LONG ISLAND (NY)
Amityville, New York was settled in the 1600s and became a village in 1894. The small Long Island village gained notoriety in 1974 with a grisly murder. The house remains one of the most talked about
haunted houses in United States and was the subject of a novel and subsequent movie: "The Amityville Horror." Visitors to Amityville can also visit other area attractions and nearby amusement-style haunted
houses. The Amityville Horror House was built in 1925, and was home to several families until the DeFeo family bought the house in 1965. Police were called to 112 Ocean Avenue on November 13, 1974 after
Ronald DeFeo, Jr. burst into a local bar crying for help. The police arrived at the house to find the bodies of DeFeo's parents and four siblings. DeFeo later confessed to murdering his family, initially indicating
that the voice in his head compelled him to do it. In November 1975, DeFeo was convicted of six counts of murder and sentenced to a term of 25 years to life in prison.
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.” The house remained empty after the murders until the Lutz family moved in on December 23, 1975. Reportedly, when the Lutz family had the home blessed,
the Catholic priest performing the blessing heard a deep voice say "get out." The family reports experiencing strange occurrences after moving into the house, including personality changes in the father, George, apparitions and voices. The Lutz family reportedly left the home 28 days after moving in, fearful of the paranormal activity that they experienced.
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.
Jim and Barbara Cromarty bought the Amityville home on March 18, 1977 and lived there without any supernatural occurrences until they sold the house to Peter and Jeanne O'Neil in 1987. The Cromartys
sued the publishers and author of "The Amityville Horror" and the Lutz family for having made purposeful and false misrepresentations for the purposes of making commercial gains. All parties settled the
lawsuit out of court. Dr. Stephen Kaplan, a ghost hunter, published "The Amityville Horror Conspiracy," in which he claimed to have examined the home in 1976 at the request of the Lutz family. Reportedly,
Kaplan found nothing unusual. Ed and Lauren Warren, a ghost hunting married couple, investigated the home in March 1976. They used an infrared camera to take photographs, one of which bears the image
of a young boy who has a similar appearance to the youngest DeFeo son.