Police and crime scene investigators and the Amityville murders crime scene, searching for evidence in the swimming pool. Ronald DeFeo Jr. was deemed responsible for the mass murder of his family, who he shot and killed while they slept in their beds.
In the early morning hours of 13 November, 1974, 23-year-old Ronald DeFeo Jr systematically shot and killed his father, mother, and his four siblings, as they slept in their beds of their Amityville, Long Island, New York home.
During his trial, he claimed that he had killed his family in self-defence because he had heard their voices plotting to kill him. But the story doesn’t end there: In December 1975, the Lutz family purchased the house and over the course of 28 days, they claimed they were plagued and terrorised by paranormal phenomena while living there, before fleeing the property. Some such claims included green slime running from the walls, hidden rooms, images of half headed demons, a demonic pig, as well as mysterious welts and wounds appearing out of nowhere.
After the family fled the macabre home, they called in investigators which was when the photograph above was snapped, apparently showing a ghost of a little boy peering out from behind the door; many believe it to be the ghost of 9-year-old John Matthew DeFeo. Whether the truth in this haunting case was stretched or even a hoax all together, it still remains one of the most sensationalised ghost stories worldwide, even inspiring multiple books and movies.
Police officer standing outside the DeFeo home where 23 year old Ronald DeFeo jr. shot and killed 6 of his family members. The case became known as ‘the Real Amityville Horror’ due to the later alleged hauntings that took place in the home, and the fact that Ronald had, on occasion, claimed that he had been possessed by satan when he committed the crimes.
In 1976, during the Amityville horror house investigations lead by demonoligists Ed & Lorraine Warren, this photo - out of hundreds of photos from rolls and rolls of film was taken inside the house that is to this day, infamous for its demonic chain of occurrences.
Discovered 3 years after it was taken, it continues to be analysed and ‘debunked’, but the story of how this 'boy’ was captured is as follows :
Gene Campbell, a professional photographer working with the Warrens, set up his camera stored with black and white film on the second floor of the house in order to capture infrared shots. Discovered 3 years later by George Lutz, who experienced the horrors of the house, when he was looking for photos to include in his book.
George lutz states that when he asked his children if they recognised the boy his daughter, Missy stated it was the little boy she used to play with in the house.
The figure in this photograph has been theorised to be a 'demon who shapeshifts into whatever it wants’, one of the youngest DeFeo children who was murdered by Ronald DeFeo or simply one of the investigators on the case Paul Bartz, who was kneeling and happened to be caught on film.
We will never 100% know, making it one of America’s ever lasting mysteries.
Satanism has been subjected to intense criticism ever since it was popularized by figures such as Anton LaVey, but statistics show that homicides motivated by occult beliefs have always been extremely rare in modern times. The case of seventeen-year-old Ricky Kasso of Long Island is therefore an anomaly, yet continues to be one of the most horrific examples of ritual murder in living memory.
Ricky Kasso was born and raised in New York, and his childhood was an unexceptional one. Its only when Kasso discovered a book on Satanism at his local library that his personality became unstable, and he drew the attention of his peers and authority. He became a heavy recreational drug user and skipped school to listen to heavy metal music whilst reading books on witchcraft. Neighbors were shocked at the way Kasso would scream “Hail Satan!” at passing pedestrians, and he earned a reputation as a bully. Kasso even formed a cult that dedicated itself to Satan and bragged to friends about conducting blood rituals at the infamous house in Amityville where Ronald DeFeo murdered six members of his own family.
In June 1985, when Kasso was seventeen, he confided to a friend that he wanted to sacrifice a victim to Satan in order to increase his power. Kasso decided his target would be fellow drug enthusiast Gary Lauwers, who Kasso believed had stolen bags of PCP and mescaline from him. Alongside two other friends from the cult, Kasso lured Lauwers into a lonely patch of woods with an offer to get high. The four teenagers took hits of LSD and gathered around a small campfire, until Lauwers annoyed Kasso by trying to leave because his mother would be worried about him. Kasso took out a knife and stabbed Lauwers in the chest, while the two other boys held him down. Kasso demanded Lauwers’ say “I love Satan”, but when the unfortunate boy said “I love my mother” instead, Kasso gouged his eyes out with the knife. When Lauwer’s was dead Kasso covered his body with leaves and fled the scene.
Ricky Kasso could not resist bragging about his crime, and two weeks later he was arrested for murdering Gary Lauwers. An autopsy of the body revealed the victim had been stabbed between seventeen to thirty-six times in the chest, with five of the wounds peircing his lungs and heart. Kasso claimed he had heard Satan telling him to kill Lauwers in the form of a crow, and laughed when he heard Lauwer’s funeral would be closed-casket due to the state of the body.
Unfortunately justice wasnt served for Gary Lauwers; Kasso hung himself in his prison cell while awaiting trial. The two other cult members involved in the brutal murder recieved lesser sentences.
The Amityville Horror: A Tale of Murder and the Paranormal
The history behind the famous house at 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, Long Island, N.Y. is much more horrific than the classic 1970′s horror film which depicts paranormal events supposedly experienced by the Lutz family. The film was based on a book about the supernatural activity, written by Jay Anson and published in 1977.
George and Kathy Lutz moved into the house in December of 1975, with Kathy’s three children, Daniel, 9, Christopher, 7, and Melissa (Missy), 5. The house had been vacant for 13 months before the Lutzes purchased the Dutch Colonial, dubbed “High Hopes” by the previous owner, Ronald DeFeo, Sr.
What had occurred at “High Hopes” 13 months prior to the Lutz family moving in is more like a slasher movie than a ghost story.
Twenty-three-year old Ronald Defeo Jr., a.k.a. “Butch” burst into Henry’s Bar, on a Wednesday evening at 6:30 p.m., November 13, 1974 with a shocking announcement: “You got to help me! I think my mother and father are shot!” A group of people from the bar went with Butch DeFeo to investigate the family’s home at the now-infamous 112 Ocean Avenue. What they found was a gruesome scene. All six members of his family were shot dead in their beds: his parents, Ronald DeFeo Sr, age 44 and Louise DeFeo, 42, sisters Dawn, 18 and Allison, 13, and brothers Marc, 12 and John Matthew, 9.
It would later be determined that the family was killed 3 a.m. that morning by a .35 caliber Marlin 336C rifle. Each member of the family was found lying on their stomachs in their beds. The parents suffered two shots each and each one of his brothers and sisters was shot one time each.
Ronald “Butch” DeFeo Jr. first claimed that the murders were the work of a mob hitman. As investigators interviewed Butch DeFeo, they found that there were many inconsistencies in his story. Butch DeFeo confessed to the murders the next day. Besides having the confession, the hitman named by DeFeo as the killer had a solid alibi. DeFeo even told police where he got rid of his bloody clothes and the murder weapon. DeFeo had casually gotten up and gone to work that morning, getting rid of the evidence on the way to his job.
The DeFeos were far from the perfect family. Father Ronald DeFeo Sr. was physically abusive towards his wife and children.
DeFeo Sr. worked for his father’s car dealership and allegedly had been stealing money from the business.
Juror Peggy Giambra recalls Butch DeFeo’s words on the stand: “I remember the chilling words of him saying that once he started, he just couldn’t stop.”
DeFeo Jr. was convicted of six counts of second-degree murder on November 21, 1975. He was given six life sentences and is incarcerated at Sullivan Correctional Facility, Beekman, N.Y.
When George and Kathy Lutz moved in and learned about their new home’s gruesome past, they decided to have a Catholic priest come and bless the house. As he attempted the blessing, the priest claimed that many flies appeared and that he heard a voice commanding him to leave.
The Lutzes also claimed that the front door suddenly blew off its hinges in the middle of the night, a pig with glowing red eyes appeared to them, Kathy claimed she was levitated two feet off her bed and that she received mysterious welts, George claimed Kathy’s appearance would change into that of an elderly woman with wrinkles and white hair and Kathy said she saw a demonic entity appear in the fireplace. The Lutzes described many other bizarre experiences while living at 112 Ocean Avenue.
According to Butch DeFeo, the Lutzes’ story was a fabrication, created to help the Lutzes out of debt. DeFeo’s lawyer William Weber admitted to help fabricate the story in the hopes that the tale would lead to a lesser sentence for DeFeo.
For example, the story of the demonic pig was supposedly based on the neighbors’ cat who DeFeo Jr. hated and called “a fat pig.” Another detail was that George Lutz used to wake every morning at 3:15 a.m., which is the time the murders occurred.
“Weber and the Lutzes started this whole thing,” DeFeo says. The strange tale of the supernatural was meant to be a financial arrangement between DeFeo, the Lutzes and William Weber.
“Amityville itself is just a story – the whole thing is a hoax,” DeFeo says. “The agreement was $850,000.”
However, DeFeo and Weber never got their share of the money. Instead the Lutzes took their story to writer Jay Anson.
“I knew them Lutzes weren’t stable. They double-crossed everybody, then took off and went to California,” DeFeo says.
Reporter Marvin Scott attended a seance at the infamous house, conducted by demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren.
Scott says: “ Lorraine Warren and I walked upstairs to the sewing room. Now, the sewing room was the location where there was reported the strongest presence. She started talking, and at one point, became a bit hysterical, saying, ‘Marvin, I hope this is as close to hell as I’ll ever get.’ I didn’t see anything oozing from the walls. I didn’t hear any strange voices.”
One year after the séance, Jay Anson’s book about the Lutzes’ experiences was published.
The Lutzes lived at 112 Ocean Avenue for 28 days before leaving, supposedly driven from the house by demonic forces. They left all of their belongings behind.
Ronald DeFeo shot and killed the six family members at 3:15 a.m. on the morning of November 13, 1974 with a .35 caliber rifle.
In court he testified to being possessed by Satan whom he blamed for the murders. The house itself, located in Amityville, New York, was believed to be under demonic attack. When the new owners of the house started seeing signs of demonic possession, they fled the house in complete terror and fear, never to return to it again. Later, it all turned out to be a publicity seeking hoax.
The house was rumored to have been torn down, but it was just a remodelling project. The most recent owners, a family of five, are very happy in the house and have not experienced any paranormal activity. On a lighter note, the DeFeo murders and its subsequent haunting became part of pop culture with the brilliant “Amityville Horror” film series.
On November 21, 1975, DeFeo was found guilty on six counts of second-degree murder. On December 4, 1975, Judge Thomas Stark sentenced Ronald DeFeo, Jr. to six consecutive sentences of 25 years to life.
DeFeo is currently held in Green Haven Correctional Facility, Beekman, New York, and all of his appeals to the parole board to date have been turned down.
Pretty much 👌 There are actually three classifications for repeat killers that I wanna share to clear up any misconceptions:
Serial killer - Kills two or more victims over an extended period of time with a cooling off period in between murders
Mass killer (school shooter) - Kills two or more victims in a single area over a short period of time. Examples include the Columbine killers, Charleston Shootings, the Aurora shootings, and the DeFeo family murders
Spree killer - Kills two or more victims whilst travelling from one area to another, often with the specific goal of killing as many people as possible at each area. Examples include Charles Starkweather, Howard Unruh, Sandy Hook, and the fictional ‘Natural Born Killers’ main protagonists
Madame Delphine LaLaurie was known for her torture and starvation of her slaves. The house where the horrific abuse took place still stands today and is considered one of Americas haunted houses.
# 4. South Wallace Street, Chicago, 1894.
H.H. Holmes, one of America’s first serial murderers, constructed a 3 storey house of horrors where some say he killed up to 200 people. The house was demolished in 1938.
# 3. Plainfield Farmhouse, Wisconsin, 1957.
Ed Gein, notorious killer and grave robber inspired movie characters such Norman Bates and Jame Gumb. Gein experimented with human taxidermy and created furniture out of his victims skin and bone. The farmhouse has since been destroyed.
# 2. 112 Ocean Avenue, Amityville, New York, 1974.
The infamous Ronald DeFeo Jr murdered his parents and 4 siblings during the night. The house has become a popular tourist attraction and the focus of many books and movies. Subsequent inhabitants of the property have made reports of hauntings.
# 1. 10050 Cielo Drive, California, 1969.
Pregnant actress Sharon Tate and her 4 guests were brutally murdered by members of the Manson Family. Following the murder, the word ‘pig’ could be seen written across the door in Sharon’s blood until it was torn down
The infamous Amityville Horror House that was the basis of 11 scary movies in which families are terrorized by paranormal entities is once again for sale! You can buy the house in which Ronald DeFeo, Jr. shot and killed six members of his family for just a measly $950,000.
The DeFeo family moved to Amityville, Long Island, New York in 1965. Ronald and Louise DeFeo were second generation Italian Americans looking to make a life for themselves. Altogether they had five children: Ronald Jr. (Butch), Dawn, Allison, Marc, and John Matthew (oldest to youngest).
At about 3:00am November 13, 1974 the DeFeo family was brutally murdered. The exact details of the murders remain a mystery today since all family members were found shot dead lying face down in their beds. The parents were shot twice each, while the children were shot only once. Basically people are unsure how a whole family could be murdered by rifle without any sign of struggle. Some theories involve multiple murderers or some sort of conspiracy between family members, but again it remains a mystery.
Initially Ronald “Butch” Jr. was taken into custody for his own safety, but soon after he confessed to murdering his whole family. His motives also remain unclear to this day, particularly because he continues to change his story. The peaceful town of Amityville was shaken to the core and a once quiet town became a name infamously known across the United States.
A year after the DeFeo murder the Lutz family, George and Kathy and their three children, moved into that same home in Amityville. The house having been the scene of a tragic crime was being sold for a bargain price. The Lutz family shortly began experiencing strange things in the home that led to them literally fleeing in the middle of the night only 28 days after they moved in.
There are a lot of theories behind what went down during those 28 days. The Lutz’ continued to their deaths insisting that the home in Amityville was haunted. The famous paranormal investigator couple (we saw them in The Conjuring) Ed and Lorraine Warren investigated the Amityville home and sensed a great evil presence. Another medium believed the home had been built on a Native American burial ground, although nearly everyone finds that theory total bunk.
Other theories are that the Lutz’ made the whole thing up for money, although problems with that theory are that a) they really didn’t get that much out of the whole deal, and b) they left literally all of their belongings in that home when they fled. It’s a totally reasonable theory, but it does have flaws.
Personally, I like to believe the “homes aren’t haunted, people are haunted” theory. The Lutz’ were Catholic. This isn’t to bash on their religion, but Catholics have a strong belief in demons and possessions and exorcisms. It’s a lot easier to see/feel something when you believe in it. I think a handful of weird things probably did happen, which led the Lutz family to believe that their home really was haunted in some way.
Even the Lutz’ admitted that both the books and the movies way over-exaggerated their story, even including facts and details that were completely new to the Lutz’. But George and Kathy took to their graves that that home in Amityville was haunted.
The crimes that happened in 112 Ocean Avenue, Long Island, gave us a best selling book, a box office hit movie and many other sequels.
At around 3am on the 13th of November 1974, 23 year Ronald Defeo Jr murdered the 6 members of his family, his mother, father, two sisters and two brothers. He was instantly taken into police custody for his safety after making up many stories, but the following day he confessed to his crimes. In 1975 Ronald faced trial, he claimed he heard voices which told him to kill. His defence team pointed out that he was diagnosed with anti social personality disorder and abused heroin and lsd. Defeo had a volatile relationship with his father, and first he claimed his sister killed his father, then the mother killed the rest and Ronald killed his mum. The jury didn’t care and found him guilty, he was sentenced to life in prison. All parole requests have been denied.
The Lutz Family
In December 1975, George and Kathy Lutz moved into the home with their three children. Its reported they endured horrific paranormal experiences, one being George kept waking up just after 3am, the same time of the murders. After 28 days they moved out, it’s the Lutz events that made Jay Anson have a best selling book and a trail of movies.
November 13, 1974: 23-year-old Ronald DeFeo Jr. murders his parents, two younger sisters, and two younger brothers with a .35 Martin Rifle in Amityville, Long Island. The case is notable for being the real life inspiration behind the book and film versions of The Amityville Horror.
Photo: Mugshot of Ronald DeFeo Jr. / Crime scene photos at the family home in Amityville, Long Island, New York (Bettman/Corbis/Getty)