It’s been more than 45 years since George and Kathy Lutz fled their house in Amityville, Long Island, claiming it was haunted by evil spirits.
The couple’s terrifying tale of demonic possession inspired the 1977 book “The Amityville Horror,” a hit 1979 movie of the same name and several sequels, including a 2005 remake.
Though their story is now widely thought of as a hoax, the Lutz’s so-called horror house continues to fascinate the public.
The three-story colonial — its original address was 112 Ocean Ave. but was changed to 108 to deter tourists — was the site of a brutal slaughter.
Ronald DeFeo Jr. then 23, gunned down his parents and four siblings there on November 13, 1974. The notorious killer died behind bars on March 12 at 69.
In December 1975, a month after DeFeo was convicted of the murders, the Lutz couple and their three young kids moved into the house, which they had reportedly snatched for $80,000.
The day they moved, the couple had a priest bless the house. But George claimed the holy man felt an unseen hand slap him in the sewing room and heard a voice say “Get out.”
Soon after, the couple said they began noticing odd things around the house, such as doors being ripped from hinges, cabinets slamming shut and slime oozing from the ceilings.
“There were … odors in the house that came and went,” George told ABC News in 2006. “There were sounds. The front door would slam shut in the middle of the night…. I couldn’t get warm in the house for many days.”
He claimed that he would mysteriously wake up at 3:15 a.m. nearly every day — around the same time the DeFeo murders were believed to have happened.
At times, his wife was physically transformed into an old woman and once levitated, George said. One night, he heard his children’s beds “slamming up and down on the floor” but claimed he couldn’t do anything because an invisible force was paralyzing him.
The family moved out after 28 days, reportedly leaving their possessions behind, including clothes in their closets and food in the fridge.
Two months later, a local TV crew did a segment on the house, bringing in so-called “ghost hunters” and paranormal experts to evaluate the couple’s claims.
“It was like a psychic slumber party,” reporter Laura Didio recalled to ABC.
The team took several photos inside, including a now-infamous image apparently showing a “ghost boy” peering out from one of the bedrooms. The psychics agreed that there was some kind of demonic force present in the house.
The Lutzes later collaborated with author Jay Anson for his best-selling book. The family has said they never signed a contract with Anson, and that the tome and successful film spin-off netted them $300,000.
Many people expressed doubts about their horror story, which fell under even more scrutiny after DeFeo’s defense attorney, William Weber, admitted he and the couple came up with the tale over several bottles of wine.
“We took real-life incidents and transposed them,” Weber reportedly said on the TV program “A Current Affair” in May 1988. “In other words, it was a hoax.”
Still, George, who died in 2006, maintained that the story was the real deal, telling ABC, “I can just say what I experienced.”
George’s stepson, Christopher Quaratino, who was 7 when he lived in the house, came forward in 2005 to say that events in “The Amityville Horror” books and movies had been stretched to the point of fiction.
Quaratino also said that George was obsessed with the occult and had exaggerated some paranormal incidents he believes did occur when he was a child.
“He’s a professional showman, in my opinion,” Quaratino said. “I just feel as though we’re being exploited.”
The notorious house has passed through the hands of several owners since the Lutzes lived there — and no one else has reported any spooky happenings.
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