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Does the house still exist?

What is the address?

Besides the DeFeos and the Lutzes, who has owned that Amityville house?

Is the land an ancient Indian burial ground?

What is the legend of the Indian burial ground?

Who is John Ketcham?

How big is the house?

 

Does the house still exist?
Yes, it still stands in the same location today as it had since it was built in 1924. There have been some slight modifications to it over the years, however.

What is the address?

The address is not a secret. However we don't reveal it here out of respect for the current owners (who wish to have their privacy respected). If you decide to visit the house, please recognize that it is a private residence and do not trespass on their property or knock on their door. They do not give tours or interviews. Also be advised that the neighbors apparently are sick and tired of all the visitors, as are the local police (hint, hint)...


Besides the DeFeos and the Lutzes, who has owned that Amityville house?

The property was once part of a larger parcel of land owned by the Ireland family, apparently used for farming. At some point the land was divided-up, with this one narrow lot being sold by the Irelands to John and Catherine Moynahan. The original house on that land (built in 1890) was moved up the block, providing the Moynahan family with a place to live while their new Dutch Colonial home was being constructed by local builder Jesse Purdy.

Due to the land's narrow boundaries, the house was built "sideways," with its front door not facing the street (as it does with the similar house next door). Instead, the side facing the street contained the house's infamous quarter-moon windows (which would later become the bedroom of convicted murderer Ronnie DeFeo).

John Moynahan died in the home in 1939, following a year-long illness. He was 61 years old. After his wife's death (in January, 1960), the house was inherited by their daughter Eileen, who sold it to the Riley family 9 months later. The Riley's lived there for five years before divorcing, causing them to sell the house to the DeFeo family.

The DeFeos moved-in in 1965, leaving behind their Brooklyn apartment most likely due to the growth of their family (the youngest child being born that same year). They lived there for nine years before their eldest son murdered the entire family one cold November night in 1974. The act shocked the community and the house stood vacant for a little over a year.

A month after Ronnie DeFeo was found guilty of the murders, the Lutz family moved into the house — only to move right out again one month later after reportedly experiencing frightening paranormal events.

The house sat vacant again for another 14 months, during which time it became the object of curiosity seekers, eager to gander at a possibly-haunted house. By the time it had sold again — to local businesspeople James and Barbara Cromarty — the hoopla over the house seemed to have died down.

Aside from their advertising/PR firm, the Cromartys had many business ventures, including an ice-skating rink in Copiague; managing the Islip Speedway and Riverhead Raceway, and running various boat shows, antique shows and car shows, as well as the Suffolk County Fair.

The house was valued for around $110,000 at the time, but the Cromarty's got it for half that. And since the notoriety of the house seemed to be a thing of the past, it would seem that luck was on their side.

Unfortunately for the Cromartys, though, an article in Good Housekeeping magazine would soon change all that. Published just weeks before the family moved-in, this article by Paul Hoffman would cause people to once again flock to Amityville to gawk at the house with a tragic and horrifying past. Even changing the house's address didn't seem to confuse the curiosity seekers — and when Jay Anson's book The Amityville Horror was released that Fall, the house became infamous on an international level. People would yell obscenities at the house and even tear pieces from the house to keep as souvenirs. Drunken locals would gather outside the house when the bars closed at night, and shout for Jodie to come out.

The Cromartys suffered the worst from the invasion of curiosity-seekers. At various periods they tried to fool the tourists into thinking they found the wrong house by planting large trees in the front yard, erecting a fence around the property and even trying to disguise the landmark quarter-moon windows. Nothing really seemed to work except the passage of time. When they finally sold the house in 1987 the throngs of visitors had, by then, died down to a trickle, and the Cromartys seemed to have made a nice profit on their 10-year investment.

The new owners were the O'Neill family. They probably had the easiest time dealing with unwanted visitors, as the Amityville saga was largely forgotten by then. This was still before the Internet boom, and the only movies being made about the haunting were a handful of forgettable "direct to video" titles and one TV-movie. Like the Cromartys, the O'Neills lived there for a decade, apparently selling the house due to the town's high tax rate — money they reportedly said would be better used for their children's college fund.

Brian Wilson bought the house from the O'Neills in 1997 for $15,000 less than what the O'Neills paid ten years earlier. The reason for this is unknown, but one theory is that it may have been due to the condition of the house, as Wilson eventually made many improvements to the property, such as repairing the foundation of the boathouse (which was slowly sinking into the creek). After 13 years, Wilson sold the house in September of 2010 to David & Caroline D'Antonio. David, a former teacher, was at one point the President of the Amityville Historical Society.

Visitors can still be seen stopping in front of the home on a semi-regular basis, but its nothing like the crowds that would invade the neighborhood back in the 1970s. In their day, the Cromartys tried very hard to publicly dispel the Lutzes' claims of paranormal activity. Obviously hoping that the crowds outside their home would dwindle if they viewed the haunting as a hoax, the Cromartys soon learned that any publicity — pro or con — seemed to have the opposite result. It just gave publicity to the house and caused more people to want to see it. Subsequent owners seem to have learned a lesson from that.

DATE
OWNER
PRICE



Jan 14, 1924* - Jan 1960 John & Catherine Moynahan $unknown
Jan 1960 - Oct 16, 1960 Eileen Fitzgerald (inheritance)
Oct 17, 1960 - June 27, 1965 Joseph & Mary Riley $35,000
June 28, 1965 - Nov 13, 1974 Ronald & Louise DeFeo $unknown**
Nov 14, 1974 - Dec 17, 1975 (vacant — owned by DeFeo estate)  
Dec 18, 1975 - Jan 14, 1976 George & Kathleen Lutz $80,000
Jan 15, 1976 - Aug 29, 1976 (vacant — owned by Lutzes)  
Aug 30, 1976 - March 17, 1977 (vacant — owned by bank)  
March 18, 1977 - Aug 10, 1987 James & Barbara Cromarty $55,000
Aug 11, 1987 - June 9, 1997 Peter & Jeanne O'Neill $325,000
June 10, 1997 - September 2010 Brian Wilson $310,000
September 2010 - present David & Caroline D'Antonio $950,000


*This date of 1924 comes from Ric Osuna; in 1999, author Bill Jensen wrote that the Moynahan's purchased the lot in the 1890s; yet death notices for John Moynahan state he moved to Amityville around 1909.

**documents show that the DeFeos bought the house for "ten dollars and other valuable consideration."

source: Amityville Murders website; Long Island Voice; HomeInfoMax.com website; Winnipeg Free Press; Long Island Newsday; Long Island Business News; Multiple Listing Service of Long Island website

Is the land an ancient Indian burial ground?

Unknown. When the Lutzes did research on the property, they found information at the Amityville Historical Society that the land was a place where Indians were buried. According to Hans Holzer, a curator at the Amityville Historical Society once told him the skeleton of an Indian chief was unearthed on or near the property in the early 1900's.

However, this information can no longer be found at the Historical Society. Some say it was removed shortly after Jay Anson's book came out while others claim it was never there in the first place.

source: History's Mysteries documentary, 2000; Coast to Coast radio program, 2002; Murder in Amityville (book), 1979

What is the legend of the Indian burial ground?

The legend goes something like this: the Montaukett Indians used this area of land to imprison their tribal enemies and/or those possessed by evil spirits. These unfortunates were left to die on the land and then buried face down. Some believe these cursed spirits are the source of the problems.

According to Hans Holzer, the spirit of an angry Indian chief (buried at that location) is the source of the trouble.

source: History's Mysteries documentary, 2000; Murder in Amityville (book), 1979

Who is John Ketcham?

This is another legend that has yet to be proven/disproven. The legend states that a devil worshipper named John Ketcham fled Massachusetts around the time of the infamous Salem Witch Trials, and relocated to the area of the Amityville house, where he continued dabbling in Satanism.

There is a historically significant Ketcham family that lived in the area, but there is no proof that any member of that family, or any other person by that name, practiced witchcraft or satanism in the area.

source: History's Mysteries documentary, 2000

How big is the house?
It's a three story house with a full basement. The total square footage is around 4100 square feet.
source: Coast to Coast radio program, 2002


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