This is the granddaddy of all haunted houses…
…the real life Amityville Horror House!
House Crazy Sarah is a big fan of the original movie from 1979…. she’s a sucker for that crazed bearded look sported by hunky James Brolin. He’s an old man now, but back in the day – well let’s just say he made haunted houses look sexy!
There are three versions of this house floating around on the interwebs…. the original with dark siding (right), how it appears now (bottom right), and another house that was used in the original film (left).
The original movie version is actually located in New Jersey and was used only for the film’s exterior shots.
Here’s what the real Amityville Horror house looks like today:
Or at least, this is what it looked like the last time it was listed for sale in 2016.
If you’re not familiar with the back story, here’s a quick rundown of the terrible events:
On November 13, 1974, Ronald DeFeo Jr. shot and killed six members of his family at 112 Ocean Avenue – a large Dutch Colonial house situated in a suburban neighborhood in Amityville, on the south shore of Long Island, New York. He claimed demonic forces made him do it and was eventually convicted of second-degree murder in November 1975.
Robert DeFeo Jr. and the victims
Just a month later in December 1975, George and Kathy Lutz purchased the house for dirt cheap and they and their three children moved in, aware of the horrible events that had occurred there but happy to get such a good deal on a huge waterfront home. After 28 days, however, the Lutz’s vacated the house, claiming to have been terrorized by paranormal phenomena while living there.
The real life Lutz family
Isn’t it eerie how much George Lutz resembles the murderer Ronald DeFeo Jr.?
The now infamous story was made into a book, then eventually a movie in 1979.
The unfortunate house was branded “The Amityville Horror House” and it has been for sale several times over the last twenty years.
It looks a little different today than it looked in the 1970’s…
Originally clad in dark shingle siding, the Dutch Colonial style home had been owned by the DeFeo family since 1965.
When George and Kathleen Lutz purchased the home, it was still technically tied up in probate proceedings. But George was an avid boater and he fell in love with the large boathouse in the back yard.
The Lutz’s stay, however, was so short they didn’t even get to make a payment on their $60,000 mortgage.
The Lutz’s reportedly left all their belongings behind and fled with only the clothes on their back. But they were able to cash in on the home’s notoriety when they wrote the best-selling book co-authored with Jay Anson based on their experiences of the demonic forces in the home.
The Lutz’s reported hearing voices, being levitated above their beds, and green slime oozing from the walls, among other phenomena.
The book – The Amityville Horror (1977) – was turned into a blockbuster movie in 1979 and has had several film adaptations since then.
None are as good as the original, in House Crazy Sarah’s humble opinion!
House Crazy Sarah has read the Jay Anson book on which the original movie was based, and she’s still a little skeptical. Though compelling, some of the claims were a bit over the top. Sure the house could be haunted, sure there could be some negative energy lingering within, but flying pigs with beady red eyes? It seemed a bit much.
Nonetheless, the book delves into the house’s and the property’s interesting history.
Although the house was not built until 1927-1928, the property on which the house stands is said to be ancient Shinnecock Indian land where the sick, infirm and mentally ill from the tribe were banished. After the Shinnecock people were driven westward, the property was used as farmland until a settler by the name of John Ketcham set up a residence there in the 1690’s. After his death, he was reportedly buried on the property. The book claims that this was the same John Ketcham who had been forced out of Salem Massachusetts for practicing witchcraft, although this claim has not been authenticated by historians.
There was an odd hidden room found in the basement of the house by the Lutz’s – apparently the location of a colonial era well – but the Anson books suggests that this room was some type of portal to hell.
The home has passed through numerous owners since the Lutz’s, and not one of them claims to have experienced any paranormal activity.
But according to Zillow,
- The home sold in 2010 for $950,000.
- Then it was listed for sale again in 2016 for $850,000.
- It finally sold in March of 2017 for $605,000.
What is going on with this house?
The real estate market has only gone up since 2010 – why has the value of this house decreased so dramatically? And why has it sold twice in less than a decade. Hmmmm…… House Crazy Sarah thinks maybe the owners have not been honest about what is going on in the house.
At some point in time after the Lutz’s claims of haunting went world-wide, new owners of the house replaced the eye-like quarter-round attic windows with regular square shaped windows in the hopes that the infamous house would be less recognizable.
Previous owners even went so far as to change the address to throw off leering legions of morbid house-peepers. But that didn’t work either because – here we are!
The house in Amityville made the news again in February 2012 when a second gun was found in the Amityville Creek directly behind the property by a film crew filming a documentary there.
The discovery of a second gun gave credibility to the theory that Ronald DeFeo Jr did not act alone and that the murders may somehow have been mafia related. The gun was extremely deteriorated and little to no forensic evidence could be pulled from it.
The 2010 sellers had done a lot of work to the house including restoring the sagging boat house and adding a second sun room on the canal side of the home.
The 5,000-square-foot home sits on a quarter-acre lot along the Amityville River. It has five bedrooms, 3½ bathrooms, a boathouse and a slip.
The real estate listing photos give us curious house-peepers a look inside the home.
Interior photos of the Amityville Horror House
Above is the remodeled sunroom. Below, the traditional living room:
The front hall/foyer:
The dining room:
One of the bedrooms:
The kitchen, before and after a major makeover:
The home is lovely today but back when the DeFeo’s lived there, well, it was the early 1970’s – what can we say?
Vintage photos of the Amityville Horror House
Love that flooring! (Not really)
It is unnerving to view these photos which were taken by police shortly after the murders.
The home is frozen in tragedy.
Apparently some of the DeFeo’s belongings were still in the house when the Lutz’s moved in.
One of the children’s bedrooms:
The master bedroom:
And the third floor attic room used as a kids’ bedroom:
Don’t you love the 70’s shag carpet and crazy loud wallpaper?
The basement in the real house was actually finished, but we use that word loosely when it comes to the 70’s faux wood paneling:
There is just something about these old photos that gives one cold shivers up and down the spine!
This is the sign the DeFeo’s hung out front:
Oh, the sad, sad irony of the real life Amityville Horror House.