Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"5 bedrooms, finished basement, interesting history"

Well, well. The Amityville Horror house is on the market again, for a mere $1.15 million. I wonder what it would be like to live in a house with a . . . um . . . history?

I read The Amityville Horror when I was a kid, and I'm not ashamed to say it scared the bejesus out of me. (That, of course, did not prevent me from reading it at least two more times.) I never saw the original movie, because it looked more hokey than scary, but the image of the house in the film made quite an impression on me. The real house has been extensively remodeled and even sports a different address than it originally did. It's now a beautiful, elegant home, filled with sunlight; it was originally called "High Hopes" (I love houses with names!). You can read a bit about the sale here.

Since I last read The Amityville Horror, I have come to believe that the whole haunting was a hoax. The house's real horror occurred in 1974, a year or so before the infamous Lutz family moved in, when Ronald DeFeo, Jr., murdered his entire family in the house while they slept. The Lutzes purchased the tainted house for an excellent price but lived there for only a month because they claimed they were driven out by violent paranormal activity. The little bit of research I've done strongly suggests that the Lutzes, despite the bargain they'd purchased, immediately realized that they were financially out of their depth and were suffering from buyer's remorse. The entire story was concocted so that they could walk away from the purchase with no financial obligation. Still, even believing what I do now, I bet if I read the book again today I wouldn't be able to sleep at all tonight.

Sean used to work with a guy who grew up in Amityville, who knew the DeFeo family and was friends with Ronald DeFeo, Jr. Richard told me he remembered eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the kitchen of that house. He said, "Ronnie was the most normal kid in the neighborhood until he killed his whole family."


Will said...

I grew up a mile away. Nice house.

Lucy said...

I just requested the book from Paperback Swap. It's in the mail! I plan on reading it this summer. I'm sure it will still scare the hell outta me. I can't wait!