Amityville, Long Island ( 1974 )

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"High Hopes" at 112 Ocean Ave.

During the mid 1960's a man by the name of Ronald DeFeo Sr. purchased a home in Amityville New York at 112 Ocean Avenue with his wife and five children. To him and his family it seemed like a new start, except for his oldest son Ronald Defeo Jr. Nothing was going to change the turbulent relationship between him and his father, which even before the purchase of the home by all accounts was wearing thin. This photo was taken by a New York Times staff photographer.

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.. Julia Defeo......Ronald Defeo Sr.

Dawn Defeo.........Mark Defeo........Allison Defeo...........John Defeo.

.Ronald Defeo Jr.

In the early morning hours, around 3:15 on November 14, 1974, Ronald Defeo Jr. underwent some kind of influence, be it drug induced or diabolical. He left the second floor TV room and grabbed his .35 caliber rifle. While his parents and four younger brothers and sisters were sleeping, he shot and killed each one of them.

He entered his parent’s bedroom first, killing his father Ronald DeFeo with two shots to the lower back. His mother Louise was awakened by the gunfire but before she had a chance to react, Ronald proceeded to fire two bullets into her chest.

His two younger brothers, John and Mark, were his next victims. Standing between their beds in the room the two young boys shared, he fired one shot at close range into each of their bodies. Lastly, he entered the room of his sisters Dawn and Allison and fired two shots into their heads, killing them instantly. The police reported that all six victims were found on their stomachs with their heads resting on their arms.

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The 911 call

Operator: "Suffolk County Police. May I help you?"
Man: "Hah?" Operator: This is Suffolk County Police. May I help you?"
Man: "We have a shooting here. Uh, DeFeo."
Operator: "Sir, what is your name?" Man: "Joey Yeswit."
Operator: "Can you spell that?"
Man: "Yeah. Y-E-S W I T." Operator: "Y-E-S-W. .
Man: "Hah?"
Operator: "Y-E-S . .
Man: "Y-E-S-W-I-T."
Operator: ". . . W-I-T. Your phone number?"
Man: "I don't even know if it's here. There's, uh, I don't have a phone number here."
Operator: "Okay, where you calling from?"
Man: "It's in Amityville. Call up the Amityville Police, and it's right off, uh . . ."
Man: "Ocean Avenue in Amityville."
Operator: "Austin?"
Man: "Ocean Avenue. What the ... ?"
Operator: "Ocean ... Avenue? Offa where?"
Man: "It's right off Merrick Road. Ocean Avenue."
Operator: "Merrick Road. What's ... what's the problem, Sir?"
Man: "It's a shooting!"
Operator: "There's a shooting. Anybody hurt?"
Man: "Hah?"
Operator: "Anybody hurt?"
Man: "Yeah, it's uh, uh-everybody's dead."
Operator: "Whattaya mean, everybody's dead?"
Man: "I don't know what happened. Kid come running in the bar. He says everybody in the family was killed, and we came down here."
Operator: "Hold on a second, Sir." (Police Officer now takes over call)
Police Officer: "Hello."
Man: "Hello."
Police Officer: "What's your name?"
Man: "My name is Joe Yeswit."
Police Officer: "George Edwards?"
Man: "Joe Yeswit."
Police Officer: "How do you spell it?"
Man: "What? I just ... How many times do I have to tell you? Y-E-S-W-I-T."
Police Officer: "Where're you at?"
Man: "I'm on Ocean Avenue.
Police Officer: "What number?"
Man: "I don't have a number here. There's no number on the phone. "
Police Officer: "What number on the house?"
Man: "I don't even know that."
Police Officer: "Where're you at? Ocean Avenue and what?"
Man: "In Amityville. Call up the Amityville Police and have someone come down here. They know the family."
Police Officer: "Amityville."
Man: "Yeah. Amityville."
Police Officer: "Okay. Now, tell me what's wrong."
Man: "I don't know. Guy come running in the bar. Guy come running in the bar and said there-his mother and father are shot. We ran down to his house and everybody in the house is shot. I don't know how long, you know. So, uh . . ."
Police Officer: "Uh, what's the add ... what's the address of the house?"
Man: "Uh, hold on. Let me go look up the number. All right. Hold on."
Man: "Hello. Hello?"
Police Officer: "Yes."
Man: "One-twelve Ocean Avenue, Amityville."
Police Officer: "One-what?"
Man: "One-twelve Ocean Avenue, Amityville."
Police Officer: "Is that Amityville or North Amityville?"
Man: "Amityville. Right on ... south of Merrick Road."
Police Officer: "Is it right in the village limits?"
Man: "No, it's uh ... you know where the high school is?"
Police Officer: "Yeah."
Man: "It's in the village limits, yeah."
Police Officer: "Yeah. That's the village hmits, right?"
Man: "Yeah."
Police Officer: "Eh, okay, what's your phone number?"
Man: "I don't even have one. There's no number on the phone. "
Police Officer: "All right, where're you calling from? Public phone?"
Man: "No, I'm calling right from the house, because I don't see a number on the phone."
Police Officer: "You're at the house itself?"
Man: "Yeah."
Police Officer: "How many bodies are there?"
Man: "I think, uh, I don't know-uh, I think they said four."
Police Officer: "There's four?" (They hadn't found the girls, yet)
Man: "Yeah."
Police Officer: "all right, you stay right there at the house, and I'll call the Amityville Village P.D., and they'll come down."
Man: "Okay."

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This block of four photo's were taken on the night of the Defeo murders.

Diagram showing the rooms, positions and locations of the victims.

Ronald Defeo Jr. tried to point the blame on a Mafia at first, but the detectives grew suspicious when they found an empty ammo box under his bed that matched up with the murder weapon. He recanted his story and went on to say that he was given the rifle and instructed by a presence in the home to kill his family.

At this point he stated to the interrogator, “It all started so fast. Once I started, I just couldn't stop. It went so fast,” he confessed. When asked during his trial why he had done such a thing Ronald replied, “As far as I’m concerned, if I didn't kill my family, they were going to kill me. And as far as I’m concerned, what I did was self-defense and there was nothing wrong with it. When I got a gun in my hand, there’s no doubt in my mind who I am. I am God.”

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Photograph of Ronald Defeo being escorted to police station for questioning.

Even though Ronald Defeo Jr. was found guilty of six counts of second-degree murder, many questions still remain about what really happened on that tragic night in November. Why were the victims all found lying on their stomachs? Why didn't the neighbors hear the shots? The police believed that the house muffled the sound of the shots, however, many people who have been in the house reported that street noise could be heard from inside. According to ballistics experts, the sound of a .35 caliber rifle can be heard from a mile away, yet the neighbors had claimed that the only sound they heard was the barking of the DeFeo family dog. For many, the truth remains a mystery.

\

The Funeral procession of Defeo family.

The Gravestone of Defeo family.

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The Lutz Family ( 1975 )

In December of 1975, the Lutz family acquired the large Dutch colonial and soon moved in, despite the cost and the information about the murders. For them, it was their dream home as it had been for the Defeos.

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George Lutz ..........................................Kathy Lutz.

At first life in the home was normal, but as time went on strange things began occurring. Each member of the family's personalities began to change as they each experienced different facets of the demonic infestation, creating tension. George Lutz would experience a constant coldness that could not be explained, even though he at times would keep a roaring flame going in the fire place. He just could never seem to get warm and as a result was obsessive about keeping the fireplace going. Also on inspection of what would be termed as the "Red Room" by the Lutz's, George experienced a ghostly looking face which later he would identify as the face of Ronald Defeo. Jr. from photos.

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The "Red Room" where the face of Ronald Defeo. Jr. appeared to George Lutz.

Strange smells would permeate the senses from nowhere, including the smell of rotting meat. And sounds, some as deafening as a marching band, would encircling the house along with banging on the walls. Black stains would also keep appear on plumbing fixtures no matter how many times they were removed.

Photograph of outside deck and patio area.

On one occasion a relative of the family (who is also a nun) became violently ill while visiting the home, so much so that she has to leave the property. The children were also affected, notably the Lutz's youngest daughter Missy who was visited by an unseen creature named "Jodie"; it is named by the young girl unknowingly.

Missy's pencil drawing on paper of the entity "Jodie" in the garden.

Kathy Lutz is also being affected; she would transform into an elderly looking woman physically and would remain this way for hours at a time. At this point the family realizes that there is without doubt something wrong with the home and calls upon the local church for help.

Within a few days a local priest by the name of Father Ralph Pecoraro comes to the home to bless it at the family's request. At first during the blessing everything had gone well, but when it came time to go to the second floor, in one particular room Fr. Pecoraro is blessing, he was slapped in the face by an unseen hand and an audible voice tells him to "Get Out". Father Ralph Pecoraro does not tell the family about the incident, but he does tell them not to use that particular room as a bedroom, fearing that he would startle them.

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Within the next few weeks the activity in the house becomes so intense that the Lutzs have to flee the home. The total time the family had spent in the house was 28 days.

They would not return to the home but remained at Kathy's mothers' house in Deer Park, New York. In the days to come the Lutz's make contact with a self proclaimed parapsychologist by the name of Dr. Kaplan. During their first meeting with him and his companions, he is asked to leave, the reason being a difference of opinion between George Lutz and Dr. Kaplan. This would be the first and last time the family would have any contact with him.

During that same time, Ed and Lorraine Warren are called upon to investigate the home by a local news anchor by the name of Marvin Scott. He knows of the Warrens from a prior case they had handled years before, and by this time they were already very well known by there many years of work in the field of psychical research.

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......Ed and Lorraine Warren

When the Warrens arrive, the Lutz family insists on meeting at another location rather than at the house. The Warrens arrive accompanied by Marvin Scott and Fr. Ralph Peccararo. During the meeting the Warrens realize why the family chose not to meet at the house - this family was so terrified of what transpired in those 28 days that they couldn't bring themselves to go near it; it took all the courage the could muster just to talk about it.

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This is an Infrared photo that was taken in the Amityville home.

After the interview Ed and Lorraine explained that there would have to be an investigation of the home to determine what course of action should be taken. During the Warrens investigation of the home all types of activity occurred, including some of the investigators becoming violently ill. It was determined that the activity in the home was so strong that the family was advised not to return.

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"In Search Of" with host Leonard Nimoy, the Amityville Horror episode (airdate 4-Oct-1979)

Click here for an exclusive interview with Father Pecoraro about Amityville house

The Lutz family returned the house to the bank, sold all their belongings (with the exception of a cedar box built by George's grandfather that contained photographs of the children), and moved to California. However, the diabolical infestation that began in Amityville did not stop there. It followed them wherever they went, ending years later, only when the exorcist of the Archbishop of Canterbury removed it.

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Since this incident George and Kathy have divorced. George lives in Las Vegas, and Kathy unfortunately has recently passed on in the last year after a long illness. The rest of the family by all accounts is doing very well all grown now and living full happy lives.

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References: see "High Hopes", Sullivan and Aronson, and "The Amityville Horror", Jay Anson

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