The true story of the Amityville horror story is somewhat different than the movies make it out to be. There was no supernatural force, just a family with problems.
There were seven members in the DeFeo family, the first family to own the home at 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, Long Island, where the stories started. The father, Ronald DeFeo Sr., was a temperamental brute who kept tight control on his family. The mother was Louise DeFeo, and she had a volatile relationship with her husband. The oldest son, Ronald DeFeo Jr., also known as Butch, inherited his father’s temper and rage and took it to a whole new level. His parents, realizing he was even worse then his father, attempted to buy the peace in the house by giving Ronald Jr. money and whatever else he asked for after therapy failed. There were four other children in the DeFeo family: two girls, Allison and Dawn, and two boys, Mark and John. Ronald Jr. was the only member of the family with his own room, and he had a collection of guns that no one in the family knew about.
On November 14, 1974, between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. in the morning, Ronald DeFeo Jr took a .35-caliber Marlin rifle from a collection he had hidden in his room and shot his father, his mother, his two younge brothers, and finally his two younger sisters. DeFeo showered and changed his cloths and then disposed of much of the evidence showing that he was the killer, including his cloths and the shells from the bullets in a storm drain miles away. By the time he’d finished, it was 6 a.m. and Ronald Jr. simply went to work. Several times during that day, he pretended to call home and receive no answer, attempting to establish with his friends and acquaintances that something was wrong.
The night of November 14, 1974, Ronald Jr. went out drinking at a local bar with friends and once again pretended to call and receive no answer. Ronald Jr. then pretended to go home and check on his family only to return to the bar soon after and tell his friends that someone had shot his parents. Ronald Jr. and several of his friends returned to his home and one of his friends, Bobby Kelske, entered the home and found Ronald Jr.’s parents. They called the police who arrived quickly and discovered Ronald Sr., Louise, Mar, and John. It wasn’t until Ronald Jr. told the officers that he had sisters as well that they managed to find the bodies of Dawn and Allison.
Ronald Jr. attempted to convince officers that the murderer was a man named Louis Falini, a famous mafia hitman that Ronald Jr. claimed had a grudge against their family. It didn’t take long, however, for the police to realize that Ronald Jr. had lied to them, and he was arrested at 8:45 am on November 15, 1974. Questioning by police officers led Ronald Jr. to give up on his original story. He attempted to cover up the fact that he was in the house when the murders took place by claiming that Falini had held a gun to his head and forced him to murder everyone. Despite his attempts to cover up his actions, Ronald DeFeo Jr. was convicted on November 21, 1975 of six counts of second-degree murder and received life in prison.
Most of the stories of hauntings in this home come from the family that moved in after the DeFeo murders. Their names were George and Kathy Lutz and they claimed to have been so terrified during their short stay in the house that they fled not long after moving in. They claimed demons and ghosts were haunting the house and causing family members to act violently. In the end, it was proven that the Lutz had most likely fabricated everything that had happened to them. Investigators from many fields found no evidence of any thing that the Lutz’s claimed had happened.
Still, the movies are worth seeing, even if just for the entertainment and scare factor.
- Rachel Fischer