Weird History

The Real Amityville Horror House And The Story Behind It

The quaint-looking house at 112 Ocean Avenue was the scene of the grisly DeFeo murders before the Lutz family claimed to endure paranormal terror there that inspired The Amityville Horror.

High Hopes Sign At Amityville House

Inside The Real ‘Amityville Horror’ House Where Murder And Alleged Hauntings Took Place In The 1970s

In the early morning hours of Nov. 13, 1974, this Amityville house in Long Island, New York became more than a mere suburban home. Instead, it became an infamous crime scene, as Ronald DeFeo Jr. skulked the halls with a rifle and killed his parents and four of his siblings in their sleep.

He later ominously claimed that there were voices in his head urging him to kill, and some believe that he was hearing evil spirits that reside within the house once listed at 112 Ocean Avenue.

Despite the infamous 1974 killings, numerous families have since moved in and out of the suburban home now listed under 108 Ocean Avenue. And the purportedly paranormal occurrences that happened here, spawning a slew of books and films like The Amityville Horror, have kept tourists flocking to the house ever since.

Though DeFeo’s grisly crimes were all too real, is it possible that he was really under the control of evil spirits that inhabit the house? These 27 eerie images taken inside and out, over the decades, will place you at the scene. Welcome to Amityville.

The Amityville Murders

It was the middle of the night on Nov. 13, 1974, when 23-year-old Ronald DeFeo Jr. killed six of his relatives with a .35 caliber rifle while they were asleep: parents Louise and Ronald DeFeo Sr., siblings 18-year-old Dawn, 13-year-old Allison, 12-year-old Marc, and nine-year-old John Matthew.

Though he confessed to his deeds, DeFeo’s defense would later attempt to enter an insanity plea. DeFeo claimed he was guided by malevolent voices in his head and couldn’t control his behavior.

It was this claim, and the murders themselves, that spawned the notion that 112 Ocean Avenue itself was haunted — and that the DeFeo family as a whole were victims of the house. However, a look at DeFeo Jr.’s life provides an alternative reading of the events.

With an abusive father and passive mother, the boy’s troubled childhood led to substance abuse as an adult. He not only lashed out at his father but once even threatened him with a gun. The parents hoped letting him live at home and with a weekly stipend would help. DeFeo Jr. barely held a job.

An A&E interview with Ronald DeFeo Jr.

On the day in question, DeFeo Jr. left work and went to a bar. He kept calling his home to no avail and complained to patrons about it. He eventually left, only to return at 6:30 a.m. — when he yelled, “You got to help me! I think my mother and father are shot!”

Authorities found all six family members dead in their beds, shot with a rifle at around 3:15 a.m., and positioned on their stomachs. There was no sign of struggle, nor that they were drugged. No local reports of gunshots were logged, with only the DeFeo dog barking away.

DeFeo Jr. changed his alibi several times, from claiming he was at the bar during the time of the murders to mob hitman Louis Falini killing his family while forcing DeFeo Jr. to watch. He eventually confessed that he gunned his own family down, and stood trial on Oct. 14, 1975.

Though attorney William Weber tried to enter an insanity plea, the prosecution argued DeFeo Jr. was a mere drug addict who was well aware of what he was doing that night. He was convicted on six counts of second-degree murder and sentenced to six concurrent sentences of 25 years to life.

The Amityville Horror

But it wasn’t until after the Lutz family moved into the house in December of 1975 that the purported haunting of the Amityville Horror house allegedly set in. George and Kathy Lutz believed their purchase of the 4,000-square-foot house at $80,000 was a steal — but moved out 28 days later after terrifying incidents allegedly forced them to flee.

From green slime purportedly oozing from the walls and eyes peering into the house from outside to foul odors and Kathy allegedly levitating in bed, it was a rather disquieting month. George claimed he woke up at 3:15 a.m. each night — the exact time of death of the DeFeo family members.

Footage of the morning after the killings with interviews of neighbors and police officials.

Jay Anson’s 1977 book The Amityville Horror was based on these reported events and served as the foundation for the 1979 film of the same name, which was remade in 2005. The book became a bestseller, while the film grew into a classic — and legions of horror aficionados flocked to town.

Anson’s book used 45 hours of the family’s recorded interviews as a basis. And one of the three Lutz children, Christopher Quaratino, confirmed that the hauntings happened. However, he also said that the events were exaggerated by his stepfather, George Lutz.

George Lutz was curious about paranormal activity and actively tried to summon spirits, but had a financial motivation to sell his story to the media due to the family’s severe debt. And Weber, DeFeo Jr.’s attorney, said the haunting was all a hoax — which he purportedly conjured up with Anson while drinking.

Ultimately, the house remains just that — a house. It has changed hands for decades, with nothing but price fluctuations and a change in address serving as notable incidents.

The Amityville House Today

At present, the Dutch Colonial home is nothing to scoff at. With five bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, and a boathouse on a canal off the Long Island Sound, the house is rather substantial.

Despite its appeal, after the Lutz family moved out, it went into foreclosure in 1977.

It was next owned by James and Barbara Cromarty, the owners of Riverhead Raceway. The Cromartys changed the Amityville horror house address from 112 Ocean Avenue to 108, hoping to stave off stalkers and retain its fluctuating value.

After an uneventful decade living within its walls, they sold it to Peter and Jeanne O’Neill in 1987. The O’Neills sold in 1997 for $310,000, to Brian Wilson — not the Beach Boys singer. Most recently, the house sold for $605,000 in 2017.

As for the New Jersey home used for the 1979 Amityville film’s exterior shots, it was put on the market in 2011 for $1.45 million, then dropped to $1.35 million.

A PIX 11 News segment from 1979 on the tourism that plagued the home despite its address change.

When Odalys Fragoso put the 1920s structure on the market, she was immediately asked if it was haunted. She explained that ghosts had nothing to do with the sale and that she was merely divorcing her husband.

When asked if she had seen the famous film, Fragoso explained she only saw parts of it — but that her children “see it constantly.”

Ultimately, the appeal of the Amityville house and its related New Jersey home seems largely rooted in the purportedly exaggerated book and its Hollywood adaptations. To this day, horror fans truly convinced by the hauntings still visit the place, hoping to catch a glimpse of a ghost.

After looking at these 27 terrifying photos of the real Amityville Horror house, read about the house that inspired ‘The Conjuring’ and its fearless new owners. Then, take a look at seven of the most haunted hotels around the world.

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