amityville horror house

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Amityville House: A Look at This Real Life House of Horrors in New York

  • The real Amityville house was the site of 6 murders on the night of November 13, 1974.
  • After moving into the Amityville house less than a year after the murders, the Lutz family reportedly experienced terrifying paranormal events at the home.
  • Jay Anson’s book, The Amityville Horror, was created using around 45 hours of audio recordings from George and Kathy Lutz.
  • The real Amityville house was last purchased in 2017 for $605k and has continued to act as a private residence.
The Real Amityville House
Wikimedia Commons

Thirty miles outside New York City, in the town of Amityville, resides a Dutch Colonial-style home with a dark history. Dubbed the Amityville house, this residence was the site of a mass murder in 1974. Given its past and the rumored dark energy that some believe inhabit it, the real Amityville house has fascinated skeptics and paranormal enthusiasts alike for years.

In fact, the story of the Amityville horror has inspired countless films and series over the past 4 decades. Keep reading for more on the real Amityville house, the Amityville horror house featured on screen and a closer look at the DeFeo murders.

Where Is the Amityville Horror House?

The real Amityville house is located in a small town in Amityville, Long Island. The house used in the 1979 movie, however, is located in Toms River, New Jersey. More details on both houses are below!

Amityville Horror House Address

The production for the 1979 movie The Amityville Horror wasn’t actually filmed at the real life Amityville house. The scenes of the home were actually shot at another residence located at 18 Brooks Rd, Toms River, NJ 08753.

So, where is the real Amityville house? It’s located at 112 Ocean Avenue, Amityville, Long Island, NY 11701. However, the street number has been changed to 108 Ocean Avenue, Amityville in order to reduce interest in the home.

The Real Amityville House – “Is the Amityville house still standing?”

Many interested in the story of the Amityville horror often ask, “Is the Amityville house still standing?”

Yes, the real life Amityville house is a 5-bedroom, 3 bathroom home in Amityville, Long Island. If it weren’t for its gruesome past, the 3,600 square foot property could easily be considered prime real estate. Much like its movie counterpart, the Amityville house is located along the waterfront and features its own boat dock.

The 1922 Dutch colonial also features a basement, fireplace, boathouse, and 2 decks (one of which has a view of the water). Older photos indicate that the home also featured a wet bar, but there’s no way of knowing if this is still the case now.

The Real Amityville House
Paul Hawthorne | Getty Images

Amityville Horror House Today

The home on Ocean Ave that was the site of so much death looks quite different than it did years ago. In an attempt to distance it from the DeFeo murders, the home was given a different house number and extensive renovations.

The darker shingle siding was swapped for lighter colors, while the creepy little top windows were removed.

While there has been a lot of work done on the home, there are still areas of the residence that haven’t changed much since the 1970s. The living room, for example, still looks creepily similar to what it looked like when the DeFeo’s lived there.

Amityville Horror House Today
Left: historyvshollywood.com | Right: Crime Scene photos of DeFeo home

The dining room has a new chandelier, but still features a red wallpaper very similar to the original. There aren’t any modern images of the upper levels in the home – likely because this was where the murders were committed.  

Amityville Horror House Today
Left: historyvshollywood.com | Right: Crime Scene photos of DeFeo home

Does Anyone Live in the Amityville house?

Yes! The home was purchased in 2017 for $605,000 and it appears to have remained off the market since. The Amityville house has actually had many residents since the Lutz family left the home.

Amityville Horror Real House – Where The Movie Was Filmed

The Amityville horror house today (aka where the movie was filmed) is actually a beautiful 4-bedroom, 4 bathroom home in Toms River, NJ. Built in 1920, the colonial-style home sits on nearly half an acre and boasts a gorgeous view of the neighboring river.

Where Is the Amityville Horror house?
Google Maps

Much of the riverfront home’s interior is Victorian-inspired – with lots of posh chandeliers, crown molding, and gold accents throughout. Modern amenities to the 3,370 square foot home include a 7-seat theater, swimming pool, outdoor kitchen, and boat dock.

Where is the Amityville Horror House?
Donna Walesiewicz | Crossroads Realty

Despite being the face of a terrifyingly haunted house of horrors on film, the place is actually pretty amazing in reality. According to property records, the home was last sold in 2013 for $350,000. Presently, it’s estimated to be worth $1.15 million.

Amityville House History

Long before it became the site of a mass murder, the Amityville house was actually the dream home of John and Catherine Moynahan. The couple had the home built in 1924 and resided in the Dutch colonial for many years.

In 1965, the descendants of Catherine and John finally sold the home. The buyers? A relatively normal-looking family that recently relocated from Brooklyn to Long Island – the DeFeo’s.

The Amityville Horror True Story

While there’s no definitive way to determine if the Lutz’s ghost story that inspired the films is true, the mass murders that prefaced the alleged Amityville hauntings were very real. On the night of November 13, 1974, Ronald DeFeo Jr killed his mother, father, 2 sisters, and 2 brothers in their family home.

Amityville House History
vintagenewsdaily.com

His weapon of choice? A .35 caliber lever action Marlin 336C. After committing the murders at around 3am, Ronald returned to the bar he had been earlier that evening in a frantic state. “You got to help me! I think my mother and father are shot!” he screamed.

Some patrons followed him back to the home and found the bodies of DeFeo’s family, all shot and lying face-down in their beds.

It was fairly clear to investigators early on that there were some facts about the case that didn’t add up. For starters, there were zero signs of a struggle taking place with the victims. It was also found that Ronald’s alibi of being at the bar around the time of the DeFeo murders fell through.

The Amityville History
Robert Rosamilio | NY Daily News | Getty Images

Ronald went on to change his telling of events several times and even tried to claim his family had been murdered by a mob hitman. Finally, out of stories to tell, Ronald DeFeo confessed to murdering his entire family. He was convicted on 6 counts of second-degree murder and sentenced to 6 back-to-back sentences of 25 years to life.

Did Ronald DeFeo Have an Accomplice?

Up until his death on March 12, 2021, Ronald DeFeo continued to tell different versions of what happened on that night in 1974. In one version of events, DeFeo said that it was in fact himself, his sister Dawn, and a friend that committed the murders.

Did Ronald DeFeo Have an Accomplice?
vintagenewsdaily.com

He claimed that Dawn had talked him into just murdering their parents. After doing so, however, Ronald says that he left the home to pursue their friend who had fled the scene. While he was gone, Dawn also murdered the children as a means to silence them. Upon returning, Ronald fought with Dawn and then ended up shooting her as well.

Later on, Ronald would change his story again and say he didn’t kill his family, but that Dawn had actually committed all the murders. At one point, DeFeo even stated that a demon had made him do it. While there were reports that Dawn did have unburned gunpowder on her nightgown, there’s no solid evidence to suggest she had a part in the murders.

To this day, there is still much debate as to whether or not Ronald had an accomplice that helped him commit the murders.

How Many People Died in the Amityville House?

Six of the DeFeo family members were murdered in the Amityville house. Ronald DeFeo Jr shot his parents: Ronald DeFeo Sr. (43) and Louise DeFeo (43) as well as his siblings Dawn (18), Allison (13), Marc (12), and John Matthew (9).

How Many People Died in the Amityville House?
vintagenewsdaily.com

At one time, there were rumors of a 7th victim due to a strange crime scene photo found in the case files. This photo depicted a woman with similar fatal injuries sustained by the DeFeo family members. One issue, however, was that the bedroom where this victim was located didn’t match any room in the Amityville house.

Upon further investigation, it was discovered that the photo had been from a separate crime scene. It had accidentally been misplaced in DeFeo’s file.

Amityville Haunted House

Much of the paranormal happenings that allegedly took place in the real life Amityville house were reported by the Lutz family. George and Kathy Lutz purchased the home, dirt cheap, less than a year after the horrific murders took place.

Amityville Haunted House
amityvillefiles

Only days after they moved into the house, the Lutz family reportedly began experiencing strange occurrences. Phantom smells, unusual noises, and slamming doors kept the family in a constant state of unease. The paranormal activity escalated and seemed to become threatening fast. Some additional claims from the family included:

  • Slimy green substance oozing from the keyholes and walls of the home.
  • Cold spots throughout various parts of the house.
  • A disembodied voice screaming “Get Out!” to a priest who came to bless the home.
  • The sound of a knife being tapped on surfaces in the kitchen.
  • George and son Daniel witnessing a pig-like entity with red eyes in one of the windows.
  • George witnessing his wife Kathy and 2 sons levitating from their beds.

The Lutz family only lived in the Dutch Colonial for 28 days before fleeing the home, leaving all their belongings behind. Following the alleged events that the Lutz endured in the Amityville house, they went on to collaborate with author Jay Anson to develop the book The Amityville Horror.

Amityville Haunted House
The Amityville Horror 1979 | American International Pictures

The work was created using roughly 45 hours of audio recorded from George and Kathy Lutz. It was published in 1977 and went on to inspire a plethora of films. It’s first, and most memorable, film adaptation being the 1979 horror flick The Amityville Horror starring James Brolin and Margot Kidder as the Lutz.

Amityville House Controversy

After the story of the Amityville horror house went public, many questioned the validity of the Lutz’s claims. Given their financial struggles, there were those that believed the couple crafted the story as a means to make money.

Amityville House History
Noticias.r7.com

In 1979, William Weber, Ronald DeFeo’s former attorney, claimed he and the couple concocted the story during an evening of drinking. At the time, however, Weber had had a falling out with George and Kathy over money. Additionally, the priest – who appeared in the book – reportedly denied the activity he was said to have experienced in the story.

Though the couple did admit that parts of the book were embellished (like the green slime) they stood by their story. As a means to add validity to their word, the Lutz’s even underwent a lie detector test – and passed. George and Kathy separated in 1989 and are both now deceased.

George passed away from heart disease in 2006 and Kathy died of emphysema in 2004. The Lutz’s children have mostly avoided the limelight throughout the years, especially daughter Missy. Their sons, Christopher and Daniel, have both stated that the events at the Amityville house did happen.

Christopher, however, did admit that the hauntings depicted in the book were greatly embellished. 

Ed and Lorraine Warren

Famed paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren were one of the first to actually investigate the Amityville hauntings. In a 2013 interview with Yahoo Movies, Lorraine found it difficult to speak on the events that took place there.

Amityville Haunted House
Alamy

Additionally, she also admitted she would never enter the Amityville house again. Following their extensive investigation of the home, both Ed and Lorraine agreed the hauntings were not a hoax.

If you’ve ever watched The Conjuring 2 (2016), the events at the start of the film were allegedly inspired by their experiences at the Amityville house.

Ed and Lorraine Warren
The Conjuring 2 | Warner Bros.
Sources

https://www.biography.com/news/ the-real-amityville-horror-facts

https://nypost.com/2021/03/15/inside-the-amityville-horror-house-today-long-islands-most-notorious-mansion/

https://www.hitc.com/en-gb/2021/03/16/george-and-kathy-lutz/

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/18-Brooks-Rd-Toms-River-NJ-08753/39591175_zpid/

http://www.thennowmovielocations.com/2019/06/the-amityville-horror-1979.html

https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/108-Ocean-Ave_Amityville_NY_11701_M30114-03781#photo0

https://www.historyvshollywood.com/reelfaces/real-amityville-horror-house.php

https://amityvillemurders.com/the-defeos/crime-scene.html/nggallery/page/3

https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/blogs/movie-talk/ghost-hunter-lorraine-warren-tells-us-one-haunted-050927065.html

Sarah Paschall
Written by

Sarah Paschall

Sarah has written and edited for numerous media outlets in a variety of different niches – though entertainment is her all-time favorite topic to cover. When she is not hard at work researching and writing about Hollywood’s top talents for Velvet Ropes, Sarah enjoys working on her fiction novels, developing her blog, and gaming. You can follow Sarah on Twitter at: Twitter.com/tuspock91