Often times, life imitates art, but in the grotesque world of the macabre, art imitates life more often than your average movie-watcher realizes. In the case of The Amityville Horror series, it is well-known that at least some of the stories from the hit books and movies have been based on real-life events. How much of The Amityville Horror true story is in these films has been a matter of debate for decades. While we can't clear all of this confusion up, we can tell you that these 7 facts are dead true.
1. Ronnie DeFeo, Jr. Murdered Six People
It is literally impossible to talk about The Amityville Horror books or movies without mentioning the catalyst for the entire series. The story begins with the bloody murder of the entire Defeo family, minus one Ronnie DeFeo, Jr. It is this gruesome murder of two adults and four children that sets the stage for rumored hauntings to come.
It was around 3:00 am when 23-year-old Ronnie 'Butch' Defeo, Jr. went around his home at 112 Ocean Avenue in the idyllic neighborhood of Amityville in Long Island, New York, and shot every member of his family with a .35 caliber Marlin 336C rifle. While he initially tried to act as if the crime were committed by someone else, police quickly realized it was Ronnie himself that had ended the lives six people that morning.
In court, Ronnie would say that voices had made him do it. Namely, the voices of his family plotting against him. He was known to abuse popular drugs at the time, such as heroin and LSD, which may have played into his motivations. He was convicted in November of 1975 of all DeFeo murders. Since that time, Ronnie has changed his story multiple times but has never provided any proof to the contrary.
2. The Lutz Family Moves Into The Amityville House
The next major fact from The Amityville Horror true story is that a new family purchased and moved into the home at 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, New York, shortly after Ronnie DeFeo, Jr. was convicted. It was December 1975, only one month after Ronnie's conviction when the Lutz family moved into this now famous home.
George and Kathy Lutz had been alerted to the murders that had taken place only a year earlier. Apparently, unfazed at this news due to the prospect of a really good deal of around $80,000, the Lutz' move them and their three children into the Amityville home. While they are living there, they claim to have experienced several paranormal activities due to the grisly slayings of the DeFeo family. After a mere 28 days, the Lutz' can't take it anymore and move out of the home.
3. The Lutz' Accounts of Paranormal Activity
The entire reason we are even talking about the Amityville story at all is that the Lutzes claim they witnessed several paranormal occurrences. This is where much of the controversy and debate lies, especially since it is impossible to prove one way or the other as to what actually happened when the family as alone in their home. What we do know is that multiple supernatural events from the Lutz' original claims made their way into the books and movies.
The Lutz family had three children. The youngest daughter Missy became famous for becoming friends with one of the murdered DeFeo children. The entire family claimed to feel cold spots in certain areas throughout their home. The family even told reports of ooze running from walls and keyholes and swarms of flies in the cold of winter.
4. A Priest Actually Came to the Home
In the films, Father Ray Mancuso is brought out by the Lutz family to perform a blessing on the haunted house. In reality, a priest by the name of Father Ralph J. Pecoraro> was brought out to perform a ritual on the Lutz family home. While he was there, he claims to have experienced several paranormal activities.
Among these supernatural events, Father Pecoraro's claim that the Amityville home told him to "Get Out" has become one of the most famous. Father Pecoraro also claims to have been slapped when nobody else was there and experienced cold spots in various areas of the Lutz house.
5. Paranormal Investigators Also Had Been to the Home
To add to the web of controversy surrounding the Amityville Horror true story, two prominent paranormal investigators had been called out to take a look at the possible hauntings. Ed and Lorraine Warren were well-known paranormal investigators for some time when they were asked to come out and see what they could find at the Amityville home.
**Quick note: If you enjoy reading about the Amityville house I highly recommend this book on Amazon. I honestly couldn't put it down - it was terrifying.**
Without knowing the history of the home, both investigators claim to have experienced troubling and nearly horrific events and vibes. These accounts never made their way into the film versions of The Amityville Horror, but the Warrens have not been shy about making their experiences on this case known until their deaths. Ed passed on August 23, 2006, at age 79, while Lorraine died on April 12, 2019, at age 92.
6. The Actual Amityville House Is Not In the Film
The actual home located at 112 Ocean Avenue was never used in the film The Amityville Horror. The home used in the film does look similar to the actual Amityville horror house, the house in the film was actually located in Toms River, New Jersey. This is due to the neighborhood wanting to keep any association with this story at a good distance, a hope that has not come true as the Amityville haunting is one of the most famous haunted house stories in the entire world.
7. The House Still Stands Tall
It had been rumored that the famed Amityville home had been torn down several years ago. These reports turned out to be false and had sprung up from a remodeling project the owners were undertaking on the home. In fact, the house has been owned by at least four different people since the Lutzes fled in abject terror that winter night in 1975.
In 2017, the Amityville home, since changed to 108 Ocean Avenue, was sold to an anonymous buyer. Originally, the home was placed on the market for $850,000 but was finally closed for $605,000 after 165 days. Prior to this, the home sold for $950,000, which was less than the $1.15 million asking price of the time.