Amityville Horror

( 57 )


The shocking true story of an American dream that turned into a nightmare beyond imagining...

In December 1975, the Lutz family moved into their new home on suburban Long Island. George and Kathleen Lutz knew that one year earlier, Ronald DeFeo had murdered his parents, brothers, and sisters in the house,...
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The shocking true story of an American dream that turned into a nightmare beyond imagining...

In December 1975, the Lutz family moved into their new home on suburban Long Island. George and Kathleen Lutz knew that one year earlier, Ronald DeFeo had murdered his parents, brothers, and sisters in the house, but the property - complete with boathouse and swimming pool - and the price had been too good to pass up. Twenty-eight days later, the entire Lutz family fled in terror...

This is the spellbinding, bestselling true story that gripped the nation - the story of a house possessed by spirits, haunted by psychic phenomena too terrible to describe.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416507697
  • Publisher: Pocket Star
  • Publication date: 7/26/2005
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 93,784
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 4.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

December 18, 1975

George and Kathy Lutz moved into 112 Ocean Avenue on December 18. Twenty-eight days later, they fled in terror.

George Lee Lutz, 28, of Deer Park, Long Island, had a pretty good idea of land and home values. The owner of a land surveying company, William H. Parry, Inc., he proudly let everyone know that the business was a third-generation operation: his grandfather's, his father's, and now his.

Between July and November, he and his wife, Kathleen, 30, had looked at over fifty homes on the Island's South Shore before deciding to investigate Amityville. None in the thirty to fifty thousand dollar range had yet met their requirements — that the house must be on the water and that it must be one to which they could move George's business.

In the course of their search, George called the Conklin Realty Office in Massapequa Park and spoke to broker Edith Evans. She said that she had a new house that she wanted to show them, and that she could take them through the place between three and three-thirty. George made the appointment and the broker — an attractive, warm woman — took them there at three in the afternoon.

She was very pleasant and patient with the young couple. "I'm not sure if this is what you're looking for," she told George and Kathy, "but I wanted to show you how the 'other half' of Amityville lives."

The house at 112 Ocean Avenue is a big, rambling, three-story affair, with dark shingles and white trim. The lot on which it stands is 50 by 237, the fifty feet facing the front, so that as you look at the house from across the street, the entrance door is down the right side. With the property comes thirty feet of wooden bulkhead that stands against the Amityville River.

On a lamppost at the end of the paved driveway is a small sign bearing the name given the house by a previous owner. It reads "High Hopes."

An enclosed porch with wet bar looks out at a preferred, older residential community of other big homes. Evergreens grow around the narrow grounds, partly blocking off the neighbors on either side, but their drawn shades can be seen easily enough. When he looked around, George thought that was peculiar. He noticed the neighbors' shades were all drawn on the sides that faced his house, but not in front or in the direction of the houses on the other side.

The house had been on the market for almost a year. It was not in the paper, but was fully described in Edith Evans's agency listing:

EXCLUSIVE AMITYVILLE AREA — 6 bedroom Dutch Colonial, spacious living room, formal dining room, enclosed porch, 3-1/2 baths, finished basement,

2-car garage, heated swimming pool and large boathouse. Asking $80,000

Eighty thousand dollars! For a house described like that in the listing, it would have to be falling apart, or the typist could have left out a "1" before the "8." One might think she'd want to show a suspect bargain after dark and from the outside only, but she was glad to show them inside. The Lutzes' examination was pleasant, swift but thorough. Not only did it meet with their exact requirements and desires, but contrary to their anticipations, the house and other buildings on the property were in fine condition.

Without hesitation, the broker then told the couple it was the DeFeo house. Everyone in the country, it seems, had heard about that tragedy, the twenty-three-year-old Ronald DeFeo killing his father, mother, two brothers, and two sisters in their sleep on the night of November 13, 1974.

Newspaper and television accounts had told of the police discovering the six bodies all shot by a high-powered rifle. All — as the Lutzes learned months later — were lying in the same position: on their stomachs with their heads resting on their arms. Confronted with this massacre, Ronald had finally confessed: "It just started; it went so fast, I just couldn't stop."

During his trial, his court-appointed attorney, William Weber, pleaded for his insanity. "For months before the incident," the young man testified, "I heard voices. Whenever I looked around, there was no one there, so it must have been God talking to me." Ronald DeFeo was convicted of murder and sentenced to six consecutive life terms.

"I wonder if I should have told you which house this was before or after you saw it," the broker mused. "I'd like to know for my future reference with clients looking for a house in the ninety-thousand dollar range."

Clearly she didn't feel the Lutzes would be interested in such an affluent property. But Kathy took one final look about the house, smiled happily and said, "It's the best we've seen. It's got everything we ever wanted." Obviously she had never hoped to live in such a fine house. But George vowed to himself that if there was a way, this was the place he wanted his wife to have. The tragic history of 112 Ocean Avenue didn't matter to George, Kathy, or their three children. This was still the home they had always wanted.

During the remainder of November and the early weeks of December, the Lutzes spent their evenings laying out plans for minor modifications to be made in the new house. George's surveying experience enabled him to rough out suitable layouts for the changes.

He and Kathy decided one of the bedrooms on the third floor would be for their two boys, Christopher aged seven, and Daniel, nine. The other upstairs bedroom they gave to their children as a playroom. Melissa, "Missy," the five-year-old girl, would sleep on the second floor, across the hall from the master bedroom. There would also be a sewing room and a big dressing room for George and Kathy on the same floor. Chris, Danny, and Missy were well pleased with their room assignments.

Downstairs, on the main floor, the Lutzes had a slight problem. They didn't own any dining room furniture. They finally decided that before the closing, George would tell the broker they'd like to purchase the dining room set left in storage by the DeFeos, along with a girl's bedroom set for Missy, a TV chair and Ronald DeFeo's bedroom furniture. These things and other furnishings left in the house, like the DeFeo's bed, were not included in the purchase price. George paid out an additional $400 for these items. He also got for free seven air-conditioners, two washers, two dryers, and a new refrigerator and a freezer.

There was a lot to be accomplished before moving day. In addition to the physical move of all their belongings, there were complicated legal questions, relative to the transfer of the title, that required sifting and sorting out. The title to the house and property was recorded in the names of Ronald DeFeo's parents. It seemed Ronald, as the sole survivor, was entitled to inherit his parents' estate, regardless of the fact that he had been convicted of murdering them. None of the assets in the estate could be disposed of before being legally settled in Probate Court. It was a difficult legal maze that the executors had to travel, and more time was still needed to provide the proper legal administration of any transactions related to the house or property.

The Lutzes were advised that provisions could be devised to protect the legal interests of all concerned if the sale of the house was consummated; but to arrive at the proper procedure to accomplish this could take weeks or longer. Eventually it was resolved that, for the closing, $40,000 was to be put in escrow for the mortgage until a legal deed could be completed and executed.

The closing date was set for the morning George and Kathy planned to move from Deer Park. They had arranged to close on the sale of their old house the day before. Confident that everything could be worked out, and probably influenced by their anxiety to get settled in their new home, the couple decided to try and get everything done on the same day.

Packing was to be mainly Kathy's job. To keep the children out of her hair and away from George, she assigned them minor projects. They would gather their own toys and arrange their clothing for packing. When the chores were completed, they were to start cleaning their rooms to make their old house presentable for the scrutiny of new owners.

George planned to close his office in Syosset and move it into the new house to save on the rent money. He had included this item in his original estimate of how he and Kathy could afford an $80,000 house. Now he figured that the basement, a well-finished layout, might be the best place. Moving his equipment and furnishings would be time consuming enough, and if the basement was to be the location of the new office, some carpentry would be needed.

The 45-by-22-foot boathouse, out behind the house and garage, was not there just to be ostentatious and an unused decoration for the Lutzes. George owned a twenty-five-foot cabin cruiser and a fifteen-foot speed-boat. The facilities at his new house would again save him a lot of money he normally had been paying to a marina. The task of getting his vessels to Amityville with a trailer became an obsession with him, despite the priorities that he and Kathy were constantly discovering.

There was work to be done at 112 Ocean Avenue, both inside and outside. Although he wasn't sure where the time was going to come from, George planned to attend to some of the landscaping and the garden to prevent frost damage, maybe put framed burlap around the shrubs, put in bulbs and after that, spread some lime on the lawn.

Handy with his tools and equipment, George made good progress on many interior projects. Now and then, pressed for time, he got his hopeful projects confused with his musts. He soon dropped everything to clean the chimney, then the fireplace. After all, Christmas was coming up.

It was quite cold on the actual moving day. The family had packed the night before and slept on the floor. George was up early and singlehandedly piled the first full load into the biggest U-Haul trailer he could rent, finishing in barely enough time to clean up and get to the closing with Kathy.

At the legal ritual, the attorneys used up more than their usually allotted heretos, whereases and parties of, and dealt each other long sheets of typewritten paper. The Lutzes' lawyer explained that because of the impediments on the house, they did not have a clear title to the property, though they'd have the best that could be fashioned for their mortgage. But remarkably, the closing was all over a few minutes past noon. As they rushed from the office, their lawyers assured them they would have no problem and eventually would get proper ownership papers.

At one o'clock, George rolled into the driveway of 112 Ocean Avenue, with the trailer crowded with their belongings, and the DeFeos' refrigerator, washer, dryer and freezer that had been in storage. Kathy followed with the children in the family van with their motorcycle in the back. Five of George's friends, young men in their twenties and husky enough to help move bulky items, were waiting. Furniture, boxes, crates, barrels, bags, toys, bikes, the motorcycle, and clothing were taken from the truck onto the patio at the rear of the house and into the garage.

Then George walked to the front door, fumbling in his pockets as he went, searching for the key to the door. Irritated, he returned to the truck and thoroughly searched it before admitting to his assistants that he didn't have it. The broker was the only one with the key, and she had taken it with her as she left the closing. George called her, and she went back to her office to fetch it.

When the side door was finally open, the three children leaped from the van, made right for their respective toys and began a parade of unprofessional movers in and out of the house. Kathy designated the destination of each parcel.

It took time to maneuver furniture up the fairly narrow stairwell leading to the second and third floors. And by the time Father Mancuso arrived to bless the house, it was well after one-thirty P.M.

Copyright © 1977 by Jay Anson, George Lee Lutz, and Kathleen Lutz.

Copyright renewed © 2005.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 57 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 57 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2008

    Interesting, but.............

    I'm a teenager who saw the movie and became interested in the story. So I bought the book. The writing style is poor, which irritated me at times as I was reading. However, don't let this stop you from buying the book. I couldn't stop reading throughout most of the book, and I got pretty freaked out at times. The book is much different from the film as it adds to the story of the priest who came to bless the house. I recommend this book to anyone interested in the story and anyone who is eager to read a good horror novel. It is an easy read and you won't regret your decision to buy the book.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2007

    The Scariest Book I Have Ever Read

    This was the best and scariest book i have ever read i my life the best horror ever!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 22, 2014

    i saw the movie so i looked it up on google images. i regret tha

    i saw the movie so i looked it up on google images. i regret that day. i still think about the pictures and gag. traumatized at 13

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2013

    True story or not, this book was very intriguing. The writing st

    True story or not, this book was very intriguing. The writing style is kind of slow, but I could not put the book down. Don't be put off by other critiques saying "this story is a fake" or "nothing ever happened." In my opinion, I really like the story and it's one of my favorite horror/thriller stories.  

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 21, 2009

    A very nice piece of fiction...

    This is a nice piece of fiction - that is what people should understand. Thought claimed to be real and true - there is no proof that anything ever took place.
    Some facts that people often overlook are:
    1. There was no burial ground on the site
    2. The "hidden" room in the basement is not hidden - it was a play room of the Defeo children.
    3. People live in the house presenlty and no owner since the Lutz's has ever complained of anything "supernatural" occuring - EVER!!!
    What we have here is a case of a family getting in over thier head financially and coming up with a rather unique way of bailing on thier mortgage and made a few bucks along the way.

    I give this book 2 stars because it is a fun read but the fact that they claim its true is just nonsense. I have read hundreds of books and stories about purported hauntings and if this book was true - by comparison it is the most haunted house ever in the history of world!!! One woudl think that if someone else would have encountered these spirits or ghosts other than the Lutz's - but no.

    Like I said a good read but its not true - sorry....

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2007


    It's not really a good book. The writing style is kind of poor and its only redeeming feature is that it details quite a stunning (purportedly true) story. I very rarely feel this way, but the movie (the old one) is better. However, this is the best book I've found on this subject.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2006

    Great Book

    This book is great. It keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time. Awesome Horror

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2006

    Accounts or a Tale?

    I thought this book was rather boring. I was somewhat interested to a slight extent, but I ended up finding myself reading a chapter every other week. Due to the writer's foreshadowing not living up to what foreshadowing is suppose to do, some grammer, and how a point goes off into a tangent but doesnt fully deliver back to the already begun point. Honestly, I thought I bought a book about the accounts that happened in that house, not accounts blended into a story. I wouldnt recommend this unless you'd rather 'force' yourself to read a book. If youre looking for an actual documentary on paper about this story, this one certainly isn't it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2014

    No Rating

    I can't not write a review as I bought it for a friends birthday.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 2, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    The Amityville Horror By Jay Anson December 18th, 1975 the Lutz

    The Amityville Horror
    By Jay Anson

    December 18th, 1975 the Lutz family moves into their dream home, purchased at a steal because there had been a gruesome murder in the house. The Lutzes believe a house is just a house and are not afraid to move in, they will not stay more than a month. This is a true account of what happened to the Lutz family the terror that will forever change their lives.

    Some of this story I don’t quite believe, such as they thought it strange that the wife woke up in the middle of the night and the next day didn’t remember doing it at all. Well, for me this is something I do all the time since I was a child and people will tell me all sorts of weird things I did or said while I look completely aware and conscious at the time I am still fast asleep, I must be possessed then according to this book. There were other little things that I could easily dismiss as over reactive imagination or any number of things but when it came to floating off the bed, they had me there. Even if these events aren’t real or exaggerated it is a fun read with some truly spooky scenes.

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  • Posted March 28, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    exaggerated and totally made up ... left me annoyed

    The Amityville Horror was an easy and fast read, but to market it as a true story? Come on! I would have enjoyed this book as fiction, maybe it would even creep me out a bit. Instead, I found myself reading chapter after chapter filled with evil spirits, ghosts, a pig roaming the house and green slime oozing from the walls, all the while thinking how on earth would anyone believe that these things actually happened. The green slime made me think of Nickelodeon :o)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2011


    This is a GREAT book, I've read other scary books but this one is by far the most scariest. It has great descriptions about the events that happened inside and outside the house. It makes you anxious to read the next chapter right away. I read one chapter and I honestly couldn't put the book down. The book is so terrifying I was too scared to read it at night or alone! Every second I read this book I felt as if someone were watching me and the scene's with Jody were the most frightening. I saw both versions of the movie and I found them scary but when I read the book I was almost traumatized. The book is scarier than the movie. If you would like to get a good scare and thrill and you are not prone to nightmares than this is the book for you! I recommend reading this book. It will definitely give you a good scare!

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  • Posted July 29, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    A Great Scare!!!!!!!

    The Amityville Horror written by Jay Anson tells the probable true story of the Lutz family. Beforehand, it is explained there is a house on Ocean Avenue in Long Island where a homicide took place. Ronald DeFeo had just confessed to the killing of his family in the house while they were all asleep. DeFeo explained that he had heard a voice telling him to go kill his family and he had said that was his motive and reason for committing the gruesome and heartbreaking crime. Ever since then, nobody has moved in or rented the DeFeos' old house, for it was the place of a crime scene. However, the Lutzes were searching for a place to live in an affordable range of money. So far, they were coming up blank, finding no good homes. That is, until they stumbled upon the DeFeo house, which was practically a mansion not to mention a dream house and it was only selling for $80,000. Eagerly, the Lutzes decided to take the house, and didn't care when they heard of the murders that had recently occured there. They ignored the story of the crime, and focused on moving into the grand house and making a wonderful life there with their three children. At first, everything seems to be normal, except for a few things. George Lutz is grumpy and Kathy Lutz and the children can't figure out the reason. But soon, other strange things start happening, too, like the toilet blackening for no reason whatsoever. The clergyman who had come to bless the Lutzes' new home, is now suffering from an illness. Also, when reltaives or friends come over to visit the Lutzes, they say they feel uneasy aout the house, and ask to leave quickly. The Lutzes are also finding out secrets about the house they never knew about before, like that the house had a chamber in the basement, maybe for rituals of some sort and that it was painted with blood. Georger Lutz is also starting to notice he looks like Ronald DeFeo, and the children are sleeping the same way the DeFeo family had been sleeping when murdered. Many other starnge things happen, and it combines into a frightful mystery. This would probably best be presented as either a ghost story or an unsolved mystery. Athough the author claims there the story is not false, there are both doubters and believers. These events are also said to take place bak in 1975. I am not sure what I believe, I just know it was a scary but amazing story for me to read and I simply loved it. I give it five stars, and I would recommend this book for any ghost hunters, people who want a thrill, or people who just adore ghost stories. This book is just perfect for you. I hope you like te story as much as I did!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2011

    it's creepier when you are done.

    I decided to start reading the books behind the scariest movies in cinema history and started with this one. Now, the book in and of itself is a good read, albeit a quick one (clocking in at just over 300 pages), with plenty of creepy imagry to go around, BUT the real creepiness starts when you are done with the book.

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  • Posted October 30, 2010

    Highly recommended to read!

    The Amityville Horror is a great book for people who are interested in reading something scary and really interesting. There are many twists and turns in this book and many times when you don't want to put the book down. You want to read what is coming next and how it will turn out. many different things occur in the book that cause you to think one thing is going to happen but instead it changes and the opposite happens. Through out the book you are waiting to read what will happen to George and his family and how they will escape from the house that has an unknown past. This book really gets you thinking and is definitely scary. Many weird things happen in the house such as Missy having an imaginary friend that may not be imaginary after all, it getting really cold in the house at random hours of the day, and people in the family levitating towards the windows and doors without them being able to control it. many people should read this book if they are looking for something interesting, scary, and something that will make them think.

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  • Posted August 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    What a thrill!

    This book, I believe, is only for a reading looking into this incident in history. If you are just simply looking for a scary thriller go with a different choice. This book allows you to understand what this family went through and their struggles!
    If you do not believe in the paranormal at all this book will start you on the path of believing and if you already do, this helps your belief to become stronger. I would read this book again!!!

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  • Posted July 19, 2010


    The Amityville horror is quite possibly one of the best books i have ever read in my 12 years of living. It has a breakback pace that can't be beat!
    The storyline and the plot are just amazing. I am well aware that it is a true story.

    I reccomend this book to die-hard horror book fans! It is very VERY scary.
    I also Reccomend the movie AFTER the book. Just so it dosent spoil it for you. :) ??

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Best ghost story ever!

    Always love a tale about a haunted house. First read this book in the 8th grade and did a report on it [received an A+]. It is supposed to be an account of an actual event. Much like The Blair Witch Project was. I admit the novel wasn't scary; favorite character was the menacing ghost pig named Jodie. I believe Jodie now haunts Oscar Mayer! Anyway, the original movie version is much, much scarier! Had nightmares when I saw it back in highschool. The perfect book for a dark rainy night!

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  • Posted July 7, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Good book

    This was a fast paced book, with a horrific account of the Lutz's experience at 112 Ocean Ave. It's pretty scary to think that this stuff actually occurred.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Well, the movies got SOME of the facts right. Some of the facts are just too weird.

    A talking spirit pig. A nightly marching band. This book reads like fiction and even though you'll think 'This isn't scary.' you'll think twice when you're up in the middle of the night in your dark house. Anson does a great job of keeping all the stories in a continual chronological order, flipping back and forth between people with no confusion for the reader. If you don't believe in paranormal activity or demonic occurences read this story about a very normal family who didn't believe in those things either.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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