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Rick Moran on "White Noise Paranormal Radio" (2009)

Amityville debunker Rick Moran explains why he feels the Amityville haunting was a hoax, and why he feels convicted murderer Ronnie DeFeo had help from his sister Dawn. Due to the high level of controversy over Rick's statements, we have provided endnotes to this interview and a link where you may post your own views.


White Noise Paranormal Radio

(Feb 20, 2009)

Transcript from Audio Content: Authorized for use by White Noise Paranormal Radio.

Start of show omitted.

RICK MORAN: Oh, I'm just an old man who lives on a ranch in Texas. Actually I live on a dog ranch in Texas. That could be a whole show in itself.

Ah, let's see. Forty-odd years ago I was a journalist, and I was working for CBS in New York and was assigned, at that time – they had a bunch of magazines called the Popular Magazine Group. And one day I found myself being assigned to do a story about a haunted house. And I had always been intrigued by all that. And I wrote the story, and the next thing I knew I found myself as a staff writer for a CBS magazine called "Psychic World." And that started the ball rolling, and I've been doing it ever since.

QUESTION: So is that how, if you like, your journey into the paranormal began? By writing about these types of things? Or did you have an experience, yourself?

RICK MORAN: No, [unintelligible] before that, I can't say that I had any real personal experiences. My grandmother was from Scotland, and she was a great believer, and had many, many stories to tell about [unintelligible] Scotland. The other half of the family was Irish-American, who had come over before the Civil War here, and they didn't think too much about those things at all. The information was there – I just never really locked into it until I started writing about it.

QUESTION: So if we just sojourned to the now, if you like, just for now – a lot of your work you've done through the Association for the Study of Unexplained Phenomena. How did you come to be involved with starting the ASUP?

RICK MORAN: Ah. Well, in the beginning, as I said, I was writing for CBS, and made a friend with a fellow by the name of Scott Rogo – the Scott Rogo, who is probably one of the most prolific writers on the paranormal at the time – and we had been down at Duke University for a while, and wrote about out-of-body experiences and psychokinesis and good stuff like that. And as the story goes, we would sit around sometimes at night and we would debate who should be the person out doing field work. Scott felt that they should be only learned professionals with PhD's with a long list of lab credits, and I argued that it probably would be better off if he left it to people who had some training as investigative journalists or police officers, because they are trained observers. And we argued about that for literally years.

Back in New York, one day we got a telephone call from some people at the Psychical Research Foundation at Duke, and they said that they had just gotten their hands on an advanced copy of a book that was claiming that all the claims in the book of paranormal activity in that particular house in New York was true because the PRF had been there and had done an interview with the folks and good stuff like that.

They obviously said that wasn't true. It was true that somebody from PRF had been invited there, but they were kind of bushwhacked. They were invited to show up one night, and they did, and that was the now-historic night when Ed and Lorraine Warren and Dr Holzer1 and everybody else who was [unintelligible] to the great throne of knowing everything there was to know about paranormal, showed up for the TV shows and talked about what happened to George and Kathy Lutz in Amityville.

At any rate, when the book was in its proofing, they actually sent a copy to Duke. And Duke said, "What can we do about that?" And they said, "Well, you know, nothing much." They said, "Well, would you be willing to go in and look at the claims that are being made about Amityville and create a laundry list, if you would, and prove or disprove what they're saying happened.

And in fact we did that. And it didn't take too terribly long. What I did was, I had reached out to some friends who I had worked with in the past – a fellow by the name of Paul Hoffman who had worked for the New York Daily News at the time; a couple of other researchers who had helped me out in doing some [unintelligible] research – and we all got together and took on this project of looking at Amityville as a group. And thus was born the Association for the Study of Unexplained Phenomena.

And the original work – there were over 120 claims of paranormal activity in the house, and we were able to disprove 120 of them.3 So that started the ball rolling, and its been rolling ever since.

QUESTION: So if, as you say, you've been involved in a vast number of investigations covering numerous subjects within the paranormal; but as you've just talked about, I'd like to concentrate on probably one of the most famous of them all, if I could for the moment. That would be your debunking of the Amityville Horror. I believe your involvement began during the DeFeo murders. And before we go into that, could you tell the listeners a little bit about the background of the family, themselves.

RICK MORAN: Sure. The DeFeo family had bought a house on what is called the Amityville River, which is actually just a little inlet off of the Great South Bay on Long Island. Lovely house. And the family moved-in. They're originally from Brooklyn. And there were claims that certain members of the family were involved with the Mafia. Ronnie DeFeo Jr, who's the son – the eldest son in the family – did everything he could to propagate that. Everybody in the neighborhood knew him as being a wise guy, as they would say; but in fact Ronnie didn't have any particular claim to fame with the Mafia, except that his grandfather had a car dealership where a lot of Mafia-type personalities would go in and buy their cars there. But that's neither here nor there.

Ronnie was a wild child. We're talking about a period in American history where the drug culture was quite prevalent, and everybody was experimenting with everything. And Ronnie spent most of his time walking around stoned on one type of drug or another. His oldest sister Dawn – his younger sister, but the oldest of the girls, Dawn – was not happy in living with the DeFeo household. She felt that her father was a brute and was stifling her. And as the theory goes, Ronnie and Dawn hatched a plot to do away with Mom and Dad and live happily ever after.

Unfortunately things got out of control, and on the night in question – and this is my theory,4 and Ronnie DeFeo isn't saying that I'm wrong – Dawn killed everyone in the household, and then she went down and announced it to Ronnie, who was totally stoned watching a TV show on TV in the living room. And he was watching a movie called "Castle Keep." And he vaguely remembers somebody coming down to him in a black hooded garb and gloved hands – and that was pretty much what he claimed to remember when he was first interviewed.5 But what happened after that, I believe, is that Ronnie was totally blown away by the fact that Dawn had actually shot her younger sister and her two younger brothers. And Ronnie then shot Dawn.

At any rate, the first that I learned about this was [when] one of my editors called me up and said, "Go out to Amityville, they just had a mass murder." And when I showed up on the scene – I was there – Paul Hoffman was there from the Daily News. As I said, he was one of the founding members of ASUP. Joel Martin, who was news director for WBAB radio on Long Island – who was also an ASUP member – was there, covering for his newspaper. And what we were looking at was either a gangland hit, you know, or something else gone awry. After talking to police on the scene – unofficially – the local police said, "Ronnie probably did it because he's crazy."

And so my first introduction to Amityville was the murders. Sometime after that I went out to take some photographs of the building in daylight, and the officer who was guarding the front door was a personal friend of mine. He said, "Do you wanna see the place?" So I was actually in the house, you know, long before the Lutzes even thought about buying the house. At that point it was a gruesome scene, but I felt nothing that would suggest that there was anything paranormal going on there.

QUESTION: So as you say, there is some sort of [unintelligible] I can get to that perhaps Dawn actually killed some of the family. What, if any, is the evidence for that theory?

RICK MORAN: Well the strongest piece of evidence for it – the first and most important piece is that in the autopsy, in post-mortem, Dawn had powder burns to her right shoulder and powder marks on her right hand, which would be consistent with someone who had fired a rifle.6 That was number one. Number two – and this didn't come to pass for several years after this whole incident – I was in touch with an informant who worked for the Drug Enforcement Administration, who claimed that there was, in fact, somebody watching the house that night because Ronnie had said that he was running drugs off the Great South Bay in his speedboat – and then they had a boathouse that doubled as a garage, and that's how they would transfer drugs and take them into New York City. And they put somebody watching the house.7

Now unfortunately that's anecdotal, you know, I mean I can't prove that or not; but the person that I interviewed claimed that on the night of the murder Dawn came out of the house, got into her car, made a left-hand turn, which would take her out to the end of Ocean Avenue, where they lived, which leads right out to Great South Bay. And as she returned a few minutes later – uh, when they were looking for the weapon, they asked Ronnie, "What did you do with the gun," and he said that he threw it out behind the house. Well they never found it there. And then they went diving at the other location – which is where Dawn would have been going if she made that turn and gone out to the end of the – there's no way to leave the point if you make a left-hand turn.8 And they found the rifle there.

Now the other [unintelligible] to that story is that Ronnie DeFeo was a gun nut, and he was really into gun safety. As a matter of fact he used to teach gun safety courses.9 When they got the rifle back out of the water, where it had been thrown, the rifle was loaded and cocked. Now Ronnie DeFeo would not have taken a loaded, cocked rifle and thrown it head-over arms to put it into the middle of that body of water.

QUESTION: Rick, from what I understand, he was actually an instructor of some sort, wasn't he?


QUESTION: When it came to guns...

RICK MORAN: Yeah, as a matter of fact, I did...

QUESTION: he was well-versed in safe transport...

RICK MORAN: I did interview one fellow who Ronnie had beaten severely, because when they went hunting once the guy climbed over a rock fence with the gun in his hand rather than handing it over to someone until he climbed over without the gun. Ronnie took that kind of thing very, very seriously.

Later on, when I talked to Ronnie, Ronnie admitted – stuck by his story. He said, "I did throw that gun out that I used." I said, "Really?" He says, "Yeah." And he says, "It was a small handgun,"10 he says, "[unintelligible] went in back and I threw it out into the river." Well they weren't looking for a small handgun, they were looking for a rifle. And they found the rifle down where, allegedly, Dawn threw it. And unsafely, as a matter of fact.

So, you know, all pieces fall into place. Its as good a theory as any that I've heard. And certainly, the whole idea that Ronnie shot his two younger brothers just doesn't sit right.11 It doesn't sit right to this day, you know. I'm in contact with Ronnie, who's still sitting in prison. And I think that, and the fact that the youngest daughter was killed, really bothers him. He's not particularly concerned about his parents being killed – he thought they were useless – but he really was not happy with the idea that the younger kids were murdered.

QUESTION: So as a former police officer and as an investigative journalist, in your view there is some more evidence that stacks up that it was Dawn who, in fact, killed the family, and not Ronnie as he's alleged.

RICK MORAN: Yes. Yes. And now I'll go so far as to say that among my peers at the time, that was the general consensus.12 It wasn't just my idea. [unintelligible] they kinda came up with. I just proved it.

QUESTION: Just to let you know, we are experiencing a few technical difficulties this evening, as you've already guessed by the fact that we are about 20 minutes late going to air. We are on the air at the moment with Rick Moran who is an Amityville specialist. Expert, if you will. Former police officer, investigative journalist and all-around lovely guy. We do actually have, what it looks like, two callers on the line at the moment, so in a bid to get those callers, quick, because I do know that you've been trying to call-in for the past 5 minutes. We've been trying to answer your call, but unfortunately its not working, so Rick, if you don't mind, we're going to give this a go now and see if we can get these people on the line... [meaningless talk excised]

DAN (caller): Hello?

QUESTION: We can hear you.

DAN (caller): You can hear me?

QUESTION: I can hear you. You're on the air with White Noise Paranormal Radio. Who am I speaking to?

DAN (caller): Hi, this is Dan from Fullerton.

QUESTION: Well hello Dan. How can we help you.

DAN (caller): Yeah, I wanted to debate Rick about The Amityville Horror – about why he thinks its a hoax.

RICK MORAN: Oh, I know that its a hoax. I know its a hoax because – let me explain – I know its a hoax for one very good reason. After we had published what we found as a result of ASUP's study into this, I was asked to go on the talk circuit with Jay Anson, who actually wrote the book. Jay and I got to be very, very good friends, and he put it this way. And this is at dinner at 21 in Manhattan, the night we were doing the last program; and Jay looked at me and said, "You know what your problem is?" I said, "No," he says, "You're a journalist." And I said, "What does that mean?" And he says, "I'm a writer," he says, "I wrote this book because I wanted to make enough money to finish building my house in [unintelligible] so that I can retire. I'm a writer. I make things up. You're a journalist. You keep on looking for corroboration and proof. He says, "And you're never gonna have anything, and I'm gonna have my house in [unintelligible].

DAN (caller): So that proves that Jay Anson's book was fiction...


DAN (caller): But that doesn't prove that the Lutzes were faking the haunting.

RICK MORAN: The only part of the Lutz claims that I honestly thought held some possible weight was the story about Kathy waking up in the middle of the night looking into the mirrors. Because the bedroom had mirrors on two sides of it – the walls and ceiling. And she felt as if she was looking at a much older woman in the mirror. And I honestly believe that that happened, but I – as a student in the paranormal – I think I can explain it. I'm not saying that it isn't paranormal, but, you know, to then take the great leap and say, "Well, there was a demon in the house," and you're claiming the priest was thrown out of the house – was told to "GET OUT!" And Father Pecoraro was never in the house.

DAN (caller): Well he stated – on the TV show "In Search Of" he stated that he was in the house and he even stated that he felt a force slap him across the face.

RICK MORAN: Yeah, well you wanna know something – that's what he said then, but before he died he recanted that whole story.13

DAN (caller): Well when did he recant it? Because people don't even know if he's dead or not.

RICK MORAN: And the fact of the matter is – let me explain something to you. Allow me to explain something. Father Pecoraro got involved with this because he was Kathy Lutz' psychiatrist.14

DAN (caller): No, he was George's friend, not Kathy's.

RICK MORAN: No, he was Kathy's. You know, this is how the stories get bent out of shape.

DAN (caller): I agree. That's why I [unintelligible] George went... Hello? Hello?

RICK MORAN: Yeah, go ahead.

DAN (caller): George went to see the priest when he was getting an annulment from his first wife. That's how they met, and that's never been in dispute. So he wasn't Kathy's friend. He became Kathy's friend just because he was George's friend. But he was never Kathy's psychiatrist or anything.

RICK MORAN: Okay. Let's go back to the beginning, okay? George told a lot of stories, okay? And before George died, I asked him on a talk show, "George, when will it end?" And his answer was, "Whoever dies last wins."15

DAN (caller): And what talk show was that? I never heard that one before.

RICK MORAN: He has a lot of followers. I'm well aware that George has a lot of followers. I've had people send me emails saying, "How could you say such terrible things about Kathy Lutz?" I never said anything terrible about Kathy Lutz – I just don't think that they were chased out of the house by demons. I don't think that they were in the house at any time close to the number of days they claim they were. Okay?

DAN (caller): But is there one major factor that makes you think that it was a hoax?

RICK MORAN: The one major factor?

DAN (caller): Yeah.

RICK MORAN: Sure. Nobody else who's ever been in that house has had any paranormal experiences. Real paranormal experiences.

DAN (caller): Haven't there been other hauntings like that?

RICK MORAN: I beg your pardon? I beg your pardon?

QUESTION: Okay, it does appear that we've actually lost audio on that caller. So Dan, we do apologize. It does actually look like that the Blogtalk gremlins have permanently struck. Our switchboard is doing a multitude of things that I've actually [unintelligible] before. Well hopefully later we can take some more calls; but up to now we've gotten up to the Lutz part of the story; but I just want to take one little step back on for a minute, Rick, just so you can explain this, hopefully. Perhaps the most [unintelligible] paranormal incident involved with the DeFeo part of the Amityville story was Ronnie's account of the black hooded figure handing him the rifle on the night of the murders. So was this simply just kind of a drug-induced hallucination or something like that?

RICK MORAN: Well he admits that he was stoned out of his face while watching television. I don't doubt that what he saw was his sister walking over to him wearing what they called in those days a snorkel coat, which was a black or very dark blue nylon hooded coat, and a pair of gloves; and handing him the rifle and telling him to go do it. I don't doubt that for a second that that happened. I also think that he was so stoned that he couldn't get out of the chair, let alone get upstairs and kill anybody. And so Dawn did it.16

I don't think the original plan was for Dawn to do it; but I think faced with that situation, that's what she did. Okay? And the reason that she would have been wearing the snorkel coat and the gloves inside the house is real simple – she went out to the boathouse to get the gun.17

QUESTION: Yeah, I do remember hearing an interview with yourself on another show where – wasn't there someone who actually saw her wearing the coat around the time?

RICK MORAN: Oh yeah. As a matter of fact, that we can actually corroborate. The original claim was by the gentleman from the DEA that made the claim years later; but when we were doing the original investigation we talked to the neighbors. They told me that she wore a snorkel coat all the time.

QUESTION: So to your knowledge...

RICK MORAN: She was there all the time walking around like that. It gets cold on the Great South Bay on Long Island in the middle of the winter.

QUESTION: So to your knowledge, during the DeFeo's time at the house, there was no – prior to the murders – there had been no suggestion or anything of any paranormal activity while they were there?

RICK MORAN: No. And, ya know, the people turned around and said they thought that Dawn practiced witchcraft in the house – yeah, maybe. You know, she was a teenager – that was common enough in that day. Its common enough today. Do I think that she opened up some grand portal and go out, you know, get the Devil into her house? No, I don't think that that's even logical. Its no more logical than turning around and saying that you heard a brass band walking through your living room at 3 o'clock in the morning.

Its good fiction. Okay? Jay Anson wrote a great book.18

A lot of people turned around and say, "Well are you saying its all a hoax, its all a lie?" Well the Lutzes told the story, okay?19 And I will tell you this: when they were originally thinking about writing the story, the attorney for Ronnie – a fellow by the name of Bill Weber – asked around and said, "Who can write this story?" And one of the first people that he looked at was Paul Hoffman, who was a colleague of mine. And he invited Paul to the house – not THE Amityville house, but, you know, another location. George and Kathy Lutz were there, okay?20 Weber brought out boxes and boxes of crime scene photos, and at one point Kathy is looking through these pictures – apparently it was the first time she had seen them – and she saw the – in those days you used to use graphite to mark fingerprints, you know, and they'd try to lift a fingerprint – and she said, "Oh, look at that, it looks like green slime all over the walls," and then, you know, Weber just turned around and said, "No." He says, "They put the graphite on and then when they take a photo in color, you know, the strobe comes back as green," and she says, "Oh, okay..."21

And there was a whole series of photographs. And there was a picture looking out through the bedroom window, and you could see the two warning lights on the tower of the Coast Guard station in the distance. And George, you know, says, "Oh! For a second I thought I saw red eyes out the window!" You know. And [unintelligible] says, "No, those are just the lights from the tower." "Oh, yeah. Right. Okay."

And this went on in front of Paul Hoffman all night as they sat there looking at the photos and drinking wine. Now much later on, I mean, then they asked him all, you know, are you gonna write it, and he said, "No, I'm not gonna write it," you know, because they wanted to write it as a true story, and he says, "Well obviously its not a true story since we're sitting here making it up as we're going along."22

And they found Jay Anson who was more amenable to the idea of writing the book as fiction. In fact, I never would have been involved with the book if it had just said "The Amityville Horror." But the original title of the book was "The Amityville Horror: A True Story." And it wasn't a true story – it was a work of fiction.23

Now, do I think that Kathy Lutz saw herself growing old in the mirror, or possibly even seeing the reflection of Mrs DeFeo in that bedroom? It could be. I wasn't there. Okay. If you want to talk about anecdotal information, I can't tell you that it wasn't true, simply because I wasn't there; but there's nothing to prove that it did happen. And, in fact, when the road show was on its own and we were out there talking to the people, there were always jokes being made – off-camera there were jokes being made – and nobody was taking this seriously.

Unfortunately we now have generations of people, and the caller that you just had is typical of that, okay. He probably wasn't alive when this happened, but he will swear to me that he knows the truth, okay. And that's great. That's fantastic. You know, believe in what you want to believe in.

I gotta say one other thing. I have found myself stuck with a reputation of being a debunker. And I'm not a debunker, okay. And here, the last 25 years of my life I've been involved in very, very serious research into possible explanations of the paranormal; and we're doing a lot of very, very heady research now dealing with EVP's, dealing with, you know, the use of electronic devices to record voices in haunted locations. Full spectrum photography. IR photography. The use of the [unintelligible] camera. I mean I can go on and on and on. I mean ASUP now has 50 investigators just in Texas – and we're using heavy duty technology. And if you ask me "do ghosts exist," my answer is gonna be "yes." And if you ask me, do I personally believe that the human spirit can survive death and go someplace else, my answer is "yes." And I'm working as hard as I can – and my people are working as hard as they can – to be able to come up with scientific proof – you know, the empirical proof – to prove that all of this is a possibility.

Okay, so I'm not a debunker; but when it comes to Amityville, it was pure fiction.

QUESTION: So, that said, then, obviously your version is that this kind of – I know you mentioned the [unintelligible] no truth to it. If I can just get back to the list that you compiled – there were 100 discrepancies, if you like, that were between the book and the true story, so if you want to pluck away. Could you, perhaps, share a couple of the most glaring errors with our listeners, just to give them a chance to sort of...

RICK MORAN: Sure. Sure. Father Pecoraro is supposedly driving down the Van Wyck Expressway – a road that I know very well because I used to have to drive it everyday – and he's supposedly in the middle of this violent storm, and suddenly the hood of his car comes crashing back into what you'd call a windscreen, or a windshield, of the car and obliterates it. Interesting story, except that the car that Father Pecoraro drove had a hood that folded forward to get into the engine compartment. Therefore there was no way that that could have possibly flown back into the windscreen. Okay?24

In the house, itself, there were several things in the book which are a little fuzzy after all these years, but there have been some changes to the interior of the house and unfortunately when Jay was writing the book, he was looking at an old set of floor plans, so he referred to certain doors which just didn't exist.
He also maintained that the front door was wrenched off its hinges by the Devil as George and Kathy and the kids were running from the house for fear of their lives. In fact, that is a very, very heavy solid oak door, and it swings inward, therefore it could not have been wrenched forward out against the building.25 Now there was a very flimsy storm door, and obviously it had not been latched – and, you know, that door was probably destroyed long before the Lutzes got there.

There were some real problems with how long the Lutzes were in the house. You know, the neighbors were all willing to sign affidavits that said that, you know, that they were not there for the period that they said that they were...26

QUESTION: Well perhaps we can touch on that, because that seems to be a point of huge conjecture among Amityville enthusiasts, if you'd like to call them that. There are some reports that say that they were there for years. There are some reports that say that they were there for a week. There are some reports that say they were there for one or two months. I believe you actually had a contact with a mister, is it Ireland, who actually owned the property at the time?

RICK MORAN: Yeah. Yeah.

QUESTION: I don't know if you managed to get out of him exactly how long they were there for; and I believe there was also a little bit of an issue [unintelligible] matter of fact own the house at all, and what they were actually doing in the house. Maybe you can tell us a little bit about that?

RICK MORAN: Well there's all sorts of conjecture about that. It was noted at the time of the murders that Ronnie had claimed that in his drug business27 – which he claimed he was in with his father – they kept large sums of money in the house. And several people heard that story. There was some conjecture that possibly George had hopes of going into the house and finding the money and leaving. I'm not sure that the money was ever there.

There was a strongbox behind the wetbar on the first floor, front of the building. The police had found that when they were doing the murder investigation. There was no lockbox inside of it, as Ronnie had said that it was, but there was the space was there for it.

There were all sorts of conjecture about hiding places in the house. Probably one of the best is the secret red room, okay. I have a favorite photograph that is of Stephen Kaplan – who is a bit of a jokester to begin with – and Steve and his wife and everybody from ASUP had been invited to come to the Amityville house by the new owners – after this whole thing had finished – for a Halloween party. And everybody shows up for this dressed Halloween party in all sorts of costumes, and Steve came in as Batman. And I've got this great photograph of Steve – who is about six feet tall – crunched down into this little tiny space which is painted red, okay, and that is the famous red room, okay. My problem is, its not big enough for you to stand up in, nevermind it being called a "room," its an access to pipes inside the house.28

QUESTION: Slight difference, there.

RICK MORAN: And it was behind a wooden bookcase that they – and its a space under the steps – and it was used as a pantry. Now was it hidden? Nah, I don't think you'd call it hidden. I mean its just that it served no useful purpose [unintelligible] unless you put something in front of it to pile something up in. I mean it wasn't big enough to use for anything else.

There were allegations that they hid drugs in there, but there's nothing in the police reports that suggest that they found any residue. I think it was exactly what it was, you know...

QUESTION: It sounds to me like a large percentage of the facts are actually unsupported by any kind of evidence at all.

RICK MORAN: Oh yeah! I mean the bottom line is you can come up with a reasonable explanation – the common explanation – or you can let your mind run wild. And in this particular case, we know that George and Kathleen met with William Weber and with two different writers, and at two different times had what I would call "skull sessions," where they went through these photographs and went "Ooh! Blech! Eee!" You know. "That's terrible," you know, and said, "That looks like this and that looks like that," and all this good stuff, you know. And then, eventually, Jay Anson wrote a book.

And, you know, I also challenge folks to think about it. A lot of people don't read. A lot of them, you know, see movies; and they say, "Well the movie did this and the movie did that," and you know, its like, the movie isn't quite true to the book, either. But if you read Jay Anson's 2 great masterworks, okay, I would say they were "The Amityville Horror" – which was a great piece of fiction – and also I would suggest somebody get a hold of a copy of the screenplay of "The Exorcist," which he worked on.29 And there are several things that are very common there. There are common side stories, okay, because it was written by the same man, you know. It was a great piece of fiction, and it should have been left at that.

You know, I got no problem with people making movies about it. I don't have any problem with people writing about it. As a matter of fact, I'll go so far as to say that if you were looking for a book about Amityville that at least could have been true, in part, I would suggest that you read the Hans Holzer book.

Now I'm not saying that anything in that book actually happened, either; but what I am saying is if you read the book, he doesn't digress into Never-Never Land, you know. Everything he says in there is plausible, okay. Did it happen? Well according to all the sources I have, it didn't. Okay? Did these things happen to George and Kathy Lutz, I'll never know, because if somebody says that it happened, you know, they're saying that it happened. But, in the case of the Holzer book, Holzer went into the family – the original DeFeo family – and what went on there. And interestingly, while – if you get to talk to Ronnie DeFeo Jr, you can talk about the Amityville book by Jay Anson, and he will start laughing. Bring up the Holzer book, he becomes really upset. Because the book talks about alleged things that happened in the house – abuses that happened in the house – and quite honestly I think that they were based in truth. Okay. And if you want to look at if from a paranormal perspective, everything that Holzer wrote about in that book could happen. I'm not saying it did happen, but it could happen, because you can look at that, you can look at a thousand other cases and you can say, "Okay, fine, what he's talking about here has happened here and here and here and here and here – in other cases, in other countries, at other times. But Amityville?

You know, I'd like one person to show me a case that has been studied by a legitimate group, okay – a legitimate research group – that says that they heard or recorded a marching band in the living room of the house at 3:30 in the morning. Its never happened before. So there's no reason to believe it happened now.30

QUESTION: No. So, saying that, Rick, what – obviously I think I already know, but I'd like to get it from yourself – what are your opinions on the investigations there by the Warrens and by Hans Holzer when he went around the building?

RICK MORAN: I think Hans did what Hans always does. I've known Hans for a long, long time; and I'm not going to tell you that he's a friend, because he really isn't. His daughter and I are friends, but he, ya know...

Hans is a story collector. Okay? He goes in, he listens to the story and retells the story. He tells ghost stories. Later on in his later books, he then goes into theoretical material having to do with the paranormal, which is much more laudatory, I think.

Ed and Lorraine Warren. You know, I can't say much about Ed, you know. He's gone. He'd dead. Lorraine is a nice lady, but has a tendency to see demons around every corner. And that's her thing. That's her thing. I mean she sees demons. She believes in demons. I'm not saying that I don't believe in demons. I don't think that you find them in every case.

ASUP, at the moment, covers about 50 cases a year. Okay. And we're talking about heavy-duty investigations. We're not talking about "we'll stop by and see if they can't scare us with their story." We actually go in and spend several days and look at the cases and set up equipment, you know, and put $10,000 worth of electronics into the house, and good stuff like that. And we've had some interesting stuff, okay. In all those cases – 50 a year – and I've been doing this, as I've said, for about 40 years, okay. ASUP, itself, has probably done close to 1,000 cases. Okay? And of those cases we only have 3 that involve a claim of infestation by a demonic force. Okay? Three out of a thousand. I think that's a pretty good average. I think that is probably "the" average.

[At this point the transcript ends as the conversation turns away from Amityville with Rick talking for the next hour about his current organization and the methods they use today. You can listen to the complete interview for free on the White Noise website. To discuss this interview, click here.]


  1. In the past, Rick Moran's claims have been shaky and suspicious at best, and sometimes his facts have been flat-out wrong. In a case like The Amityville Horror, where rumor and speculation run rampant, one doesn't need the likes of Rick Moran further muddying the waters.

    This first note is rather minor, in that Hans Holzer is claimed to have been present during that March 6, 1976, investigation of the Amityville house. In fact he was not. Those present included the Warrens, a TV news crew, at least 2 members of the PRF and a few assorted psychics and investigators. According to his book, Murder in Amityville, Holzer did not visit the house until January of 1977 (almost a full year from when Moran suggests) as part of an independent investigation he was doing in conjunction with William Weber – nothing to do with the Lutzes, who by this time had moved across the continent and were now living in California. [return to interview]
  2. On his ASUP website and in his 2004 article for Fortean Times, Rick claims the founding members of the ASUP in 1972 included Peter Jordan, Paul Hoffman, Stephen Kaplan and himself. However, upon further research, it seems clear that not only were Hoffman and Kaplan NOT founding members, but evidence shows Kaplan and Hoffman did not know Rick Moran back then and didn't even know each other!

    In 1995 Kaplan wrote a book – The Amityville Horror Conspiracy. Written in the format of a diary, it details not only his involvement in, and investigation of, the Amityville haunting, but details many moments of his day-to-day life in the decade of the 1970s. The founding of his Parapsychology Institute of America in 1971 is noted, but there is no mention at all of the ASUP – the organization which Rick Moran claims Kaplan helped to start. Kaplan first mentions Rick in this entry for Nov 17, 1977:

    “A few nights ago, Joel Martin did a show for WBAB in which he interviewed an investigative reporter named Rick Moran and Moran’s two associates.”

    Clearly this is the first time Kaplan had heard of Rick – five full years after they supposedly started the ASUP together. A year later, in 1978, Kaplan is invited to debate the Warrens on a local TV show, so he invites "this guy Rick Moran" along to help:

    “...I asked "Midday" if I could bring along one other person to help support my side of the debate. They graciously agreed. I then called Mr. Rick Moran, the photo journalist and investigator who had denounced the case on The Joel Martin Show and on CBS-TV News. Rick was excited by the offer but, unfortunately, was unable to get out of a prior commitment to appear on the show with me. However, he offered to send in his place his partner, Peter Jordan. I did not know very much about Mr. Jordan but I had heard him on The Joel Martin Show with Rick. Peter had helped Rick to expose many of the falsehoods in the book and had seemed fairly good at elaborating on those points on radio. So I agreed to have him come on the show with me.”

    So now we also see how Kaplan did not know Peter Jordan, another supposed fellow co-founder of the ASUP. This is around the same time that Rick and Peter are co-writing their FATE article about The Amityville Horror – the culmination of their initial research into Anson's book – and yet Kaplan is just now hearing about Peter Jordan. We see that a possible friendship may be starting between Rick and Kaplan, but this is now 6 years after the 1972 formation of the ASUP supposedly took place. Kaplan's book/diary goes up to Halloween of 1979, and still there is absolutely no mention of the ASUP or of any co-investigative work between Kaplan and Moran (except for them meeting as fellow guests on a TV chat show).

    And it doesn't end there! In his July 16, 1976 entry, we see that Kaplan also didn't know Paul Hoffman. On this date, Kaplan sees a newspaper article on the haunting (which, by this time, Kaplan feels sure is a hoax). Hoffman's piece is a straightforward blow-by-blow account of the Lutzes' claims, offering no further commentary. Kaplan gets upset that the Lutzes' story is still being taken seriously, and fires off an angry letter to the New York Daily News, ending with, "I hope that in the future you will see that Mr. Hoffman thoroughly checks out his facts before submitting such an article."

    Better illustrating the non-existent friendship between Kaplan and Hoffman is the following excerpt from Kaplan's March 9, 1977 entry, where we see how he thinks Hoffman is actually in cahoots with the Lutzes:

    “When the priest warns the Lutzes not to use a certain bedroom, they do not specify which floor it was on. In the News article, the "second floor bedroom" was specified, and later identified as having been Ronald DeFeo Jr.'s bedroom. As I have previously mentioned, I had been informed that Ronald's room was on the third floor. Hoffman and the Lutzes must have discovered their error and "moved" the evil to another floor!”

    So to sum up: Kaplan does not know Rick Moran or Peter Jordan until 1978 and he doesn't seem to know Paul Hoffman at all, and yet he is said to have started the ASUP with these three gentlemen back in 1972. And even though Kaplan loves listing his achievements, he makes absolutely no mention of the ASUP in his book, nor of helping Moran or Jordan with their research. It seems clear that Rick is fraudulently using the names of Kaplan and Hoffman to bolster his case and/or his organization. [see note 22 concerning Hoffman] [return to interview]
  3. 120 out of 120? In Steven Kaplan's book, The Amityville Horror Conspiracy, he notes that Rick Moran said the following on a local TV show in 1978:

    “What we found out was that 83 of the 103 reports of phenomenon in the house could be proven false.”

    Not 120, and not 100% proven false. Yes, maybe this note is a bit hypercritical, but its important to note that this list has never been published for the public to view, and any discrepancies tend to cast a shadow on its very existence. [see also note 24] [return to interview]
  4. Rick claims here that the "Dawn killed everyone" theory is his; but later in the interview notice how he switches that around to say it "wasn't just my idea," but "the general consensus among his peers at the time." But, in fact, no newspaper, magazine or TV anchor made any such mention of Dawn possibly being involved in the murders. [return to interview]
  5. In fact, Ronnie DeFeo made no such mention of Dawn being involved when he was interviewed by the police. According to Gerard Sullivan's excellent book High Hopes (Sullivan was the prosecuting attorney in the DeFeo murder trial) Ronnie first blamed the murders on a suspected member of the mob before eventually confessing that he, alone, killed his family. The first we hear of Dawn possibly being involved was a full year later, during the trial. This came out during the testimony of Ronnie's aunt, who was told the "Dawn story" by Ronnie during a jailhouse visit (it was the 6th in a series of differing stories which Ronnie told to his aunt regarding who killed the family – Dawn was one of many alternating "real killers"). [return to interview]
  6. To date no evidence has been shown to suggest Dawn fired a gun that night. Lab reports simply state that "powder particles from Dawn" were tested and were found to be "partially burnt particles of nitro cellulose gunpowder." The report does not mention exactly where on Dawn these particles were found, despite Rick's insistence that they were found on her right hand and right shoulder. Like most of the victims, Dawn was shot at close range, so it is very likely the gunpowder particles came as the result of her being a victim, not from her supposedly firing a gun. [return to interview]
  7. We are led to believe that a DEA agent was watching the house at the time of the murders (due to reports that Ronnie was smuggling drugs in from the bay). In Moran's Fortean Times article, Rick claims to have received an anonymous phone call from someone identifying himself as a DEA agent – the same agent who was supposedly staked-out in front of the DeFeo house on the night of the murders. This mysterious informant tells Rick:

    “...on the night of the murders he was parked on a side street, facing the house, and heard the muffled roar and saw the muzzle flash from the murder weapon as the killer walked from room to room on the second floor of the house. He added that slightly after the fact, Dawn DeFeo left the house, dressed in a long nightgown and a winter 'snorkel' jacket, with what looked like a rifle in hand. She drove out of the driveway in the direction of a finger of land occupied by other homes. She returned a few minutes later, without the rifle and re-entered the house. This same agent said that he saw Butch leave the house the next morning. Twenty-four hours later, another man came to the house and within minutes, the area was swarming with police. Not wanting to compromise an ongoing investigation, the operative did not identify himself or give an accounting to the county officers at the scene.”

    While it may be plausible for a DEA agent to withhold his information to officers at the scene, why wouldn't he give his information to the DA at a later date – anonymously?

    And if we are to believe that Dawn threw the rifle into the bay, then I suppose Ronnie dove into the water to retrieve it [which he then used to kill Dawn] before throwing it back into the bay once again [where it was found by police divers]. [return to interview]
  8. Another minor point, but it shows how careless Rick can be when it comes to the facts. Between the old DeFeo house and the tip of Ocean Avenue, there are, in fact, many other streets a person could turn onto if they did not wish to end up at "the point": first is Coles Ave, then Bayside Ave, followed by Prospect Street, Bourdette Place and finally Richmond Avenue. Five alternatives. Anyone with access to Google Maps could verify this. [return to interview]
  9. Not only is there no evidence of Ronnie being a gun safety instructor, but this seems to be another flagrant example of Rick exaggerating a past claim of his. In his 2004 Fortean Times article, Rick wrote the following:

    “It was well-known that Butch had a preoccupation with guns. He was not only proficient with them, he was fastidious about safe handling. DeFeo friends agree that he handled weapons like a range officer in a police academy so it is unlikely that he would carry or throw a loaded and cocked weapon into the water.”

    Now we go from Ronnie being "fastidious about safe handling" in Rick's 2004 story, to Ronnie suddenly having been an actual instructor in a gun safety class. But like everything else, Rick gives us no supporting evidence to back up this claim. [return to interview]
  10. In various interviews (most recently on the 2006 TV show "First Person Killers") Ronnie has claimed that he shot Dawn with the rifle, not a handgun, but the same rifle used to kill everyone else in the house. Here is one such instance – an excerpt from Ronnie's 1999 parole hearing:

    “I do know that I had gotten into an altercation with my sister, God rest her soul. There was a fight over the rifle in the end, and that’s the part that I am involved in. And after the wrestling match between me and my sister, that’s exactly what it was, I lost my temper, and I took the gun away from her, threw her down on the bed and shot her.”

    Maybe Rick can produce a document from the forensic detectives showing that Dawn was shot by something other than a .35 Marlin rifle. [return to interview]
  11. Rick says it doesn't "sit right" with him that Ronnie killed his younger siblings, but it somehow does "sit right" for Dawn to have committed this horrendous act? Apart from that, he fails to give Dawn a motive for suddenly flying into a murderous rage – neither here nor in his 2004 Fortean Times article.

    Others have mentioned Dawn being very upset that she couldn't move to Florida to be with her alleged boyfriend, and point to that as being a possible motive; but Dawn was 18 years old, and could have legally moved away on her own at any time. Surely she would just move out instead of killing her family over that issue.

    I'm not sure if this is Rick Moran's position or not. If Rick has a better motive for Dawn, we'd all like to hear it. Until then I guess we just have to accept on faith that Dawn was the evil one, despite what we hear about Ronnie being a violent, drug-fueled high-school dropout (and that info comes from Ronnie, himself). In fact, even in this very interview, Rick describes Ronnie as a "wild child" and heavy drug user who once severely beat a fellow just because he did not follow proper gun handling procedures. Rick's own description sure sounds like Ronnie was an unhinged powder keg to me – so why does it make more sense for Dawn to be the killer? [return to interview]
  12. If this was the general consensus at the time, then why does Rick claim the police told him (off the record) that "Ronnie probably did it, because he's crazy"? The fact remains that no one championed Ronnie's pathetic claim of Dawn being the real killer until Ric Osuna's silly book came out in 2002. Ronnie first mentioned that Dawn was the killer in 1975 – but she was only one of many different people who Ronnie was claiming to be "the real killer." If you look at the evidence you'll notice that Dawn was murdered in bed, laying in a very natural sleeping position. The bullet holes lined up, showing she had not been moved after being shot. There were no signs of a struggle in Dawn's room or on her person. Ronnie's story is just a story. A sad, desperate attempt to shift the blame in the hopes or regaining his freedom.

    If Dawn was killed last, then yes, it is a mystery why she appeared to be asleep in bed. That remains a mystery. But that doesn't mean the logical answer is that she was part of the killing spree. [return to interview]
  13. There is no record of Father Pecoraro ever recanting his story. A reporter claimed Father Pecoraro testified in court that he did not visit the house, but the priest's testimony was held in private in the judge's chambers. It was sealed and never made public. So how could the reporters know what was said? To this day that testimony is still sealed.

    Rick Moran may be basing this claim on information from Rick Osuna's website. Osuna features a document on his site which, he feels, shows Father Pecoraro never visited the house. Unfortunately, Ric Osuna is misreading this document. It is a motion written by George Lutz' lawyers to stop a "change of venue request" from being carried out. In simple terms, the trial was to be held in California (where the Lutzes lived) but Weber asked for it to be moved to New York (changing the "venue" from a California court to a New York court). Holding the trial in New York would be expensive and time consuming for the Lutzes (paying for hotel rooms in the city, arranging for babysitters in California, the air fare, etc), and similarly it would be expensive for Weber if it were held in California.

    Weber's motion noted that his "change of venue" request was not just for his sake, but based upon the convenience of the witnesses he planned to call to testify (most of whom lived in or near New York). This document on Osuna's site is Lutzes' rebuttal to that argument, noting:

    “In an effort to tally witnesses living in New York, many have been named having no connection whatsoever to any discussions or negotiations between Plaintiffs and Defendants.”

    In other words, this paper was accusing Weber of filling up his witness list with people who lived in or around New York not because they were involved in the case, but as a way of making it seem that a change of venue was necessary to accommodate so many East Coast witnesses. But this court case was not about the validity of the haunting as the witness list suggests – it was about the discussions and/or negotiations between the Lutzes and William Weber over Weber's proposed book project.

    Weber's "change of venue" document goes on to list people who were involved with the Lutzes and/or the haunting, but not involved with the book project in any way. One such person was Father Pecoraro. Lutz' rebuttal explains how Father Pecoraro's only connection to the book deal was a telephone call:

    “Also mentioned as a witness in Burton's affidavit was Rev Ralph J Pecoraro, who has indicated that his only contact relating to this case was a telephone call from the Lutzes.”

    The key phrase there is "relating to this case." As stated on this same document, the case is about a breach of contract over a book deal. It is not about whether the Lutz home was haunted or not.

    Getting back to Rick Moran's statement – the claim is made that he recanted this on his death bed. To date no one has come up with any records showing Father Pecoraro has died. George Lutz couldn't even say for sure that Father Pecoraro (aka Father Ray) was dead or alive. The only clue we have of Father Pecoraro's death comes in a letter to Ric Osuna from the Diocese of Rockville Centre. The letter states that Father Pecoraro left the Rockville Centre diocese in May of 1978 and transferred to a diocese in Oakland. After that he "dropped out of sight" and the people at the Rockville Centre diocese eventually "heard" of his death in 1987. Heard of his death. This is not proof – it could be rumor (or a further effort to keep Father Pecoraro's privacy). Father Pecoraro's death is more mystery than fact. [return to interview]
  14. Father Pecoraro was not Kathy's psychiatrist. I should make it clear here that I am the phone caller in this interview, and the points I made about Father Pecoraro's role is clearly evident in public court documents. George Lutz first met Father Pecoraro when he was called to the diocese in 1975 as part of the annulment process stemming from his first marriage. Kathy met Father Pecoraro sometime later.

    The Lutzes had the house blessed due to the persistence of a personal friend, who asked them to do the blessing as a personal favor (when they heard the family was moving into the old DeFeo house). Being non-practicing at the time, the only priest the Lutzes knew was Father Pecoraro, so they asked him.
    [return to interview]
  15. Here Rick quotes George Lutz as saying "whoever dies last wins." Compare that to this quote from Rick, himself, during a 2007 interview:

    “I'm always being asked to do radio and TV shows. The number of people involved in the original Amityville hoax is quickly dwindling by natural selection. And somebody made a joke, oh I guess it was about 10 years ago, they said, uh, 'When is this debate ever gonna end?' I said, 'When the last person from one side or the other drops dead.' ”

    So 2 years ago he attributed this line to himself, and today he attributes it to George Lutz. A blatant example of Rick twisting things to fit his agenda. [return to interview]
  16. Back when Ronnie told this version (featuring the figure with black hands), he continued it by saying he then got up and killed his parents. So this goes against what Rick is now saying. Again, another example Rick is trying to twist the evidence so that it supports his claim that Dawn was the real killer. [return to interview]
  17. By all accounts, the rifle was kept in Ronnie's bedroom, not out in back in the boathouse. The police found and photographed the boxes for the rifle in Ronnie's bedroom, and as recently as 2007 (during his parole hearing) Ronnie stated the guns were kept in his room. More fiction from Rick Moran. [return to interview]
  18. The insinuation here is that the claim of Dawn practicing witchcraft comes from Anson's book. It does not. And George didn't hear a marching band – he heard what he described as an unorganized musical sound, as if musicians were tuning up or as if a clock radio was not fully tuned into a station. George would shorten this to "marching band" on occasion as it was easier and quicker to say when recounting his story again and again for TV and radio interviews. If Rick Moran was such an expert on Amityville, he'd know this. [return to interview]
  19. Again, Rick is basing his argument on Anson's book, not on what was said by the Lutzes. Rick has said in his Fortean Times article that Jay Anson admitted to him to using artistic license and exaggerating certain events. So if Rick knows this, why does he continue to treat Anson's book like the Lutzes' Gospel? He's being dishonest with his argument. [return to interview]
  20. Rick insinuates that the Lutzes were in on Weber's book deal right from the start – at the same time as Hoffman – and that is just not the case. Hoffman was contracted to write Weber's book long before the Lutzes entered the picture – back when it was going to be solely a true-crime book (before Weber knew about the haunting). A contract had been written-up between Hoffman, Weber and his associates which then had to be remade at a later date when Weber was trying to get the Lutzes in on the deal. [return to interview]
  21. The Lutzes are on record from the very start as saying the claims made about slime oozing from the walls were fictional, adding that this may have been a misunderstanding by Anson in regards to 2 other incidents. What they claimed to have witnessed was an epoxy like substance on some of the keyholes (which resembled a "drip" or a "tear drop") and on at least 2 occasions they found small drops of a greenish oily substance leaving a trail on the carpets, going from room to room, which they first blamed on the kids (but mysteriously the kids were not around when it happened a second time). [return to interview]
  22. Rick repeats here that Paul Hoffman was one of the founding members of the ASUP (founded in 1972). And now we learn that Hoffman sat-in on those sessions with Weber and the Lutzes (as they supposedly created their haunted house story). If this is true, then Hoffman not only knew about the haunting case long before the public, but he also knew it was a sham. So then why would the ASUP have to do ANY investigation of the book in the first place? Hoffman, a senior member and founder of the ASUP, knew first-hand that it was all fiction. And as the writer, he would have copies of the tapes made during that session – in other words, he'd have proof.

    The clear answer here is that Hoffman was not, in fact, a member of the ASUP, and/or the creative session that Moran just described never took place. It is simply illogical.

    Furthermore, Moran states that Hoffman refused to write Weber's book due to the fictional account of the haunting. But he did just that with the article he wrote for the New York Sunday News on July 18, 1976! This article made no allegations of a hoax, it just told the Lutzes' story (as Paul understood it to be). And he wrote a 2nd version of this same article in April of 1977 for Good Housekeeping magazine (for which he and Weber were later sued by the Lutzes).

    So according to Rick, Paul Hoffman – a founding member of the ASUP – knew firsthand that the Amityville haunting was a hoax. In fact he had proof it was a hoax, but the ASUP still went on and investigated the matter anyway, as if Paul's solid proof wasn't good enough. Meanwhile Paul refused to write about the haunting in Weber's book because he knew it was a fictional story. Despite those feelings, he felt okay about writing the very same story for a newspaper and magazine. This is completely contradictory. [return to interview]
  23. This is an area where I agree with Rick. Anson's book was listed as non-fiction, but it contained some fictional elements. Not a lot, but still those elements should either not have been included at all, or the book should have been subtitled "Based on a true story."

    This type of practice is done frequently in Hollywood. It seems to happen less in the publishing world, but it still happens. One instance is Robin Quivers' autobiography "Quivers: A Life." On her radio show she admitted that she was pressured to "juice up" her story to help sales, and so a small amount of fiction was included in Robin's book.

    But that is not an excuse. Anson's book ideally should not have included any fiction. One could argue that the fiction Anson included was not even necessary to make the story better. The fictional elements were mostly limited to the slime oozing down the walls, some of the stories involving the red room, and small details (in real life they didn't take their son to the hospital after the injury to his hand, and George didn't wake up exactly at 3:15 each morning, but somewhere between 3 and 3:30).

    Still, Rick's problem here is with Anson's book. These were not claims made by the Lutzes, themselves. You can't claim an event did not happen just because a book written about that event was not accurate. [return to interview]
  24. Rick is saying that in Anson's book, an event is described where the hood of Father Pecoraro's car opens up and smashes against his windshield. But he states that Pecoraro's car had a hood which opened away from the windshield, not towards it. Therefore Rick states this event never happened.

    This is part of a master list of over 100 paranormal incidents (from Anson's book) which Rick and his associates claim to have disproven. But clearly, in this example, this event is far from disproven. The possibility still exists of this being a simple mistake when relating the make/model of the priests car, so at best it is merely evidence that this one event might be fictional.

    The make and model of Father Pecoraro's car did change back and forth between printings of Anson's book. There was obviously some sort of error there. The Lutzes did not know of any of the events which happened to Father Pecoraro until a year later (when reading about them in Anson's galleys), so any information about the priest's car would not have come from the Lutzes. Anson stated that he interviewed Father Pecoraro for the book, so whatever the cause of the mistake is, I don't know. But it is not proof of a hoax. [return to interview]
  25. No one claimed "the devil" ripped the door from its hinges. It was not said to have happened as they were fleeing the home. And the fact that it was blown "out" instead of "in" was the whole point – that's what made it so bizarre. [return to interview]
  26. In previous interviews, Rick has claimed that the Lutzes never even owned the house. Now he has switched to them "not living there as long as they had." Meanwhile, who/where are these mysterious neighbors who claim the Lutzes didn't live there a full month? Many documentaries on Amityville have interviewed the neighbors, but I've yet to see any of them make such a claim. During the History's Mysteries documentary (shown on the History Channel) the deed to the house is shown, clearly listing the Lutzes as the owners; having purchased the house from Rocco DeFeo, the person in charge of the DeFeo estate at the time. [return to interview]
  27. Ronnie has never claimed that he or his family ran a drug smuggling operation. This seems to be an obvious attempt of Rick trying to bolster his shady allegation of there being a DEA agent watching the house that night. [return to interview]
  28. The Lutzes called it "the red room" not because they were trying to fool people into thinking it was a normal-sized room, but simply because they didn't know how else to refer to it. The tiny red space? The red cubby hole? The red area in the basement? They called it "the red room" among themselves long before the thoughts of any book deal came about. That was just the term they used for it.

    George laughs at the notion that it is a plumbing chase. There were no pipes in there. But he readily agrees that it was a tiny space where you had to crouch down inside of, and you could barely squeeze 2 people into. Furthermore, the Lutzes claimed the red room was odd because it was hidden behind a shelving unit, it didn't appear in the house plans, it gave off a foul odor at times, it seemed to have no purpose, it was painted red, and their normally fearless dog would cower from it. That's about it. No passageway to Hell, no hidden well, no visions of faces – that was all fiction. Those were not claims made by the Lutzes. [return to interview]
  29. Jay Anson did not work on the screenplay of "The Exorcist." Prior to his new life as a novelist [The Amityville Horror was his first book], Jay Anson helped make promotional films that publicized major movie releases, one of which may have been about the making of "The Exorcist." [return to interview]
  30. Again Rick refers to a "marching band" [see note 18] when George has said it was the sound of an actual band, but a sort of disorganized musical sound, like that of a marching band tuning up their instruments.

    "Its never happened before so there's no reason to believe its happened now?" Now there's a man with an open mind. [return to interview]


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