William Weber's Hoax Stuff

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William Weber's Hoax Stuff

Postby TIA » Mon Oct 27, 2008 4:08 am

In most Amityville documentaries, William Webber turns up at some point to say the haunting was a deliberate hoax, usually his phrase is 'commercial venture.' But everything he says afterwards is carefully worded (possibly for legal reasons). For example, in this part of this documentary:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=LNDOXpmJx ... re=related

he says that when the Lutzes told him about green slime he told them that what they probably saw was green fingerprint powder, and when they told him about the flies, he said there were flies on the bodies. What he's not saying is that they came to him and told him they were going to make up a story about a haunting. In fact, I've never seen him say that is the case, he always seems to be saying, in essense that it was an exaggerated account. Laura Didao (sp?) heard the tapes and said they were discussing making the account more lurid and exorcist like, and that they weren't proud of their tipsy musings. But there's no suggestion from either she or Webber that there wasn't some kind of haunting account to begin with, or that they didn't contact Webber because of their experiences with the house.

The thing is, Webber's own account doesn't suggest no haunting. At worst it suggests the haunting was revved up a bit for the public to make the account more commercially successful. He takes the credit for the idea of eyes peering into the house.

::sigh:: I wish we could hear those tapes. I think it would clear up a lot.
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Re: William Webber's Hoax Stuff

Postby sherbetbizarre » Mon Oct 27, 2008 5:45 am

TIA wrote:[color=violet]In most Amityville documentaries, William Webber turns up at some point to say the haunting was a deliberate hoax


And this clip is probably my favourite of his, as interviewers are finally starting to realise his hoax story doesn't stand up. (only took them 30 years :( )

usually his phrase is 'commercial venture.' But everything he says afterwards is carefully worded (possibly for legal reasons).


Or maybe someone who does not want to trip themselves up.

he says that when the Lutzes told him about green slime he told them that what they probably saw was green fingerprint powder, and when they told him about the flies, he said there were flies on the bodies.


If this were true, it doesn't make sense to offer them a book contract.

And anyway, this is the opposite of what he used to say in 1979!

In the Joel Martin interview, he claimed they saw the crime photos first, and then created the slime story, "Well looking at that picture, the Lutzes and I dreamed up the story about slime coming out of key holes."

So this is interesting... in 1979 he's quite happy to say he helped concoct the story (for his lawsuit) but now he's trying to pass all the hype onto the Lutzes!

What he's not saying is that they came to him and told him they were going to make up a story about a haunting. In fact, I've never seen him say that is the case


Yes, correct. At least he's consistant in that.

he always seems to be saying, in essense that it was an exaggerated account. Laura Didao (sp?) heard the tapes and said they were discussing making the account more lurid and exorcist like, and that they weren't proud of their tipsy musings.


Not true - George was embarressed they were discussing a book contract so soon after leaving. No-one ever claimed to hear the Lutzes trying to exaggerate their own story.

Good post, don't think we've caught Weber changing this part of his story before :)
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Re: William Webber's Hoax Stuff

Postby TIA » Mon Oct 27, 2008 6:19 am

sherbetbizarre wrote:So this is interesting... in 1979 he's quite happy to say he helped concoct the story (for his lawsuit) but now he's trying to pass all the hype onto the Lutzes!


Yup. Not pleasant.

sherbetbizarre wrote:Not true - George was embarressed they were discussing a book contract so soon after leaving. No-one ever claimed to hear the Lutzes trying to exaggerate their own story.


I went back to the clip to check, because this is the first time I've seen this interview with her and I thought perhaps I'd got it wrong. But it really does seem to be what she is saying:
Laura Didio, c. 5mins 20 seconds in


“Before I even listened to the tape, both Kathy and George Lutz said to me we’re not very proud of this. They were talking about I guess how you could expand on the events, make it more lurid, um, more like the exorcist if you will.”

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=LNDOXpmJx ... re=related

It's interesting because she always supported the Lutzes, and I don't think she would have made this up, and she actually heard the tapes. But whatever was on there, the fact that she continued to believe them makes me think it wasn't bad enough to suggest a hoax, and perhaps the suggestions for elaboration were not adopted by the Lutzes.

Good post, don't think we've caught Weber changing this part of his story before :)


I think at some point I might transcribe his interviews and see what else I can find. :D
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Re: William Webber's Hoax Stuff

Postby sherbetbizarre » Mon Oct 27, 2008 6:59 am

TIA wrote: I went back to the clip to check, because this is the first time I've seen this interview with her and I thought perhaps I'd got it wrong. But it really does seem to be what she is saying:
Laura Didio, c. 5mins 20 seconds in


Ah yes - think we discussed this when the show first aired...

This COULD be what she means... however, she never mentioned this on previous interviews (when talking about the tapes, and I'm sure George's "not proud" warning was more to do with a possible book)

And there's an edit in the interview, which is obvious when you close your eyes and listen.

So either she means what she says, or its (purposely) bad editing.

I'm sure Weber would be playing the tape to this day if true.
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Re: William Webber's Hoax Stuff

Postby TIA » Mon Oct 27, 2008 7:16 am

sherbetbizarre wrote:
TIA wrote: I went back to the clip to check, because this is the first time I've seen this interview with her and I thought perhaps I'd got it wrong. But it really does seem to be what she is saying:
Laura Didio, c. 5mins 20 seconds in


Ah yes - think we discussed this when the show first aired...


Ah, I missed that. I'll track down the discussion.

This COULD be what she means... however, she never mentioned this on previous interviews (when talking about the tapes, and I'm sure George's "not proud" warning was more to do with a possible book)


I've never heard of it in other interviews with her. Perhaps what she's talking about is specific to the project with Webber - it would have been obvious to her if what she heard then never made it to any account associated with the Lutzes.

And there's an edit in the interview, which is obvious when you close your eyes and listen.

So either she means what she says, or its (purposely) bad editing.


I think you're right, it does sound like an edit there.

I'm sure Weber would be playing the tape to this day if true.


Given his changeing accounts of the meeting, I don't think he'll ever do that. :lol:
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Postby Dan the Damned » Mon Oct 27, 2008 12:32 pm

We talked [here]about a very similar statement that Laura DiDio made in the 2005 UK documentary "The Real Amityville Horror."

This YouTube post is the 2008 UK documentary "The True Story: The Amityville Horror."

In 2005, Laura said:

LAURA DIDIO: The Lutzes let me listen to a tape recording that they had made with William Weber and in fact George Lutz, before playing the tape, prefaced his remarks to me and said I’m not particularly proud of this.

LAURA DIDIO: I think when they sobered up [unintelligible] the cold light of day they felt, "hmmm," maybe this didn't feel right to them. But in this tape William Weber already had - he was purporting to say, "Hey, we can get movies, books, film rights." He was already talking about percentages and cutting deals.


This seems to match what Laura says in 2008:

"Before I even listened to the tape, both Kathy and George Lutz said to me we’re not very proud of this. They were talking about I guess how you could expand on the events, make it more lurid, um, more like the exorcist if you will."


The trouble comes with the editor of the program. We only hear a bit of what Laura is saying here without knowing what she said before or after. This is not trickery on the part of the producers, however -- every documentary edits what people say. You have to -- mainly for time reasons.

But if you're not careful, then you can make it seem like people are saying the opposite of what they mean to say, or you can just make it confusing as to what their point was.

From what Laura is saying, I think the average person would think the Lutzes and Weber were both talking about ways to exaggerate their story to make it more exciting and "sellable" to the public.

Did the Lutzes briefly consider exaggerating things for a book deal? Or maybe it was just Weber who did the talking, with an embarrased George & Kathy saying, "yeah," thinking to themselves that "this guy is missing the point of what they're saying," and really not knowing what else to say in response at that awkward point.

If/when we get a chance to interview Laura, this is definitely a great area to explore. In the months before he died, George told me on the phone that he was going to try and get me and Laura to meet. Sadly that never happened. I don't know if he ever mentioned it to Laura or not.

There are a few different ways to view this one particular meeting with Weber:

1) Both the Lutzes and Weber were seriously discussing ways to exaggerate and exploit their story for monetary gain

2) Weber was seriously discussing ways to exaggerate and exploit the Lutzes' story for monetary gain, and the Lutzes "played along" in a joking manner, hoping that Weber would see how they were joking, and understand they were not taking his idea seriously

3) Weber was seriously discussing ways to exaggerate and exploit the Lutzes' story for monetary gain, and the Lutzes just let him talk, not really knowing what to say.

But when Laura says "they were talking," then yeah, it does seem like the conversation was going both ways. So #3 probably wouldn't fit.

Obviously none of us have heard the tapes, so who knows what exactly happened. The one thing we do know is that Laura believes the Lutzes were being honest about the haunting, and she heard exactly what was on that tape.

Getting back to Weber -- yeah, he choses his words very carefully. If you're not listening carefully, he makes it seem like the story of the haunting was created out of thin air. But he does admit (in at least one interview) that the Lutzes came to him and honestly told him that their house was haunted.

So it might be infered, but Weber never comes out and says "the Lutzes felt there really was nothing wrong with the house after all"...
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Postby TIA » Mon Oct 27, 2008 1:04 pm

Dan the Damned wrote: The one thing we do know is that Laura believes the Lutzes were being honest about the haunting, and she heard exactly what was on that tape.


Yes, and not just at the time. She's supported them for years. I don't see her doing that if she'd heard a tape that suggested the account the Lutzes gave wasn't true.



Getting back to Weber -- yeah, he choses his words very carefully. If you're not listening carefully, he makes it seem like the story of the haunting was created out of thin air. But he does admit (in at least one interview) that the Lutzes came to him and honestly told him that their house was haunted.

So it might be infered, but Weber never comes out and says "the Lutzes felt there really was nothing wrong with the house after all"...


It's astonishing really. Particularly in this interview, it comes across far worse for him than the Lutzes.
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Postby Howard64 » Mon Oct 27, 2008 1:22 pm

One thing you have to keep in mind is...

Weber made a living out of ..."rewording" things to make people think and do things.

Think about it folks...defense attorney. Trained to interpret the law and present it in such a way to convince juries that their client is innocent.

Whats to stop him from using the same tactic to get himself out of the same pile of manure he helped to create?
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Postby Chichibcc » Mon Oct 27, 2008 3:29 pm

Good point!
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Postby msmart112 » Mon Oct 27, 2008 4:02 pm

Here's an example of Weber outright lying. In his 1979 interview with Joel Martin...he tried claiming that the Lutzes had stolen information from him to use in the AH.

Joel Martin: You’re working from the hardcover.

William Weber: Yes, I took it from the hardcover.

Joel Martin: Fine.

William Weber: But there’s a quote attributed to Ronnie where he says, “It just started. It went so fast I just couldn’t stop.”

Joel Martin: Meaning, of course, the killings.

William Weber: That’s correct. Now that quote was never in any newspaper article, it was never in any trial record or transcript. It was told to them by myself because Ronnie DeFeo said that to his psychiatrist during a private examination.


You sure about that Bill?

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Postby Dan the Damned » Mon Oct 27, 2008 4:20 pm

Excellent find, Max! And that newspaper article is dated November 20, 1975 (its also in our newspaper archive), almost two full years before Anson's book came out (and even before the haunting, itself, occurred)...
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Postby msmart112 » Mon Oct 27, 2008 4:31 pm

Here...Weber says that the DeFeo's TV room was the Lutzes' sewing room...

William Weber: Yeah. And coincidentally, the sewing room that they talk about so much in the book, well that’s the room that the DeFeo family referred to as the “Bald Eagle Room.” It was their television room, and, unfortunately, they did have some troubles living with each other. There was difficulties between the father and the son and Dawn was a freedom-loving girl and, you know, she needed a lot of discipline. The point I am trying to make is that Bald Eagle Room was Ronnie’s sanctuary. I told them that. Incidentally, Ronnie had another sanctuary we can talk about later, the garage, but in the house that was Ronnie’s sanctuary and the rest of the family left him alone in there.

Joel Martin: Yes.

William Weber: Well, they converted that Bald Eagle Room into the, they called it Kathy’s sewing room. And that’s the room where they said nobody was allowed to go into.


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Postby msmart112 » Mon Oct 27, 2008 4:38 pm

Joel Martin: But they talk in the book and the film about a secret room, a blood red room, hidden –

William Weber: There was never a secret room down in that basement. I was down in the basement. I’m sure the Lutzes have been down in the basement. I told them about a secret closet that Ronnie built where his father used to keep money. Ronnie and Bobby Kelske built the closet underneath the stairway and the only reason why they called it a secret closet was because there were no doorknobs on it. There was a little nail; you would pull the nail to open it. But it really wasn’t a secret room, or even a secret closet for that matter. It was referred to as a secret closet whenever Ronnie was told by his father to get money, go to the secret closet, right. The Lutzes were told this by me; they converted that secret closet into a secret room covered with red paint—there never was red paint down in that room.


You sure about that Bill?

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Postby sherbetbizarre » Mon Oct 27, 2008 5:04 pm

Is he making the same mistake Allison's friend did on That's Incredible?

Confusing the entire closet, with the smaller "red room"?
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Postby msmart112 » Mon Oct 27, 2008 5:06 pm

JM: What about the black gook that was coming out of the toilet bowls? They show that in the film and they talk about it in the book—that when the toilet was flushed, out came, well, it was something in the film like black India ink.

WW: Again, there were—in the crime scene photographs there was black in—not all the toilet bowls—now you’ve—there’s a contradiction on the tapes that I have with the Lutzes. We talked about the first floor and the third floor bathrooms having the black gook. In the book Lutz has expounded on that by saying all the bathrooms had the black gook. The black gook was evidently taken at the crime scene by the police officers who were using the black fingerprint dusting powder. They probably washed their hands off with a towel or something, the towel hit the sides of the bowl and when pictures were taken of the bowls—because I had over 500 colored photographs—every nook and cranny was photographed including the bowls, the Lutzes saw that bowls with the black inside of it. That’s the black that Kathy says appeared during their 28 days in that house.


Surely that black fingerprint dust would have been all over the first and third floor bathrooms, right?

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Postby Dan the Damned » Mon Oct 27, 2008 5:06 pm

Here is Weber's take on the Lutzes from that 1979 interview:

WILLIAM WEBER: Well, there was an additional motivation to get out of the house. You have to believe the Lutzes to this extent. During the 28 days that they lived in the house they realized they just couldn't cope with the memory of what had occurred in there. They thought they could overcome that but, as the days went by, they just realized that the memory of the DeFeo killings was too much for anybody to continue living on a day to day basis in the same room. It was too much for a husband and wife to sleep in a bedroom knowing that Mr. and Mrs. DeFeo had been brutally murdered in just about the same area they were lying down.

JOEL MARTIN: All right. So they thought they could cope with the emotional factor of having now moved into a house where these brutal murders occurred but they found out that, in fact, like most of us, like the rest of us, they simply couldn't; maybe on a sunny afternoon it was OK but when it was night time and the winds were howling and it was raining...

WILLIAM WEBER: That's right. Absolutely.

JOEL MARTIN: I get it. They told you this is a conversation?

WILLIAM WEBER: Yes.

JOEL MARTIN: And that you don't doubt?

WILLIAM WEBER: No, that's exactly the reason why they moved out. That plus the financial difficulties. They, when they fled, according to them, you use the word fled, when they left on January 14, they went to Kathy's mother's house...

JOEL MARTIN: Here on the Island?

WILLIAM WEBER: Yes. To think. To make a decision. Are they going to go back to the house and live there despite what was happening to them personally or what were their options? They were there, more or less, let's say, as a sanctuary for them to gather their thoughts, to pull back and to see in what direction they were heading. While they were there a friend of theirs came along and gave them an idea. The idea was to write a book.

JOEL MARTIN: To write a book?

WILLIAM WEBER: That's right.

JOEL MARTIN: About the house?

WILLIAM WEBER: Yes, about their experiences in the house.

JOEL MARTIN: The fact that they were nervous in the house?

WILLIAM WEBER: No, no. The friend put a few ideas into their heads and they started that, from that point, from about January 16, embellishing upon their experiences.

JOEL MARTIN: I see. So that by the time they called you with the idea they, meaning George and Kathy Lutz, the idea was that they could suggest that perhaps there were evil presences in that house and that might have helped you for the defense?

WILLIAM WEBER: They didn't call it evil presences...

JOEL MARTIN: What did they call it?

WILLIAM WEBER: They just said that they had some personal experiences in the house that they would like to relate to me because they thought it could help me in the defense of Ronnie DeFeo.

JOEL MARTIN: Did they say specifically what would help you in that defense?

WILLIAM WEBER: Yes, they did.

JOEL MARTIN: And what would that be?

WILLIAM WEBER: Well, this was when I met with them, that the initial conversation was just inviting me over. I ultimately went over to see them. They spoke about dreams that Kathy was having. They spoke about funny feelings, about the change in the relationship between themselves and their children, the children fighting amongst each other when they never had done that before, and that they thought that maybe it was just the house that was no good. I listened to them for a couple of hours and you know I politely told them, I said that the information they were telling me was interesting in one regard but it couldn't help me at all insofar as the DeFeo defense was concerned.

JOEL MARTIN: But why did they think it might?

WILLIAM WEBER: Well, looking back, you know I now know that they wanted me there to gather whatever confidential information I had concerning the DeFeo family and Ronnie DeFeo and then use that information for their own benefit.

JOEL MARTIN: I see, so that they really had a more mercenary motive than the altruism they suggested. In other words, they had their own selfish motives in calling you although the excuse simply was to tell you that they wanted to help you in the defense of the DeFeo case.

WILLIAM WEBER: That's correct.
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Postby msmart112 » Mon Oct 27, 2008 5:12 pm

sherbetbizarre wrote:Is he making the same mistake Allison's friend did on That's Incredible?

Confusing the entire closet, with the smaller "red room"?


I wondered that too...but he said that the red room didn't have a door knob. Since he says he had been in the basement...surely he knew that the main closet had a door knob...

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Postby msmart112 » Mon Oct 27, 2008 8:49 pm

Weber’s ever-changing versions regarding the slime are also quite amusing…

1979: Joel Martin Interview

William Weber: Slime in the walls is a very interesting story, because if that doesn’t show that the Lutzes are frauds then nothing else does.

Joel Martin: William Weber is my guest—attorney for the Ronald DeFeo case, and we’re talking about the Amityville Horror.

William Weber: See, when I was sitting down with the Lutzes explaining or exchanging information and helping them to create the epilogue to the Ronnie DeFeo story, they were shown certain crime photographs, crime scene photographs by me, and many of the crime scene photographs had this blackish, green substance on the doors and on the walls throughout the house. And just looking at the photographs, if one wasn’t used to seeing and knowledgeable about that, they would describe it as green slime coming out of the walls and out of key holes.

Joel Martin: Hmmmm.

William Weber: But anyone knowledgeable with the police investigation would tell you that it’s just fingerprint dust, the powder used to obtain fingerprints. That’s all it was. Well, looking at that picture, the Lutzes and I dreamed up the story about slime coming out of key holes.

1988: A Current Affair

William Weber: Green slime was actually spaghetti that had been splashed on the wall.

2002: ABC Primetime

Elizabeth Vargas: What do you mean creating?

William Weber: Creating, in other words, if, if you were talking about the green slime, why couldn't it have come from a demonic source.

Elizabeth Vargas: But did he tell you he was making this up or did he tell you that we also saw green slime?

William Weber: He never told me he saw green slime.

2008: The Amityville Horror – The True Story

William Weber: They said, “We saw green slime coming out of the doors”. I said, “You didn’t see green slime coming out of the doors, you probably saw residue of the fingerprint powders that were left all over the house, and since you were the first people to reside in the house since the police investigation, that’s probably what you saw”.

…OK…to recap…

In 1979…Weber said that the slime was fingerprint dust…and that the idea originated from crime scene photos.

In 1988…Weber said that the slime was from spaghetti sauce.

In 2002…Weber said that George had NEVER told him that he had seen slime.

In 2008…Weber said that George HAD told him that he had seen green slime.

…I also find it amusing how in 2008…Weber suggests that the house wouldn’t have been cleaned prior to the Lutzes moving in.
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Postby Dan the Damned » Mon Oct 27, 2008 9:19 pm

Yes, very good!

And then we come to the real kicker -- the contract for Weber's book project, which has a clause stating that the Lutzes are to take a polygraph test which, if they fail, means they lose all rights and equity in the company (the company formed especially for this book project). That means if they fail the polygraph, the Lutzes don't get any money plus they lose the rights to their story.

And yet, despite this clause, Weber still maintains that he and the Lutzes sat down and made up the whole thing.

That makes no sense. The only reason for having a polygraph clause in the contract was if Weber wasn't sure the Lutzes were telling the truth. If Weber sat down with the Lutzes and they all created the story together, then Weber would know for a fact that it was all fiction, and he would know there would be no way the Lutzes would sign a contract with that polygraph clause in it (for they would surely lose).

DAN THE DAMNED: Hey, Stephen King! I have a business proposal for you.

STEPHEN KING: Okay.

DAN THE DAMNED: I want to write a ghost story with you, and then I want you to claim its true.

STEPHEN KING: Really?

DAN THE DAMNED: Yeah. And then I want you to sign this contract which has a provision in it. The provision states that you will take a polygraph test, which, if you fail -- and we both know you'll fail because we're making-up this story together -- if you fail the polygraph test, then you don't get any money and you lose all rights to the story. Sound good?

STEPHEN KING: Tabitha, call for security...
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Postby msmart112 » Mon Oct 27, 2008 9:44 pm

Dan the Damned wrote:And then we come to the real kicker -- the contract for Weber's book project, which has a clause stating that the Lutzes are to take a polygraph test which, if they fail, means they lose all rights and equity in the company (the company formed especially for this book project). That means if they fail the polygraph, the Lutzes don't get any money plus they lose the rights to their story.

And yet, despite this clause, Weber still maintains that he and the Lutzes sat down and made up the whole thing.

That makes no sense. The only reason for having a polygraph clause in the contract was if Weber wasn't sure the Lutzes were telling the truth. If Weber sat down with the Lutzes and they all created the story together, then Weber would know for a fact that it was all fiction, and he would know there would be no way the Lutzes would sign a contract with that polygraph clause in it (for they would surely lose).

DAN THE DAMNED: Hey, Stephen King! I have a business proposal for you.

STEPHEN KING: Okay.

DAN THE DAMNED: I want to write a ghost story with you, and then I want you to claim its true.

STEPHEN KING: Really?

DAN THE DAMNED: Yeah. And then I want you to sign this contract which has a provision in it. The provision states that you will take a polygraph test, which, if you fail -- and we both know you'll fail because we're making-up this story together -- if you fail the polygraph test, then you don't get any money and you lose all rights to the story. Sound good?

STEPHEN KING: Tabitha, call for security...


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Postby TIA » Tue Oct 28, 2008 2:33 am

Wow. I had no idea the degree to which Webber lied over this. It really comes across as a vendetta.

Awesome work guys.

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