It’s been hailed as one of the most famous paranormal photos ever. The eerie ghost of John Defeo, a child murdered in 1976 in the house, was captured on film during an investigation of the home nicknamed The Amityville Horror House.
The true story of the gruesome murder of six family members at 112 Ocean Avenue on November 13, 1974, was the premise for a best-selling book and movie series franchise called The Amityville Horror.
Skeptics still debate how much of the paranormal activity recorded at the home actually occurred. However, the murderous bloodbath initiated by Ronald DeFeo Jr. upon six members of his family in Amityville, on the south shore of Long Island, New York, is a fact.
Ronald Jr. was 23 years old at the time. Using a .35 caliber lever action Marlin 336C rifle, he shot his father Ronald Sr. (43), his mother Louise (43), his sisters Dawn (18) and Allison (13), and his brothers Marc (12) and John Matthew (9). The shooting took place at about three o’clock in the morning when the household was asleep. Police reported all of the victims were found lying face down in bed.
In November 1975, Ronald DeFeo Jr. received six sentences of 25 years to life in prison. He died in custody in March 2021.
The DeFeo five-bedroom home was sold for the then-bargain price of $80,000 the following year. The sale included most of the furniture. The house was purchased by George and Kathleen Lutz, who moved in on December 18, 1975.
A friend told George about the history of the house and insisted they have it blessed. Father Mancuso [not his real name] performed the blessing. The priest claims when he flicked the holy water and began to pray, a masculine voice demanded that he “get out.” He did not mention this incident to the Lutz family at first.
Afterward, a series of unusual events began occurring in the house. The disturbances became so unbearable over time, that on January 14, 1976, George and Kathleen Lutz, along with their three children and dog, abandoned the house with all their possessions inside. The next day, they sent a mover to remove their things.
Eventually, George and Kathleen Lutz were introduced by an editor to writer Jay Anson. They did not work with Anson directly but submitted roughly 45 hours of tape-recorded recollections that were used as the basis for “The Amityville Horror” book. The book has sold at least 10 million copies.
Thanks to movies like The Conjuring, Annabelle, and The Haunting in Connecticut, paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren are now familiar names. Ed was a self-taught demonologist and Lorraine was a clairvoyant and light trance medium. Ed died at age 79 in 2006, and Lorraine died at age 92 in 2019.
The Warrens were less well known to the general public in 1975 when they investigated the house that would launch the Amityville Horror franchise.
It was during an investigation of the Amityville house in 1976 when a professional photographer who worked with the Warrens captured a photograph that still baffles people today.
The photo was taken by automatic cameras that took infrared pictures, Strange and Creepy reports.
In the photo, a young boy pokes his head out of a doorway near a staircase. Investigators believe it is the photo of John DeFeo, one of the children who was murdered by their brother in the house in 1974.
It has become one of the most famous paranormal photos of all time. It can be seen here in this YouTube video, which recants the events of the Amityville murders through interviews.