The Amityville Horror remains one of the world’s most publicized, dramatized, and continuously mysterious hauntings, but by all accounts, the ghostly manifestations and harrowing evil presence left the home shortly after George Lutz and his family fled back in 1975. But what if echoes of the Amityville haunting still lingered within the walls of the house on Ocean Avenue? Evidence suggests that may very well be the case.
The home featured in the Amityville Horror has undergone some extensive renovations under nearly every new owner, including the Lutz family. Anyone who takes a drive by the legendary building today will see that one of the most dramatic changes was the loss of its iconic windows. Several years ago, Traveling Museum of the Paranormal & Occult co-founder Dana Matthews and I came into possession of a plank of wood discarded from one of the earlier cosmetic changes to the house, and almost immediately, we became aware that it held a strange energy.
On November 13, 1974, Ronald DeFeo Jr. shot and killed six members of his family in the house at 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, New York. Despite using a .35 calibre rifle in the murders, none of DeFeo’s family members appeared to be startled by the gunshots, each of them killed in their sleep one at a time. In November of 1975, he was convicted of second-degree murder after telling the court that disembodied voices persuaded him to go through with the horrifying act.
One month after DeFeo’s conviction, George and Kathy Lutz and their three children moved into the house, where they claimed to experience everything from a black-green slime oozing from the walls, to spontaneous bite-marks on the family members, to outright demonic manifestations. After just 28 days in the home, the Lutzes fled, never to return.
To this day, none of the many families who have lived in the house since have experienced any paranormal activity, but if the strange phenomena emanating from a small piece of wood collected from the iconic building is any indication, the ghostly energy of the Amityville Horror is still contained within the walls of 112 Ocean Avenue, just waiting for the right conditions to present themselves.
The foot-long length of wood has always been at the center of some interesting coincidences. Being such an iconic piece of the world’s most famous haunting, the plank has always found a place on a shelf in our office, but it rarely stayed put. Many evenings we’ll awake in the middle of the night to a hollow “clank” as the wood tumbles from its shelf, bouncing off the desk and onto the floor. Strangely enough, this always seems to occur around 3:15am, the very same time that George Lutz found himself woken during his time in the haunted house.
We would later discover that the individual who donated the Amityville Plank to the museum had experienced even more frightening phenomena associated with the several other wood pieces they’d collected. When placed at the center of a Ouija board during a seance, the plank began to rattle, emanate a putrid odor, and seemingly draw the planchette to itself without any help.
When the room became freezing cold and a number of the terrified seance participants began to vomit, the plank’s owner tossed the rest of his pieces into a fire pit, along with the Ouija board, and set them alight. The Amityville Plank in our possession is believed to be the last artifact from this collection.
Our experiences with the Amityville Plank were never quite so pronounced, at least until we began taking the artifact on the road with the Traveling Museum of the Paranormal & Occult. Things only got weirder after that.
During several of our first appearances, most of our haunted artifacts had no display tags. We opted instead to carefully observe which items visitors were drawn to before sharing their histories. Those who identified as psychics and sensitives would immediately recoil from the plank.
“I can feel a darkness that has seeped into this wood,” one psychic muttered as she waved her hands over the plank. “It radiates bad energy. I see blood.. I see evil.. this was part of someth-OW!”
The psychic pulled her hand away from the wood and began to gingerly rub it near her body.
“It zapped me,” she stammered. “I wasn’t even touching it.”
Interactions like this one are not uncommon with the piece. Unease, difficulty breathing, and the overwhelming feeling of intense sadness are just a few of the reactions reported by those who hold the plank.
Museum curators Dana Matthews and Greg Newkirk with the collection
In terms of electromagnetic fluctuations, the Amityville Plank has established itself as one of the “hottest” artifacts in the museum collection, regularly firing K2 meters through the roof, much to the amazement of both supernatural novices and hardened paranormal investigators.
While presenting the museum at a Strange Escapes’ event on Mackinac Island in September of 2015, we found ourselves in a conversation with a woman who’d arrived at the venue’s lecture hall early. She was killing time waiting for the next lecturer to take the stage, so we invited her to have a peek at the museum and chat about the haunted artifacts on display. She’d taken a liking to the Amityville Plank, and as we filled her in on the object’s history, she snapped a few photos, and then moved on to catch a talk by our friend John E.L. Tenney.
The reflection of the ghostly girl can be seen in the bottom righthand corner of the Amityville Plank
An hour later, the woman returned, her face white as a ghost. She’d been scrolling through her photos and discovered something strange in the reflection of the plank’s glass case. About fifteen feet behind her left shoulder appeared to be the figure of a girl. She looked as if she was crouched down, almost as of she were peering around the woman with the camera in order to get a better look at the artifact.
I asked the woman to forward me the image, and left it until I got home. Upon further review, I couldn’t help but notice the figure’s striking similarity to the Defeo girls, particularly because her style of dress looked exactly like the uniforms worn by students at Amityville’s St. Martins of Tours, where the Defeo children went to school, right down to the knee-length skirt, button-up shirt, and long black socks.
Allison DeFeo in her student uniform vs the girl in the Amityville Plank reflection
This wouldn’t be the first time that one of the DeFeo children mysteriously appeared in the background of a photo. After the Lutz family fled the home in 1975, Ed and Lorraine Warren were called to Amityville for the purposes of a televised seance. During their investigation, they set up an array of motion activated cameras, one of which caught the appearance of a young boy peeking out of a doorway on the second floor. This ghostly child with glowing eyes bore a striking resemblance to John Matthew DeFeo, one of the children killed on November 13, 1974.
Could the ghosts of the DeFeo children be drawn to the energy of the Amityville Plank? Is the home on 112 Ocean Avenue simply waiting for the right trigger in order for the paranormal energy to manifest once again? We believe that may be case.
Our investigations with the Amityville Plank are an ongoing effort, but it’s our thought that something still lingers in the fibers of the wood connected to the world’s most notorious haunting, and when the conditions are right, the ghosts of the past can be lulled from their slumber to speak to us in mysterious ways.
Want to feel the energy of the Amityville Plank for yourself? See where you can visit the Traveling Museum of the Paranormal & Occult when it comes to your town, where you can view, hold, and even investigate real haunted objects for yourself.