He will give his angels charge of you,
To guard you in all your ways.
събота, 24 ноември 2012 г.
Controversial and sensational HAUNTING
of a house in Amityville, Long Island, New York, in the
1970s. The case has been the subject of numerous investigations,
intense publicity, claims and counterclaims, lawsuits,
books, and fi lms. It has been upheld and debunked,
with no resolution. It is best known as “The Amityville
Horror,” a term that is now a registered trademark.
The house at 112 Ocean Street was the scene of a grisly
multiple murder on November 13, 1974. Six members
of the DeFeo family—parents, two sons, and two daughters—
were found shot to death with a 35-caliber rifl e.
Their estimated time of death was three A.M. A third son,
23-year-old Ronald “Butch” DeFeo, was charged with the
murders. DeFeo pled insanity, based on his history of
drug abuse, but he was convicted of six counts of second
degree murder and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
The DeFeo house sat empty until December 1975, when
newlyweds George and Kathy Lutz decided to purchase it.
They were informed of the murders by a real estate agent,
but the house was a bargain. The couple and Kathy’s three
children by a previous marriage—Daniel, nine, Christopher,
seven, and Melissa, fi ve—moved into the house on
December 18. They were able to stay only 28 days.
At the insistence of a friend, the Lutzes sought to have
the housed blessed and were put in contact with Father
Ralph J. Pecoraro (for a long time identifi ed by the pseudonym
Father Mancuso). When Pecoraro performed the
blessing, he heard a deep male voice ordering him to “Get
out.” He told the Lutzes to avoid a room on the second
fl oor—the former bedroom of the murdered DeFeo sons.
The Lutzes, according to their account, were immediately
subjected to horrible phenomena. Voices told them to
“get out”; there were swarms of fl ies in the cold of winter;
Kathy had nightmares about the murders; the APPARITION
of a “demon boy” who could shape-shift into a demonic
pig was seen; green slime oozed from walls; a crucifi x
hanging on a wall was turned upside down; Kathy’s face
transfi gured before George into a horrid hag; mysterious
noises sounded in the middle of the night; the apparition
of a little girl became Melissa’s playmate; unseen presences
embraced Kathy; cloven hoofprints appeared in the snow
outside the house; locks and doors were damaged; and so
on. Their behavior and mood deteriorated. The children
couldn’t attend school, and George was unable to work.The Lutzes tried to bless the house with prayer themselves,
but their efforts had no effect. Finally, they were
subjected to events that terrifi ed them so badly, they
knew they had to get out. The Lutzes never disclosed all
the things that happened on their last terror-fi lled night,
but among the phenomena were bangings and a menacing
hooded apparition that appeared on the stairs and
pointed at George. They left the house in a rush on January
14, 1976, and went to the home of Kathy’s mother in
Deer Park, New York. They left most of their belongings
behind and sent a mover to collect them later.
Demonologists ED AND LORRAINE WARREN were contacted
and met with the Lutzes and Father Pecoraro. They visited
the house after it was vacated. On their fi rst visit,
they brought with them a television anchorman, a professor
from Duke University, and the president of the
AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR PSYCHICAL RESEARCH (ASPR). The
Warrens determined that the phenomena fi t the characteristics
of a demonic POSSESSION, which the Lutzes, who
knew nothing of DEMONOLOGY, could not have fabricated.
The Warrens took numerous photographs, including one
purporting to show the face of the demon boy peering out
from a bedroom. HANS HOLZER was another investigator.
The Lutzes soon wondered if something wrong about the
house itself might have infl uenced DeFeo to commit the
murders. They contacted William Weber, DeFeo’s attorney.
Weber was already weighing book offers about the
DeFeo murders, and he found the angle of a malevolent
haunting to be appealing. For several hours, they discussed
ideas for such a book.
The Lutzes decided not to work with Weber however.
They especially did not like Weber’s intention to give a
share of profi ts to DeFeo. The Lutzes moved to San Diego,
California, where they struck a deal with author Jay Anson.
Anson’s nonfi ction account, The Amityville Horror, was published
in 1977. He never visited the house, but based the
book on 45 hours of taped interviews that the Lutzes provided
him. The book was adapted to fi lm in 1979.
The case became a media sensation. Anson’s account
was immediately controversial, and skeptics began claiming
the entire haunting was a hoax. Discrepancies in
Anson’s story—which may have been embellished for the
purposes of dramatization—were highlighted. For example,
there was no snow in Amityville on the day that
the cloven hoofprints were supposed to have been seen.
The assertion that part of the problem was due to the
house’s location on a place where Shinnecock Indians
had once abandoned mentally ill and dying people was
refuted by Native Americans. Father Pecoraro said he did
not go to the house to bless it; the Lutzes always asserted
that he did. Many more points of controversy surfaced.
Even the Warrens and George Lutz acknowledged that
Anson’s book was not entirely accurate, but attributed it
to Anson’s lack of familiarity with demonology and not
due to any deliberate acts on the part of George Lutz.
Among the skeptics were Jerry Solfvin of the Psychical
Research Foundation, KARLIS OSIS and Alex Tanous of the
ASPR, all of whom visited the house but conducted no
investigations, opining that the phenomena were subjective,
For years, the case was repeatedly debunked, validated,
debunked, and validated. One later skeptic was Stephen
Kaplan, a self-styled vampirologist of Long Island, who
wrote a book, The Amityville Conspiracy (1995), basing
his claims of hoax on inaccuracies in Anson’s book. He
declined to produce evidence that he stated he had in his
possession. He later apologized publicly to the Warrens,
admitting that he had fabricated his hoax story. Kaplan
died of a heart attack shortly after publication of his book.
In 1977, the Lutzes fi led a lawsuit against Weber and Paul
Hoffman, a writer working on the story; Bernard Burton
and Frederick Mars, two clairvoyants who had been to
the house; and Good Housekeeping, The New York Sunday
News, and the Hearst Corporation, which had published
articles on the haunting. The Lutzes sought $5.4 million
in damages for invasion of privacy, misappropriation of
names for trade purposes, and mental distress. Weber,
Hoffman, and Burton countersued for $2 million, alleging
fraud and breach of contract. The Lutzes’ claims against
the news organizations were dropped.
The Lutzes’ case went to trial in district court in
Brooklyn, New York, in 1979. The judge dismissed their
suit, saying that from testimony, “It appears to me that to
a large extent the book is a work of fi ction, relying in a
large part upon the suggestions of Mr. Weber.”
The couple who purchased the house from the Lutzes
said nothing unusual happened to them. However, they
were so annoyed by the publicity and steady stream of
curiosity seekers that they sued Anson, the Lutzes, and
publisher Prentice Hall for $1.1 million. They received
a settlement for an unspecifi ed smaller amount. Father
Pecoraro sued the Lutzes and Prentice Hall for invasion of
privacy and distortion of his involvement in the case. He
received an out-of-court settlement.
The Lutzes stuck to their story for the rest of their lives.
Their supporters have pointed out that Anson’s discrepancies
do not discredit what happened at the house. The
Lutzes divorced in the 1980s. Kathy died of emphysema
on August 17, 2004. George, who had moved to Las
Vegas, died on May 8, 2006, of heart disease.
Anson died of a heart attack in 1980. He had shared
copyright for the book with the Lutzes, but retained sole
rights to the fi lm. Father Pecoraro is no longer living.
The Amityville case has gone on to become a miniindustry,
spawning books, fi lms, articles, and Web sites, as
well as endless debate. Books by John G. Jones, Amityville
12 Amityville case