May 25, 2002

The History Channel just showed two documentaries about the "Amityville Horror", a movie that, even when edited for TV, I wasn't allowed to watch because it was all too scary.

For those unfamiliar with the story: In 1975 Richard "Butch" Defeo, the oldest son of a family of seven, murdered his six family members with a rifle in a single night. He was convicted of six counts of second-degree murder and given six consecutive life sentences. He sits in a New York prison to this day.

The house, located on 112 Ocean Avenue in the Long Island town of Amityville, New York, was sold approximately twelve months later to George and Kathy Lutz. They have reported experiencing a large number of very strange occurrences, eventually frightening them so badly that they left the house with all their belongings still inside, apparently less than 28 days after moving in. They "returned the house to the bank" (the History Channel didn't explain exactly what this meant), auctioned off all their belongings, and moved to California, never to return.

Their story was so interesting that a best-selling book was written about it, and later a hugely successful movie was made based on the book.

Now, notwithstanding the fact that I think anyone who tells an exciting story for profit is automatically suspect, the Lutz's willingness to sacrifice a considerable investment both in money and belongings over things they experienced in a house tends to indicate to me that something happened to them. But I noticed a pattern that was not remarked on in either documentary. Consider:

  • The Lutz family's experiences increased in frequency and intensity the longer they were in the house, and only "tailed off" over months or even years after they left the house.
  • The Lutz's discovered a "secret room" in the basement with a "strange odor", that their dog wouldn't go near.
  • The Lutz's themselves confess that while in the house experiencing obsessive behavior, increasing irritability, personality changes, auditory and visual "occurrences", and extreme mood swings.
  • Each family member reported different experiences, sometimes while in the same room.
  • One of the reported "incidences" was black stains appearing on all the bathroom fixtures, and mysterious banging coming from the pipes.
  • Butch Defeo was know to be a drug user, although I can't find evidence of what drugs he used, hallucinogens were popular at this time.

I think these observations lead to an interesting hypothesis: could the Lutz's have been poisoned? All the evidence cited above tends to indicate this to me. The hallucinations, the mood changes, the obsessive behavior, the gradual increase in "symptoms" over time, the gradual decrease in experiences even after leaving the house, all tend to be hallmarks of poison as I understand it. Could the "secret room" have been where Butch Defeo manufactured or used drugs? Perhaps he had a "stash" somewhere else in the house that started getting into the water? Or maybe the plumbing itself was simply broken, allowing mold or fungus to grow and leach toxins into the water.

As I said, it's a hypothesis, and like all good hypotheses, it makes predictions that can be tested. Specifically:

  • Was the water in the house tested while the Lutz's lived there?
  • Did Butch in fact take hallucinogens?
  • Was the "secret room" found to contain drug paraphernalia during the murder investigation?
  • Was the "secret room" ever tested for chemicals? Could it be today?
  • Did the Lutz's see doctors during this period? Was their blood tested?
  • Was the plumbing in the house repaired during or shortly after the Lutz's time of residence?

If my hypothesis was proven to hold up and make the transition to theory, it would in no way invalidate the Lutz's experiences... hallucinations can be terrifying, especially when unexpected. But I think it would go a long way to explaining most, if not all, of what happened without the need to invoke the supernatural.

It's not as sexy as an evil presence, but I think no less intriguing. Unfortunately since subsequent residents have never reported any "haunting", it would appear that if there was a poison of some sort, it isn't active today. We may never know.

But it's fun to think about!

Posted by scott at May 25, 2002 10:17 AM

eMail this entry!

I still wouldnt stay in a haunted house!

Posted by: Ellen on May 25, 2002 10:59 AM

Me neither!!!!!

Posted by: Pat Johnson on May 25, 2002 03:12 PM

it is a bit wild has it would have disolved too fast ,must have been some cleaning and all going on .Stop speculations ,it was all a matter of money ,it has never been haunted as even Defeo agreed that his possesion thing was just for his defence case as he hoped to get out of jail fast and enjoy his familly money .he even said that the mafia and his sister where also involved in separate statments .
The Lutz had not much money and knew about the history of the house but suposedly throught they could live with it.
That plus the defence lawyer of Defeo even agreed a few years later that it was all made up between him and the Lutz and that he had planed to write a book on it.
The Lutz made more money out of interviews and movies than they lost with the furnitures (most of them belonged to the Defeos .
The priest who blessed the house confessed that nothing happened when he did it and even after.
The Warrens , visit their site for yourself , are full of explanation without offering any proof ,they say they have some , anybody ever seen them ?Yes them and a bunch of peoples who are light minded and don't think for themself.
It take only 10% of common sense to see that they are an industry to make money , most if not all of their claimed defences on their web site is false and never prooved .The only proof you get from them is their words.
Why would all the other peoples who lived there ever since and before apart the Defeo (who again agreed it was a lie)never experienced anything ?
The Warren lady said she saw Butch Defeo ,during her inspection of the house ,killing his parents and that she could not do anything to help because this spirit was too powerfull .
Since when people sitting in jail alive are seen as spirits ?.......

Too many things are wrong with the haunting story


Posted by: oliver on August 14, 2002 07:01 AM

Very interesting! Where did you learn all this stuff? Is there a book to read?

Posted by: scott on August 14, 2002 08:04 AM

I think Scott has a very good point, although the idea of drugs leaking into the houses water main is highly unlikly. First of all the pipes are presumably metal, and it would be very difficult for the drugs to get into the water. I, for one, truly believe in demonic possesion, and ghostly beings, and if a murder occurs in a specific location is likely for the spirits to relive their sad demise over and over again because they need something. Such as, the killer, for instance, might want forgivness, however much you believe they don't deserve it. The victim/s might want peace and a way to go on to the next life. So it is highly possible that the Amityville occurences could have happened. It is still a story that really has no way of being proved, all you have is the confession from Defeo, and the account of Kathy and Gary lutz, and the speculation from the locals in Amityville. P.S. If anyone has any facts about this story, please send it to me. I am doing personal research and have a need to somehow solve this case. Thank-you Tara Praiss,

Posted by: Tara on August 6, 2003 12:45 AM

Butch's name was Ronald , the drug he used was heroin, but he was not a regular user .
The haunting is now believed by many to be a hoax
and no catholic priest ever went to bless the house , he did however counsel the lutze's after they left.
Butch did not say a demon had told him to do it, this was theidea of the defence attorney , who was also planning to write a book , and sued the lutze's as they got there first

Posted by: LIZZIE on March 10, 2004 07:43 AM

Recently, I remember having read an article in a magazine (I don't remember which) that the Amityville 1975 haunting was merely a hoax. It appears (according to the article) that author Jay Anson and the Lutz's corroborated the Lutz Family experience those 28 days in 1975. Anson is the author of "The Amityville Horror." Both author and the Lutz couple stood to gain fame and a substantial amount of money from the subsequent film rights to their purported true-tale. I'm more inclined to think the Lutz' chickened-out, bailed having to pay $80,000 + interest on a new home (according to the film, the Lutz' were newlyweds), and ran off to California to avoid the local press once people discovered they were only lying to get money.

Posted by: Voxparadox on October 26, 2004 12:35 AM

kool movie!

Posted by: loli on April 15, 2005 11:58 AM

i just want to know if that house is still haunted? and stilll there?
i think its very scary that is a haunting house , actually i never believe there is ghost until i saw the new movie about this house,

Posted by: summer on April 17, 2005 03:04 PM

that house is kinda close to where i live, maybe i'll go check it out

Posted by: richie on April 17, 2005 03:32 PM

This commet is in reference to Oliver's comments about the Amityville story. It sounds like to me if it was a money making scheme, that Oliver is pissed that he didn't think of it first. I detect a lot of resentment. Oliver will have a hard time convincing me of anything. From his comments, it is rather obvious that he is lacking in education. "Defence" is correctly spelled "Defense". That along with multiple grammatical mistakes tells me what I need to know about Oliver. It resembles a 1st grade education. What is his relation to the house, Defeo's or the Lutz's? I am not trying to prove or disprove the hauntings. I just want to know how opinion becomes fact.

Posted by: Craig on April 18, 2005 01:10 AM

bonjour a tous je m'interresse de tres pret a l'histoire d'amityville la veritable histoire alors si quelqu'un a quelque photo de l'epoque sa me ferais plaisir de pouvoir y jeter un oeil je vous remercie

Posted by: adco on July 27, 2005 01:10 PM

this story is os interesting why he did it and what made him do it ive never looked up so much research on one story ever. i honeslty thingk that the house told him to do it, but then again houses dont kill people peopel kill people

Posted by: vero on June 18, 2006 11:02 PM
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