Thursday, May 27, 2010
The infamous Amityville horror house is once again back in the news, as it was put up for sale on Monday by owner, Brian Wilson, at an asking price of $1.15 million dollars.
An international superstar in its own right, the house was made famous in Jay Anson’s best selling book “The Amityville Horror,” which was later turned into a 1979 blockbuster movie.
Even before the news broke I was contacted by a producer for FOX 5’s “Good Day NY,” seeking information from me about the history of the home (book: Mentally Ill In Amityville).
Wilson purchased the home back in 1997 for only $310,000; which is $15,000 less then the previous owners, the O’Neil’s, paid for it in 1987. With a sky-high asking price, it’s no wonder why Wilson has stayed silent about the home all these years. In fact, Wilson is insistent on maintaining privacy, and emphatically denied roomers of ghosts or flesh-eating flies. “There are wackos out there who believe there are flying pigs in the house and bleeding walls,” Wilson told Newsday back in 1998. When I spoke to him back in 2008, he was cantankerous to say the least and denied us all access to the grounds.
Wilson has renovated the property, including the boathouse, the bulk head, the central air conditioning, the gas heating system, the roof, the windows, the sprinkler system, the central stereo system, the deck and the patio.
So now the world waits eagerly to see who the new owner will be. Will the new owner finally allow for testing of the grounds to see if there is actually an Indian burial ground on the property? “It’s just a matter of time before someone tries to transform the house into a cash cow,” said former Suffolk County Detective, Ed Miller; one of the many officers who investigated the DeFeo murders back in 1974.
At a village meeting back in 1997, a master planner from Massachusetts explained that the town of Salem turned its sordid history of witch-burning into a multi-million dollar tourist industry. “Could you imagine what kind of attraction it would be,” said Amityville Mayor, Peter Imbert, in regard to the house’s tourist attracting possibilities. But the town’s residents shouted down the idea, citing that it would “exploit the murders of the DeFeo family.”
In 1974, Ronald DeFeo, Jr., shot six members of his family members at the house while they were sleeping. The next family to move in, the Lutzes, said they were chased out of the house by evil-spirits after only 28 days. The Lutzes even passed a lie-detector test on the matter, which was conducted by two renowned polygraph specialists, Chris Gugas and Michael Rice.
Almost as soon as he arrived this week for a broker-open-house on Ocean Ave., Realtor James Smith says he “got an eerie feeling.” But it wasn’t until he went into the basement of the house that, he says, he got goose-bumps and the hair on the back of his neck stood up. “You felt like something was there,” said Smith. He says he asked two other agents in the basement with him, “Did you feel that?” he asked them. Then, he says, “We took off and got out of there.” After the open house, Smith told Channel 4 News, “I don’t believe it was a hoax.” We will have to wait and see how this story develops, but one thing is certain; the Amityville horror house is a mainstay in American culture as long as it stands and it will continue to cause nightmares around the world.
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