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Rediscover One of Horror’s Greatest Tales

The Amityville Horror changed the paranormal game.

SPECIAL NOTE: The Amityville Horror will be one of two books included in next month's Creepy Crate.

45 years ago, a horrific family slaying sent shockwaves through the small town of Amityville, New York. On November 13, 1974, Ronald DeFeo, Jr., known primarily as Butch, shot and killed all six members of his family as they lay in bed.

DeFeo was arrested and sent to trial, where he was found guilty of six counts of second-degree murder. As he entered prison, the house in which he had murdered his mother, father, and siblings languished on the market, seemingly doomed to remain empty, filled only by the memories of that traumatic night.

Related: 9 Ordinary Houses with Very Disturbing Backstories

Just over a year after the murder, however, a new family purchased 112 Ocean Avenue. George and Kathy Lutz moved in with their three children on December 19, 1975. But malevolent energies still hung in the air; soon, the Lutz family began experiencing paranormal phenomena that they could not explain. On January 14, 1976, less than a month after moving in, the Lutzes along with their family dog fled the Amityville home in terror.

Their story has since become one of the most memorable real-life hauntings ever put to page—or appear on screen. Although controversy surrounds the writing of Jay Anson's The Amityville Horror, there is no doubt that the 1977 blockbuster book is one of the most horrifying paranormal narratives of all time.

Related: The Real Amityville Horror: A Look Back at the DeFeo Murders

Whether The Amityville Horror was your introduction to all things ghostly or this is your first encounter with the classic story, there’s no time like now to revisit 112 Ocean Avenue. A gorgeous reprint has been released just in time for the 45th remembrance of the DeFeo family slaying, and we’re thrilled to include it in our upcoming December/January Creepy Crate!

Read on for an excerpt from The Amityville Horror, one of two books included in the December/January Creepy Crate.

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The Amityville Horror

By Jay Anson

The Amityville Horror

By Jay Anson

DECEMBER 26

One night—George doesn’t remember exactly which—he woke again at 3:15 in the morning. He dressed and went out, and as he was wandering around in the freezing darkness, he wondered what in God’s name he was looking for in the boathouse. Harry, their tough half-breed watchdog, didn’t even wake up when George stumbled over some loose wire near Harry’s compound.

When the Lutzes lived in Deer Park, Harry also had his own doghouse and slept outside in all kinds of weather. Normally he would remain awake, on guard, until two or three in the morning before finally settling down and going to sleep. Any unfamiliar noise would bring Harry to alert attention. Since they had moved to 112 Ocean Avenue, the dog was usually fast asleep whenever George went out to the boathouse. He would awake only when his master called to him.

Related: 11 Chilling Ed and Lorraine Warren Books

George vividly remembers the day after Christmas, however, because that was the date set for Jimmy’s wedding. It was also the beginning of a severe case of diarrhea he developed after checking out the boathouse. The pain was intense at first, almost as if a knife had pierced his stomach. George became frightened when he felt nausea rising in his throat. As soon as he reentered the house, he made a dash for the bathroom on the first floor.

It was daylight outside when he settled back into bed. The abdominal cramps were intense, but finally he fell asleep out of sheer exhaustion. Kathy awoke a few moments later and immediately roused him to remind him of the wedding affair that evening. There would be a lot of arrangements to be handled before her brother came to pick them up. She would be busy with her clothes and hair. George groaned in his half-sleep.

Related: Bodies on the Beach: The Chilling Cold Case of the Long Island Serial Killer 

Before going down to prepare breakfast for herself and the children, Kathy went up to the third floor to check the playroom. It was still cold inside when she opened the door, but not as icy as the day before. George might not like to move from his fire, but he would just have to in order to check the radiator. It was working all right, but there was no heat in the room. Certainly the children couldn’t stay in there any length of time, and Kathy wanted them out of the way until it was time for them to dress for the wedding. She looked out of the window and saw the ground covered with slush from the melted snow. That settled it. The three would remain indoors today. She decided they would have to play in their own bedrooms.

After they were fed, Missy obediently started up to her own bedroom. Kathy warned her that she was not to go into the sewing room; that she was not even to open the door. “That’s okay, Mama. Jodie wants to play in my room today.” “That’s my good girl,” Kathy smiled. “You go and play with your friend.”

The boys wanted to play outside, arguing that this was their Christmas vacation from school. It was the way they persisted and answered her back that angered Kathy. Danny and Chris never questioned her requests before this, and she was becoming more aware that her two sons had also changed since they had been in the new house.

Related: 13 Terrifying Books About Real-Life Hauntings

But Kathy was not yet aware of her own personality changes, her impatience and crankiness.

“That’s enough out of both of you!” she yelled at her sons. “I see you’re asking for another beating! Now shut your mouths and get up to your room like I said, and stay there until I call you! You hear me? Scat! Upstairs!”

Sullenly, Danny and Chris mounted the stairs to the third floor, passing George on his way down. He didn’t acknowledge them. They didn’t say good morning to him.

But Kathy was not yet aware of her own personality changes, her impatience and crankiness.

In the dinette, George took one sip of coffee, clutched his stomach, and headed back upstairs to his bathroom. “Don’t forget you’ve got to shave and shower today!” Kathy yelled after him. Considering George’s speed in running up the stairs she wasn’t sure he had heard her.

Kathy returned to her breakfast nook. She had been making up a shopping list, checking items in the refrigerator and cabinets that had to be replaced. Food was again running low, and she knew she just had to get herself up and out of the house. She couldn’t depend on George to do it. The big freezer in the basement, one of the free items they had received from the DeFeo estate, was clean and could be filled with meats and frozen foods. Her cleaning materials were almost exhausted, since she had been scrubbing the toilet bowls day after day. Most of the blackness was gone by now.

Related: The Haunting of the Perron Family Inspired The Conjuring

Kathy planned to go to an Amityville supermarket the next morning, Saturday. She wrote “orange juice” on her pad. Suddenly she became aware of a presence in the kitchen. In Kathy’s current state of mind over the eroding situation of her family, the memory of the first touch on her hand flooded back, and she froze. Slowly, Kathy looked over her shoulder.

She could see the kitchen was empty—but at the same time, she sensed that the presence was closer, almost directly behind her chair! Her nostrils caught a sweetish scent of perfume, and she recognized it as the odor that had permeated her bedroom four days before.

amityville horror house 1973
  • 112 Ocean Avenue in 1973, one year before the DeFeo slayings.

  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Startled, Kathy could actually feel a body pressing against hers, clasping its arms around her waist. The pressure was light, however, and Kathy realized that as before, it was a woman’s touch—almost reassuring. The unseen presence didn’t give her a sense of danger—not at first. 

Then the sweet smell became heavier. It seemed to swirl in the air, making Kathy dizzy. She started to gag, then tried to pull away from a grip that tightened as she struggled. Kathy thought she heard a whisper, and she recalls something deep within her warning her not to listen.

“No!” she shouted. “Leave me alone!” She struck out at the empty air. The embrace tightened, hesitated. Kathy felt a hand on her shoulder, making the same motions of motherly reassurance she had felt the first time in her kitchen.

Related: 9 Haunted House Books That Will Leave You Sleeping with One Eye Open

Then it was gone! All that remained was the odor of the cheap perfume.

Kathy slumped back into her chair and closed her eyes. She began to cry. A hand touched her shoulder. Kathy jumped. “Oh, God, no! Not again!” She opened her eyes.

Missy was standing there, calmly patting her on the arm. “Don’t cry, Mama.” Then Missy turned her head to look back at the kitchen doorway.

Kathy looked too. But there was nothing there. “Jodie says you shouldn’t cry,” Missy said. “He says everything will be all right soon.”

Want to keep reading? Subscribe to Creepy Crate for your shot at getting The Amityville Horror.

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Published on 18 Nov 2019

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