On November 13, 1974, 23-year-old Ronald DeFeo Jr. shot and killed both of his parents and all four of his siblings. The house that was home to the murders - 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, LI - was purchased by George and Kathy Lutz for a steal just a year later. But soon after moving in, they and their three children reported strange happenings: Doors would be ripped off their hinges, strong odors came and went, a chill would take over the home, and slime oozed from the ceiling.
One night, George alleged that Kathy transformed into an older woman - a ghost - right before his eyes. Another night, he heard his children's beds slamming up and down, but he couldn't get up to check on them because he was being held down by an invisible force. The family lasted just 28 days in the house, leaving behind all of their possessions, even the food in the fridge. A local TV crew did a report on the house, stayed in it overnight, and declared it definitively haunted.
Some of George and Kathy's children, however, have since come forward to say that the events of the book and film titled The Amityville Horror were stretched well beyond the facts. Christopher Quaratino, George's stepson, says George was obsessed with the occult and that he exaggerated some paranormal events that he believed happened when he was a child to create the stories that allegedly occurred at the house.
Despite the Lutzes' speedy exit from the home, none of the subsequent owners or occupants ever reported any superstitious or out-of-the-ordinary events. Perhaps the final nail in the hoax-not-horror coffin is the fact that DeFeo's defense attorney, William Weber, admitted in an interview that he and the Lutzes concocted the story in order to get a lucrative book deal.