Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Amityville Hauntings,
fact or fiction?



There are many different accounts of what happened within 112 Ocean Avenue, suggesting what to believe and feeding false information about what happened. The aim of this book is to state the facts about what happened and details of the background and let you draw your own conclusions. I have done extensive research into all of this and have gained all the relative facts for you to draw your conclusions and find out if the Amityville hauntings are fact or fiction.

Here is the story of the Amityville hauntings down to what Ronnie "butch" Defeo has told and what the Lutz's have told;

November 13th 1974, 3.15am:
Ronnie Defeo awakes to the sound of footsteps in his bedroom, he claims that a hooded "demon like" person was standing at the end of his bed with a rifle saying "shoot them, Ronnie", and in an unexplainable daze, shot all members of his family whilst they slept.
George Lutz and his family moved into the famed house the next year, as a middle class family with no particular worries about the gruesome murders that had taken place there so recently. They were glad to be living in a wonderful house which would have been way out of their price range if the house did not have its past. The family experienced strange phenomenon from the beginning, even as quick as the first moments in the house, they were experiencing strange odors such as that of human bile and cheap perfume. Despite these weird occurances, the family was not put off slightly until the second evening when their little daughter started to claim that she had made a new friend who lived within the house, George Lutz asked his daughter who this friend was and she described a pig with red eyes named "jodie", the parents just thought that she was finding the change hard to cope with and thought nothing more of it. This was until swarms of flies started gathering in the sewing room, then they started to feel as if it was "ghostly" phenomenon.
As the weeks went by more and more strange occurances took place such as when George was walking back from the boathouse and saw red eyes next to his daughter through her bedroom window, and the window slamming down on his sons hand. This was when they called in a priest for the second time, but he refused to go back to the house.
On the 28th night the Lutz's spent at 112 Ocean Avenue, there was a "strange atmousphere" described george and that night proved to be the most hellish night with doors slamming shut and reopening and voices telling them to "get out!", the Lutz"s fled the house and never returned.

There are many theories and books which state that George Lutz is simply making up all the ghostly actuvities in a money making plot, the rest of this will focus on giving you the facts on what happened, now that you have a basic background of the story.

In 1977, a runaway bestseller titled The Amityville Horror, written by Jay Anson, took the nation by storm. The promotional copies sent out by the publisher, Prentice Hall, hailed it as “the non‑fiction Exorcist.” The cover carried the subtitle of “A True Story,” while the copyright page read:
The names of several individuals mentioned in this book have been changed to protect their privacy. However, all facts and events, as far as we have been able to verify them, are strictly accurate.
Author Jay Anson undertook the daunting challenge of chronicling George and Kathleen Lutzes' claims that they and their three small children felt threatened from strong supernatural forces while living at 112 Ocean Avenue. Apparently, the family moved into the DeFeo house believing it to be their dream home.
On December 18, 1975, the Lutz family moved into the DeFeo home. Although it had only been 13 months since the DeFeo murders had occurred, the family later claimed at a press conference, “The DeFeo slayings weren’t something that would bother us.”
According to Anson's book, Father Mancusco arrived to bless the family's new home on the same day they moved into it. While the Lutzes unloaded their rented moving van, the Catholic priest entered the house and began his ritual blessing alone. He made his way upstairs to the second floor and entered the northeast bedroom, which had been Marc and John DeFeos’ room.
As he sprinkled holy water around the room and recited a prayer, he heard a loud male voice allegedly say, “Get out!” Although the priest supposedly did not tell the family about the voice, he did warn them about the room, saying, “Don’t use it as a bedroom. Don’t let anyone sleep in there.” According to a Good Housekeeping article, dated April 1977, the Lutzes followed the priest's advice, turning the room into a sewing room.
From the very first night they moved in, the family claimed they felt strange sensations. Anson had written that the family's personality had drastically changed. On one occasion in the book, the young couple beat their children with a strap and large wooden spoon. After moving to the house, the children apparently had become brats.
Purportedly, things worsened over the next few weeks. From the stench of bile to the smell of cheap perfume, the family became increasingly perplexed by the mysterious odors that would emanate from different locations of the house. Black stains appeared on the toilets and could not be lifted even with Clorox. Green slime ran down walls, although there appeared to be no reason or source. Hundreds of flies appeared in the sewing room despite it being the dead of winter. Of course, Anson's crowning moment was an upside down crucifix.
According to Anson, the phenomena then turned physical. Kathy was victimized by unseen touches, which had sometimes forced her to pass out. On the other hand, George would sit hours by the fireplace because he suffered from constant chills. In addition, he would wake up nightly at 3:15 a.m., reasoning that there was a connection between that hour and the hour the DeFeos were killed. In reality, the time of the deaths was never determined by the medical examiner.
As the month progressed, apparently the situation worsened again for the family. Anson reported that George awoke one night to witness his wife transform into a 90‑year‑old hag. The next night, she began levitating off the bed, forcing her husband to grab her before she floated away.
Realizing they needed help, the family contacted the same Catholic priest to ask him to return to perform another blessing. According to Jay Anson's book, the priest had been feeling the aftereffects from the first blessing. Whatever was plaguing the family was also bothering the priest.

After failing to get the priest to return, the family took matters into their own hands. Armed with a crucifix, they walked throughout the house reciting the Lord's Prayer. A chorus of voices erupted in response, asking them, "Will you stop?"
The most incredible part of Anson's story was his claim that the daughter had befriended an invisible, red‑eyed pig named Jodie. "Jodie could not be seen by anyone unless it wanted to. At times it was a little bigger than a teddy bear and other times bigger than the house," George Lutz explained in October 1979 on the TV show "In Search Of,"  which he served as a consultant and participant for the show.
One night while coming back from the boathouse, Anson had George Lutz witnessing Jodie standing behind his stepdaughter in her bedroom. Kathy Lutz's introduction to her daughter's friend was just as disturbing. On a separate evening, she was startled to see two red eyes peering in through the darkness from the window. Although Anson's version was dramatic, Hollywood's adaptation was simply unbelievable.
The book reported that the malevolent forces caused significant property damage to the house, such as the front door being ripped off its hinges, windows being smashed, banisters being torn from their fittings, damage to the garage door, and water damage from hurricane‑force winds, which local meteorological stations had no record of.
Even their dog, Harry, a malamute‑Labrador mix, supposedly suffered from the strange forces. Although the animal was normally hyper, it had become increasingly lethargic while at the house. One time the dog had almost choked itself because it tried to scale the fence, or so the book would have readers believe.
One of the more chilling events in Anson's book was when George awakened to the sound of a marching band in his living room. He claimed he raced downstairs and entered the room, only to find dead silence and the furniture pushed to one side.
After 28 days in the DeFeo home, the family claimed they could take no more. They grabbed only a few belongings and fled the house, taking shelter at Kathy Lutz's mother's home in nearby Babylon.
Jay Anson's The Amityville Horror sold more than three million copies and was turned into a major motion picture that grossed more than $80 million dollars. The family happily went on a nationwide tour to promote the book as their "true story." Nevertheless, questions remained about the validity of their claims.
Butch DeFeo, however, believed the stories were concocted with the help of William Weber, Butch's defense attorney in 1975. In a handwritten letter, Butch wrote, "Amityville was a hoax that Weber and the Lutzes started. Yes, to make money. It started as my trial was in progress."
Although George Lutz proclaimed his story to be true, William Weber argued the story and Anson's book were not. In the September 17, 1979 issue of People magazine, Weber charged, “I know this book’s a hoax. We created this horror story over many bottles of wine.”
With MGM's remake of The Amityville Horror movie, Amityville may never see an end to the legendary ghost stories that made it infamous. Although entertaining in one sense, comical in another, Jay Anson's book and the subsequent film adaptation have weathered nearly three decades successfully. But the question remains: Can the story last another three decades?
In the beginning of March 1976, Weber sent a book contract to the Lutzes, which covered a proposed company, called the Hoffman, Weber, Burton and Mars Corporation. Like Weber, Mars and Burton, Kathy and George Lutz were to receive, each, 12 percent of the shares of HWBM. Since Paul Hoffman was the writer, he would receive the largest share, 40 percent.
The Lutzes terminated their proposed venture with Weber because they felt he wanted to tie them up with an unfavorable contract. Instead, the Lutzes chose to go with author Jay Anson. The contract they eventually signed with Anson offered a more lucrative split of 50 percent. Nevertheless, this did not stop Hoffman from selling two articles about the Lutzes’ experiences.
The first article appeared in an issue of New York Sunday News on July 18, 1976, and was titled “Life in a Haunted House.” The second was titled “Our Dream House Was Haunted” and appeared in the April 1977 edition of Good Housekeeping. Both articles were nearly identical and were based on the experiences that the Lutzes, Weber, and Hoffman brainstormed in January 1976.
In May 1977, George and Kathy Lutz filed suit against Paul Hoffman, William Weber, Bernard Burton, Fredrick Mars, Good Housekeeping, New York Sunday News and the Hearst Corporation. In the suit, the Lutzes alleged invasion of privacy, misappropriation of name for trade purposes, and negligent infliction of mental distress. They sought relief in the form of $4.5 million.
In turn, Hoffman, Weber, and Burton each placed a counterclaim against the Lutzes for two million dollars, citing they had perpetrated a fraud and breached a contract.
Judge Jacob Mishler dismissed the claims against Good Housekeeping, New York Sunday News and the Hearst Corporation because there were no invasion of privacy issues and because the plaintiffs had failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted to them. Judge Mishler, however, eventually handed the case over to Judge Jack B. Weinstein.
When the actual trial began, Judge Weinstein, known to be a “no‑nonsense” judge, presided over the case in his Brooklyn U.S. District Court. On September 10, 1979, Judge Weinstein dismissed the rest of the Lutzes’ suit and allowed the defendants’ counterclaim to continue. He said, “Based on what I have heard, it appears to me that to a large extent the book is a work of fiction, relying in a large part upon the suggestions of Mr. Weber.”
In the September 17, 1979 issue of People magazine, Weber reasoned, "I know this book is a hoax. We created this horror story over many bottles of wine."
Judge Weinstein also pointed out that he saw serious ethical questions regarding Weber and Burton’s conduct. Therefore, he proposed to refer the entire matter to the New York State Bar Association. Judge Weinstein said, “There is a very serious ethical question when lawyers become literary agents.”
The next day, the counterclaim was settled, and the entire case was dismissed.
In May 2001, Geraldine DeFeo with the assistance of California attorney Roger Stacy requested Judge Weinstein to unseal the remainder of the Lutz vs. Weber files. After proving she was legitimately married to Butch DeFeo, the judge granted Geraldine's request. What was unsealed was the simple affirmation of the Catholic priest, who testified under oath that the events described in Jay Anson's book never transpired. Overall, the case helped corroborate William Weber's claims that the haunting was a fictional endeavor, even though the Lutzes' insisted it was not a hoax.

Myth - The Shinnecock Indians resided in Amityville. 

Fact - The Shinnecock Indians resided nowhere near Amityville. Besides, all of the Indians on Long Island were part of the Montaukett nation. It was the Europeans who placed names on the inhabitants of the local areas. Regardless, the Massapequans were the group that would have most likely visited Amityville.

Myth - 112 Ocean Avenue was an Indian sanitarium where the mad and dying would be left exposed to the elements to die.

Fact - There is no record that there ever was an Indian burial ground or a sanitarium on Ocean Avenue. According to Long Island Native American expert John Strong, author of We Are Still Here, many Indian groups lived along the tidal bays in the area, but as far as the claims about the Native Americans made in Jay Anson's The Amityville Horror, he insists that it leads him to believe it was all an entertaining hoax. Representatives of the local Indian population personally took author Ric Osuna to several abandoned Indian cemeteries that are right outside of the Village of Amityville. Sadly, these grounds are now used as dumping areas. Regardless, these native peoples' oral histories are quite amazing, so if a burial ground would have existed, then they would have known about it. Besides, these native people were a kind and gentle people, so it is absurd to think that they would leave anyone out, exposed to the elements to die or curse a land.  Rather, they took care of their sick, dying and mentally insane and even showed the European settlers how to do the same.

Myth - A witch named John Ketchum escaped from Salem, Massachusetts, during the witch trials and built his house on or near the famous Amityville house to continue his devil worship. It is reported that his body is buried on or near the property of 112 Ocean Avenue.

Fact - A prominent citizen named John Ketchum did return from Ipswich, Massachusetts (a community near Salem), and settled in Huntington Township on Long Island. While in Massachusetts, this John Ketchum acted as a representative to the local government there before returning to Long Island where some of his family resided. He eventually became a prominent figure in Huntington before his death in 1697. He was survived by his wife Bethia and four children, John, Samuel, Edward and Mary. By the way, Huntington Township is more than 10 miles from Amityville. The Ketchum family has no information regarding any John Ketchum being a witch.

Myth - The famed Amityville house resides on an ancient cemetery that was either abandoned or cursed.

Fact - In 1913, William A. Eardeley was commissioned by the state of New York to copy down old cemetery and bible records because many of the Amityville cemeteries were either abandoned or neglected. These cemeteries were either moved or relocated to bigger incorporated cemeteries. However, there was no report or indication of any cemetery residing on or near the famed property.

Myth - The owners of the original house at 112 Ocean Avenue had to move their house down the street because they were plagued with supernatural problems.

Fact - John Moynahan purchased the property at 112 Ocean Avenue from Annie Ireland in 1924. Within a year, the Moynahans needed a bigger home because, like most families, theirs grew in size. While their new home was being built, they moved their small cottage down only a matter of a hundred yards and lived there until the construction was completed.

Myth - The red room was the gateway to hell.

Fact - The red room was nothing more than a little area underneath a stairwell that the DeFeo children sometimes stored their toys or used as storage. Today, it no longer exists since the current owner has renovated the basement and constructed over it.

Myth - American International Pictures' The Amityville Horror movie could not be filmed in the real house because the crew was too scared.

Fact - The Village of Amityville viewed the ghost story as a hoax and did not want a film crew in their sleepy community, so they denied shooting permits.

Myth - Kathy Lutz has three dreams in The Amityville Horror about Louise DeFeo. First, Kathy Lutz wakes up screaming because she saw that Mrs. DeFeo died by a gunshot wound to the head. "She was shot in the head", Kathy screamed! The second dream consisted of Mrs. DeFeo's body being removed from the DeFeo plot at St. Charles Cemetery and re-entombed in Brooklyn. The last dream consisted of Mrs. DeFeo making love to the painter of the DeFeo portraits. 

Fact - First, Mrs. DeFeo died from two gunshots to the upper body and not a head or neck wound, even though Louise DeFeo's head seems to be near blood splatter in crime-scene photos. Second, the Brigantes never moved Mrs. DeFeo's body from the family plot because they wanted Louise with her children. This was recently confirmed in a records search of the cemetery. Lastly, there is no evidence of an affair. Besides, Mr. DeFeo constantly checked up on Louise with the "red phone" that only he knew the number to since he was always so paranoid. Furthermore, William Weber admitted in a July 27, 1979 Associated Press interview that while discussing their business venture, Kathy concocted the nightmare idea about Louise DeFeo

Myth - The 250-pound front door of the house was inexplicably torn off its hinges. And, a locksmith was called out to repair the door.

Fact - The photo below shows the screen door, not storm door or front door as originally explained, torn off its hinges. With the gusty winds coming off the Great South Bay, a measly screen door can easily be damaged.

Myth - The Catholic Church is hiding evidence that "something" existed in the Amityville house.

Fact - Father Ralph Pecoraro admitted that his only contact with the Lutzes was a phone call. Questions remain whether or not he even ventured to the famed residence in Amityville. The assistant to the Vicar General of the Rockville Diocese (The diocese overseeing Amityville), on May 15, 2002, sent author Ric Osuna a letter stating their position. In short, the letter stated, "The Diocese maintains [the Amityville Horror] is a false report."
In a 2000 interview with The History Channel, Kathy Lutz claimed that a tragedy befell every family that lived in the DeFeo home. Moreover, Jay Anson's book suggests that the property is cursed because it had once belonged to John Ketcham, a suspected witch, who had fled Salem, Massachusetts before taking up residence in Amityville.
During an August 9, 1979 press conference, Jim Cromarty, then‑owner of the Amityville house, said, “I was born in Amityville. I knew every family that grew up in this house. And that is another crock. The Lutzes say that every family that was brought up in this house had bad things happen to them. It happens to be a fact that only one family had a tragedy happen to them in this house. Every other family had nothing but good things come out of the house.”
In the late 1600s, Amityville was part of Huntington Township. A check of the historical society located in Huntington, a town approximately 13 miles from Amityville, revealed that there were several John Ketchams in the area. Because records of this time period are sketchy at best, there was no clear proof that any Ketcham ever resided on or near the property. The most definitive proof against any John Ketcham's being a witch came from the Ketcham family's own extensive research into their genealogy. After careful investigation, they have been able to determine there never was a witch named John Ketcham.
According to deeds and information compiled by the Amityville Historical Society, the Ocean Avenue property had once been farmland belonging to the Irelands, one of Amityville's most prominent and influential families. On January 14, 1924, Annie Ireland sold the property to John and Catherine Moynahan. The following year, Amityville builder Jesse Perdy constructed the large Dutch Colonial that still stands there today. While their new home was being built, the Moynahans relocated to the old house down the street. When the house was finished, the family of six moved back in and once again enjoyed life by the Amityville Creek.
When John and Catherine Moynahan died, their daughter, Eileen Fitzgerald, moved in with her own family. She lived there until October 17, 1960, when John and Mary Riley bought the house. Because of marital problems, the Rileys divorced and sold the house to the DeFeos on June 28, 1965.
The DeFeos lived in the house for more than nine years until on November 13, 1974, the years of abuse and turmoil from Big Ronnie came to a head. After the DeFeos, the Lutz family moved into the property and then moved out in 28 days. Their stay was so short that they did not even make a payment on the $60,000 mortgage they had on the house. On August 30, 1976, the Lutzes returned the house to Columbia Savings and Loan. In September 1977, Jay Anson's bestselling book, The Amityville Horror, was released to the public. A blockbuster movie adaptation followed in 1979.
On March 18, 1977, Jim and Barbara Cromarty purchased the home from the bank. Although plagued by hordes of tourists searching for supernatural phenomena, the Cromartys managed to live there happily for a decade. Nonetheless, they found it necessary to change the address to confuse the curious.

During a press conference to refute the Lutzes' allegations, the Cromartys issued a two‑page statement. An excerpt read:
The quiet village of Amityville, Long Island, has been made infamous by a hoax. It will possibly never be the same. It is Long Island's equivalent to Watergate. None of us would be here today if a responsible publisher and author had not given credibility to two liars, and allowed them the privilege of putting the word true on a book in which in all actuality is a novel. The credibility of the hoax stems from using a charlatan Catholic priest, who has been banned from performing his religious duties by the Diocese of Rockville Centre, the equivalent of disbarment of a lawyer. This charlatan priest has been involved with a complicity to a lie and, therefore, deserves no credibility, and should be dealt with accordingly.
The Cromartys sued the Lutzes, Jay Anson and the publishers of The Amityville Horror. Their multi‑million dollar suit argued that not only was the book an invasion of privacy, but that "false misrepresentations were made willfully and solely for commercial exploitation." Eventually, the parties arrived at an undisclosed settlement.
As a child, Jim Cromarty played in the house, and both he and his wife were determined to make the home a part of the community again. Eventually, the curiosity seekers proved unbearable, and the Cromartys were forced to put the house on the market. They left friend Frank Birch to tend to the property and act as house-sitter while they were away. Neither Mr. Birch nor the Cromartys ever reported any supernatural happenings. The Cromartys eventually moved back in and took the house off the market. They remained in the house happily until 1987 when David Roskin, Barbara's son from a previous marriage, reportedly passed away in a hospital.
On August 17, 1987, Peter and Jeanne O'Neil purchased the house from the Cromartys. During their stay, they changed the famed eye‑windows to square ones and filled in the DeFeo pool. Since the yearly property taxes are in excess of $10,000, neighbors state that the O'Neils moved to save money for their children's college tuition.
On June 10, 1997, Brian Wilson purchased the house for approximately $310,000. Since 1997, Wilson has renovated the property. Among the many improvements, he has strengthened the foundation of the sinking boathouse and added a sunroom to the back of the house.

Since the renovation was anything but cheap, it is quite preposterous to think that a malevolent force resides there. The only thing the current house owners want is for the hoax to end and for the tourists to leave them alone, so they may enjoy their property in peace. With MGM's remake of The Amityville Horror set to be released in 2005, it is likely that hordes of tourists will flock to the small seaside village once more.

So there are all the hard facts and evidence of what was there, now i will focus on the controversy surrounding the Defeo family.
In 1974, I was not only the wife of Ronald Joseph “Butch” DeFeo Jr., but also the mother of his child. I knew his family and loved them as my own. Part of my life ended when the DeFeos were murdered and my husband was accused of committing this unspeakable crime.
After the DeFeo murders, I have had to remain silent and hidden, partly out of fear for my children and partly out of respect for those who went to such great lengths to make sure I was not unjustly implicated in the crime. The ones closest to the DeFeos suffered greatly from the tragic murders of their loved ones and from the ridicule following a cruel hoax.
Until July 2000, nothing could be said or done about all the lies told about Butch DeFeo, his family and their house; rich, powerful family members made sure of that. But now that they are dead and my children are grown, it is time to set the record straight.

Lately, Amityville has been even more controversial than normal. It all stems from the fact that one woman, Geraldine DeFeo (Rullo-Romondoe were her maiden names), has revealed that she had an intimate relationship with Ronald "Butch" DeFeo prior to his involvement with the murders in Amityville.
Some may argue that Geraldine is looking for fame and fortune, but this is far from the case. Geraldine, as reported by author Ric Osuna, waived any money she could have received for her participation in Osuna's book, The Night the DeFeos Died. In fact, Geraldine even had a chance to appear on A&E's City Confidential series, but passed instead. And, by no means is this woman on a crusade to free her ex-husband. Of course, she would like to see the wrongs done in his case corrected, but she is the first one to admit that Butch DeFeo's own mistreatment does not give him a license to hurt others. So, with no apparent motive to lie, it becomes increasingly difficult to cast aside her testimony.
Joel Martin, news director for WBAB Radio in Babylon, New York at the time of the 1974 murders, was the first reporter on the scene when the bodies were discovered by the police. On Saturday, June 22, 2002, Ric Osuna had the opportunity to sit down with Joel Martin at the Nautilus Diner in Massapequa for an interview for his book. Accompanying him was Geraldine DeFeo.
At first, Mr. Martin was skeptical of Geraldine's claims regarding her marriage to Butch and her connections to the DeFeos and Brigantes. In the years proceeding the DeFeo murders, Michael Brigante Sr. contacted Joel Martin to thank him since he was one of the only reporters not to disrespect the memory of his daughter. Because he had spoken to him several times, Joel Martin was no stranger to the mannerisms, language, and nuisances displayed by Michael Brigante Sr.

Over lunch, Geraldine was slowly making progress by explaining why there was no record of her marriage to Butch DeFeo. Of course, it helped that Geraldine knew all of Brigante’s favorite terminology. The remainder of Joel Martin's skepticism vanished after she pulled out her old photo ID. 

After Martin examined the old photo identification of Geraldine, he explained, "I remember seeing her. I can't remember what time I saw her. She looked so familiar to me. When I saw the old picture, I didn't know that was who she was since she had been so sick [in recent years]. I looked at the picture and I said, 'I know her.' I did a double take, and I said, 'I recognize you.'  She must have been in some part of the story since I don't doubt that she was there. She seems to know a tremendous amount about the story and about the people involved. And she has got those ID cards. I do remember that face back then, but I just cannot place who she was. I am not sure what she has to gain from lying. Geraldine seems to know too much, and she has too many details. Clearly, there was some kind of relationship [between Butch and Geraldine].”
Prior to Joel Martin's interview, on Friday, October 26, 2001, Ric Osuna had the opportunity to ask Hans Holzer specific questions about his theories and books during a tape‑recorded phone interview with him. One of the first questions Osuna asked was about Geraldine DeFeo. Not only did Holzer recall meeting Geraldine, but he also told Osuna that he knew that she and Butch had been married prior to the DeFeo murders.
Even William Davidge, Dawn DeFeo's boyfriend at the time of the murders, informed Ric Osuna that Geraldine was involved with Butch DeFeo in 1974. Butch's two friends, Barry Springer and Chuck Tewksbury, wrote affidavits attesting to the fact that Geraldine was Butch's wife prior to the murders and the mother of Butch's daughter.

Although there are plenty of first-hand accounts and documentation to show that Geraldine had a relationship with the convicted mass murderer before his family's deaths in November 1974, a marriage certificate cannot be located. Therefore, even if it comes to pass that she only had a common-law relationship with Butch DeFeo, her relationship is no less important. 

Geraldine DeFeo, who has since remarried and has a new last name, has had a few legal problems herself. She was convicted of check fraud--an incident she blames on Butch DeFeo--and penalized for harboring too many stray dogs rather than allowing them to be euthanized. Her critics argued that since she does not have a "clean" record that her testimony should be disregarded. Her supporters, of course, disagreed, citing more evidence of her authenticity than in comparison with the supernatural stories of the case. 

In fact, Geraldine DeFeo refused to testify for Butch DeFeo at a 1992 appeals hearing, even though it may have helped her ex-husband. Butch wanted the courts to believe that Geraldine's non-existent brother, Richard Romondoe, an obvious alias for DeFeo's real murder accomplice, was present during the commission of the crime. However, Geraldine refused to lie under oath and say she had a brother. 

What is worse is that at times to protect her children and her new family, Geraldine has had to deny she had a relationship with Butch DeFeo prior to the murders. Of course, Geraldine and her daughters, insist that Geraldine only denied her relationship with the DeFeos out of fear. Commenting on this, Geraldine’s daughter, Stacy, said, “The cops persecuted my mother for information. It seemed to me that they bothered her a lot."

In fact, British criminologist Christopher Berry-Dee reported in his book, Talking with Serial Killers, that after Geraldine came forward in the early 1980s, she was "threatened, pushed to the ground, arrested, and released by the police for conspiracy in the Amityville slayings."

For those not familiar with the case, Butch DeFeo testified at his trial that he also was beaten up during the interrogation. According to Berry-Dee, the officer responsible admitted to him that Butch DeFeo was roughed up, claiming, "Sure, of course we did a good job on him....what do you expect?" 

There certainly is enough evidence that the Suffolk County Police Department--during the timeframe of the DeFeo murders--had a confession rate of over 90 percent because interrogating officers often coerced confessions or tortured suspects into admitting responsibility for crimes they did not commit.
The situation in Suffolk County law enforcement had deteriorated so much that former Governor Mario Cuomo requested the state's Commission of Investigation to investigate in the mid-1980s. Three years after, the Suffolk County homicide squad was fired, resigned or forced to retire. The commission's report certainly gave credence to Butch DeFeo's claims that he was tortured during his interrogation.

So, why is Geraldine a threat to so many people involved in the business of Amityville? 

Geraldine has exposed countless lies, including her ex-husband's, who has since denounced her out of her refusal to remarry him a third time and her refusal to help him profit from the murders. Butch DeFeo now claims Geraldine is a fake and her daughter is not his, even despite all of his notarized affirmations that say otherwise. In fact, the examination of Geraldine's 1989 remarriage to Butch DeFeo brings out an interesting detail--according to affidavits, Geraldine and Butch were married for the first time in the 1970s.
It was not until 1989 that a federal judge reversed a New York law prohibiting inmates with life sentences, like Butch DeFeo, the right to marry. However, the Cayuga County Sheriff's Department issued identification dated July 16, 1985 to Geraldine in the married name of DeFeo. Obviously, the Cayuga County Sheriff's Department is not in the habit of issuing identification in the name of just anyone. Geraldine must have had to present some convincing evidence, such as a marriage certificate, to prove she was married to Butch DeFeo prior to the law changing and therefore warranted an identification with the name "DeFeo" on it.
Author Ric Osuna, during his investigation, took the identification card along with Geraldine DeFeo to the Cayuga County Sheriff's Department to have it authenticated. The sheriff's clerk wrote, "The enclosed personal identification card is true and original from the Cayuga County Sheriff's Department, which was issued on July 16, 1985.”

If readers simply discount Geraldine's testimony, then there is more than enough evidence to support Geraldine's assertions that Butch DeFeo had accomplices in the murder of his family, the undeniable Mob elements associated with the DeFeos, the corruption from the Suffolk County justice system in 1974 that prevented Butch DeFeo from having a fair trial, and the ghost stories surrounding the famous Amityville house were nothing but a hoax. 

Ever since stepping forward, Geraldine has been ridiculed and labeled a fraud by those who feel threatened by her existence. Despite this hurdle, she has not changed her story. In fact, her daughters, two of which were old enough to remember Butch in their lives, support their mother and vouch for her authenticity. 

There have been so many fanciful claims surrounding Amityville that it all comes down on what someone chooses to believe in: A demonic pig with walls oozing green slime, an angry Indian chief possessing Butch DeFeo, or a woman with little motive to lie?

Butch has become the one thing he loathed the most: His father. Butch is a monster. He is a victim. He is a confused little boy. He is a coward. He is a schemer. He, undoubtedly, is a cold-blooded mass murderer.
The latter two serve Butch well in an institution he assumingly will spend the rest of his life at. Discussions with individuals who are close to Butch have revealed a complex, sociopathic character.
One feels sorrow for the little boy, who was tortured by his father; the teenager who escaped into drugs; the suspect beaten up by the police; the defendant who did not receive a fair trial. Then, there is the other side of Butch DeFeo that we must loathe: Murder, hate, lies, greed and his constant willingness to exploit his dead family. Having been in prison more than half of his life, money and fame seem to mean more to this convicted child killer than good intentions.
I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised by Butch DeFeo's other quality. Extortion.
Although I always have shown a legitimate willingness to report only the truth about this case, Butch decided to threaten me with extortion. In short, if I didn't pay him by funneling money through Geraldine, then he would start spreading lies about us and my research. Once instance of this is in a letter to Geraldine DeFeo prior to the publication of my book. DeFeo wrote, ",,,Let's sue now, unless you are down with Ric. And if you are not, then he better make you an offer quick. I [am] serious, so let me know."
Geraldine not only refused to help Butch DeFeo extort money from me, but she also refused to remarry him. The only thing Geraldine promised Michael Brigante, Sr. when he was alive was that she would never abandon Butch. As far as I am concerned, she has made good on that promise.
Butch is filled with hatred. It is no wonder why the parole board constantly rejects his bids for freedom. Ask yourself something: Would you want a man on the streets who has publicly boasted about killing his parents and his younger sister/accomplice? Would you want a man released into the public that has turned on people that have shown him nothing but love or offered him help?
Butch DeFeo not only turned on me because I would not help him profit from his crimes, but he also turned on Geraldine. Geraldine, however, was not the first wife Butch sued...and it's probably not the last. In fact, Butch had even threatened legal action against his grandmother's estate because he wanted a "bigger cut" of her will. He even wanted a court order to exhume her body to obtain the DeFeo portraits that were reportedly buried with her.
When Butch tires of people, he turns on them. Only through incredible generosity and compassion do these individuals forgive Butch for his insane behavior. Nevertheless, in 2003, Butch DeFeo made good on his threats and sued Geraldine, my publishers and me. It is no surprise that we were all exonerated in court.
Recently, Geraldine received a phone call from someone that represented Butch. This person informed Geraldine that Butch would recant all the negative things he said about us, if we paid him 75% of all the profits.
She simply responded, "Go to hell!" before hanging up the phone. It was a sad end to what was once a beautiful relationship between her and Butch.

In the late 1970s, Amityville became synonymous with horror after Jay Anson’s book The Amityville Horror became a bestseller.  The official Amityville Village response to the story is that it was all a hoax.  Amityville Mayor Peter Imbert stated in a recent Newsday article that, "We don't see it as a positive thing for the community." 
Regardless, there are those in Amityville who believe that the village should capitalize on the story much like Salem, Massachusetts, has chosen to cash in on its infamous reputation stemming from the Salem witch trials. Nevertheless, when presented with the idea to turn the house into a bed and breakfast, Amityville village trustees have constantly voted against it. Twenty-five years ago, Jay Anson's book and the subsequent movie version put the Village of Amityville on the map. Therefore, it is conceivable that in another 25 years, tourists will still be travelling down Ocean Avenue to see the "horror" house. If at that time the house does not exist, then the visitors will be travelling to see a vacant plot where the horror house once stood. Neither Amityville nor the owners of the infamous house will ever be able to outrun the myths.
All good intentions aside, The Amityville Murders would like to ask its readers to please remember that a family does live at the house Ocean Avenue. Although they bought the house knowing its reputation, there is no excuse that their privacy should be invaded. The Amityville Murders provides pictures of the house and the surrounding area, so that hordes of tourists will not descend upon Ocean Avenue, trampling and trespassing to see the house. 

Today, the house has been renovated extensively. The boathouse has been raised, a sunroom has been added on the back of the house to give it a more symmetrical look and the driveway has been repaved. These are just some of the extensive (and expensive) changes the owner has incurred. Why? Because the new owners love the property. The Amityville Murders would rather see a family that loves the historic Amityville property reside in it, rather than one that simply wants to capitalize on the home's past misfortune.
All relevant information has been supplied here and now it is up to you todraw your own conclusion, Amityville Horror - fact or fiction?





if you wish to contribute to this blog, then email me your contribution or ideas to rhysharrison@your-mail.com and ill add them to the blog. this is a public blog with welcome contributions from anyone.

2 Comments:

Blogger Luis said...

very thorough and seemingly unbiased information. Thanks for doing the research and saving me time and creepy imaginings.

8:20 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

The Amityville Horror Movie is exactly that, A MOVIE. I commend all the previous owners for taking it all in stride and apprieting the awesomeness that this HOME is. A house is a house, the walls can hold many secrets good and bad but that is what makes a house a home and a piece of many memories and family histories. I loved the acticle and very happy that someone took the time to find out the truth of it all. Thank you.

11:09 AM  

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