The Amityville Horror

“Get out.”

When George (James Brolin) and Kathy (Margot Kidder) move into a quaint house in Amityville, New York, the last thing they expect to encounter is a nightmare. Knowing that the house was the scene of a brutal family annihilation, the Lutz family starts to wonder if the demons that plagued the killer are back for more victims.

A True Story…?
One of the only non-fabricated haunted house tales out there, the Lutz family actually experienced some unsettling events in their new home. The events, shared in the book by Jay Anson and in numerous screen variations, caused the family to vacate the house after 28 days there – without any of their belongings. Some believe wholeheartedly that the family annihilator, Ronald “Butch” DeFeo Jr., heard voices telling him to kill his family. Others are convinced that The Amityville Horror was all a hoax.

Pathological Lies
Readers, I don’t pretend to know all the spiritual secrets of the universe, but I am inclined to subscribe to the idea that this was mostly a lie. Ronald “Butch” DeFeo Jr. really did kill his whole family in cold blood and while many of us want an ethereal explanation for acts of this kind, there often isn’t a satisfying rationale. I cannot accuse George and Kathy Lutz of outright lying – real people means real potential lawsuits – and I would not accuse them of it anyway. What happened in that house is known only to the people who inhabited it at the time and since I wasn’t there, I don’t know what is speculation and what is embellishment.

Let’s examine instead the phenomenon of pathological lying. Someone who lies pathologically believes the lies that they tell. If the Lutzes were committed to the idea that their home was haunted by evil spirits – and let’s not shirk that they did abandon the house without a single possession – then even if the stories were only stories, the fact that the Lutzes believed what they told people gives an ounce of truth to the entire ordeal.

Paranormal gurus want to believe in ghosts and demons; thus, when these groups get together, they allege that stories like The Amityville Horror carry more than a mere ounce of truth. The consensus of groupthink is such that harmony is created in the group by ascribing to the same set of thoughts or rules; this is a psychological way of keeping the peace in a group mentality situation. Most people err on either the side that the whole thing was real or the whole thing was a hoax, but whatever happened in Amityville will only ever be known to the smattering of people who lived there and, if you believe such things, the ghosts or demons that walked among the living.


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