Amityville: Inside the Case that Rattled a Seasoned Paranormal Investigator

World-famous psychic Lorraine Warren reportedly said the Amityville case was the most haunting investigation of her more than five decades of paranormal work.

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Photo by: Paul Hawthorne/Staff via Getty Images

Paul Hawthorne/Staff via Getty Images

"Evil. It’s the personification of evil," Lorraine Warren told CNN in 2005 when she was asked what it was like to go into the so-called Amityville Horror House back in 1976.

Lorraine and her husband, Ed Warren, founded the New England Society for Psychic Research in 1952 and started a paranormal investigations operation that continued for more than 50 years and spanned across the globe. Several of those cases went on to spawn horror movies such as "The Conjuring," "Annabelle," and "The Amityville Horror" — all of which were based on true stories.

American ghost hunters Lorraine and Ed Warren. April 30, 1980. (Photo by Russell McPhedran/Fairfax Media via Getty Images).

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Ed and Lorraine Warren

Photo by: Fairfax Media Archives

Fairfax Media Archives

Ed and Lorraine Warren

The Real Amityville Horror

The horror in Amityville, Long Island began just before Thanksgiving in 1974. The home at 112 Ocean Avenue was occupied by the DeFeo family. The oldest son, Ronald, was 23 when he shot and killed both his parents and his four younger siblings. He admitted to the killings at his trial in 1975, but his defense attorneys said DeFeo was insane at the time of the murders and killed his family at the direction of the voices in his head.

The notorious history of the Amityville haunting undergoes an intensive investigation. Armed with new evidence, the documentary re-examines the stories of the DeFeo and Lutz families. Featuring testimony from both George Lutz and Ronald DeFeo Jr., the special delves into the events that propelled the house to national fame.

Amityville Horror House

Ronald DeFeo

Photo by: John Cornell/Newsday RM via Getty Images

John Cornell/Newsday RM via Getty Images

Ronald DeFeo

Ultimately, DeFeo was found guilty on six counts of second-degree murder and sentenced to six life sentences in November 1975. He died in prison in March 2021 at the age of 69.

The house remained unoccupied between the murders and December 1975 when George and Kathy Lutz purchased the home and moved in with their young children.

28 Days of Terror

The Lutz family said they had a priest bless the home before they moved in that winter, but they still found themselves tormented from the time they arrived. In 2002, George told ABC News that the front door would slam in the middle of the night, and that an unseen force held him to the bed while he was forced to listen to his children’s beds slam up and down on the floor. The entity in the house transformed his wife into an old woman and made her levitate, he said.

Following the levitation incident, just four weeks after moving in, the Lutz family fled the property, leaving behind everything but the clothes on their backs.

11th January 1979:  George and Kathy Lutz, former owners of the haunted house on 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, New York, pose during a press tour for the book, 'The Amityville Horror,' London, England. The Lutzes recounted their stories to scriptwriter Jay Anson who wrote the book.  (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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George and Kathy Lutz

Photo by: Hulton Archive

Hulton Archive

George and Kathy Lutz

The Warren Investigation

Five months after the Lutz family left, Ed and Lorraine arrived at the home to conduct an investigation into what had tormented the family. According to the Warrens’ case files, Ed was physically pushed to the ground and Lorraine felt a deep sense of something demonic in the home and was overcome with visions of the DeFeo family bodies laying on the floor. The Warrens also captured a photo of a demon child standing in the home’s basement.

They determined there were demonic forces at work in the home. The Lutz family ultimately sold the property and moved to California.

According to the New York Post, the house has had four more owners since the Lutzes left, and there have been no further reports of paranormal activity.

The case also spawned dozens of movies based on the Warrens’ investigation.

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