Before the Lutz family made the house famous in The Amityville Horror, Ronald DeFeo Jr. shot and killed his entire family while they slept in their beds.
Tracking down Wisconsin’s strangest legends, from the Beast of Bray Road and the Amityville Horror house to the witches of Whitewater’s haunted cemeteries.
Amityville Horror props were sold at an estate sale this weekend at the Wisconsin lakehouse that served as the iconic haunted house in the 2005 film.
An estate sale was held over the weekend, on May 5, 6, and 7, at the Amityville Horror house in Wisconsin, the Victorian lake house in Salem where the 2005 Amityville Horror remake was filmed. The sale drew crowds who either just wanted to get a closer look at the historic home, or were just interested in it for its film history.
According to the Kenosha News, the film production spent $60,000 to fit the house with a fake facade resembling the notorious house on Ocean Ave in Amityville, New York where 23-year-old Ronald DeFeo Jr. murdered his entire family in 1974.
Amongst the various items for sale over the weekend was a bed used by actor Ryan Reynolds to shoot a scene, available for $70, and the iconic “eye” windows from the facade, which sold for $300 each.
The house, known as Oakwood Manor, is also for sale.
The massive 3,548-square-foot Queen Anne built circa 1880 includes six bedrooms, two bathrooms, original wood staircase, an enclosed wrap-around porch, a one-lane bowling alley in a separate building on the property, 500 feet of lakefront property on Silver Lake, and a boathouse and gazebo overlooking the lake.
But does it come with any ghosts? Probably not, since it’s a long way from the real Amityville Horror. Also, the real estate listing does not include a Native American burial ground.
A house this old, though, is sure to have some stories of its own.
The house as seen in The Amityville Horror (2005)
The real Amityville Horror is the strange story of the brutal DeFeo murders that took place 13 months earlier.
This A&E documentary explores the true story behind the Amityville Horror: the bizarre circumstances surrounding the brutal murders of the DeFeo family on November 13th, 1974.
Thirteen months before George and Kathleen Lutz moved into the foreboding Dutch Colonial house located at 112 Ocean Ave in Amityville, New York, Ronald DeFeo, Jr. marched through the house with a rifle. At about 3 o’clock in the morning the eldest DeFeo brother, 23 at the time, went room to room, putting a .35 caliber bullet through each of his family members: his mother, father and all four of his younger siblings.
At the crime scene police found each victim lying face down in their beds with no signs of struggle or the use of sedatives. A suppressor was not used on the rifle, but the neighbors never heard the gunshots. It was determined that most of the victims were asleep at the time of the murders.
William Weber, DeFeo’s lawyer, mounted a defense to support a plea of insanity. DeFeo claimed he murdered his family in self-defense because he heard their voices plotting against him.
In an interview with author Ric Osuna for his 2002 book The Night the DeFeos Died, Ronald DeFeo implicated his sister Dawn, as well as two friends. Forensic evidence of unburned gun powder on Dawn’s nightgown could potentially support this claim, but the truth may never be known.
The Lutzes moved into the house in December of 1975. They were eager to start their new lives together, and the tragedy gave the house a price tag they couldn’t refuse.
28 days later, the Amityville Horror was born.
Attorney Weber initially tried to ink a book deal with the Lutzes, presumably to support his defense in DeFeo’s trial, which had just begun in October of 1975. A disagreement over percentages, however, lead to the Lutzes working with Jay Anson, instead. The book told the story of what has become the most controversial haunted house story of all time.
Tony Brueski of Real Ghost Stories Online talks with filmmaker Eric Walter about the making of his documentary My Amityville Horror. The film explores the controversial story of The Amityville Horror from the perspective of Daniel Lutz, the oldest of the three Lutz.
In this interview, Walter discusses how he came into contact with Lutz, and how the 8 hour interview came to change his perception of the Amityville events.