By Tim Yancey
October 24, 2003 I stepped off a 'red-eye' flight to State College
Airport, and into a cold Pennsylvania night.
to meet me was my good friend Lou Gentile, the host of a nationally
syndicated radio program that deals with paranormal phenomenon
known as 'The Lou Gentile Show'. At his side was John Zaffis
- nephew of famed paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren,
a man who has spent a lifetime wrapped deep in the Amityville
haunting, as well as many other intriguing investigations into
the paranormal realm. After collecting my luggage we headed
out to the waiting van where George Lutz awaited the group. Apparently...
he still doesn't deal with cold temperatures too well.
Lutz is a friendly, stout former Ex-marine, who immediately offered
his handshake as we all tumbled into the van and out of the cold
night air. I had talked with George a few times on the phone,
and remarked it was nice to meet him in person finally. "We'll
see if you still feel that way later", he remarked, a sly
grin on his face. I would soon learn that humor is a big
part of Lutz's psyche. Lutz is gifted with a soft, almost
self-deprecating sense of humor... he would later remark that
"humor is one of the greatest things we have to defend ourselves
against negative energy". George presents himself as
a quiet, almost shy person who doesn't want to attract attention...
during various conversations with convention goers, he was
soft spoken and often turned the conversation away from Amityville.
four of us had all gathered together at Penn State University
as part of "Penn State UNIV-CON II", a paranormal convention
hosted by the Penn State Paranormal Research Society. They
had invited Lou Gentile to host a live three hour radio show during
the convention, and he had asked George Lutz and John Zaffis to
appear as his guests. I would fill the role of audio engineer,
recording the show for later broadcast. The topic of course,
would be the events that occurred to George Lutz and his family
during their 28 day stay in the most famous haunted house of all
had heard George Lutz talk about Amityville before - he had appeared
on Gentile's show in the past, the first interviews he had done
publically in over 20 years talking about the haunting that occurred
to him and his family. But I looked forward to having the opportunity
to see into his eyes as he related the story... to watch how he
reacted as he talked about the incredible events that Lutz maintains
are true to this day. I thought this would be my only chance
to see if George Lutz was telling the truth.. to find out if his
story rang true.
all, there is no actual evidence that this haunting occurred...
or so I thought. GeorgeLutz did bring evidence, in
fact Lutz has more evidence to prove the Amityville haunting occurred
than other famous cases I had looked at, like the 'Bell Witch',
or the Smurl haunting. More on that later.
testimony of what happened during those 28 days are horrific to
most... but actually quite common when compared to most haunting
cases. Many other violent hauntings are actually more sensational
in terms of the phenomenon occurring - during the 'Enfield Poltergeist'
case, the spirit is credited with manifesting many voices which
would talk out loud to investigators. Chairs and furniture
would shift about in front of police officers and investigators.
the height of the 'Bell Witch' haunting, the family was assaulted
endlessly by rappings and poundingsthroughout the house.
The family would be physically assaulted and accosted time
and time again. Eventually, the 'Bell Witch' was credited
with killing it's intended victim, John Bell.
the Smurl haunting, black shadowy figures terrorized the family.
Why did the Amityville haunting, which didn't appear as
sensational... garner such attention and opposition, and cries
of 'hoax'? The skeptics demanded 'proof'... but is there
actual proof for anything paranormal in nature?
the very beginning, it was obvious that many enthusiasts of the
'hoax' theory used the book and movie to garner information about
the haunting. Most people realize in modern times that movies
have a way of using literary license, and often over-dramatize
or even create totally fictional scenes. It became such
a problem that the phrase 'based on true events', is now standard
opening monologue. When enthusiasts compared the book and
movie versions to the Lutz's telling of the events... things
didn't add up.
part is - George Lutz will be the first person to tell you that
some of the events portrayed in the book and movie aren't factual.
and tragic events were happening in the Amityville Home long before
the Lutz's moved in. Prior to the Lutz's purchase of the
house, Ronald Defeo Jr. tragically murdered his entire family,
while they slept peacefully in their beds on the night of November
13, 1974. Armed with a .35 Caliber Marlin rifle, Defeo Jr.
moved from room to room... eight shots fired in all. Later,
Defeo Jr. would make varying statements to officials; the mob
did it. His sister did it. Then he said he did it
one point, after confessing to the murders, he claimed to have
heard voices telling him to commit the murders. He also
claimed to have seen dark shadowy figures moving about he house,
and talked about how a pair of dark, black hands handed him the
rifle that night.
found all of the victims lying face down in their beds - it seems
apparent that none of the family heard any of the gunshots. None
of the neighbors around the home heard any of the shots either.
Today, Ronald remains in prison at the Greehaven Correctional
Facility, where he is serving six consecutive life term sentences
for the crime.
night that George Lutz was to appear in front of the Penn State
crowd, he spoke softly as he related the events that occurred
at 112 Ocean Avenue.
and Kathy Lutz were married the previous July, both of them owning
separate houses at the time. Now together as a family, The
Lutz's began to look for a new home for the new marriage. The
plan was to sell the two houses they already occupied, and use
the funds garnered to purchase a dwelling large enough for George
and Kathy, and her three children. They put their homes
up on the market... Kathy's sold first, and her and the kids then
moved into Georges home in Deer Park.
and Kathy spent much of the Summer touring prospective new homes
with no luck. They had already looked at over 50 potential houses,
when the realtor told them about the home at 112 Ocean Avenue
Lutz's were made aware of the tragic events that occurred to the
previous owners... "The realtor eventually told us what had
happened in the house... that six family members had been murdered
there and asked us if that made a difference, if we were still
interested in looking at the home. The kids didn't seem to have
any reservations about whether to at least look at the house,
and so we went through it. Afterwards, we had quite a discussion
as a family a couple of different times, about whether or not
we should still consider buying the house". The Lutz's concluded
that the prior murders that had occurred in the home didn't appear
to have an affect on their children, so they agreed to at least
tour the property.
soon As Kathy had walked into the house, she had a smile on her
face that just beamed. That hadn't happened in all the previous
homes we looked at... I knew from the look on her face, that this
was to be our dream home." George recalls.
house was on the market for around $100,000. The home included
4,000 square feet of waterfront property, complete with a boathouse
and garage. It also included a heated swimming pool in the
back yard, and a full basement. "It was pretty much
everything we were looking for in a home, and it was at a price
that we could afford, if they were willing to take the offer that
we were willing to make".
Lutz's made an offer of $80,000... which was accepted. George
had an excellent credit rating, the first bank they applied for
a mortgage from accepted their application for $60,000 right away.
So they put down the $20,000 cash down payment on their 'dream
home', and made arrangements to start moving in.
first impression that the Lutz's felt of the home can best be
described as 'charming', it was well constructed, and everything
about the house was exactly what they had hoped for, but unusual
events began occurring almost from the moment they arrived.
Moving Day at 112 Ocean Avenue