Probably the single most famous American haunting story in the last 50 years, the incidents that took place in late-1970s Amityville, NY, play out like a fast-forward ghost story for the mass media age.
In 1975, George and Kathy Lutz, and their three children, claimed to have been terrorized by a series of shocking paranormal experiences.
The house they had recently purchased was the site of a mass murder just 13 months earlier, when 23-year-old Ronald DeFeo murdered his parents and four younger siblings. The Lutz's astounding claims, which included demonic apparitions and swarms of flies, were quickly chronicled in author Jay Anson's book "The Amityville Horror," published in 1977 with the subtitle: "A True Story."
The book was subsequently made into a 1979 movie, which spawned even more movies, which triggered even more books. Alas, it was
all a hoax
. In courtroom depositions years after the fact, the Lutz family and their collaborators -- including the lawyer for Ronald DeFeo -- admitted that the entire affair had been invented over a few bottles of wine.
A lot of people made a lot of money, and the Amityville haunting has since passed into the annals of national ghost story folklore. What could be more American?
Why is Fear Fun?