For the month of April I will be participating in the Blogging From A to Z Challenge. Learn more about the challenge by clicking here. Each day (except Sundays) I will be posting a theme based on each letter of the alphabet. This blog is covering paranormal topics for the month. To read my automotive blog posts for the challenge, click here.
Just about everyone has heard of the Amityville Haunting. It was a story that captivated the nation at the time (or so I've heard, since I wasn't alive back then). There were several elements that made the haunting particularly phenomenal: the horrific way the previous owners of the house were murdered (by their own son/brother), the media frenzy that surrounded The Exorcist (which was released the previous year), and the televised investigation of the house (which to my knowledge had never been done before). Even today the story generates quite a bit of interest, making it one of the most famous hauntings in history.
As with any haunting that has been publicized, there have been critics of the event. All kinds of wild theories have been generated about what really happened at the house, ranging from Ronald DeFeao (the previous owners' son) having been possessed by demons, to the angry spirits of Native Americans exacting revenge on the white men, to the whole thing being a fraud that was brainstormed by the Catholic Church.
Having investigated some hauntings myself, as well as other paranormal phenomena, I have to admit that I have some serious doubts about the veracity of the Amityville Haunting. First off, George and Katy Lutz were recorded talking to William Weber, who was the defense attorney for Ronald DeFeao, about how they could play up the details of the haunting. Weber had an agreement to write a book about the family's purported experiences. Add to that the fact that there were some inconsistencies in how the Lutz family described the events, coupled with their intense eagerness to talk to the media, and the story really becomes suspect. Then you add in their claims that there was a hidden Red Room in the basement that might have been used for Satanic rituals, a claim that was proven to be outright false by multiple witnesses, and the story really starts to reel. Later, George and Katy even admitted that at least some of the events described in the book about the haunting were trumped up or completely fabricated.
This is the problem when dealing with the paranormal: there will always be those who are looking for gain through sharing their supposed experiences. Some people just want attention. Other people are looking for financial gain. My experience has been that most people are almost embarrassed to tell anyone about an experience they had. Often times when they do share their story, they preface it with something like "I'm not crazy, but..." because they know the stereotypes. These people often think long and hard about alternative explanations. The Lutz family did not react this way. While I cannot say for one hundred percent certainty what happened in that house in Amityville, I can say that I strongly doubt anything paranormal occurred.