The Amityville Horror House – Haunted or Hoax?
The Amityville Horror House is part of our Haunted House House series for Halloween month. This house is NOT currently for sale and certainly never cost under $50K. Ronald DeFeo Sr. purchased the beautiful Dutch Colonial on the canal for $75,000 when the address was 122 Ocean Avenue.
I have driven past the house numerous times when it featured the infamous eyebrow windows on the gable end, but those have been altered, as has the current address to 108 Ocean Avenue. The last recorded sale was $850,000.
Loose Personal Connection
By now, everyone knows the story that shocked the country when in 1974 a drug-addicted Ronald DeFeo Jr. murdered his mother and father and four siblings while they slept. What you may not know, is that my married last name is DeFeo. At the time of the murders, my future husband was a 19-year-old with dark hair and beard like Ronnie’s, who lived two canals over and five minutes away from 108 Ocean Avenue with his parents and five siblings. Although both DeFeo families attended the same church, the familial relationship was very distant, and they did not really know each other. Still, the story was splashed all over Newsday ,and everyone who lived on Long Island recognized the DeFeo name. My husband worked for Macy’s department store at the time in Massapequa. Upon arrival at work several days after the killings, his boss, Mr. Rubio, asked him what he was doing there. “Wasn’t that your family that was killed?” This question was asked countless times by countless people. Even years later, when I applied for a library card with my new married name, I was asked if I was related to Ronald DeFeo.
Haunted or Hoax?
Despite Ronnie (aka Butch) DeFeo’s claim that he had heard voices suggesting that his family was plotting against him and to murder them out of self-defense, his insanity plea wasn’t accepted. In 1975, he was found guilty on six counts of murder and sentenced to six separate 25-years-to-life sentences. (He was married three times and died in prison in March 2021 at the age of 69). Because of Ronnie’s claims, however, stories that the Amityville house was haunted began to circulate, including that it could control its inhabitants. When George and Kathy Lutz and their three children purchased the house, they left after only residing there for under one month, citing the dramatic paranormal activity that we have all been subjected to in the The Amityville Horror films.
It has been reported that it was George Lutz’s plan all along to make money from the home. He apparently stretched his finances to purchase the home, and gave it back to the bank after he could not find another buyer. Lutz and Kathy were both known as enthusiasts of the occult, and were paid $300,000 for rights to their story. A year after moving from 108 Ocean Avenue, George and Kathy split up. Several families have since owned the gorgeous house on the canal, and what is telling, is that none have reported any paranormal activity whatsoever, not even windows rattling or creaky floorboards. Google Map blocks out the house, but today 108 Ocean Avenue is simply a beautiful house in a beautiful neighborhood where almost 50 years ago a terrible and tragic event occurred. Haunted or hoax? As a DeFeo, I say it was all hogwash.
I lived in Amityville when that happened! My cousins actually went to school with Ron. It’s such a beautiful house however
6 people were murdered there. I’d never buy it it were for sale for that reason alone!
Changing the address was a ridiculous idea. When you drive down the block it’s quite obvious which house it is. Silly.
Darryll Stevenson Sr
I did many push-ups while in U.S. Army on orders of drill sergeants because I was from Amityville. They never forgot! Mail call made sure of that. All mail coming from back home had – Amityville NY 11701 !