Happy Halloween: The Amityville Horror house, then and now

The real haunting of Amityville is by unwanted tourists. Here's how the famous site has added security and privacy features over the years.

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The small village was never the same

In 1974, Ronald DeFeo murdered his parents and four siblings in their Amityville home.

Nearly two years later, the Lutz family fled the home 28 days after moving in, claiming it was haunted by demonic forces.  

Subsequent residents reported no ghosts, but they've continuously battled thrill-seeking trespassers.

Here are their various attempts to keep crowds away and regain privacy and security.

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Horror in the 1970s

This is how the house at 108 Ocean Ave. -- formerly 112 Ocean Ave. -- looked in the 1970s. Ronald DeFeo murdered his family here in 1974.

More than a year later George and Katleen Lutz moved in with their three children.

They fled 28 days later, claiming the home was infested with demonic spirits. The latter event inspired "The Amityville Horror" books and films.

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Scene of the crime

The Amityville house at the time of the DeFeo murders in November 1974.

Ronald DeFeo was convicted of murdering his family, though some experts on the case believe he didn't act alone.

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Police and onlookers

Police talk to onlookers the night six members of the DeFeo family were found murdered in their beds.

All died from rifle shots, though some case experts believe a second weapon was used.

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Suburban tragedy

The murdered DeFeos are removed from their home.

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Family tragedy

Ronald DeFeo (front right) was convicted of murdering his siblings, all of which are in this photo, along with their parents.

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The Amityville Horror

Actors James Brolin and Margot Kidder stand in front of the movie version of the house, which was actually a home in Toms River, N.J., that was altered for filming.

After "The Amityville Horror" was released in 1979, followed by a string of sequels, gawkers decended on Amityville for a look.

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The Lutzes

George and Kathy Lutz bought the house after it had sat vacant for a year after the DeFeo murders.

The story of their 28-day residency is captured in "The Amityville Horror" -- a story many believe is a hoax.

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Horror franchise

After the success of the first book and movie, a series of less succesful books and films followed, keeping the Ocean Avenue trespassers coming.

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Vandals and tormentors

About a year after the Lutz family fled, Jim and Barbara Cromarty purchased the home from the bank.

They reported no ghosts during their decade living there, and have long insisted that the real horror came from gawkers who would stop in front of the house and trespass onto the front lawn, yelling obscenities, urinating on the house and, in at least one case, tearing off a piece of the house for a souvenir.  

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Security theater

In one attempt to keep people away, the Cromartys put a fake window between the famous eye-like windows. It didn't work.

Bill Brenner


The house looks quite different these days, with more recent owners spending a lot of money on restoration work.

The eye-like windows were replaced with more traditional-looking windows, the siding has been changed and more trees were planted, presumedly to make the house harder to see from the street.

But until recently, it was still simple to access the front yard and walk around to the back of the property.

There are plenty of videos on Youtube showing people doing just that.

Bill Brenner

Privacy measures

The latest owners have installed a black iron fence to block access to the front yard, and additional trees planted over the years is now providing for some extra privacy.

Bill Brenner

Fenced in

A side view of the new fence.