to the story that it is unclear if George and Kathy Lutz were aware of when the moved into the home on Ocean Drive in Long Island.


It is important to note that just because this case is in the Warren case files it is not connected to the Perrons family haunting in The Conjuring, and as Andrea points out in an interview with The Big Seance that her case is also not connected to Annabelle despite the introduction of the doll in The Conjuring movie.

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Years before the Lutz moved in with three small children Ronald Defeo brutally murdered his parents and four younger siblings. In the movie they have a scene where Defeo goes through his house and blasts each family member with a shotgun. The movie does not go into how and when he was captured but there are hints that perhaps he was demonically possessed at the time of the murders.

James Brolin & Margot Kidder played George and Kathy Lutz
James Brolin & Margot Kidder played George and Kathy Lutz | Source

George Lutz had married Kathy and adopted her three young children. Looking to perhaps add to their growing family they sought a bigger home. The Long Island home was perhaps a little out of their price range but larger than any other home in or close to their price range. Due to the size at the outbuildings on the property, George decided to move his office to the house in order to make things work.

Despite being closely involved with their Catholic Church, were friendly with their parish priest, and Kathy’s great aunt being a nun the family were plagued with annoyances from the very beginning. Black flies infested a window and phone calls with their priest started with static before being dropped entirely. When the aunt showed up she was afraid, as she attempted to find George and Kathy, she suddenly became ill. According to the movie, before she could leave their street, she had to pull over to become violently ill. She refused to return to their home. The priest would attempt to visit but would be greeted with a gruff demonic voice telling him to “Get Out!” He refused to return to bless the house even though he feared for the family. He would also become ill when seeking help for the family.

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The aunt and the priest would not be the only ones to be harmed in the house. Danny would have a window crash down on him. As much as his parents fought, they could not get the window off of him. In the remake, a babysitter is trapped in a closet, and she claws at the closet door begging to be freed until her fingers become bloody.

The family dog would bark like crazy and the door to the boat house, where Ronnie had kept his speed boat would not stay locked. At 3 a.m. the dog would start barking like crazy and the door to the boat house would begin to bang violently. Once when their young daughter, Amy was out playing, the door would come open. George would warn Amy to never go in there. The girl would blame anything she did on an imaginary friend she called, Jody. Jody was allegedly a pig with red eyes. Her mother seemed to think the idea of an imaginary friend, who was a pig was cute. Until, of course she went into the play room because of an empty rocking chair, rocking, and she looks out the window to see glowing red eyes.

George’s personality would begin to change. Once an outgoing family man, he would become addicted to the house. He was also always cold despite all the fires he had going or layers of clothing he wore. He would become verbally and physically abusive to his family. Despite Kathy and the children telling him they were afraid and reporting their paranormal experiences he would not believe them and this would increase his anger.

The real George and Kathy Lutz
The real George and Kathy Lutz | Source

The family would not leave the home, at least according to the movie one stormy night Kathy found newspaper clippings about the Defeo murders. The way her husband had let himself go and stopped shaving; he was now slowly evolving into an almost identical version of Ronald Defeo. She would also have nightmares and learn that it was believed that the house was built atop of an Indian burial ground. She also learned that it was believed a known Satanist had lived on the property. A dark mist shrouded figure would ultimately chase the family from their home. It was a struggle to leave the home since the house seemed not to want to let them go. The credits reveal that when the family fled they left all of their belongings and never had anyone collect them for them.

The Lutz would claim having no interest or no connection to the paranormal or occult that would make them targets of the demonic. This claim would be refuted by George and Kathy’s oldest son, Danny. Danny was George’s favorite target. In the movie the character based on him is the one who in the remake is almost chopped with an axe by Ryan Reynolds. Danny would be the subject of the documentary, My Amityville Horror. He would show little concern for what other people thought about the haunting that he believed his parents embellished the events to make an already horrific experiences bigger and scarier for the money. He revealed that he still had problems sleeping and the movie would have to take breaks because he still had anxiety over the events. He would reveal that George Lutz was actually obsessed with the occult. He would also tell a first hand account of how he saw something, his step-father had not wanted him to see. A spell that Lutz had been doing with his coven included something hovering in the air. When Danny reacted as any young boy would he reveals the dark look his step-father gives him in warning. He was to afraid to really tell anyone much of what he had seen at the time.

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After the family fled, the Warrens would be brought in along with reporters to determine whether or not the home was truly haunted or possessed. Ed Warren would reveal that this was one of the most evil places that he had ever investigated. It is believed that the Warrens had warned George Lutz not to return to the home because due to his previous condition while living in the home that the spirits could quite possible use him again. Miss Lorraine was uneasy when the couple were contacted to research the case. They were both confronted by the spirits once they entered the home. These spirits would follow them home at night to torment them. This is why Miss Lorraine believes that the home was not simply haunted by ghosts. She felt the home was the embodiment of evil. The home was possessed by an inhuman spirit and would often affect them at home including taking the form of a giant dark figure. She believed it was the same figure that had appeared to the family.

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The attachment would bother Miss Lorraine enough that she would not return to the house. There are conflicting stories about the level of involvement the Warrens had other than the research in which some articles claim that the Warrens would get a priest to come in and have the house exorcised. Others state that the Warrens went in as researchers and did not do any real investigating. In the My Amityville documentary Danny was quite fond of Miss Lorraine and thanked her for the help.

If she did help, how? I have honestly not got that far in The Demonologist by Gerald Brittle. Nor have I read the Jay Anson account of the events which is sad because both books are next to each other on my shelf. Perhaps the connection to the two books can be the subject of another column.

© 2018 Kristina Stancil

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