“Because of the uncertainties connected with the paranormal, I, as a believer in science and in religion, would be remiss not to warn readers against the dangers both of an arrogance that professes a grasp of the unknown and of a bravado that boasts of a control of the transcendent. The wise man knows that he does not know—and the prudent man respects what he does not control.”From Preface of The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson
In December 1975, George and Kathleen Lutz bought the Amityville house for $80,000. During the inspection, the couple was told about the murders but said it wasn’t a problem. The couple kept the DeFeo family’s furniture for a price of $400.
A friend of George Lutz learned about the history of the house and insisted on having it blessed. George knew a Catholic priest named Father Ray Mancuso (pseudonym name for Father Ralph J Pecoraro) who agreed to carry out the house blessing.
He arrived to perform the blessing on December 18, 1975 and when he flicked the first holy water and began to pray, he heard a masculine voice demand that he “get out.” When leaving the house, Father Mancuso did not mention this incident to either George or Kathy. On December 24, 1975, Father Mancuso called George Lutz and advised him to stay out of the second floor room where he had heard the mysterious voice, the former bedroom of Marc and John Matthew DeFeo, but the call was cut short by static. Following his visit to the house, Father Mancuso allegedly developed a high fever and blisters on his hands similar to stigmata.
- George would wake up around 3:15 (the time of the killings) every morning and would go out to check the boathouse.
- The house was plagued by swarms of flies despite the winter weather.
- Kathy had vivid nightmares about the murders and discovered the order in which they occurred and the rooms where they took place.
- The Lutz children began sleeping on their stomachs, in the same way that the dead bodies in the DeFeo murders had been found.
- The Lutzes’ 5-year-old daughter, Missy, developed an imaginary friend named “Jodie,” a demonic pig-like creature with glowing red eyes.
- In the early morning hours of Christmas Day 1975, George looked up at the house after checking on the boathouse and saw Jodie standing behind Missy at her bedroom window. When he ran up to her room he found her fast asleep with her small rocking chair slowly rocking back and forth.
- George would wake up to the sound of the front door slamming. He would race downstairs to find the dog sleeping soundly at the front door. Nobody else heard the sound although it was loud enough to wake the house.
- George would hear what was described as a “marching band tuning up” or what sounded like a clock radio playing not quite on frequency. When he went downstairs the noise would cease.
- When closing Missy’s window, which Missy said Jodie climbed out of, Kathy saw red eyes glowing at her.
- While in bed, Kathy received red welts on her chest caused by an unseen force and was levitated two feet in the air along with George.
- Locks, doors and windows in the house were damaged by an unseen force.
- Cloven hoof prints attributed to an enormous pig appeared in the snow outside the house January 1, 1976.
- Green gelatin-like slime oozed from walls in the hall and also from the keyhole of the playroom door in the attic.
- A crucifix, hung in the living room by Kathy, revolved until it was upside down and gave off a sour smell.
- George tripped over a 4-foot-high China lion ornament in the living room and found bite marks on one of his ankles.
- On one occasion Kathy heard what sounded like a window being opened and closed through the sewing room door even though she was sure no one was in there.
After deciding that something was wrong with their house they could not explain rationally, George and Kathy Lutz carried out a blessing of their own on January 8, 1976. George held a silver crucifix while they both recited the Lord’s Prayer. While in the living room, George allegedly heard a chorus of voices asking them “Will you stop?!”
By mid-January 1976, after another attempt at a house blessing by George and Kathy, they experienced what would turn out to be their final night in the house. The Lutzes declined to give a full account of the events that took place on this occasion, describing them as “too frightening.”
The couple left the house and went to Kathy’s mother’s house. They claimed that the phenomena followed them there, with the final scene of Anson’s book describing “greenish-black slime” coming up the staircase towards them. On January 14, 1976, the Lutz family left the house, leaving all of their possessions behind.
The Lutz’ recorded 45 hours of recollections which were used as the foundation of the book.
BUT SOME OF IT IS PROBABLY FAKE
This was the decade of the Exorcist, demons and ghosts were popular and a hot topic.
Father Pecoraro’s role is extremely unclear. He stated in an affidavit that his only contact with the Lutzes concerning the matter had been by telephone. Other accounts say he did visit the house, but experienced nothing. On a 1980 episode of In Search of…. he stated that he heard a voice saying “Get out,” but he didn’t give it a paranormal origin. He also stated that he felt a slap on his face during the visit and that he did subsequently experience blistering on his hands.
The claims of physcical damage to the house was denied by the next owners.
The claim of cloven hoof prints in the snow on January 1, 1976 was rejected by other researchers because weather records showed that there had been no snow in Amityville on that date. Neighbors reported nothing unusual during the time that the Lutzes were living there.
Police officers are depicted visiting the house in the book and 1979 film, but records showed that the Lutzes did not call the police during the period that they were living on Ocean Avenue
George and Kathy Lutz maintained that they experienced something in the house. They did say that there were some false claims in the books. In October 2000, The History Channel broadcast Amityville: The Haunting and Amityville: Horror or Hoax?, a two-part documentary made by horror screenwriter/producer Daniel Farrands to mark the 25th anniversary of the case. George Lutz commented in an interview for the program: “I believe this has stayed alive for 25 years because it’s a true story. It doesn’t mean that everything that has ever been said about it is true. It’s certainly not a hoax. It’s real easy to call something a hoax. I wish it was. It’s not.”