After 37 years, one of the original Amityville Horror children has decided to finally break the silence regarding his experience at the legendary haunted home. Daniel Lutz, who was a 10-year-old boy on January 14, 1976 when the family fled from the house , still insists that the family was menaced by spirits in the home. Daniel now blames the evil presence on his stepfather George, a man whose occult dabblings, says Daniel, opened the gateway to dark forces he couldn’t control. Daniel’s experience in the Amityville Horror home was turned into a best-selling book, The Amityville Horror, a 1979 hit-move of the same name, and now, a new documentary by filmmaker Eric Walter title My Amityville Horror.
Daniel, deeply troubled by both his abusive father, George Lutz, and the terrifying experience at Amityville, left home five years after they fled the house and spent time, homeless, living on the streets. Estranged from his wife and two children, Daniel now lives in Queens, New York where he works as a stonemason. His story would have likely remained secret had a friend not contacted a popular filmmaker, Eric Walter, about speaking to him about his experience. The filmmaker noted that Daniel still insists the story is substantially true. He told the filmmaker, “I just wanted somebody to believe me. It has been in my dreams my whole life.”
The Amityville Horror house, located at 112 Ocean Avenue, remained empty for 13 months after the DeFeo murders (where husband and wife and their four children were slaughtered by their 23-year-old son, Ronald DeFeo, in the middle of the night). In December 1975, George and Kathleen Lutz bought the house for what was considered to be a bargain price of $80,000. The six-bedroom house was built in Dutch Colonial style and had a distinctive gambrel roof with odd-shaped windows giving it the appearance of “eyes”. It also had a swimming pool and a boathouse (the home was located on a canal). George and Kathy had married a few months earlier and each had their own homes, but they wanted to start fresh with a new property. Kathy had three children from a previous marriage: Daniel, 9, Christopher, 7, and Melissa (Missy), 5. They also owned a crossbreed Malamute/Labrador dog named Harry who was featured prominently in the movies. During their first inspection of the house, the real estate broker told them about the DeFeo murders and asked if this would affect their decision. After discussing the matter, they decided that it was not a problem.
In upcoming documentary, Daniel says that his father had been involved with Satanism and magic even before they moved to into the quiet suburban neighborhood on the south shore of Long Island, New York. He recalled the family’s bookshelves lined with books on the occult and demonism.
“George’s beliefs and practices triggered what was going on in the house. It was like a magic trick gone bad that you couldn’t shut off. Even as a child, you realized there was something not right about this man — something not good.”
Daniel says he knew something was “off” with the house within hours of moving in. Taking a box upstairs he found his room filled with flies (despite the fact that it was the dead of winter and very cold outside). He swatted hundreds of them and went to fetch his mother. When she returned with him to the room, there was not a fly in sight. “That’s when my confusion started,” he said.
He still recalls the family dog going crazy, nearly strangling itself with its lead as their garage door shook and slammed up and down.
“The entire family was standing there, watching that garage door slam up and slam down, and slam up and slam down.”
Daniel recalls a kitchen window mysteriously slamming shut as his mother treated his injured hand and then watching as an invisible spirit slid a chair back and sat down, leaving impressions in the padded seat. He says the levitating beds, footboards and headboards slamming into the ceiling, were not imagined. Daniel remembers how during their 28-day stay, the family experienced cold spots in the house, odd smells of perfume permeating the air, the stank smell of excrement that would disappear as quickly as it manifested, jolting sounds and booms in the middle of the night, and the glowing eyes of a demonic, pig-like creature that peered through the windows and left cloven-shaped footprints in the snow. He remembers how the activity in the home accelerated each night at 3:15 AM, the precise time police believe the prior residents were slaughtered by their son in the middle of the night. He remembers his sister, Kathy, waking up screaming from vivid nightmares of the murders (which took place in her room), her jumping after she felt cold, invisible arms embrace her, and her confusion as mysterious red welts appeared from nowhere on her chest. He recalls the green, gelatin-like substance oozing from the walls, the living-room crucifix rotating until it was upside down, and the clear bite-marks that appeared on his father’s ankles right before their eyes. Most everything portrayed in the movie was accurate, he says, but much more terrifying than any movie could portray.
Pursued by the media as their story emerged, the family briefly went into hiding, but eventually moved to California. George Lutz and his wife have since died but documentary makers unearthed various reporters, psychic investigators and paranormal specialists who descended on the house for a seance after the story broke, and who are still buzzing with theories and stories of their visits to the home.
Daniel has declined any further interviews and has no plans to make any financial gain out of any of this. He still stands by the family’s original story.