Every good paranormal enthusiast has seen the 1979 horror flick “The Amityville Horror,” or the uncalled for 2005 Ryan Reynolds remake. Based on a book by Jay Anson, the films tell the story of the Lutz family who moved into a demonic hell house.
In reality, there was an actual Amityville Horror, but it had nothing to do with bleeding walls or swarms of flies. Prior to the Lutz’s, the house was owned by the DeFeo family. Ronald Defeo, Jr., known as “Butch,” was reported to be a heavy drug user who had financial problems as a result. He had a turbulent relationship with his father, who he often argued with over money. On Nov. 13, 1974 Butch ran into a local bar yelling that his parents had been shot. A carload of bar patrons and friends went with him and entering the house they found the bodies of his parents in their bed, as well as the bodies of his two sisters and two brothers. They called 911.
Butch was taken to the police station for his own protection after suggesting to the cops the crime was the result of a mob hit. However, inconsistencies soon began appearing in his story, and the following day he confessed to the murders, saying “Once I started, I just couldn’t stop. It went so fast.”
The story of Amityville murders is filled with holes and numerous conspiracy theories have been attached to it. Probably related mostly to Butch’s ever changing story, no one will probably ever know exactly what happened that night. Butch once said his sister Dawn had come up with the idea of killing their parents, and went on to kill the other children to eliminate witnesses on her own. Upon discovering what she had done, Butch killed her in a rage. Others point out that there likely had to be at least one accomplice because there was no silencer used on the gun and the shots would have woken others in the house, but everyone was found in their own bed.
Enter George and Kathy Lutz. They bought the house the following year, and stayed for only a month, which they referred to as “a 28 days hellish siege.” Anson’s book details their account of staying in the house which included green slime oozing from the ceiling, insect swarms of biblical proportions, doors ripped from their hinges, cabinets banged open and shut, and a demonic face with red eyes that would peer in at night and left cloven hoof prints in the snow. A priest called in left with blisters on his hands after a demonic voice told him to “Get Out!”
A long list of factual errors and inconsistencies rivaling those of Butch DeFeo make the case that Anson and the Lutz’s were just trying (and succeeding) in cashing in on the story of the home’s previous owners. For example, weather records show no snowfall for the time when hoof prints were supposed to be found outside. It is possible exact dates and other details could have gotten blurred in the terror, but the principle of Occam’s Razor would have it that they were simply trying to make a buck off the tragedy.
The Amityville house has become a macabre pilgrimage for horror fans and paranormal enthusiasts. Unfortunate for all owners since the Lutz’s, gawkers continue to show up, snapping photos and hoping to capture something that will make them a part of the story that is an admitted fake.
For crime scene photos of the DeFeo murders and a more detailed analysis, follow this link. *probably not for the kiddies*
The Americanized Exorcism of Emily Rose was actually based on the case of a young German woman named Anneliese Michel. Michel was born Sept. 21, 1952 in Leibfing, Germany to a devout Catholic family. At age 16 Anneliese had a seizure and was diagnosed with epilepsy. She began having trouble speaking and walking, having to hold on to nearby object for balance. Soon after she began hallucinating while she prayed. Doctors prescribed her anticonvulsants.
By 1973 Anneliese was suffering from regular auditory hallucinations, hearing voices telling her that she was “damned” and would “rot in hell.” She was sent to a psychiatric hospital and received treatment which she didn’t think was helping her. She fell into a deep depression.
The following video contains actual audio taken from the exorcism sessions:
It has been speculated that the only thing that possessed Anneliese were mental disorders, ranging from depression to dissociative personality disorder and schizophrenia. These problems, combined with her religious upbringing could account for her problems, but there’s no way of every finding the truth.
In 1971 William Peter Blatty wrote a book called the Exorcist. In 1973 a movie of the same name was released starring Linda Blair as a child possessed by demons. Both the book and the film claimed to have been based on a true story. But it wasn’t a little girl who had become possessed. The story was taken from the diary of a priest who had performed an exorcism on a 13 year old boy, who was referred to as “Robbie Doe.”
According to the diary in Cottage City, Maryland in 1949 Robbie’s family began to notice strange things happening with their son. Initially scratching noises were heard that seemed to be coming from inside the walls of the house. Phantom footsteps were heard in the hallway and objects would move without any explanation. Later furniture would move across the floor and the boy’s bed would shake violently when he was in it. Claw-like scratches appeared on his body.
The family petitioned the church and the archdiocese granted permission for an exorcism to be performed. Robbie was taken to Georgetown Hospital where priests witnessed him speaking in dead languages. During one session the boy ripped a bedspring from his mattress and slashed a priest from his shoulder to his wrist. Witnesses claim the priest’s hair turned white over night.
Eventually Robbie was taken to St. Louis to live with his aunt and uncle. Here Jesuit priests led by Father William Bowdern resumed his exorcism. During the rite, the boy would violently spit and urinated on the priests. Once he punched a priest in the groin and growled “That’s a nutcracker for you isn’t it.”
Some believe there was no possession to speak of and that the boy had been the victim of poltergeist activity. Poltergeists usually attach themselves to teenagers, commonly those who are troubled. Robbie’s family is said to have been dysfunctional. Some assert that the occurrences could be explained by psychokenesis, wherein people can unknowingly manifest psychic energy that causes physical objects to move seemingly of their own accord in their presence.
Real life killer Ed Gein, the “Butcher of Plainfield” has been the inspiration for at least three classic horror movies. Norman Bates in the Hitchcock classic “Psycho,” Leatherface in “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” and Buffalo Bill in “The Silence of the Lambs” were all based on Gein.
Ed Gein was born in Wisconsin in 1906. His father was an alcoholic who worked as a carpenter and his mother, Augusta, was a very religious woman who dominated the family and ran a grocery store in La Crosse. Augusta instilled in her boys the sinfulness of sex.
He became obsessively fascinated with the human anatomy and took up grave-robbing. He would search local obituaries for recently buried female corpses, and dig them up, taking body parts as trophies. Gein started making macabre decorations with his trophies. He soon grew frustrated with the corpses and decided he needed fresher bodies to work with.
In 1954 a 51 year old woman named Mary Hogan, who vaguely resembled Augusta Gein, disappeared from the bar she ran in a neighboring town. Gein was among the suspects but there wasn’t enough evidence to connect him to the disappearance. In November of 1957 another woman resembling Ed’s mother, Bernice Worden, went missing from the hardware store she ran in Plainfield. This time Ed could be connected. Locals told police Ed had told them he intended on asking Bernice on a date. On the day she went missing he had told people he needed to go to the hardware store to buy antifreeze. At the hardware store crime scene police found a receipt for antifreeze.
Gein immediately confessed to the murders of Worden and Hogan as well as his grave-robbing activities. A judge found him mentally incompetent to stand trial and he was committed to a secure mental hospital. The house was demolished to keep curiosity seekers from coming to gawk. Gein died of respiratory failure at Mendota Mental Health Institute on July 26, 1984, at age 77.