Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Start of the Amityville Horror

The name of the Long Island, New York village Amityville is today synonymous with horror, reportedly much to the chagrin of the residents. The reason why is a simple Dutch-Colonial-style house located there that was built in the 1920s. It has been the focus of countless books, documentaries, and films all looking into the accounts of a haunting and demonic activity that allegedly caused one family to flee in the middle of the night. But it didn't start there...

34 years ago to this day, Ronald DeFeo Jr. murdered his father, mother, two brothers and two sisters in the home at 3:00 in the morning with a rifle. At 6:30 in the evening, DeFeo ran into a local bar and pleaded for help. According to reports at the time, DeFeo told the authorities that he feared the murders had been part of a mafia hit, but the story held too many inconsistencies. A day later, he admitted to the crime. The trial only lasted a year and despite a defense of insanity, DeFeo would be found guilty for the crime and sentenced to six consecutive life-terms in prison.

Despite the horrid nature of the crime, the house was still relatively unknown when the Lutz family moved in just over 13 months after the murders of the Defeo family. However, their stay would be fairly short and they would flee less than a month later and tell the world they had been harassed by demonic forces. The case would become known worldwide as The Amityville Horror.

Since almost everyone knows the story, I won't bother to go into the details here. If you are interested, I've written up a summary of the entire case at the link below. It is probably safe to say that no story of an alleged haunting has been the cause for so much debate to this day. There are countless books and Web sites that are dedicated to either debunking the entire account or defending the stories of the witnesses. So I throw it out to you all - is it the Amityville Horror or Hoax?

See where it all started at the house on Ocean Avenue.

-Casey H.

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