If the waterfront 1927 Dutch Colonial at 112 Ocean Ave. is haunted, it is only by horror film and true crime buffs and curiosity seekers wanting a peek at the notorious property.
It is not a natural occurrence that a real estate listing makes national headlines. In the case of the waterfront 1927 Dutch Colonial with five bedrooms and 3 ½ bathrooms at 112 Ocean Ave. in Long Island, some would consider its notoriety and pending sale—possibly this week—to be supernatural. The house, which went on the market a week ago and listed for $850,000, is the so-called “Amityville Horror House” in Amityville, NY.
Gerald O’Neill, owner of Coldwell Banker Harbor Light and the broker of the property, does not call it that. “Locally, we call it the Amityville Hoax,” he told Millionaire Corner in a phone interview. O’Neill graciously, if not wearily took the phone call. This is the second time the house he handled the sale of the property. Since it went on the market, he has been deluged with press attention from newspapers, and radio and television stations. “They’re looking for an interview with the owner, which will not happen,” he stated emphatically.
The home’s history took a horrific turn in 1974, when Ronald DeFeo, Jr. fatally shot his parents and four more than younger siblings with rifles as they slept. He is currently serving six consecutive life sentences at the Green Haven Correctional Facility in upstate New York. In 1975, George and Cathy Lutz and their family bought the home. They left the house in less than a month, claiming they were haunted by paranormal activity. They collaborated with Jay Anson for the book, “The Amityville Horror: A True Story.” This in turn inspired a hit 1979 movie, a 2005 remake, a documentary about one of the Lutz children, and countless horror movies with the word “Amityville” in the title (“Amityville Dollhouse”).
In just 10 days, the listing on Zillow,com attracted more than 243,000 views.
Thus, O’Neill established stringent conditions for seeing the house. The house’s infamy is “a distraction,” he said. “It’s a double-edged sword. On the one hand, a lot of people are aware of it. On the other, the listing has brought out people who just want to see the inside of the house, to which we say, ‘Absolutely not.’”
Also absolutely not would be proposals to turn the house into a bed and breakfast. The residential zoning prohibits business activity, O’Neill said.
Prospective buyers seeking an appointment have to fill out an application that will include their names, (full contact information), their attorney’s name and contact information and a bank’s prequalification and proof of funds. This all may be moot, though, O’Neill pointed out. There are three offers from local people “who know the house.” He expects final negotiations could be completed as early as Tuesday.
The current owner is Caroline D’Antonio, who purchased the house in 2010 with her now late husband, David. The property is on a navigable canal and features a boathouse and boatslip, It has five bedrooms and three-and-a-half baths, hardwood floors, a fireplace and finished basement. Kitchens and bathrooms have been remodeled. Another amenity are the no trespassing signs to discourage horror film and true crime buffs and curiosity seekers, who haunt the grounds, especially on Halloween.
O’Neill won’t even dignify the Lutz’s claims. “The whole story was made up,” he insists. “The book and movie) made us famous for the wrong reasons. Other families have lived in the house and they all enjoyed it. There were no issues, no more stories.”
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.