THE HOAX IN AMITYVILLE: PART 7
The Amityville house as it appears today.
Over the years more stories have been spread around about the Amityville house in addition to those in the books and the movies.
Not long after the movie came out, NBC's show In Search Of... ran an episode entitled "Amityville Horror". George and Kathy were interviewed, as was the Catholic priest, who remained anonymous.
There were some changes in the Lutzes' story:
- In the show, George and Kathy now say that each room had its own personality, which was something new that they'd never mentioned before.
- Kathy now describes the red room as being behind a bookcase that she moved in the basement. In the book, it was behind a wall that had shelves on it.
- Kathy also adds a new event regarding Missy in that she would be singing in her room, come out and stop singing, and then go back in the room and start singing right where she left off. While that would certainly sound peculiar, I have to wonder why that was never mentioned before.
- George also says that what he saw in Missy's window was a shape and that he didn't know what it was. He also says that the kids' beds were now levitated.
- Jay Anson changes his story and now says that he investigated the story and talked to the Lutzes.
I've also heard some of the stories surrounding the making of the book and movie.
- A friend of Jay Anson's was driving home after receiving a copy of the final draft of the book, which he put in his car's trunk. Driving down the road, he saw what he believed to be a large puddle ahead. It turned out to be a sinkhole. The car went into it. Of course, the front end goes down into the hole, raising the trunk above water, thus saving the book. Doesn't sound all that unusual does it?
- A woman and her children died when their house caught on fire. Earlier that day, she'd received a copy of the final draft from Anson. The book was spared in the fire. However, if you think about it, the incident isn't really unusual. House fires, sadly, occur every day. The fact that the book was spared can easily be explained as well if it was in a part of the home spared by the fire or inside something that would have protected it. On an episode of COPS, I once saw where a woman's minivan caught on fire on a freeway. The van was fully engulfed with her purse inside. Once the fire's out, the fire fighters begin pulling out the items from the van. Everything is charred, including her purse. She opens it up, and everything inside was untouched by the fire. Now, if the book had been found untouched in the middle of a room out in the open while everything around it was burned up, then I would be thinking that there was something unusual.
- A truck was delivering large pieces of lumber to the house in Tom's River, New Jersey, where the first movie was being filmed. On its way to the house, the truck lost its load, killing the people in the car behind it. This incident was also a tragedy, but car crashes are nothing unusual. I've known three people who were killed in car crashes. I've even seen a three-car crash in front of a neighbor's house. And loads falling off trucks are not unusual. My dad's a truck driver, and his trainer, when he first started, was on probation because he lost a large roll of steel off his truck. The reason it fell off was because he'd just gotten a divorce, was upset with his ex-wife, and didn't fully check to see if the load was securely fastened down. Seeing as how movies usually have a certain time frame that they're to be made in, it's possible that somebody was in a hurry and got careless when loading the truck.
- A photographer went to take pictures of Anson immediately after photographing the Amityville house. While he was in the authors home his car caught fire and billowed orange smoke. Car fires are nothing unusual.
- Anson's editor picked up a complete manuscript of the book at his office. His car
caught fire, and he discovered that all the bolts on his engine had been loosened. Again, car fires are not unusual. As far as the bolts all being loosened, I'm chalking that up to urban legend.
- Anson himself suffered a heart attack, and his son and a friend were nearly killed in a car crash. Heart attacks are nothing out of the ordinary. Neither are car crashes.
In my opinion, all of these incidents had nothing to do with the paranormal. As shocking as they are, if you believe they were caused by evil forces, you're grasping at straws.
The internet has had Amityville stories passed around as well.
The first two that I heard of were from the alt.folklore.ghost-stories newsgroup in December 1997.
In the first story, somebody reported that the police in Amityville were called to the house. The husband had reportedly beat his wife or something and claimed that a ghost had told him to do it. Now, I don't know if the story actually happened or not, but if it did, I highly doubt there was a ghost involved.
In the second story, somebody said that they lived in a replica of the Amityville house and were experiencing paranormal activity. Again, I highly doubt it.
More stories are also being spread around on the web, thanks to a website that used to be online called "Amitytalk", a webpage created by a Michael S. Lindenbaum who claimed to have taken some pictures of the Amityville house that show paranormal activity. Mr. Lindenbaum also had some fairly wild accusations about the town of Amityville and myself.
He claimed that the town is covering up what really happened in the Amityville house and should do something to profit from the tourist dollars it could bring in.
Why would the town want to profit from a hoax? Besides, the town doesn't own the house. The people living in that house own it, and I'm sure they want to be left alone.
Mr Lindenbaum also made some other wild accusations of the town officials.
He also included an e-mail message that he'd sent me sometime in either late 1997 or early 1998. I never replied to his message as it was simply too ridiculous. He claims that I am hurting the memory of the DeFeos. Nowhere have I ever said anything bad about the DeFeos. What happened in 1974 was a sad tragedy. He also claimed that I've written a book and am trying to make a name for myself with these pages. For one thing, I am in the process of writing a book, but it isn't on Amityville. As a matter of fact, it has nothing to do with the supernatural. Also, I am not trying to make a name for myself with these webpages. I searched the web for information on what really happened, and upon finding none, I started the page to get the truth out to a larger audience. That's it.
Everything he said on his pages about me are his assumptions and allegations. I have never personally contacted him.
Along with his accusations and stories, Mr. Lindenbaum also had several pictures of the house in Amityville. I've copied these to my site and removed the excess edging that he had on them. Please note that you can click on the images to see the full-sized image.
According to Mr. Lindenbaum, he took the two above photos within a matter of seconds of each other. He said that at the time (in 1978), he was around 9 years old, I believe. He said that the windows of the house were open and the family that lived there at the time was in the backyard. In the first picture in the right third floor window, you can see what he claims to be the ghost of one of the murdered DeFeo girls. In the second picture, the "figure" is gone. He says that he never saw anything unusual while taking these pictures. I agree. I do not believe that he took the time to really see what he was seeing.
In this picture, we can see a blown up image of the attic window containing the "figure". As you can see, the window is swung into view inside the room. The right side of the figure is even with the edge of the window, leading me to believe that it is the window and perhaps a curtain blowing into view in the first picture and then blowing out of view in the next. Since there were other windows open in the house, it seems highly plausible.
He also says that nobody was inside the house. How would he know that?
In this picture, Mr. Lindenbaum shot a different angle of the "figure" in the window. Again, you can see that it is the window and perhaps a curtain. Also, in the window immediately below, he claims that you can see a mist in front of the window. The second picture here is his blowup of that window. It looks like the reflection of the sky and trees to me.
In this picture (taken in 1997), he claims to have taken a picture of the mist again on another window as well as a demonic face. I say it's a reflection.
Here we have what Mr. Lindenbaum calls the "white raccoon". In the left window on the second floor in the first picture, you can see the image that is blown up in the second picture. He claims that this is a ghostly raccoon. When I first saw it, I thought it did resemble a raccoon but looked more like a pig (my family used to raise hogs for 4-H). Immediately, I thought it was Jodie, but then I remembered that Jodie was a cat (it was 2am at the time). I say this is nothing more than a reflection. I'll detail my reactions to this picture further down on this page.
In these two pictures, Mr. Lindenbaum claims to have captured a ghostly head or two in the first floor window second from the right. I saw what resembled a head, but I think it's just a trick of the light.
Here we can see how close the Amityville house is to the neighboring houses. Had anything like what the Lutzes claimed actually happened, the neighbors would have certainly seen or heard something.
Here's what I believe Mr. Lindenbaum (and others) have experienced at that house after the Lutzes went public. He went to the house and took the pictures. He said that he didn't experience or see anything out of the ordinary. However, he said that after he saw the developed pictures he saw the "phenomenon". I believe that he saw the pictures and read into them what he'd heard from the Lutzes. It's a case of suggestion. It's like when you see a shape in a cloud or something. In this case, Mr. Lindenbaum wanted to catch a ghost on film, and when he saw the pictures, shadows and reflections became ghosts. He was tricked into believing there were ghosts in the pictures after what the Lutzes claimed. He has then tricked people viewing his pages into seeing what he saw and accepting them as that. Hence, when I saw what I thought was the pig in the window. At that time of the night, my mind mixed together what I saw, read on the page, and what the Lutzes claimed. Upon closer examination, it's clear that it's a reflection.
I'm now wondering something about Mr. Lindenbaum's claims. If he is so sure that his pictures are proof of paranormal phenomena at that house, why hasn't he had the pictures and negatives analyzed?
He does claim that he himself has been attacked by the "evil" in Amityville simply because he checked out a copy of the book from his school's library.
The Warrens have also put their story online, and they claim that the hoax story is a hoax.
The December 1998 issue of ForteanTimes had an article called "Amityville Horror encore?":
Debra Robertson, a 31-year-old crackhead from the village of Amityville in Long Island, was found by police making the sign of the cross over the bodies of her six-year-old daughter Delvin King and five-year-old son Melvin King, who lay dead on a couch. Her infant son slept unharmed in a bedroom. Robertson had scalded the children by immersing them in boiling water. They could have been asphyxiated or drowned, but the cause of death was to be determined by autopsy. She said she had snapped because the apartment was possessed by demons.
The horror in the white-frame house at 505 Broadway bore eerie echoes of the 1974 slaughter, less than a mile away, of an Amityville family by a 23-year-old son who claimed phantoms ordered him to kill them. The murders became grist for a fictionalised bestseller called The Amityville Horror--A True Story, which was later turned into a film.
In late December 1999, a new website Amityville-The Hoax of the People Screaming Hoax showed up online, belonging to somebody from Norway who was posting on the message board. He not only seemed to agree with everything that Mr. Lindenbaum had to say about me, he seemed to have more and seemed to only want to slam me and my pages. I am aware of his profanities on his pages in regards to mine. However, upon seeing his picture on his site and remembering Mr. Lindenbaum's picture that used to be on the Amitytalk site, I couldn't help but notice that the two of them looked very similar. Their attitudes towards me and my pages, their wild accusations of everybody involved in the case, and the poor grammar skills has led me to believe that this is simply another attempt by Mr. Lindenbaum to try to slam my pages and get me to take them down, which I am not planning to ever do.
I am hoping that there will soon be a day that the people in Amityville will be able to put the Lutzes' hoax behind them, and people can once again live in that house in peace. However, with the wild stories circulating, I doubt it will happen soon.
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