Solstice Greetings One and All!

Tonight’s show will take a look at the Amityville Horror; the fact, the fallacy, the reality and the hoax.

The theme came from last weeks Urban Myth feature when the Amityville Story was denounced as largely being a hoax. This claim produced and wealth of comments from those listening and actually challenge my acceptance of one or two of the sources upon which I based my bold statement. So, rising to the challenge it was decided to look in a little more detail at the Amityville myth and mythos. There were one or two surprises for me as one particular source seems to have fallen apart under even more careful scrutiny.

Am I saying it’s no all real?

Well listen to the show and the discussion to find out!

BUT FIRST from Catherine we have some news:-

UK

June 17th: Anne Diamond did not believe in ghosts until she had her own supernatural encounter whilst house hunting.  She found the perfect property near Warwick Castle and was shown around by an elderly woman – the current owner – who stated that she would be sad to leave the place but happy in the knowledge that it might ‘ring with the sound of children’s laughter’ again.

Sadly, the house was taken off the market as she could not bear to leave it yet. Six months later, Ms Fine received a call in reference to the same house as it had come back on the market and went to inspect it immediately.  She was met by the same elderly woman who let her in and apologized for the place looking so bare before walking off towards the kitchen.

Baffled as to why they’d been left in the dark (The power had been switched off) Ms Fine attempted to call the woman back, but she didn’t appear to be present any longer so she departed, only to be informed by the estate agent that the elderly woman in question had died suddenly earlier that month, hence why the house was back on the market, and that nobody could possibly have let Ms Fine in as she had the only set of keys!

June 10th: A student attended his history exam in Queen’s University in a suit of armour that he’d constructed over a period of three years, importing it piece by piece from a blacksmith in the States.  Instead of telling him to go and change, the invigilators allowed him to sit the exam in full knight attire and wittily pointed out that, “You know you lose your knighthood if you fail, right?” The student arrived a little late for added effect and prior to the exam he walked the streets and enjoyed the reactions of passersby.  He says that he did it as a joke, having hoped to finish his course with a bang.

June 19th: Saw Leicester invaded by the undead following a Freedom of information request made by “concerned citizen” Robert Ainsley to Leicester city council. He wanted to know “…what provisions you have in place in the event of a zombie invasion?”. The discovery that there were no such plans prompted this bizarre response.

July 8th is set to be the release date for the fourth series of the Doctor Who spinoff Torchwood, known as Torchwood: Miracle Day.

International

June 13th: Iron Man strolled into work in full kit today and was promptly escorted from the premises by an armed guard.  Wang Kang from Shanghai spent nearly £300 creating a masterpiece of a replica and it weighs nearly eight stone. None of his co-workers knew he was working on it and he says that “Some of them froze there seeing me approach. Some were even screaming in fear.” He has since become an internet celebrity.

June 16th: A resident in Montana was baffled to spy a dead deer tangled in some overhead cables following a power outage.  When North Western Energy arrived to fix the problem she said, “Apparently, we got deer with wings.” She photographed the creature as the workmen removed it and came to the conclusion that it was prey left by an Eagle.  The workman stated that he had never seen anything quite like it!

 

June 17th: The team at Oklahoma City Zoo discovered one of their residents had a life threatening injury today and given the spindly nature of the patient, stitches were not an option.  The 7 year old brown tarantula suffered a cut that caused her innards to protrude from her body, and the problem was solved with superglue!  Skin adhesive is becoming increasingly useful in surgeries today, and this is no exception.  The spider is now eating well and appears to be on the mend.

Also on a similar note, footage, though a couple of years old, emerged today of an orangutan apparently rescuing a poorly coot chick from a pool of water in its’ enclosure.  The footage shows the resident of Dublin zoo hoist the baby bird from the water and examine it gently.  Curators of the zoo wonder if the orangutan was trying to revive it and think it shows a gentler side to their nature.

June 20th: A man being treated for alcohol related gastritis in a Melbourne hospital managed to get himself drunk on six bottles of alcohol based sanitizing gel.  The gel has a 66% ethanol content and staff say they are surprised he managed to get through it all as it is ‘…horrendous, you’d think it would taste pretty bad’.  The hospital is discussing plans to bolt the bottles to the wall so that they may be refilled but not removed.

And here’s Catherine’s Paranormal Events…

21 June (or Midsummer Eve) (reoccurring)

Witch Haven Location: Trewa (Cornwall) – General area

Type: Legend
Further Comments: Once a year all the local witches meet in the town and the surrounding area to light fires on all the monoliths and standing stone formations in the area.

21 June (or Midsummer Eve) (reoccurring)

Unfaithful Girl

Location: Bray (County Wicklow) – Lover’s Leap rock, Dargle Valley

Type: Haunting Manifestation
Further Comments: The female ghost which appears here once a year is said to be that of a woman who was unfaithful to her boyfriend. He died of grief, and the woman sat in mourning over his grave continuously for several days before taking her life on the rock, leaping into the river below.

21 June (or Midsummer Eve) (reoccurring)

Those that will Die

Location: Tavistock (Devon) – Church
Type: Legend
Further Comments: The spirits of those who will die during the following year come to the church on Midsummer’s Eve – they were last seen by a pair of brothers who saw themselves in the crowd.

21 June (or Midsummer Eve) (reoccurring)

The Lonely Shepherd

Location: Clydach (Gwent) – Limestone Pillar
Type: Legend
Further Comments: A shepherd who drove his wife to suicide was petrified by God as punishment. Once a year, on Midsummer Night, the rock animates and walks down to the River Usk where his wife drowned herself, before returning prior to dawn.
21 June (or Midsummer Eve) (reoccurring)

Fish Stone

Location: Crickhowell (Powys) – Stone by the River Usk
Type: Legend
Further Comments: Once a year this strangely shaped stone dives into the local river and goes for a swim.

21 June (or Midsummer Eve) (reoccurring)

Spinning Top

Location: Dyffryn (South Glamorgan) – St Lythan’s Cromlech
Type: Legend
Further Comments: The capstone on this cromlech is said to rotate three times on Midsummer Eve. In addition, anyone who makes a wish here on 31 October will have it granted.

21 June (or Midsummer Eve) (reoccurring)

Dancing Skeletons

Location: Worthing (Sussex) – Broadwater Green, old oak tree
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Further Comments: A local tale says that these animated bones appear on midsummer night’s eve to dance and jig until the sun rises on the following day.

21 June (or Midsummer Eve) and following day (reoccurring)

Wishing Stone

Location: Bettiscombe (Dorset) – Sliding Hill
Type: Legend
Further Comments: The hill is said to be named after a magical stone that grants wishes. Once a year, on Midsummer Eve, the stone propels down the hill, before returning the following day.

21 June (or Midsummer Eve), sunrise (reoccurring)

White Dog

Location: West Kennet (Wiltshire) – Long Barrow
Type: Shuck
Further Comments: Appearing to mark the start of the longest day of the year, this pale hound has been observed at sunrise. Some reports say the dog is accompanied by a ghostly druid.

21 June (reoccurring), though last reported sighting in Nov

Nan Clark

Location: NW7 (Greater London) – Nan Clark’s Lane, Mill Hill
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Further Comments: Nan Clark was a landlady of a local inn in the eighteenth century, whose history is shaky – she may have murdered or been murdered by her husband or lover, either in the lane which takes her name or in a local pond. Whatever truly happened, Nan returns to the area once a year.

21 June or 24 June (reoccurring)

White Lady

Location: Hampton Court (Surrey) – Landing Stage
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Further Comments: Seen by local fishermen (even though they can’t remember the exact date they witnessed the phenomenon), the white lady’s history is unknown.

23 June (reoccurring)

Petrified Man

Location: Enstone (Oxfordshire) – Hoar Stone
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Further Comments: The three stones standing here are said to be a man, his dog and his horse. The man, the larger stone, is said to wander down to the village stream on Midsummer Eve. The stones are also said to return to their positions if anyone tries to remove them.

23 June 1744 (reoccurring?)

Army Marching On

Location: Souter Fell (Cumbria) – Side of Mountain visible from Wilton Hall
Type: Environmental Manifestation
Further Comments: Over two dozen witnesses saw a mass of troops ascending the mountain on horseback, though there were no real soldiers in the area. The ghostly army had been seen twice before, always on the same date.

24 June (reoccurring)

Alexander Cruwys

Location: Bickleigh (Devon) – Bridge over the River Exe
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Further Comments: This shade returns once a year to the place where he murdered a man, throwing the body over the bridge into the waters below.

24 June (Reoccurring)

Anne Blakemore in Blue

Location: Blythburgh (Suffolk) – B1125 Blythburgh to Westleton road, crossroads know locally as Five Finger Post
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Further Comments: Murdered in 1750, the ghost of Anne Blakemore has developed a habit of running in front of cars, convincing the drivers that they have run over a living person. She is commonly seen around 24th June, the date of her death.

24 or 25 June, around 12.30am (Reoccurring)

Mayfly with Figures Running about Deck

Location: Oulton (Norfolk) – Oulton Broad
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Further Comments: The ghostly barge Mayfly relives its final voyage. With the captain of the boat on deck, chasing and murdering a young woman, the boat has been seen with its sails bellowing on calm nights. The captain of the boat was escorting a large sum of money and a woman down the river when he decided to steal the cargo and murder the witness. The woman and Captain killed each other in the fight, and now the boat haunts the waters.

June (reoccurring)

Hounds

Location: Galashiels (Borders) – Buckholm Tower

Type: Haunting Manifestation
Further Comments: Heard chasing the soul of the evil Laird of Buckholm on the anniversary of his death, these hounds are reported to normally walk the dungeon located within the tower.

June (reoccurring)

The Drowned

Location: Llanfaglan (Gwynedd) – Churchyard
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Further Comments: The shades of everyone whose bodies have been found along the coast near the village walk towards the church on a certain day in June, vanishing as they reach their graves.

June (reoccurring), clear nights of the full moon – last seen 1880s?

Drowned Lad

Location: Tidmarsh (Berkshire) – Stream near Tidmarsh Rectory
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Further Comments: The stream that ran close to this property was said to be haunted by a young boy who once drowned in its waters.

Late June (reoccurring)

Young Girl

Location: Rotherfield (Sussex) – The King’s Arms
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Further Comments: The spirit of a young girl is reported to frequent this building – she has been felt tugging clothing, and mysterious bare feet were once seen running along a corridor.

Priest seen 1972, other activity said to peak in June (reoccurring)

Jenny the Dairymaid

Location: Plaxtol (Kent) – Old Soar manor house, two miles from Plaxtol
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Further Comments: Jenny committed suicide (or died by misadventure) in the chapel area after finding out she was pregnant – people now report lights that flicker around the chapel after dark. A phantom priest was reported by two people in the chapel in 1972, accompanied by a fall in temperature. Other people have reported soft footsteps in different parts of the building.

Varies: 20 June or 23 June and 31 December (reoccurring)

King John’s Hounds

Location: Purse Caundle (Dorset) – Purse Caundle Manor
Type: Shuck
Further Comments: Once a year, this pack of devil dogs is let loose in the neighbourhood. Sounds of ghostly plainchant have been heard coming from the manor house.

Varies: 24 June & 18 September (Reoccurring)

Bishop of Brundall on Barge

Location: Brundall (Norfolk) – River
Type: Legend
Further Comments: Sailing up the river, the Bishop’s barge is covered with fine cloth and silk, and contains 28 rowers. He is said to bless any ill people that he sails by.

So on with the Amityville Story…

Catherine’s information regarding Amityville

FACTS

Amityville is a little town in Long Island, New York, and on November 13th 1974, a 23 year old man named Ronald DeFeo (Jr) allegedly ran into a local bar (Henry’s Bar) exclaiming that his entire family had been shot, the family in question being his parents, Ronald and Louise DeFeo, his two younger brothers and two younger sisters.  The police investigation that ensued discovered the family had been shot with a marlin rifle while they slept in their home at 112 Ocean Avenue.

The house was built in 1924, by John and Catherine Moynahan.

In 1965, their descendants sold it to the DeFeos, who had it renovated.

It is said that the family was a very dysfunctional one and that their disputes often ended in violence.

Ronald Defeo (Sr) was reputed to be an especially violent man, something that rubbed off on his son who was purportedly an alcoholic, a heroin addict and regularly got in trouble with local police.

On December 4th 1975, Judge Thomas Stark sentenced DeFeo to six life sentences (25 years) in prison, a sentence he is still serving and will serve until he dies; a minimum total of 150 years.

DeFeo pleaded insanity, stating that disembodied voices instructed him to commit the crime, but he was sentenced regardless of this.

The year after DeFeo was convicted, the Lutz family moved into the property, this family consisting of George and Kathy Lutz and their three children.

William Weber, DeFeo’s defence attorney is the man who collaborated with the Lutzes ‘Over many bottles of wine’ and agreed to fabricate the story of demons and haunting.  It followed the success of the recent release ‘The Exorcist’, and was in part based upon it.

Several parapsychologists and television crews did segments on the haunted nature of the house. All reported ‘malevolent spirits’ despite the fact the Lutzes’story was a fabrication.

The family were apparently unable to make any mortgage payments for the house as George Lutzes’ business was failing. Possibly why they fled the house after 28 days… ?!

After the book made them both much richer, Weber and George Lutz began to sue eachother, for mental distress, breach of contract and misappropriation of names.  The judge threw it all out of court.

During the Lutzes‘ stay, they called in a parapsychologist, Stephen Kaplan, who reportedly didn’t buy it, and went on to write a book entitled ‘The Amityville Conspiracy’ following the success of Anson’s book. He hoped to debunk it as he was concerned it was giving parapsychology a bad name, which it was.

The Warrens, the parapsychologists who declared that the house was haunted, debunk Anson’s book as a work of fiction and a simple attempt at publicity.

THEORY

Herman Race, a former New York City supervising police detective, was hired by Michael Brigante Sr. to investigate the murders. Brigante had testified at trial that he did not feel that his grandson acted alone in the crime and hoped Race could either prove or disprove DeFeo’s story.

Race allegedly found evidence supporting the notion that there was more than one gunman and during a private court hearing and at trial, the findings were upheld by the prosecutor and the medical examiner.

Ric Osuna, author of The Night the DeFeos Died, held a meeting with DeFeo on Novem,ber 30th, during which DeFeo admitted that the murders were committed by both him, his 18 year old sister (Dawn) and a friend.

DeFeo states that his father was an abusive man, and that Dawn had finally had enough when he forbade her from going to Florida to be with her boyfriend.  She asked DeFeo to work in partnership with her to kill their parents and though he refused, they subsequently went into their basement to drink and ‘get high’, resulting in his change of heart.

The younger children were meant to have been taken to Brooklyn where their grandparents lived, but Dawn killed them to eliminate them as witnesses while DeFeo was out of the house.

Enraged upon discovering what Dawn had done, they fought for possession of the gun, at which point DeFeo took it and knocked Dawn unconscious, shooting her in the back of the head while she lay.

While DeFeo maintains that his sister is the one to blame for most of the killings, the two named accomplices were unattainable as one died in 2001 and the other entered witness protection after an incident unrelated to the Amityville murders.

The evidence does at least support the theory that there was more than one person was involved.

CLAIMS

The demons that DeFeo had spoken of in his insanity plea were said to have remained in the house by the Lutz family. They reported doors being torn from hinges, green slime oozing from the ceilings, the rotating of a crucifix on the wall

(Which isn’t a sign of Satanism anyway, it’s a sign of humbleness before Jesus Christ expressed by St Peter when he was martyred by crucifixion, he requested that he be crucified upside down because he didn’t feel worthy of dying in the same way as Jesus Christ. The Pope has a throne with an inverted cross on it!),  swarms of insects, levitation, the animation of a stone lion, a demonic face with smoldering red eyes glaring into their house at night, and cloven-hoofed footprints in the morning snow. They also told the tale of how a priest called upon to bless the house suffered blisters on his hands and was instructed to “Get Out!” by a disembodied voice.

Rik Anson collaborated with the Lutzes to write the book about the ‘true’ tale, and vouched for its seeming authenticity.

Rick Moran compiled a hundred fold list of discrepancies between Rik Anson’s “true story” and the truth. One example alone points out that the early Indian tribes blamed for using the house as an insane asylum and the devil-worshipping settlers after them that perhaps haunted the area were not from the Amityville area at all and had lived at least 70 miles away.

Rick Moran even managed to interview the Priest who had been reportedly driven from the house covered in blisters. Father Pecoraro said he never saw anything in the house.

Another author, Joe Nickell, also investigated and found further flaws in the Lutzes’ story. For starters, the snowfall where the hoof print was reportedly found was impossible, as weather records outline the fact that there was no snow in the area when they said they found the print!

The Lutzes described devastation and damage, but all the original fixtures of the house remained intact.

The Lutzes recall how there was a ’28-Day Siege’ before they were driven from the house, yet they never once called the police.

Anson renamed the Priest in the story to Father Mancuso to cover up the fact Father Pecoraro never saw a thing. However, Father Pecoraro did express concern as he knew of the murders that had taken place there, but that was all.

The films that followed about the house contain the tagline ‘based on a true story’, despite the fact it really isn’t!

REMEMBER, as with all of the Real Twilight Zone Shows, the ‘teaser’ presented by Catherine is to be considered as a ‘primer’ for the topic and not the conclusions reached within the show.

This is quite a complex case as we are dealing with claims, counter-claims, law suits, opposing views of authors who make claims (quite of few of which do not bear up to any scrutiny) and the franchise which has become The Amityville Horror.

The show will talk in detail about many of the issues raised in Catherines primer…

Some useful sources for listeners to follow-up:-

A copy of Ronnie Defeo’s FIRST Police Statement can be found here

George Lutz’s Website

Interesting article about DeFeo Trial

A challenge to Rick Morran’s Findings

Amityville Crime Scene Gallery

Brian Dunning – Skeptoid on The Amityville Horror

The Amityville Files

 

THE MUSIC on TONIGHT’S SHOW available from AARDVARK RECORDS

The Truths : Strangers & Triptych

Callel : Body Discovery

Raising Days : Rosetta Stone & It’s About Time

AARDVARK MUSIC

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