On a cold November night in 1974, Amityville, New York resident Ronald DeFeo Jr. murdered his entire family in cold blood at their 112 Ocean Avenue residence. Totaling six victims, these murders were just the beginning of the story.
Although the brutal murders were sensational in their own right it wasn’t until the house was purchased by the Lutz family that the home haunted its way into infamy. The Lutz family only lived in the Dutch Colonial house for less than a month, claiming that they were driven out by relentless paranormal events. Among the many claims made by the Lutz’s were swarms of flies, walls that oozed slime, spectral voices, and multiple sightings of a demonic, pig-like creature. Their account was popularized by a book entitled The Amityville Horror which subsequently spawned a film franchise that continues to produce haunted tales of the house nearly 40 years later. While most of the details of the Lutzs’ story have been refuted, true believers have blamed the haunting on everything from the vengeful spirits of the DeFeos to a Native American burial ground beneath the site.
The house itself, with its distinctive gambrels and upper-story windows framing the brick chimney into something like a face, has become a horror icon and may be the distinctive ideal of a “haunted house” in American culture. The house at 112 Ocean Avenue is still a privately owned residence, and while signals of the paranormal have all but disappeared from the site as the years have passed, the memory of its tragic past will linger forever.