The Real Story Of George Lutz, The Man Whose Claims About Paranormal Activity Inspired ‘The Amityville Horror’

Published May 16, 2024
Updated May 19, 2024

In 1975, George Lutz and his family moved into the infamous “Amityville Horror” house in New York — then fled just 28 days later after allegedly experiencing a host of disturbing paranormal phenomena.

George Lutz

IMDBGeorge Lutz, the man who lived in the Amityville Horror House a year after the DeFeo murders.

George Lutz and his family moved into a home in Amityville, New York in 1975, expecting that it would make their dreams come true.

But only 28 days into living at the home, the family fled without even grabbing their belongings. Their wild claims about the paranormal encounters they suffered inside the house would come to be known as “The Amityville Horror” and would soon spawn a series of films, books, and television shows.

However, in the wake of these alleged hauntings, many have cast doubt on the legitimacy of Lutz’s claims.

This is the story of George Lutz and his family’s experience in the Amityville Horror House.

George Lutz And His Family Move Into The Amityville Home

George Lutz was born on Jan. 1, 1947 in Long Island, New York. In the 1970s, George met and married his wife Kathy, a divorcee with three children, and decided he needed a new home in which to raise his growing family.

In the winter of 1975, the Lutz family toured a gorgeous five-bedroom home on Long Island. The house was suspiciously priced at $80,000 despite having a pool, a boathouse, and access to a canal. Then, they learned that a grisly murder had taken place there only a year prior.

The house at 112 Ocean Avenue had once belonged to the DeFeo family. On Nov. 13, 1974, Ronald DeFeo Jr. shot and killed six members of his family while they slept in the home. He was sentenced to six sentences of 25 years to life for the crime.

Amityville House

Wikimedia CommonsThe home at 112 Ocean Avenue in 1973, a year before the murders.

Despite knowing of the property’s macabre history, George Lutz and his family decided that the offer was too perfect to pass up. They moved into the home in December 1975.

“It was a dream come true,” George told ABC News about the purchase.

But that dream come true would quickly become a nightmare for the Lutz family.

The Alleged Haunting In Amityville

The day the family moved into the Amityville house, George Lutz called a priest to bless the house as a precaution, given the home’s history.

According to George, an unseen entity slapped the priest in the face during the service and told him to “get out.” Despite this horrifying event, the family proceeded with the move-in.

In the weeks that followed, the Lutz family allegedly began experiencing a range of chilling paranormal phenomena.

“There were… odors in the house that came and went,” George told ABC News. “There were sounds. The front door would slam shut in the middle of the night… I couldn’t get warm in the house for many days.”

The family kept the home’s furnace burning day and night to keep the space warm, but to no avail. Throughout their stay, George claimed, he found green slime oozing from the walls, saw a demonic pig-like creature with red eyes staring at him, and witnessed his wife transform into an elderly woman on multiple occasions.

Ronald Defeo Jr

Wikimedia CommonsRonald DeFeo Jr. brutally murdered his family in Amityville in 1974.

He also claimed that he woke up nearly every night at 3:15 a.m. — right around the time the murders had taken place inside the house the year before. On one such occasion, he claimed he heard the children’s beds “slamming up and down on the floor” while he lay helpless in his own bed, held in place by some unseen force. Later that night, he said, he woke to find Kathy levitating from their bed.

The morning after this alleged incident, George Lutz and the rest of the family abandoned the home — not even bothering to empty their refrigerator or closets. They had only lived in the house for 28 days.

Upon reflecting on their flight from the home, George Lutz stated that he felt something terrible would have happened if the family did not leave immediately.

“I try not to think about it,” he said.

The Amityville Horror Story Becomes A Pop Culture Sensation

The Lutzes’ story swiftly blew up in popular culture. In 1977, author Jay Anson wrote a book based on the Lutzes’ experience: The Amityville Horror. Anson reportedly collected about 45 hours of tape-recorded accounts from the Lutz family to build the narrative.

The book was adapted into the immensely popular 1979 film The Amityville Horror, starring James Brolin as George Lutz. And with the film’s success came several doubts about the story’s validity.

James Brolin As George Lutz

United Archives GmbH / Alamy Stock PhotoMargot Kidder and James Brolin as Kathy and George Lutz in The Amityville Horror.

In the September 1979 edition of People magazine, William Weber, the defense attorney for Ronald DeFeo Jr., claimed that he and George Lutz once sat down and fabricated the Amityville Horror story.

“I know this book’s a hoax. We created this horror story over many bottles of wine,” Weber said, according to ABC Science.

But George and Kathy Lutz insisted that they were telling the truth about the hauntings they allegedly experienced at the Amityville house, even going so far as to take polygraph tests.

The results of the polygraph did not indicate deception, and the family continued to speak about their experience for years, inspiring several more films and television shows. George Lutz frequently gave interviews and even appeared in several documentaries about the alleged haunting.

Ultimately, George and Kathy Lutz divorced in 1980 and went their separate ways. Kathy died in 2004 of emphysema, and George from heart disease in 2006. Today, many still question whether their accounts were true.

George Lutz’s Complicated Legacy

Lutz Polygraph

Allstar Picture Library Limited. / Alamy Stock PhotoGeorge Lutz sits for a polygraph test in 1979.

Over the years, many have speculated that the whole Amityville story was fabricated by George Lutz himself. Some have suggested that George, who reportedly was facing financial difficulties around the time of the alleged hauntings, intentionally moved into the Amityville house to profit off of the murders.

George’s own stepson, Christopher Quaratino, insisted the hauntings did happen; however, he claimed that George carelessly brought them upon the family by dabbling in the occult — and then exaggerated the events for profit.

“He’s a professional showman, in my opinion,” he said in 2005, according to NBC. “I just feel as though we’re being exploited.”

George’s other stepson Daniel Lutz has insisted over the years that everything his parents said was true. He spoke of his own experiences in the 2013 documentary My Amityville Horror. However, he admitted that George was extremely controlling and both physically and verbally abusive as a stepfather — leading many to suspect that the “horrors” Daniel suffered in the house were actually familial in nature rather than paranormal.

The world may never know whether George Lutz was telling the truth about his experience at 112 Ocean Avenue. But his accounts have certainly helped solidify the Amityville Horror House’s reputation as being one of America’s most haunted homes.

After reading the story of George Lutz, discover 11 other terrifying real-life ghost stories. Then, read the chilling true stories behind your favorite horror movies.

Amber Morgan
Amber Morgan is an Editorial Fellow for All That's Interesting. She graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in political science, history, and Russian. Previously, she worked as a content creator for America House Kyiv, a Ukrainian organization focused on inspiring and engaging youth through cultural exchanges.
Maggie Donahue
Maggie Donahue is an assistant editor at All That's Interesting. She has a Master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and a Bachelor's degree in creative writing and film studies from Johns Hopkins University. Before landing at ATI, she covered arts and culture at The A.V. Club and Colorado Public Radio and also wrote for Longreads. She is interested in stories about scientific discoveries, pop culture, the weird corners of history, unexplained phenomena, nature, and the outdoors.
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Morgan, Amber. "The Real Story Of George Lutz, The Man Whose Claims About Paranormal Activity Inspired ‘The Amityville Horror’.", May 16, 2024, Accessed June 22, 2024.