Since 1977 a house on the lake in Amityville, New York has been the subject of multiple books, television programs and almost 15 movies, including Amityville: The Awakening, which hit theaters April 1, 2016. For some reason, the real story of the Amityville Horror is rarely told in the films, which spend more celluloid on a fiction based around the Lutz family and their haunting that might have happened, but definitely not to the degree they’re saying it did. One of the most interesting facts about the Amityville case is that the hauntings have been debunked numerous times, and the lawyer who initially represented the family at the heart of the case has stated in multiple court documents that the entire haunting was a hoax. Still, the mythology of the Amityville Horror lives on. Read on to find out the truth of what actually happened at Amityville.
As you read through this examination of the fact and fiction of the Amityville case you’ll see that much of what takes place in the film, The Amityville Horror, and its subsequent sequels like Amityville: The Awakening is either a beefed up version of what actually happened to the families who lived in the house, or a complete fabrication of a few people who were trying to make a few bucks. What you believe of these Amityville facts is up to you, and they are presented here next to their film counterparts to help you decide the truth about Amityville.
Did a Satanist Live in the House Before the Lutzes?
What Happened in the Movie: The Amityville Horror presupposes that the reason the Lutz family home is haunted is because a Satanist named John Ketchum lived in the house before they did, thus giving off plenty of bad juju.
What Happened in Real Life: What really happened is way worse than some groovy Satanist turning his basement into a sex dungeon. In 1974 the Amityville house was the sight of a sextuple homicide, where Ronald "Butch" Defeo shot his mother, father, and four brothers and sisters in cold blood in the middle of the night.
Did Ronald Defeo Really Hear Voices Commanding Him to Kill His Family?
What Happened in the Movie: In the 2005 remake of The Amityville Horror, Ron Defeo kills his family after spooky voices tell him to murder everyone. Yikes!
What Really Happened: Nobody knows the true story of what caused Defeo to murder his entire family in cold blood, but Defeo circulated about nine different stories as to how and why the murders took place. In some stories he implicated his sister Dawn in the murders, and in another, a demon in a black hood handed Defeo the 30-30 Marlin he used to shoot his family. The one thing that's for sure is that Defeo was heavy into LSD and heroin, so that might explain the whole demon thing.
Was George Lutz Really Waking Up at 3:15 Every Morning?
What Happened in the Movie: In The Amityville Horror, George Lutz keeps waking up at 3:15 am (the time when the Defeo murders took place) with an intense feeling to check the boathouse.
What Really Happened: This is one of the statements made by George Lutz that he never backed down on. And honestly, who's to say he didn't have trouble sleeping?
Where Did All Those Flies Come From?
What Happened in the Movie: If you've seen any version of The Amityville Horror then you know flies play a huge part of the overall horror. The scariest part about the flies is that they shouldn't be in Long Island in the winter. You try to tell a ghost about seasons and see if he cares.
What Really Happened: It might be possible that there were a bunch of flies in a stuffy Long Island house in the winter. But did they attack a priest? No effing way.