Home / The Amityville Horror: Hoax, Fact or Fiction (UPDATED FOR 2018)

The Amityville Horror: Hoax, Fact or Fiction (UPDATED FOR 2018)

amityville horror

The Amityville haunting is one of the most famous, one that even beats our our Enfield Haunting. But it’s one that has become synonymous with the hoax haunting, as well as countless cheaply made TV programs and films.

Sometimes there are very blurred lines between fact and fiction. In the case of Janet Hodgson and the Enfield haunting, we’re still not sure whether the girl was telling the truth. And do you remember the Blair Witch Project? For months leading to the release of the film, the production company tried to convince us that it was real.

The Amityville horror is another story which many took to be based on fact. The story became a best-selling novel in 1977, around the same time Janet made her claims. But was the Amityville horror real? Was the New York home really inhabited by demons? Let’s find out the facts about the Amityville horror: was it a hoax, fact or fiction?

The Amityville Horror

On November 13, 1974, Ronald DeFeo, Jr. shot and killed his parents and his four siblings with a .35 caliber rifle. All six victims were found in their beds, lying face down on the mattress. There was much speculation about whether DeFeo had worked alone, as there was no silencer used. Regardless, DeFeo was convicted of six counts of second-degree murder, and incarcerated.

However, it was presumed that the spirits of DeFeo’s family members lived on in the home. The house on 112 Ocean Avenue was left vacant for a time, until George and Kathleen Lutz bought the property for a deeply discounted price of $80,000.

In December of 1975, the Lutzes and their three children, Daniel, Christopher and Missy, moved into the home. It was a short stay. After just 28 days, the Lutz family moved out.

George and Kathleen were made aware by the real estate agent that the home at 112 Ocean was the scene of brutal murders just a few months ago. The couple determined that the murders wouldn’t influence their decision to buy. But soon after moving into the house, they began to experience bizarre occurrences.

The Haunting at 112 Ocean Avenue

The Lutz family’s experiences were described in detail in The Amityville Horror book. Among those experiences, the Lutz family reported that:

  • George would awaken at 3:15 every night, then go check the boathouse. The DeFeo murders took place at 3:15.
  • The little girl, Missy, developed an imaginary friend named Jodie. It was a demonic pig with glowing eyes.
  • Kathleen would be levitated in air from her bed, and received welts which could not be explained.
  • The home was infested by swarms of flies, despite the December cold.
  • Green slime reportedly oozed down the walls and through keyholes.
  • Kathleen began to dream of the murders, in specific detail. The children began to sleep on their stomachs, just as the DeFeo victims had been found.
  • Both parents experienced visions. George, when checking the boathouse, saw Missy and the pig in her window. However, Missy was asleep in her bed at the time. Kathleen would see glowing red eyes, as well as the pig.

Other odd experiences occurred, including the discovery of a small secret room in the basement, the foul smells of excrement and cold spots throughout the house.

After almost a month of frightening experiences, the Lutz family decided to bless the house. Kneeling in the living room, they recited the Lord’s Prayer as a chorus of voices repeated, “Will you stop?”

Several more attempts were made to bless the house, but the Lutz family ultimately moved away. They left their belongings in the home, and when a mover attempted to send the family their possessions, he reported no paranormal activity at the house.

Was the Amityville Horror a Hoax?

Many paranormal investigators have visited the home at 112 Ocean Avenue. Among those investigators were Ed and Lorraine Warren. The opening scenes of The Conjuring 2 address this investigation, and Lorraine Warren today says that she found the Amityville house to be among scariest of cases she investigated.

Joe Nickell, infamous skeptic, also visited the home. After his investigation, he made the point that the story had many holes. First, the family had claimed to have seen a cloven hoofprint in the snow. However, there was no snow.

Nickell also pointed out that the Lutz family never called law enforcement. There was supposedly much damage to the doors and hinges, as the Lutzes would have you to believe. However, Nickell pointed out that the original hardware to the house was untouched.

The Amityville horror house has an unfortunate history. The slaying of the DeFeo family did occur. And the murders were very unsettling to an otherwise quiet neighborhood.

However, the truth about the Amityville horror is that there’s no truth to it at all.  The story was conjured up by DeFeo’s attorney, William Weber, with the help of the Lutzes. All have confessed that the Amityville horror was a hoax, fabricated over “many, many bottles of wine.”

Amityville Horror House in the Media

Why would someone claim that a house is haunted? Why bring national attention to a hoax?

For money, of course. The Lutzes profited immensely from the Amityville horror story. Tens of thousands of dollars were made from the book and the film rights, despite the fact that they’d admitted to fabricating the whole thing.

The story of the Amityville haunting was likely strongly influenced by The Exorcist, which had been released just a few years prior in 1973. And it’s not a stretch to say that the Enfield haunting was likely influenced by the “hauntings” occurring elsewhere in the world.

In the decades since the alleged Amityville haunting, there have been scores of films about the movie. Of course, The Amityville Horror was released in 1979. Titles which followed include:

  • Amityville II: The Posession
  • Amityville 3-D
  • Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes
  • Amityville Dollhouse
  • Amityville: No Escape
  • The Amityville Haunting
  • Amityville: A New Generation

George Lutz passed away from heart disease in 2006. Wife Kathleen died of emphysema in 2004. The house at 112 Ocean Avenue has been bought and sold at different times, and was last listed at almost a $1 million asking price. The address has since changed, due to unwelcome visitors and pranksters. The property is now listed at 108 Ocean Avenue.