Monday, September 17, 2012

My Visit to The Amityville Horror House

 The original Amityville Horror is one of my all time favorite films. Perhaps, growing up in New York, the true life murders committed at 112 Ocean Ave on the South Shore of Long Island, by the eldest son of the Defeo Family (owners of Defeo Cadillac), was my initial fascination - they were a traditional Italian America family, as was mine...who knows what gets a kid fascinated by creepy stuff -  anyway... 

The film definitely left an impact on me and my writing. Who can ever forget James Brolin running back to that house in the rain for Harry the dog, nevertheless...the flies...the hand smashing window, the fireplace, THE BABY SITTER LOCKED IN THE CLOSET!!! 

All of it great stuff! So of course, one of my fondest memories in life is of my brief visit to that feared and famed abode many years ago...

At the time I was still with my Ex, a rock musician. They tend to want big, outlandish toys and it was the very early 90's when the trend was for the MTV elite to buy spooky mansions...Trent Reznor was living in the Tate/Labianca house...I think Jimmy Page had the Alistair Crowley mansion...and so on. 

Having always been fascinated with The Amityville Horror lure, the true life DeFeo family murders and the supposed Lutz family haunting on Ocean Avenue, when I heard the house was for up for sale (and I happened to be selling a place in NY at the time myself) we decided to take a ride and have a look, and even potentially buy the place - we were young (I think I was 21 or 22 at the time). 

The Realtor agreed to meet us on a Sunday evening at something like 6pm. We arrived at the property early and at that time they had not yet built the giant wall/fences which hide the house today and it was still frequently visited by freaks and gawkers (the REAL reason no one ever lived there for long, I'm sure). 

The ornate Dutch Colonial is on a huge lot  and the back yard had a boat house that sits on the water. We walked around laughing and creeping each other out... he spent the better part of the tour trying to scare me, of course. So finally it's 6 and the Realtor isn't pulling up so we think maybe she's already inside and we go back around to the front and there's a note on the door saying the key is in the box and to have a look and call her if we're interested or have any questions. 

So right there, of course he starts with, she's afraid of the house and doesn't want to show it to know, like turning it into something scary, when in reality, it was Sunday night! She was probably with her family and sick and tired of idiots like us dragging her to this house most likely just to gawk. Anyway, we go in and the house is incredible! (In some ways it probably (unintentionally) serves as a subtle muse for the Kings Hollow house in my horror-thriller, WISHBONE). Ornate old wood, large staircase, intricate molding...a really cool old house. 

When you first walk in the stairs are in front of you and slightly to the right and the first room to your left is a dining room, to your right the living room, and past the staircase directly ahead of the front door is the kitchen. So we look around downstairs and continue with the giggling and spooky crap. He wanted to check out the basement but it turned in to one of those YOU GO FIRST...NO YOU GO...NO YOU! So I said let's go upstairs first. 

The second floor had a lot of small rooms and finally we get to one where I can see the boathouse from the window and I said, I think this is the room where the kid's hand supposedly got smashed by the window and... (He pipes in)...The Flies. As God is my if on cue...a FREAKIN FLY (loud as hell, in that empty, echo-y room) comes buzzing by my face and lands on the glass window which I'm standing beside. 

So half laughing, half freakin-the-hell-out, I'm like, I'm out'a here! And he's saying Nooo...don't be silly and trying to act all cool. I took off like a bat out'a hell and practically flew down the stairs to the front door (I don't think my boots even touched the ground), and when I went to turn and call back for him (as I'm opening the door) he slams in to the back of me (freakin, Mr. Macho was terrified to be left up there alone!). The two of us are  fumbling with the doorknob (more like an episode of Abbot & Costello than a horror flick!). We get the door open and scurry out of there at top speed. 

We sat in the car for like ten minutes before finding the balls to take the key back in and lock up (as the note instructed). We left, and of course, never bought the house. Now, I wish I the time it was dirt cheap, in need of some TLC, but exquisite, and is surely worth millions today. 

Can someone get Jimmy some cooler undies? 

As for the flies...I'm sure it was one solitary fly but once I saw that thing I was positive there would be hundreds of its friends on that glass seconds later and I was not about to wait around to find out. 

That visit was truly one of the greatest, most fun memories of my life! 
I will never forget that day.


  1. That book scared the hell out of me.
    I would love to get in there--but living there would not be for me--although I like the view from the house across the water.
    Cracks me up that you guys were so scared :) Alhough I probably would not be laughing if I was in there.
    Cool post and fun story.

    1. Thanks Penelope! Looking back and having been so young, I had amped myself up with all the joking and I would never have run out so fast! I would totally have gone in that basement too! Wish I could do it all over again.

  2. O-M-G! So, I'm participating in a huge blog fest this week. There's so many entries that I just know it'll take all week and maybe the entire weekend to get through the list. I mention this fact because I knew going in that I would most likely end up ignoring many of my regular haunts in order to get this accomplished... However, The Amityville Horror is one of the first books that I experienced as a teenager. To this day - whether you believe it a hoax or not - it remains one of the scariest midnight reads ever written. With that in mind, when this post hit my inbox this afternoon, I just knew I would have to make an exception and see what you had for me. I'm so glad I did. What an awesome story. Thanks for sharing. Many of us might say we'd like to get inside that house, but how many would last even as short a time as you did?
    Very, very cool. Thanks, Brooklyn.


    1. Thanks Jimmy, I totally agree! One of the best reads of my teen years (and I'd like to read it again now). I have searched and searched for a book (written by a detective who was on the case) called The Defeo Family Murders. It's out of print now, but I read it right after reading Amity and MAN! Even though it was about the crimes, it was so creepy and scary! If I ever find it again, I'll mail it off to you for a borrow. He talks a lot about the claims "Butch" Defeo made about possession and the voices in the house...really well written.
      Anyhow, glad you squeezed me in and stopped by!
      Thanks so much...B

  3. The book absolutely scared the heck out of me...the movie was worse. I remember watching it by myself when I was a teenager(stupid me)...I just thought that none of them were going to make it out. I definitely would have freaked out if I had been there and saw a fly! I would have done the same thing as like HELL!

    But, then again, I would probably never go in there...too much bad mojo...

    Great blog, Brooklyn!

    1. Thanks Beth...had not been so busy trying to act girly and playful with all of his teasing, I would never have run out of there. I'm so sorry I hadn't spent more time exploring the house.

  4. I never visited the house, but when I was in 3rd grade we went on a class trip to Amityville to some sort of olden days type village. Dressed in period clothing, the staff gave us a tour of the old builidngs, barns, farms, etc. I remember getting a weird vibe about the place, like something wasn't quite "right" with it. Sorta evil, and this was way before the actual Amityville murders took place. One of my classmates stepped on a rusty nail, another a rusty rake, and one girl got stung by yellowjacks. All required medical attention. I felt nauseous most of the day, and funny enough, there were flies everywhere. In the souvenir shop I bought a "moo in a can." When you turned over the can something inside tumbled down and a mooing sound came out. It really did sound like a cow. That night on my dresser every once in a while it would moo by itself. It wasn't electronic, nor flimsy. It freaked me out. The next morning I looked at it more closely and the pictures of the cows on it looked evil to me. I felt like it was haunted, so I threw it out. Haven't been back to Amityville since then.

    1. Hey Elena, I remember those Moo Can thingies! Wow! That's pretty creepy. It's an odd place, for sure. Thanks for sharing that.

  5. Replies
    1. Thank you! It's all true and such a great memory. So glad you've enjoyed the post.


  6. How can me and my wife come and take a tour. Who would be the POC for that.

  7. You can't. The house was sold shortly after our visit and the new owners built a wall around the property. They are extremely private and do not offer tours. It's been that way for a long time now.


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