Urban Legends

The Amityville Horror

The Legend

In 1977, Jay Anson published The Amityville Horror, a book detailing the demonic infestation of a house in Amityville, New York.

In his book, Anson describes how Ronald DeFeo, Jr. was possessed to kill his entire family and sent to prison. After his imprisonment, the family of George and Kathy Lutz moved into the house, only to discover that the demons that had possessed DeFeo were still in residence and resisted eviction.

Various horrible things happened to the Lutz's over a period of just under a month. For example, their son Danny began talking to his finger, saying weird words like "redrum." The demons particularly affected George Lutz, a recovering alcoholic. They made him feel persecuted and paranoid. George was drawn to one room of the house in particular, a bathroom, and at one point walked into it to find a corpse in the bathtub. When he closed his eyes to prove to himself that it didn't exist, it grabbed him. The story's tragic end comes as George, carrying an axe, hunts his family though the house's snow-covered topiary garden.

Scary stuff. But not at all true.

Despite the book being advertised as a true story, it is in fact a work of fiction. Consider these points:

  • The book claims that George and Kathy Lutz and their three children moved into the house and were haunted by demons. However, George actually moved into the house accompanied only by his parrot (coincidentally named Kathy) and three cats.
  • Samples of the green slime said to have spontaneously dripped from the walls were tested by actual scientists and found to be mint jelly.
  • A priest called to perform an exorcism on the house was supposedly told by a supernatural voice to "Get out!" What was not mentioned in the book was that the priest was vocally curious about why George Lutz would always turn his back and put his hand over his mouth before the evil voice spoke.
  • A "swarm of flies" said by George to have attacked the house were found to have less to do with demonic influence and more to do with George's bathing habits (or lack there of)
  • George reported seeing "a horrible figure with red eyes" staring at him. After the book came out, he was asked where he most often saw this figure and he replied, "In the mirror."
  • An evil demonic ghost pig was said to stalk the yard at night, but evil demonic ghost pigs are not native to New York.

So what is the truth? The truth is that The Amityville Horror was a complete fraud, perpetrated by Jay Anson, George Lutz, and a greedy, willing publishing company working under orders from Washington to distract the public from the real horrors of covert government actions in the '70s. Don't believe a word of it.

Behind the Legend

Everyone knows that The Amityville Horror is a true story, so it's almost silly to have to refute this much circulated "debunking." Still, conspiracy theorists arise whenever something major happens that doesn't fit into their world view, and often the stories they tell are interesting and intriguing enough to make the average, uninformed schmuck question obvious reality.

Such is the case here.

Although the anonymous author of the above tirade lists some interesting "facts," they can do nothing in the face of overwhelming evidence that there really was a haunting at Amityville. A few examples:

  • The original book The Amityville Horror said right on the cover that it was nonfiction.
  • A movie (technically a "re-creational documentary") was made of The Amityville Horror in 1979. Hollywood lawyers would never allow a film to be made that claimed to be based on a true story but was not. There's just too much room for a lawsuit. For other examples, see Fargo, Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Blair Witch Project, Star Wars, etc.
  • One of the sequels to The Amityville Horror, Amityville 3-D, was filmed in 3-D. You just can't fake 3-D. Ask anybody.
  • Hollywood released a new Amityville documentary in 2005, proving that events continue to take place in the house.
  • Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House was an excellent novel, but it was just that -- a novel.
  • The 1979 disco hit "Get out!" started a dance craze that swept the nation. How could such an enormous fad possibly be based on a lie?
  • When Jay Anson, author of The Amityville Horror, was asked, "Would you be willing to say that the book was all a lie, that you made it all up, and that you're going to give back every cent you made from it?" he said, "No."
  • To this day, horror fans, college students, and drunk people continue to harass, throw things at, and prank phone call the house's current residents. When the house's owners were asked what the experience of living in such a fabled abode was like, they said it was "horrible."

Seriously, what more proof could you need?

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