Friday, October 03, 2014

Scary October: The Amityville House

To celebrate my favorite month of the year, I'm bringing you a different scary place every Friday. Today it's this house:



In 1973, a movie was released that terrified the world.



Four years later, a book was released that is now thought to have been inspired by that movie. The book?



At the time, though, the story was extremely gripping. A couple named George and Kathy Lutz said they moved into a house that was so haunted, it tormented them. Just over a year earlier, a man killed six members of his family in the house (that part is true).



The murderer said he was possessed. The Lutzes said Exorcist-like events happened while they were in the house, as well.



The success of both the movie and book led people to investigate whether the facts were true. While the Lutzes vehemently denied they'd fabricated the events in the house, Kathy Lutz's son has revealed many of the events in the book were fake. While he says some strange things happened in the house, much of what was described in the book was sheer sensationalism.

Here's an episode of 30 Odd Minutes featuring Christopher Lutz.



What's the scariest true story you've ever heard?

57 comments:

  1. Try watching the original movie now - you'll laugh, it's so bad. (The recent remake was much better.) Although I saw it in the theater when it came out and it was scary at the time.
    Scariest true story happened to me. Many years ago, got home late to my apartment and there was a loud pounding on the door - from the inside. Once I got over my shock and went inside, I didn't find anything. Scared the crap out of me though.

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  2. I love horror novels and movies. I look forward to DVR'ing many good flicks this month. The Exorcist is a favorite.

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  3. I'm completely freaked out by scary books and movies, so I avoid them. The only scary true stories I know are crimes reported in the newspaper. Truth is always stranger and scarier than fiction!

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  4. That movie still sticks in my head even after all these years. B

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  5. Scariest true story:

    My wife calling me on the golf course; told me she was preparing stuffed peppers for dinner.

    (There's a reason why I do all the cooking now)

    ;O)

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  6. I really don't know who would move into a house in which six people were killed previously.....

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  7. I avoid scary movies and books. I had an experience when I was 16 years old. I was alone one morning in a small corner grocery store and the door was locked.
    I was stocking the shelves before opening and I clearly heard my name being called. i answered and turned my head to see who was talking to me but there was no one there. I checked if I had left the door unlocked but it was locked. I walked around the tiny store but didn't see anyone. I then went into the stock room and looked in there and no one was there.
    At the same time I heard that voice, my cousin died of leukaemia. I have no explanation as to why I heard my named called out loud.

    I was very intuitive when I was young. Maybe there's something there...
    Hugs,
    JB

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  8. I read The Amityville Horror when my husband was working night shift. I had to stop reading it. So scared. Watched the movie later.

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  9. Oh, Alex's story made me shudder!

    I love a good scary movie, especially when the creep factor is high and the gore factor isn't. I don't mind some gore, but for me the real horror is what's lurking in the shadows.... :o

    Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption

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  10. That house needed to be burned to the ground, who'd want to live in a house where 6 people died? Most horror movies are laughable anyway.

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  11. I did live in a house when I was growing up that had strange occurrences. One example was my brother was still in his crib but probably a toddler. One night my mom heard him crying, went to see what was up and as she opened the door she saw a spirit of a man lifting my brother up out of the crib. When he saw my mom, he put my brother done. My brother refused to sleep in that room alone again at that young age. There were more incidents. My mom acknowledged they happened years ago when we talked about them, but had no answers. To this day I am a little reluctant at times to be by myself at night or be alone at home and have to sleep at night.

    betty

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  12. I love scary movies. The Amityville Horror scared me when I saw it as a kid on TV, but then so did Evil Dead ;P. I haven't seen the remake, but I might look it up.

    I also enjoy reading true crime books, so I knew the story of the murders as well, and, yeah, it's probably the only thing that is true about that house! Doesn't stop it being a damn fine scare though ;).

    My sister's house is haunted, but she's not a really scary ghost, she's an old lady who lived her whole life there and sold it to my sister and her husband just before she died. She just turns lights on and off. When I was visiting and I left at night, she used to get in the car and she'd come home with me - I couldn't see her, but she was sitting in the back seat alright. Used to freak me out, but I think she was only making sure I got home okay.

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  13. I don't watch too many horror movies, or read true stories. True life is too terrifying. *shudder*

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  14. i do not do scary. i spend far too much time alone in the country. :)

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  15. These real life ghost stories in the comments are FAR more interesting than my blog!

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  16. I read the book when I was thirteen and never touched horror again. Yet, I'm a chicken ;)

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  17. Funny how the teen me would devour these kind of books. Not now.

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  18. The Shining was the scariest movie I ever saw. There are lots of them that make ones hair stand on end. I don't ready scary books. Oh wait...I read Dean Koontz. You know like Odd Thomas.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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  19. I've always been fascinated by that house--was it a hoax, or not? It certainly had a grim history, if nothing else.

    As for scary true stories, some things that have happened to me and my friends are definitely the scariest, because I know they're true.

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  20. Okay I have to admit that I am a huge chicken and I don't think I would be able to watch nor read the book.

    IT (both the movie and the book) scared the crap out of me when I read and watched them in high school. Probably the scariest book ever. The Shinning and Pet Semetary were both terrifying movies as well as Child's Play.

    Why my mother let me watch all of these movies and read all of these books is beyond me. I remember watching Lost Boys and being scared out of my mind as well, now years later when I watched it for the first time since, it isn't so scary but I still refuse to watch the others.
    BIG. Chicken. I tell you.

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  22. Okay, this is a decidedly un-Cherdo-like story, but the scariest story happened to me. It's not exactly a ghost story. When I was 16, I was walking to a friend's house on a main road when a car pulled up and asked if I needed a ride. I said no, and started walking a little faster; it was near a garden/plant nursery business. He got out and ran after me. I ran behind some baled straw, and weaving in between the stacks, I found a dark corner to crouch down and hide. For several minutes, I could see him under the security lights, looking for me, and cursing under his breath - he sounded like evil personified, and that face was burned in my brain.

    Two years later, I saw that face on television when they caught a serial killer. They said all his victims had the same look - it was exactly how I looked, too. I dreamed about him coming back until he was executed.

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  23. OK I just read Cherdo's story and that is the scariest thing ever! Glad she hid. I saw this film years ago and it is sad-bad. The only scary thing is Rod Steiger:) I have heard things in my home but my dad had great stories. One was in the 30's, he was logging and coming out of a bush late at night. There was a snow storm. he came to a hotel and they were full but told him there was a cabin up the hill a ways. He found the cabin and it was 2 rooms. The 2nd room had an old bed and my dad flopped on it and went to sleep. he was awoken by 2 men arguing. he got up to let them know he was there and to apologise for being there but when he opened the door, there was noone. he went back to bed and heard the arguing again. This time he got up, opened the door only to find the room empty. He saw a light outside so he went to the window and he saw 2 lights dancing in between the trees. There was no moon out nor stars although the snowing stopped. The next morning he went to town and wen to a restaurant. The people there asked him who he was and my dad started talking and stated he stayed in the cottage up the hill. The people went quiet. They told him that a couple of miners owned the cottage but had a huge argument one night and they killed each other. My dad never told them what he witnessed. My dad had more, even one where he slept on top of a dead body(under a solid slab of concrete)

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  24. I love that you're doing this for the month of October! Great idea! Well, you know I've had a little history with this kind of stuff. I encountered one house in Rice, Virginia that was undoubtedly weird and very scary. The couple that lived there said they'd seen apparitions disappearing into walls and ceilings, and the little three-year-old boy there that day kept pointing to a corner saying, "Don't you see the ghost?" FREAKY!!!

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  25. Yeah, def not a fan of the scary aspects of Halloween, haha. Fun fact, I took my written test for my permit right near the amityville house of horror. My dad kept telling me stories and I was like "um I'm scared enough as is..."

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  26. The Amityville movie freaked me out. The idea that it was based on a real story gave me nightmares.

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  27. I am quite certain that places can absorb and hold strong emotions. Which is why some houses feel right as soon as you walk in - and some the exact opposite.

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  28. The scariest I recall was the story of Lizzy Borden. That scared me something fierce.

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  29. Scary! I remember the book but I never read it. I was too scared. I used to be at home alone a lot and babysit so I knew it would scare me too much :) I love the photo. The Exorcist I finally saw when I was in my 30's. Scared the hell out of me and that was 20 odd years after its original release! Great post, Stephanie.

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  30. OMG Cherdo's story is VERY scary! That's even scarier than a ghost story. I remember some actor--can't remember who it is--picked Charles Manson up in the Hollywood Hills back in the 60s. He realized after the murders that was the hitchhiker he'd picked up. He told the story on a late night talk show but I can't remember who it was.

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  31. I used to read scary stories all the time when I was younger (and watch scary movies), but now, I don't touch the stuff! There's a certain line I won't cross with the things that I write because I'm afraid they might come true, lol.

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  32. Lying for making it more entertaining? Who ever would do that?

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  33. I don't watch too many scary movies but I remember The Exorcist being one of the creepiest (still is, imo), and Rosemary's Baby. As for that house, I think I'd pass living in a place where an entire family was murdered.

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  34. I saw this movie the theater when I was s teen. I remember being scared to death practically. As I became older I realized a lot of the movie was more than likely sensationalized. Whatever happen was scary enough :)

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  35. Scariest true story... Has to do with a toy dog that barked or spoke or something...when it's batteries had been taken out. And a face in a dark mirror. The face of their dead great-grandmother. My niece and nephew swear it's all true and they experienced it. (They've since moved from that house.)

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  36. What a fun way to celebrate October (my favorite month, too). I'm a horror movie junkie, and I always love looking up the 'real' stories of movies claiming to be inspired by true stories. Most of them turn out pretty disappointing.

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  37. I used to watch a lot of horror movies and read all the books, but as I’ve got older, I’ve decided to leave well alone! I don’t like being in the house alone after dark, so no sense in frightening myself even more. I do like Halloween though and look forward to seeing the children all dressed up.

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  38. The first two were scary, but I enjoyed them. When I was a child, I was in a club with my friends. We would go to the library every week and select the scariest books we could find. Then, we would read them alone in bed at night using just a flashlight. We would report how frightened we were the next day. After that, nothing much scares me anymore.

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  39. Thank you for sharing about this house. I find the supernatural very intriguing and I definitely believe in them. I watched the original exorcist but didn't find it scary probably since it was old and the effects at that time was already at its best. I dislike watching supernatural related stories about houses coz those leave very vivid impression. I had great fun reading some of the sharings in the comments here.

    Thank you for dropping by my blog a while. Hope we could continue to keep in touch.

    Jo
    Jo's Jumbled Jardinière

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  40. What a great idea for October! My favorite month of the year as well. This movie absolutely terrified me back when it came out but I have a feeling it wouldn't have the same impact now. Still, the house gives me the creeps just to look at it LOL.

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  41. I love horror movies. This is my favorite month since there are so many great movies on cable and tv.

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  42. Partly untrue, and yet so popular!

    We have one of the haunted prison/ psych ward places near me. People swear that it's haunted. Huge tourist attraction this time of year. It is true that prisoners died there. It's true that psych patients were left to rot there. How true the rest of it is... who knows.

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  43. I enjoy scary movies and books.
    We just bought our daughter the dvd of 'Children of the Corn', based on an old Stephen King book, to go with a Halloween themed gift for her anniversary this month.

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  44. I remember being terrified by the movie when I was growing up. The Exorcist still scares me. One of the scariest movies I ever saw was Watcher in the Woods (although it is a Disney movie). We watched it at sleepovers all the time in elementary school and Bette Davis scares me to death- still.
    ~Jess

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  45. I remember this story of Charles Manson and really scared me.
    Is a really terrible true story.
    And the exorcist still scare me!
    I cant see it!

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  46. Hmm, I'm not sure. I do love horror movies though. I should really watch one today.

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  47. I loved both of these movies! I think the scariest movie I have seen so far was The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Bloody thrillers don't really do it for me... it's the paranormal that makes me not sleep at night but I love it! I still haven't watched The Conjuring because I've been warned about how frightening it is. Maybe I will celebrate this Halloween by finally having the courage to watch it!

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  48. While you asked about a true scary story, the scariest fiction I ever read was "Pet Sematary" by Stephen King. Yeesh, that gave me the willies.
    Speaking of a Stephen King story, I also really liked "The Stand."
    Which, in light of what's happening in the world (e.g., ebola, enterovirus) may end up BEING a TRUE scary story.

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  49. The Stand is my favorite book EVER. Yes--its realism is the scariest part. A new feature film is coming out soon...

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  50. Being a hide behind the pillow kind of girl, I avoid scary movies and books. Though I do have a weakness for anything Stephen King.
    Have a great week, Ms. Steph.

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  51. I am not able to handle too much scary stuff.
    One of the most scary Haunted Houses I was in was at Triple H Bar and Tackle. It is a farm and they put on a huge outdoor Haunted Trail and a Haunted House. I have done both. The year I did the Haunted House, one of the fellas knew me that was working as a spook in the Haunted House. He locked me in an awful dungeon with my friends, and freaked us out so bad. Then he started to laugh.
    GRRRR ~ he got me good!

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  52. I'm not so keen on horror stories. I'm kind of a wimp. It's the blood...

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  53. The Amityville story is so strange. Because I know the one brother says most of it never happened, but the other says it did.

    But I'm sure the truth is that it was far less evil and terrifying than it has been made out to be.

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  54. I watched Amityville Horror not long ago. Wasn't too scared by it, but got a kick out of all the 70s hair/clothes.

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  55. All this stuff seriously creeps me out. I won't even click on the link you had! I'm a total wuss with anything that is ghost, demon, possession, or haunting related. Nope, not gonna do it! *note to self: read Stephanie's creepy Friday posts during the daytime!

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  56. I love scary movies but I love scary books even more! The Shinning was certainly one of the scariest books I ever read -- the movie, not so much!

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  57. I worked in an old theatre that was supposed to be haunted by a ghost that may have been the old orchestra conductor. It never bothered me until one day when I was in there alone painting a mural...I heard footsteps (dress shoes, cowboy boots, hard-soled shoes) and assumed it was a friend of mine. I called out. I heard no one. I heard more footsteps, felt really cold air and got the heck out of there!!! YIKES!

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