Sydney Morning Herald 1986

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Sydney Morning Herald 1986

Postby sherbetbizarre » Thu Sep 20, 2007 4:57 pm

Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)

November 29, 1986 Saturday

Early Edition


SECTION: NEWS AND FEATURES; Pg. 26

LENGTH: 868 words

HEADLINE: WHEN A HOAX TURNED INTO A HORROR STORY

In the cold, damp early morning hours of November 13, 1974, Ronald DeFeo jun walked quietly into his parents' bedroom and shot them in the head twice.

Then he walked across the hall and shot his two younger brothers. He continued calmly upstairs and shot his two younger sisters.

Then he cleaned himself up and drove to his father's car sales yard in Booklyn, where he worked.

Later when 23-year-old DeFeo confessed, he claimed he had been told to murder his family by strange voices in the family home on Ocean Avenue, Amityville.

DeFeo didn't know it, but he was to be the focus of a hoax that has haunted this sleepy Long Island town 50 kilometres south-east of New York for the past nine years.

It's called the Amityville Horror, a best-selling novel and a box-office hit movie of dubious critical merit.

Amityville's real horror started in 1977 when Jay Anson's novel became a best-seller. The author claims the story of George and Kathy Lutz's 28 days of fear, including green-slime-oozing walls, a blood-red, secret basement room, and a daughter possessed by a red-eyed pig, is true.

The Lutzes bought the house in December, 1975 from an Amityville bank that had foreclosed on Ronald and Louise DeFeo's home after their death.

As Anson's novel describes, the Lutzes were subjected to the house's peculiar set of personality disorders, from bad plumbing - a black bile-filled toilet - to uneven central heating - one room that emitted cold gusts. The Lutzes say they fled after 28 days of horror.

But William Weber, Ronald jun lawyer, said not so. He sued the Lutzes for breach of agreement, claiming he and George Lutz created the horror story over many bottles of wine and planned to sell the story together.

He says the Lutzes reneged on the deal and sold the idea to another publishing company. They later also sold the film rights for $US200,000.

Now 12 years after the murder, Amityville residents are haunted by hundreds of tourists who seek out the Dutch-style colonial house, which has been renumbered and repainted to hide it from the "ghostwatchers" as the locals call them.

"It's baloney that the house has always been haunted," Frank Burch says disdainfully. He's a large burly man, not the type to be intimidated by red-eyed pigs or levitating women.

Burch, who owns a printing business not far from the "horror" house, says he and his two sons lived there in 1979 when the film came out.

He had offered to look after the house for the current owners, Barbara and Jim Cromarty, who really did flee in 1979. But the Cromartys didn't flee ghosts, they fled from flesh and blood humans.

Burch said the thrill-seekers became so noisy that the village called in extra police to protect the house from souvenir hunters, television crews, the curious, and the occasional exorcist eager to purge the house of its evil spirits.

"For some strange reason people thought the house was a museum or public domain," Burch said. "I would find them in the house just wandering around during the day."

His impatience increases when asked about some of the myths that have grown up around the house: "What about the man in the burlap outfit with the staff and the herd of goats?"

"There was one guy and one goat," Burch sneers. "He brought the goat down -one goat - to eat the spirits off the lawn. I told him 'to get the hell out of here'.

"If four people pulled up in a car, you could guarantee that one of them would be a expert and would talk about the house. Then they would come up to the door and ask to come in.

"One guy asked for the solid gold D (for DeFeo) that was supposed to be near the door. It was a tile," Burch said. "I told them it's a tile with a D, but they still wanted to take it. It doesn't even exist in the story."

Some of the myths were created and nurtured in the imaginations of the local children who couldn't resist leading nosey visitors on.

Hope Keller, now 28 and a writer, and her 26-year-old brother Barth, a teacher, live a few houses down from 108 Ocean Avenue. They say they loved to create horror stories whenever a visitor asked for directions to the house.

"I remember telling one family that whenever I walked past the house, cold gusts of air would almost blow me over," Hope laughs. "I told them even in the middle of summer the house sent out cold gusts of air. The family looked at me aghast for a moment, and then they caught themselves and laughed."

Hope and Barth say they rarely tell people where they are from because they are tired of answering questions about the "horror" house.

"A few years ago," Hope says, "I was returning to Paris after a trip home and as I came out of the underground at about 3 o'clock in the morning, I looked up and all along the Champs Elysees were posters emblazoned with Amityville II - the sequel.

It was like a bad dream."

For all its fame, Amityville is an ordinary little town of about 11,000 people. The village was settled in 1697 and as its name denotes appears to be a friendly village.

Amityville's Mayor, Vic Niemi said: "I live right across the street from the house. Sometimes I wake up in the night and hear people yelling at the house. It gets worse every time they show the movie on TV. I suppose it definitely put Amityville on the map."
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Postby sherbetbizarre » Thu Sep 20, 2007 4:58 pm

They later also sold the film rights for $US200,000.


This bit is untrue.
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Re: Sydney Morning Herald 1986

Postby Dan the Damned » Thu Sep 20, 2007 7:07 pm

The Lutzes bought the house in December, 1975 from an Amityville bank that had foreclosed on Ronald and Louise DeFeo's home after their death.


I think this is untrue, too. I don't think the bank foreclosed on the DeFeos.

The author claims the story of George and Kathy Lutz's 28 days of fear, including green-slime-oozing walls, a blood-red, secret basement room, and a daughter possessed by a red-eyed pig, is true.


I can understand back then - in 1986 - how they may have overlooked all the public appearances the Lutzes did a decade prior, where they stated that the slime wasn't real and that the red room was "just kinda weird," but where does this "possessed daughter" thing come from???
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Re: Sydney Morning Herald 1986

Postby Dutchcolonial » Thu Sep 20, 2007 7:29 pm

sherbetbizarre wrote:
"For some strange reason people thought the house was a museum or public domain," Burch said. "I would find them in the house just wandering around during the day."



LOL, can you IMAGINE? That'd be something to tell the grandkids, EH?

sherbetbizarre wrote:
"One guy asked for the solid gold D (for DeFeo) that was supposed to be near the door. It was a tile," Burch said. "I told them it's a tile with a D, but they still wanted to take it. It doesn't even exist in the story."


This is the first time I've heard of this. While the guy says it doesn't exist in the story, he talks like there really is/was a tile with a "D" on it?

Dutch.
“From trees to boathouses, Ocean Avenue was a street of American dreams. And what happened at 112 was a suburban tragedy.” G. SULLIVAN

“I want no part of the world out there. As far as I’m concerned, out there, there is nothing but trouble, disease, animals. I want no part of the world. In here at night when we lock in, they lock us in the cells. I feel safe, that nobody is going to get me. I feel fine. I really like that…..” RJD, JR.,October 15, 1975
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Postby Brendan72 » Thu Sep 20, 2007 7:44 pm

I think you'll find that newspapers (not excluding Sydney Morning Herald) have on many occasions plagiarised stories from a newspaper on the other side of the globe from years prior - they figure by doing this nobody will pick up on it because the article is for readers in a different geography and who they think wouldn't remember what they read at the breakfast table ten years previously anyway. How little they think of the memories of some people who do indeed remember.

We have a program in Australia called Media Watch, and basically it is a 15 minute program every Monday night (repeated Tuesday nights) that acts as a watchdog on inaccuracies, substandard, unethical and immoral practices by the media in radio, television, newspapers and the internet. Incidences of plagiarism were shown to have occurred in magazines and newspapers on a regular basis.

Even with the program having aired for over ten years, although discrepancies and some other behaviours have decreases somewhat with the media, this still occurs. And the seeming unrepentance of the Editors and Program Managers responding to Media Watch's enquiries, is amazing. It is almost pathological. For example, the media once hounded a politician for several embarassing details about his personal life and some inappropriate things he said while intoxicated, to members of the media. It was then reported and eventually, after several other things were researched and gathered to discredit him, he resigned from politics. This was not enough for the media - apparently several members of the media were sitting outside his office and making repeated phone calls to him while he was inside.

Several hours later an ambulance rushed to the scene where the politician had attempted to take his own life. And it was later revealed on Media Watch that the two reporters who were making phone calls to him prior to the attempted suicide reported it as a live exclusive. Media Watch brought this to the attention of the public and the response from the reporters' boss was an indignant comment about how Media Watch were trying to make a non-issue directed at his colleagues and daring to insinuate they were somehow responsible. My opinion is that they tried getting a story from him or push him to do something (come out and have an altercation) ... but they probably thought they got lucky when he tried taking his life.

There was also a story on how a newspaper reporter broke into the house of mass-murderer Martin Bryant and went ahead to report and describe the interior of Bryant's house, virtually admitting they indulged in some break and enter (which is an issue of criminal law). But of course these newspapers have their legal reps to protect their colleagues if it gets too much.
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Re: Sydney Morning Herald 1986

Postby Brendan72 » Thu Sep 20, 2007 7:49 pm

Dan the Damned wrote:
The Lutzes bought the house in December, 1975 from an Amityville bank that had foreclosed on Ronald and Louise DeFeo's home after their death.


I think this is untrue, too. I don't think the bank foreclosed on the DeFeos.

The author claims the story of George and Kathy Lutz's 28 days of fear, including green-slime-oozing walls, a blood-red, secret basement room, and a daughter possessed by a red-eyed pig, is true.


I can understand back then - in 1986 - how they may have overlooked all the public appearances the Lutzes did a decade prior, where they stated that the slime wasn't real and that the red room was "just kinda weird," but where does this "possessed daughter" thing come from???


The bank didn't foreclose on the DeFeo's. The house was part of an estate left after their deaths, and the relatives of the DeFeo's were party to the sale of the house to the Lutz's. The only time a bank was involved was when the Lutz's applied for a loan - the first bank they went to that approved them because they had excellent credit!

Re the possessed daughter thing ... I think it is just geared at drawing parallels to The Exorcist. It is much more convenient for the reporter to make reference to possession (without making reference to The Exorcist) as it probably draws more readers = increased circulation.

This article is drawn at promoting the hoax - they speak to the main proponents of the hoax - Weber, the Cromarty's, Frank Burch, even select members of the Amityville community (let's just admit it - nobody in Amityville will publicly state anything supporting a haunting will they?) Nowhere in this article is there a direct quote from those supporting a haunting.

That's what I call a nice, balanced piece of journalism.
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Postby leathermonkey » Fri Sep 21, 2007 11:42 pm

THey got the details of the murders wrong as well....
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Postby Brendan72 » Fri Sep 21, 2007 11:46 pm

They got the whole story wrong. At least they spelt Amityville correctly.
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Postby ToxiMoron » Sat Sep 22, 2007 2:56 pm

...And this isn't the first time I've read about Dawn & Allison sharing a bedroom. Exactly where did this come from? Just because Allison had two beds in her room? :?:
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Postby Blondiegrrl » Sun Sep 23, 2007 6:24 pm

Despite the innacuracies, I think the story is worth reading just for this alone:

"There was one guy and one goat," Burch sneers. "He brought the goat down -one goat - to eat the spirits off the lawn. I told him 'to get the hell out of here'.

:lol:
~ Andrea ~

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Re:

Postby jimmysmokes » Wed Sep 09, 2015 6:22 pm

sherbetbizarre wrote:
They later also sold the film rights for $US200,000.


This bit is untrue.


Yep and all the other stuff about it saying it was a hoax is true. Even you don't dare to say different here.

Ah sherbetto, what will i do with you?
FIRE THAT THING UP!

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Re:

Postby Brooke Forrester » Mon Sep 14, 2015 1:18 pm

ToxiMoron wrote:...And this isn't the first time I've read about Dawn & Allison sharing a bedroom. Exactly where did this come from? Just because Allison had two beds in her room? :?:


I had read that the 3rd floor room Dawn was found in was a guest bedroom, but I don't know where that information came from.
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Re: Re:

Postby Amityville Rock » Mon Sep 14, 2015 3:33 pm

jimmysmokes wrote:
sherbetbizarre wrote:
They later also sold the film rights for $US200,000.


This bit is untrue.


Yep and all the other stuff about it saying it was a hoax is true. Even you don't dare to say different here.

Ah sherbetto, what will i do with you?


Stop feeding the troll people. :naughty:
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Re: Sydney Morning Herald 1986

Postby Vlad » Mon Sep 14, 2015 8:16 pm

sherbetbizarre wrote:In the cold, damp early morning hours of November 13, 1974



According to weather records, the lows were only in the 50's in Amityville, NY on November 13, 1974.
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