This is one of my rare forays into nonfiction. Jackie Barrett is a psychic medium. (By which I mean that not only does she know things that most people wouldn’t be able to know, but she can also communicate with the dead.) In this book, she discusses her relationship with Ronnie DeFeo and reveals what really happened the night his entire family was murdered.
In case you aren’t either (a) a horror movie fan or (b) a true crime junkie, Ronnie DeFeo lived in a house on Ocean Avenue in a little town called Amityville with his parents and younger siblings (two sisters and two brothers). One night, every other member of his family was found murdered, shot to death. Ronnie was later arrested and convicted of the crimes.
(But that isn’t what that house is best known for. Later, a family called the Lutzes moved in and, a little under a month later, fled. A book was written about it, which later became a movie. The Amityville Horror.)
Anyway. A while back (I think two years ago around Halloween?), I stumbled across a documentary on TV about this story. It had Jackie Barrett talking to Ronnie DeFeo and I think it mentioned the prospect of a book on the subject. I have always been fascinated with this house and have gone back and forth on whether I think it’s haunted*. So the thought of learning more about the DeFeos intrigued me.
This book is insanely creepy. It doesn’t deal with ghosts so much as demons and whatnot. But it almost doesn’t matter whether or not you believe in that.** This book is very enjoyable and fun to read. If you enjoy being scared, that is. (I do.)
As for whether Ronnie DeFeo told the truth about what happened to his family? I don’t know. He’s changed his story so many times, and I’m not entirely sure he’s being honest now. I don’t think we’ll ever know with absolute certainty what happened in that house.
* = I do. Because the Lutzes left all their stuff. EVERYTHING. Clothes and toys, which can be replaced, but also pictures, which can’t be. Also, DeFeo’s lawyer says that they made it all up and that he was involved, but the Lutzes never recanted their story. And I don’t even think you can make the case that they did it for money, because I don’t think they made very much from the book deal and subsequent movie releases.
** = I don’t.