George and Kathy looked at numerous houses before being shown the
old DeFeo house. They were in the market for a house approximately
$60,000 – $70,000. They made an offer of $80,000 for the DeFeo
house, which was accepted. They justified the extra expense due
to the boathouse (which would save on marina fees for their boat),
the basement (which could serve as George's office), and the fact
that it was a beautiful dream home in a beautiful location with
a heated swimming pool and located right on the water.
the Lutzes know the house was the site of a mass murder before they
they were told by the realtor about the house's history. The Lutzes
discussed it amongst themselves to make sure everyone in the family
felt okay about living there. The family felt it was a terrible
tragedy that occurred, but they were not superstitious – they
did not consider that the house might be haunted.
the Lutzes believe in ghosts or the paranormal?
described himself and the family as being skeptics before the haunting,
adding, "I don't think we would have bought the house if we
Show radio program (Penn State), 2003; ABCNEWS internet chat,
they keep all the old DeFeo furniture?
the Lutzes bought most of the DeFeo's furniture. They did so because
it was very good – they liked it better than their old furniture
– and it was offered at a price the Lutzes felt they couldn't
back on it, this may sound strange; but remember the Lutzes were
skeptical of the paranormal at the time. George considered himself
a "realist"; they didn't think the house was haunted;
and no strange events had taken place yet.
wasn't like the furniture was soaked in blood or anything. Obviously
the mattresses were ruined and were taken out of the house prior
to it being on the market. George & Kathy kept their own old
bed, as did the children. Apparently they bought the old bedframe
that once belonged to Dawn, and moved it to Missy's room.
did the Lutzes want the house blessed? Were they very religious?
hearing the Lutzes bought the DeFeo residence, a friend of George
strongly recommended that they have the house blessed, as a personal
favor to him. George didn't know much about that custom, but he
talked it over with Kathy and she agreed – they should have
the house blessed.
asked the only priest he knew to perform the blessing – Father
Lutzes were not very religious when they first moved into their
Amityville home. George was a non-practicing Methodist and Kathy
was a non-practicing Catholic. After the haunting, George became
a Catholic and was very religious, even becoming a Eucharistic Minister
in San Diego. Kathy, likewise, became very religious, and had a
ministry that fed thousands of homeless people in Phoenix, AZ.
but three of the main investigators in this case (along with Father
Ray, of course) were all Catholics with a strong faith –
Ed & Lorraine Warren and Mary Downey. George could see how their
faiths seemed to be an essential factor in them getting through
this. This may have been a major factor in George's decision.
the priest who blessed the house a personal friend of the Lutzes?
The priest who blessed the house was known by the Lutzes as Father
Ray. Father Ray was not simply a local priest, as the movie makes
him out to be, but was in fact the Ecclesiastical Judge for the
Diocese of Rockville Centre – a very prominent position in
the Church. George met Father Ray during the annulment process of
his first marriage and found him to be quite an extraordinary man.
They became good friends that afternoon.
Ray has stated that the "sewing room" felt unnaturally
cold, even for winter. As he blessed this room, he heard a very
deep voice behind him saying "Get out." Even though there
was no one else in the room with him, Father Ray also felt someone
slap him across the face.
the blessing, Father Ray asked the Lutzes not to use that one particular
room as a bedroom, and that they should not spend too much time
in there. That was no problem to the Lutzes, as they planned to
use the room in question as a "sewing room." Father Ray
had asked this in a manner which did not seem alarmist, and which
did not seem like any big deal to the Lutzes.
the Priest experience blisters on his hands, like in the movie?
according to his appearance on the 1979 episode of "In Search
Of." Father Ray told how he went to the
doctor, and was told it might be caused by anxiety. However he didn't
feel he was given over to psychosomatic responses.
the Priest experience any other weird events connected to Amityville?
the haunting, Father Ray told the Lutzes of
an incident where he was in the Chancellor's Office, discussing
the possibility of helping the Lutz family in some way. During this
conversation, there was an incredible cold that flooded the room.
1979 Father Ray was tracked down and interviewed
by the crew of the TV show In Search Of. His interview
was shot in back-light, protecting his identity – obviously
showing that he disliked the media frenzy surrounding the case,
but also just as clearly showing that he had a strong desire to
inform people of his true experiences while in that house.
say Father Ray has passed away. George doesn't know for certain.
All he knows is that the publicity surrounding the case turned Father
Ray's life upside down, and that because of it, he moved to another
state and got a degree in forensic psychiatry.
a letter to Ric Osuna, a Church official from the Diocese of Rockville
Centre (where Father Ray once worked) said they lost contact with
Father Ray and that they heard of his death in
1987. So it really seems unclear if Father Ray's death is fact or
the first few hours after moving in, Harry, the Lutzes' black lab,
was chained up in a "dog run" area near the boathouse.
He jumped over a nearby fence and was hung, because of the short
length of the leash. Fortunately Harry survived.
is possibly the first "odd" happening for the Lutzes in
Amityville, but it apparently didn't seem odd until after the haunting
and after the family fled to Kathy's Mother's house, where they
regrouped and discussed what happened.
it true the Lutzes found a bunch of pills on the floor when moving
when the Lutzes moved into the house, they found "hundreds
of pills" strewn about the second floor. George says they were
all sorts of different pills, and that it was strange they weren't
cleaned up or even noticed before they moved in.
did the Lutzes first notice things were "not right" in
is hard to pinpoint, but it seems to be after Christmas when the
family stared to notice things were a bit odd. That's when Kathy
first mentioned how the noises in the house changed, becoming ugly
and disturbing. She talked of scrapings, bangings, footsteps on
the floors above (when the children were fast asleep) – very
similar to what Ronnie DeFeo once talked about (something Ronnie
most likely denies today).
George, it came later. It seemed to be when Kathy first told him
about being embraced from behind when she was alone in the house.
George knew it wasn't like her to be subject to hallucinations and
the like. George remembers her being very serious about explaining
this experience to him, and how she found it very difficult to do
was an odor of a very sweet/cheap perfume, and the sensation of
a woman coming up and embracing her from behind. She was confused,
but it felt more like a comforting gesture than one meant to terrify
– like it was one mother trying to communicate to another.
the family all experience the same thing, living in the same house?
really. George has said each family member could see things drastically
different then the person right next to them. Kathy described it
as a 3-ring circus, with each ring being a separate area of the
house. For instance when George would hear the "marching band"
sounds from downstairs, Kathy could sleep right through it.
has been referred to as a "marching band," but that's
not totally accurate. George described it as "a whole bunch
of musicians going – each one in their own direction, playing
their own song" – like an "unorganized musical sound."
The sounds were coming from downstairs.
first George thought it might be a clock radio that went off downstairs
– perhaps tuned slightly off-station. But he could distinctly
hear the sound of many feet stomping around. The floor downstairs
had carpets, but the sound of the marching feet George heard sounded
like they were on a hard floor, not carpet. Some people mistake
this for the carpet being rolled-up.
George got downstairs to check it out, there was nothing out of
order. The sound had stopped. The carpet was in place, and Harry,
their dog, was sound asleep at the foot of the front door.
the "marching band," what other strange sounds did the
heard the front door slam during the middle of the night. It had
a very distinct sound, and was very heavy, so you could hear it
throughout the house. When he went down to investigate, he found
their dog sound asleep at the base of the door, making it impossible
for the door to have been recently opened.
says he heard just about every door in the house slam shut at various
times with no explanation.
has spoken of scrapings, bangings, and footsteps on the floors above
when the children were fast asleep.
the movie, George is seen always at the fireplace. What was that about?
became obsessed with keeping the fire going. He felt as if he could
never get warm enough, and worried that they might not have enough
firewood. This was just another personality change for George while
in that house. Keeping the fire going had become the most important
thing to him.
George ignore his business while living in Amityville?
some extent, yes. Both George and Kathy felt an unnatural urge to
never leave the house. Kathy signed up for an upholstery class (to
reupholster the old DeFeo furniture) but never went. She also didn't
want to go Christmas shopping – an activity she used to love.
George would normally go to the office six days a week, but while
in Amityville he'd be lucky to go 3 times a week. Everyone's priorities
changed. The world in the house became very small. George was mostly
concerned with the fireplace and checking the boathouse.