This weekend saw the release of “The Conjuring,” a horror film inspired by real-life ghostbusters Ed and Lorrain Warren. The Warrens were a married couple who investigated the supernatural as self-proclaimed Demonologists. Lorrain allegedly possessed clairvoyant abilities which allowed her to physically sense wayward spirits lurking among us.
Naturally, the Warrens attracted a great deal of controversy, with the usual claims of misrepresentation and outright fraud. Despite such accusations, the eccentric pair always maintained the existence of demonic forces, forces capable of inflicting a great deal of pain upon their human victims. Few knew that better than George and Kathy Lutz, the homeowners at the heart of the Amityville haunting.
Arguably the most well-known example of supernatural activity in America, the Amityville case begins over a year before the Lutz family even bought the property. In 1974, Ronnie DeFeo murdered his entire family – both parents and four younger siblings – with a shotgun. His motivation? Even today, that remains somewhat of a mystery. Was it a psychotic episode triggered by drugs? A scheme to find the family fortune hidden somewhere in the house? Ronnie himself has never been clear as to why he chose that seemingly random night to slaughter his parents and siblings.
13 months later, George and Kathy purchased the home and moved in with their three small children. 28 days later, the family abandoned the home in utter terror, claiming they were driven out by violent supernatural forces. Allegedly, a priest who blessed the house heard a disembodied voice scream at him to, “Get out!” Mysterious odors seemed to come out of nowhere, along with black stains and even green ectoplasm. Hundreds of flies appeared in the sewing room, despite the fact that it was December. Kathy claimed she was molested by ghostly hands and levitated off her bed. George was plagued with a constant chill. Their daughter had supposedly befriended an angle named “Jody,” who assumed the distinctly demonic form of a glowing-eyed, pig-faced creature. Perhaps the most baffling event of all were the hoofprints found in the snow around the house.
The Warrens eventually got involved and conducted two investigations – one on February 24th, 1976, and again on March 6th, 1976. During the second investigation, the Warrens brought along Gene Campbell, a professional photographer. Campbell set up an infrared camera on the second floor landing. It snapped random photos throughout the night. One photo showed what appeared to be the eerie figure of a young boy with glowing eyes.
Genuine ghost or not, it’s a disturbing photo. Can it really be the spirit of Marc DeFeo, the youngest of the murder victims still lingering in his former home?
Or is the figure not a boy at all, but rather Paul Bartz, an investigator working with the Warrens? Is that glowing effect from a simple pair of eyeglasses?
The photo, like the Amityville case altogether, has never been conclusively explained. Some might argue this entire subject has long been exposed as a money-making hoax. To be fair, those claims themselves are based only on circumstantial evidence. For what it’s worth, both George and Kathy passed a reputable polygraph test. They went to their graves swearing they were telling the truth. That will no doubt mean little to skeptics. But consider this. No one can dispute the tragic history of that house. If any building has a reason to be haunted, it’s Amityville.