Myth - The Shinnecock Indians
resided in Amityville.
Fact - The Shinnecock Indians resided nowhere near
Amityville. Besides, all of the Indians on Long Island were part of
the Montaukett nation. It was the Europeans who placed names on the
inhabitants of the local areas. Regardless, the Massapequans were
the group that would have most likely visited Amityville.
(Information courtesy of the Montaukett
Myth - 112 Ocean Avenue was an Indian sanitarium where the
mad and dying would be left exposed to the elements to die.
Fact - There is no record that there ever was an Indian
burial ground or a sanitarium on Ocean Avenue. According to Long
Island Native American expert John Strong, author of We Are Still
Here, many Indian groups lived along the tidal bays in the area,
but as far as the claims about the Native Americans made in Jay
Anson's The Amityville Horror, he insists that it leads him
to believe it was all an entertaining hoax. Representatives of the
local Indian population personally took author Ric Osuna to several
abandoned Indian cemeteries that are right outside of the Village of
Amityville. Sadly, these grounds are now used as dumping areas.
Regardless, these native peoples' oral histories are quite amazing,
so if a burial ground would have existed, then they would have known
about it. Besides, these native people were a kind and gentle
people, so it is absurd to think that they would leave anyone out,
exposed to the elements to die or curse a land. Rather, they took
care of their sick, dying and mentally insane and even showed the
European settlers how to do the same.
(Information courtesy of the Montaukett Nation).
Myth - A witch named John Ketchum escaped from Salem,
Massachusetts, during the witch trials and built his house on or
near the famous Amityville house to continue his devil worship. It
is reported that his body is buried on or near the property of 112
Fact - A prominent citizen named John Ketchum did return from
Ipswich, Massachusetts (a community near Salem), and settled in
Huntington Township on Long Island. While in Massachusetts, this
John Ketchum acted as a representative to the local government there
before returning to Long Island where some of his family resided. He
eventually became a prominent figure in Huntington before his death
in 1697. He was survived by his wife Bethia and four children, John,
Samuel, Edward and Mary. By the way, Huntington Township is more
than 10 miles from Amityville. The Ketchum family has no information
regarding any John Ketchum being a witch.
(Information courtesy of the Ketchum Genealogy
Myth - The famed Amityville house resides on an ancient
cemetery that was either abandoned or cursed.
Fact - In 1913, William A. Eardeley was commissioned by the
state of New York to copy down old cemetery and bible records
because many of the Amityville cemeteries were either abandoned or
neglected. These cemeteries were either moved or relocated to bigger
incorporated cemeteries. However, there was no report or indication
of any cemetery residing on or near the famed property.
(Information courtesy of the Amityville
Historical Society and New York State Records on Cemeteries).
Myth - The owners of the original house at 112 Ocean Avenue
had to move their house down the street because they were plagued
with supernatural problems.
Fact - John Moynahan purchased the property at 112 Ocean
Avenue from Annie Ireland in 1924. Within a year, the Moynahans
needed a bigger home because, like most families, theirs grew in
size. While their new home was being built, they moved their small
cottage down only a matter of a hundred yards and lived there until
the construction was completed. (Information
courtesy of the Amityville Historical Society).
Original house now located on NW corner of S. Ireland
and Carmen Pl.
Myth - The red room was the gateway to hell.
Fact - The red room was nothing more than a little area
underneath a stairwell that the DeFeo children sometimes stored
their toys or used as storage. Today, it no longer exists since the
current owner has renovated the basement and constructed over it.
(Information courtesy of public record and
With peeling paint,
it's not that impressive.
Myth - American International Pictures' The Amityville
Horror movie could not be filmed
in the real house because the crew was too scared.
Fact - The Village of Amityville viewed the ghost story as a
hoax and did not want a film crew in their sleepy community, so they
denied shooting permits. (Information courtesy
of the Village of Amityville).
Myth - Kathy Lutz has three dreams in The Amityville
Horror about Louise DeFeo. First, Kathy Lutz wakes up screaming
because she saw that Mrs. DeFeo died by a gunshot wound to the head.
"She was shot in the head", Kathy screamed! The second dream
consisted of Mrs. DeFeo's body being removed from the DeFeo plot at
St. Charles Cemetery and re-entombed in Brooklyn. The last dream
consisted of Mrs. DeFeo making love to the painter of the DeFeo
Fact - First, Mrs. DeFeo died from two gunshots to the upper
body and not a head or neck wound, even though Louise DeFeo's head
seems to be near blood splatter in crime-scene photos. Second, the Brigantes never moved
Mrs. DeFeo's body from the family plot because they wanted Louise
with her children. This was recently confirmed in a records search
of the cemetery. Lastly, there is no evidence of an affair. Besides, Mr. DeFeo constantly checked up on
Louise with the "red phone" that only he knew the number to since he
was always so paranoid. Furthermore, William Weber admitted in a
July 27, 1979 Associated Press interview that while discussing their
business venture, Kathy concocted the nightmare idea about Louise
DeFeo. (Information courtesy of public
Myth - The 250-pound front door of the house was inexplicably
torn off its hinges. And, a locksmith was called out to repair the
Fact - The photo below shows the screen door, not storm door
or front door as originally explained, torn off its hinges. With the
gusty winds coming off the Great South Bay, a measly screen door can
easily be damaged. (Information courtesy of
Photo from Newsday 2-14-76
Myth - The Catholic Church is hiding evidence that
"something" existed in the Amityville house.
Fact - Father Ralph Pecoraro admitted that his only contact with the Lutzes was a phone call.
Questions remain whether or not he even ventured to the famed
residence in Amityville. The assistant to the Vicar General of the Rockville Diocese
(The diocese overseeing Amityville), on May 15, 2002, sent author
Ric Osuna a letter stating their position. In short, the letter
stated, "The Diocese maintains [the Amityville Horror] is a false
report." (See The Catholic Church
Speaks Out section)
* * *
In the March 1979 issue of
Writer’s Digest, Anson addressed the
inconsistencies by saying, “Yeah, I know the psychical research people
say I have made mistakes. They say that on such and such a day when I
said it rained, it didn’t rain. So what? I am a perfectly normal human
being, and sometimes I make mistakes.”
Many of the
so called truths and facts stated in Jay Anson’s book were anything but
that. Take away all of the "facts" presented in the horror
novel that appear
on this page, then readers begin to question how his book could be
labeled a work of nonfiction.
MORE INFORMATION ON THIS SUBJECT
MATTER CAN BE FOUND IN
THE NIGHT THE DEFEOS DIED: REINVESTIGATING THE AMITYVILLE MURDERS.
BUY IT HERE