Haunted History Of The Amityville House

Posted by junketseo in Salem Ghost Tours
Haunted History Of The Amityville House - Photo

The haunted history of the Amityville House is not limited to the horrendous murders that took place in 1974.  Nor to the alleged haunting experienced by the family who bought the house afterward.  In fact, when world-renowned paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren investigated the house, they also studied the land and what had taken place years before.

The Warrens found that the Shinnecock Indians once housed an enclosure used to confine the sick, the insane, and the dying through the land investigation. They believed that the inflicted suffering was a combination of very negative energies that left the property a magnet for demonic spirits and the supernatural. The Warrens believe that this had a significant impact on the lives of both families. But that’s not all…

The local historical society claims the Shinnecock would not have used the land as a burial mound due to the belief it was infested with demons. Some paranormal investigators claimed otherwise. Allegedly, during one investigation, the spirit of a Shinnecock Indian chief was conjured. This chief told the investigator that the land was used as a burial ground. So what happened, and why did it happen only to the DeFeo family and the Lutz family?

The Defeo Murders

Many claim the haunting of the Amityville house was a hoax. One thing for sure is six gruesome murders took place in the house by another family member. The culprit is the son of the two adult victims, Ronald Defeo Sr. and his wife, Louise.  Namely, Ronald Defeo Jr.

In the wee hours of the morning, Ronald DeFeo Jr. took out a .35 caliber lever action Marlin 336C rifle. He shot his mother and father while they slept. Although his story has changed several times throughout the years and different interviews, one fact remains: his parents were shot twice each, and both died. He then moved on to his four siblings: Dawn (18), Allison (13), Marc (12, and John Matthew (9). His siblings were each only shot once. However, all victims were lying face down on their beds. Some physical evidence shows that Defeo Jr.’s mother, Louise, and his sister, Allison, were probably awake when they were shot.

The Arrest of Ronald DeFeo Jr.

Around 6 p.m. the evening after the murders took place, Ronald reportedly ran down the street and into Harry’s Bar, a local hang-out for Defeo. His pleas for help that someone had killed his parents summoned six patrons, including a friend of DeFeo’s, to the crime scene. The police were called, and Ronald’s explanation of the crime was a local mafia member, Louis Falini, had carried out the murders.

Ronald claimed that the known hit-man had briefly lived with the DeFeo family after a stash of money and gems that he learned were stored in the basement. Police took DeFeo into custody for his own protection. His story about Falini being the perpetrator grew into him being forced to accompany Falini at gunpoint for each family member’s murder. He explained how and where evidence of the crime scene had been discarded in a sewer in Brooklyn. However, Ronald’s story soon unraveled when Falini provided an airtight out-of-town alibi.

After police searched Defeo’s bedroom and found boxes of ammunition matching the murder weapon, several of Ronald’s friends were interviewed. They referred to Ronald as a known “gun fanatic,” and the story began to fall into place for the detectives.

Ronald was arrested for the murders of his family members and taken into custody to await trial for his crimes.

Did Ronald Defeo Jr. act alone?

After a lengthy trial, Defeo was found guilty of the murders of his parents and siblings. He received six consecutive 25-year to life sentences.

However, an odd twist to the story arose years later in a 2000 interview with Ric Osuna, author of The Night the DeFeos Died.

DeFeo confessed that he and his sister, Dawn DeFeo, along with one of his friends, committed the horrific crime together. In this interview, Ronald laid out the hours before the crime took place. According to DeFeo, his father was routinely abusive to the family. On the evening of November 12th, the family household had been in frenzied chaos at the hands of Ronald’s father. After the evening’s attack settled down, Ronald, his sister Dawn, and two of his friends went to the basement to drink and get high.

Ronald professed that Dawn had come to him about killing their parents. Tired of their father’s abuse and his preventing her from moving to Florida with her boyfriend, she felt her way out was to have them killed. After drinking and doing drugs, Ronald gave in to his sister’s sinister request after a course of time. Ronald said that sometime around 1 a.m., he, Dawn, and one of his two friends headed out of the basement and up to the parents’ room. The other friend reportedly acted as a lookout.

Naturally, at that hour, his parents were in bed. Although he was shot, his father managed to struggle to his feet to attempt a counterattack. Before he could get to his assassins, a second bullet struck him dead. Mrs. DeFeo, who had also been shot once, lay moaning for help as she bled to death. A second shot was inflicted to silence her for good.

The attack on the siblings

Originally the plan was to take the children to the grandparent’s house in Brooklyn. However, Dawn felt they needed to be eliminated as witnesses and potential threats. Ronald claims he was not in the family’s home at the time of the murders of the children. He claimed that he had chased after the friend who stood watch who had fled the scene. He attempted to lure him back to the house to help clean the crime scene and dispose of the evidence.

Evidence points to the children being awake when they were shot because they were face down on the mattress, most likely callously ordered by Dawn so she couldn’t see their faces when she hit them. Marc DeFeo had suffered a debilitating injury in football, forcing him to sleep on his back. However, he was shot lying face down on the bed. He would have to have been awake to roll onto his stomach.

Thirteen-year-old Allison was the next victim. As Dawn stood in the doorway aiming the rifle at her sister, Allison slightly raised her head before being shot. The bullet entered her left cheek and exited her right ear, killing her instantly.

When he returned to the house, DeFeo claimed that he became enraged at the senseless murders, confronting Dawn in her own bedroom. Struggling to get the rifle from her, Ronald gained the upper hand and slammed Dawn against the bed, knocking her out. The last victim, DeFeo, put the gun to his sister’s head and shot her, ending the senseless, brutal killing spree.

Ronald DeFoe Jr. died still in custody in March 2021. Not only is it a mystery what really happened that grizzly morning in 1974, but so is the mystery of how DeFeo died.

Enter the Lutz Family

A year later, the Amityville house where the DeFeo murders took place was sold to George and Kathy Lutz. Getting the house for a steal, the family of five moved into the five-bedroom home in December 1975. Twenty-eight days later, the family ran from the house and property with their tails between their legs, never looking back.

There are many controversies over the events that allegedly took place. Reports from the investigation by Ed and Lorraine Warren are documented as a demonic presence using the home to get to the families that had lived there.

Both families left themselves wide open to the inflictions. Ronald DeFeo Jr. and his mind-altering drug use, Ronald Sr. and the negative energy behind his abuse, and George Lutz, who dabbled in the occult. Not to mention the DeFeo murders.

Hauntings of the Lutz Family

On the first night in their new home, the Lutzs reported that they felt strange sensations throughout the house. Within a few days, drastic changes in the family members’ personalities began, which ultimately caused arguments to ensue.

George Lutz complained of constantly feeling chilled and spent most of his time stoking the fireplace. George’s grooming habits began to change, as well as his and Kathy’s health deteriorated drastically.

Their daughter had an imaginary friend, which isn’t unusual for a child. However, her friend was a red-eyed pig named Jodi. Jodi also made it clear that no one could see her unless she wanted them to.

Foul odors, black stains on the toilet, and a green, slimy substance appeared throughout the house. The Lutz’s also claimed hundreds of flies appeared in Kathy’s sewing room even though it was the dead of winter.

Notably, George reported that he awoke every night at 3:15 a.m., coincidentally, is when the police predicted the DeFeos were murdered.

George reported his wife began to levitate above the bed in her sleep. On one occasion, she transformed into a 90-ish-year-old hag right before his eyes.

Afraid and not sure where to turn, the Lutz’s tried numerous times to contact the Catholic priest only to have their calls cut off whenever they tried. Deciding to take matters into their own hands, they began to walk the house with a crucifix while reciting the Lord’s Prayer. A band of voices responded to this action: “WILL YOU STOP???”

Their last night in the home was reportedly their worst, with thunderous banging and wrappings throughout the house, furniture moving on its own, and the children being terrorized. That was enough for the Lutz’s, and they left to stay at Kathy’s mother’s house.

The Paranormal Investigation

When the Warrens were called in to investigate three weeks after the Lutz family left, several occurrences happened to Ed and Lorraine.

Ed was in the basement using some religious provocation and was physically pushed to the floor. Lorraine had an overwhelming sense of a demonic presence. She was plagued by psychic impressions of DeFeo’s dead bodies covered with white sheets lying on the floor. She also experienced being pushed back by an unseen force.

One of the most popular photos taken during the investigation was what appeared to be the spirit of a little boy peering from the second floor. Their belief is this may have been the youngest DeFeo boy, who was only nine years old when he was murdered.

Further investigation revealed that John Ketchum once owned the land. He practiced black magic in a cottage that was once on the property before the Dutch Colonial house in 1924. Ketchum was buried on the property, and his remains continue there to this day.

The Amityville house has been sold and resold throughout the years with no other claims of any paranormal activity. However, that does not mean that the events did not take place. From the sufferings of the Shinnecock tribe, black magic, abuse, drug use, and the gruesome murders, it’s no wonder the DeFeo’s and Lutz’s were targeted.

In Conclusion

Why did Ronald DeFeo kill his family? His claim at one time is that voices in his head told him to. Could this be the demonic influence that occupies the land, taking advantage of his altered state of mind on drugs? No one knows for sure.

Did the hauntings claimed by the Lutz family indeed happen, or did they fabricate their story to capitalize on the ever-popular intrigue for haunted houses? No one knows for sure because, well, it didn’t happen to us. Right?

Whether the hauntings were real or the investigation hoaxed, the one fact is the murders really did take place. And what is creepy about the whole story is the eerie resemblance between Ronald DeFeo and George Lutz.

Read more haunted history from US Ghost Adventures in cities across the country where we’ve got the goods on the ghosts!  Schedule a ghost tour to see haunted places with your own eyes, or you can even schedule a virtual ghost tour from the comfort of your own home!