The Most Challenging of the 2016 Reading Challenge!

    The tenth assignment in the 2016 Reading Challenge was holding me up from accomplishing my goal… threatening to sabotage me from completing the challenge by December 31st! Why? Because it required me to read a book that has been in my house (well, apartment, really) for a long time that I never read. I have no such tomes. I buy ‘em, I read ‘em. Nothing goes unread, once acquired by my eager hands and inquisitive mind. What to DOOOO?????

    I don’t know if this is cheating, but I bought a bunch of books at two local library sales. I let them sit for a coupla days on my living room couch. Then I blindly reached into the pile and pulled out…

    The Amityville Horror, by Jay Anson

 

amityjinx

My reading buddy, Jinx

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    I picked this book up for a quarter at a library in Boonville, NY. I was attracted to it because 1) I had seen the movie, 2) I am from Long Island, and 3) I was hospitalized for many months in Amityville in 1991, and it really was quite horrific! .

    If you’re unfamiliar with the story (or Urban Legend?) of the experiences of the Lutz family while they lived in their “dream home” at 112 Ocean Avenue for a mere twenty-eight days in 1975, let me bring you up yo speed. The family, which consisted of George and Kathy Lutz and their three children (plus Harry the dog), were surprised at the “bargain” price of the beautiful, three story house: only $80,000! (According to an inflation calculator, that would be equivalent to $392,258.01 in today’s money.) What could be wrong with the place? It certainly wasn’t falling apart, In fact, although it was slightly more expensive than what they’d been planning to spend, the house was all they ever wanted.

    The real estate agent explained the reason for the discounted price: the home was the site of a horrific mass murder the year before, one that made national headlines. On November 13, 1974, 23-year-old Ronald DeFeo shot to death his parents, two brothers and two sisters while they were asleep. (He claimed he’d been hearing “voices” for months before the massacre.) He was consequently given six consecutive life sentences.

                          Ron DeFeo’s mug shot, and pictured on the far right with the siblings he                                                 murdered.

  Now, a lot of folks might be put off by such a story and decline the chance to live in a house where such a horrible event took place, no matter how good the price was. However, the Lutzes were not superstitious.

    Of course, supernatural occurrences began as soon as the family moved in. Some examples…

George’s demeanor changed from an amiable husband and good father to that of an irritable man who had no patience with his children. He stopped showering and shaving and avoided going to work.

Certain rooms in the house were inexplicably cold, no matter how high the thermostat was turned up.

All of the toilets in the house turned pitch black inside, as though they had been painted. No amount of scrubbing or Clorox would get rid of the mysterious stain.

Unexplained shadows… MOVING ones appeared, sending Harry into a barking frenzy.

While many children have imaginary friends, five-year-old Missy’s was not your typical invisible playmate; no, her “friend” was a pig named Jodie who told her that he was an angel. The parents might have brushed this off as their kid being a little “odd”…if it weren’t for the fact that the adult Lutzes witnessed Jodie’s red eyes glowing in the dark!

lutz-fam

George and Kathy Lutz with two of their kids.

A local priest, Father Frank Mancuso, was alerted to the fact that the Lutzes might be in danger. When he visited the house, to bless it with holy water, he was alarmed by a disembodied, masculine voice, ordering him to:”GET OUT!” Immediately after returning to the rectory following his eerie visit to 112 Ocean Avenue, Father Mancuso became inexplicably ill, with a fever of 103 degrees. Furthermore, whenever he and the Lutzes attempted to communicate by telephone, they were interrupted by static interference, making communication virtually impossible.

One might scoff at the Lutz’s story, writing them off as attention-seekers who wanted to capitalize on the house’s history. Why, then, did the family flee from the home,leaving all of their furniture and personal possessions behind? And why would a priest “lie” confirming their story?

Other families have lived in the house after the Lutzes. I’m not sure if they experienced supernatural or demonic activity. However, they were plagued by curiosity seekers. The vast amount of strangers wanting tours and pictures of the house was so disruptive that the new owners removed the house number and made changes to the outside of the house so it wouldn’t be as recognizable.

amityville-house-305x400-before-after

Earlier this year, the house made news again when it hit the market for an asking price of $850,000.

Any takers?

I have two books left for my 2016 Reading Challenge: A book that intimidates me, and any book that I’ve read at least once before. The possibilities are endless.

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