Amityville Horror House: Then
On November 13, 1974, Ronald DeFeo Jr., then 23, shot his parents and four siblings to death at their home in Amityville, New York. Each victim was discovered face down in their beds, shot with a .35 Marlin rifle.
DeFeo Jr. was convicted on six counts of second-degree murder a year later. His motive was never really discovered. Some said it was over a life insurance policy. Others believe that it was because of a supernatural force coming from within the house. DeFeo testified that he heard voices, telling him to kill.
Thirteen months after the murders, the Lutz family purchased the house at a reasonable price. It was $80,000, discounted because of the heinous murders. However, they ended up vacating the 5-bedroom house just 28 days later, blaming paranormal activity. George Lutz claimed he was forced awake at 3:15 every morning, the time DeFeo killed his family.
The family also claimed to see green slime coming out of the walls and a red-eyed pig creature, according to Biography. The family’s former lawyer later claimed the family made the stories up. However, at the time he was embroiled in a legal battle with the Lutzes after having a falling out with them. The Lutz sons maintain they were traumatized by the haunting experience.
Their experience inside the home inspired the 1977 book called “The Amityville Horror,” authored by Jay Anson. A movie released two years after the book, became one of the most commercially-successful independent films in history.
Amityville Horror House: Now
To date, there are 18 films about the murder home. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, there were multiple sequels. In 2005, a re-imagining of the original was made. It didn’t stop there. In 2011, more films were made, mostly low-budget direct-to-video movies. Then, in 2017, The Weinstein Company and Dimension Films released Amityville: The Awakening. A mulitude of documentaries exist about the home, the murders and the alleged haunting.
The house has changed owners at least five times since the killings. It sold again in February 2017 to an undisclosed owner for $605,000. Again it was sold at a discount price: $200,000 less than the original asking price, according to Biography. The home has been renovated and has a different look than it did at the time of the murders. Its iconic windows have been changed.
The Lutz sons maintain the home was haunted. Daniel Lutz claims that he was possessed while living in the home.
Christopher Lutz maintains he saw at least one ghost.
DeFeo Jr. is still alive and in prison.
[Photo: NBC News and Getty Images]
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxgen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.