Showing posts with label mass murder. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mass murder. Show all posts

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Amityville Horror

The Amityville Horror
It’s October – my favorite time of year, and with it comes the chance to investigate some haunted places around the U.S. This year, A Grave Interest will focus on haunted houses, and the spirits who are living up to some interesting mischief making …

November 13, 1974 was a chilly night in Suffolk County, New York. In the  early evening hours, Ronald (Burch) DeFeo Jr. ran into a local bar and told patrons that his parents had been shot. So began what would become known as The Amityville Horror.

Nothing about this unassuming 3-story Dutch Colonial home, located at 112 Ocean Avenue gave any indication as to the tragedy that had happened inside. When police arrived that evening, they discovered six members of the DeFeo's family had been shot execution style; all were found lying face down on their beds.

The DeFeo's oldest son, Ronald (Butch) DeFeo, Jr. was charged with murdering his family and sentenced to six concurrent sentences of 25 years to life. At his trial, DeFeo claimed that he had been possessed by the evil that resided in the house. He had heard it use his family’s voices in plotting to kill him, so he killed his family first.

George & Kathy Lutz
In December 1975, George and Kathy Lutz moved into the Long Island house with her three children. The Lutz’s claimed strange things began to happen as soon as they arrived.

It started that evening with a plague of flies inside the house; cold spots were prolific and terrifying sounds would wake them at 3:15 a.m., the time when the murders were committed. Then the paranormal activity increased. Objects were thrown around the house by unseen hands; a green slime oozed from the walls, children were levitated in their beds, and a demonic pig with red, glowing eyes was seen. They moved out 28 days later.

The Lutz’s story was taken and crafted into the best selling book “The Amityville Horror” in 1977. A movie spin-off was made two years later that received an Oscar nomination and spawned several sequels. For over a generation of readers and viewers, The Amityville Horror became America’s best-known haunted house.

William Weber
But rumors spread that the Lutz family had taken a gruesome situation and made up terrifying incidents as a way to gain fame and fortune. Local attorney William Weber claimed that he and the Lutz’s “created the story over many bottles of wine.”

The Lutz’s retaliated by suing Weber, along with a ghost writer, two clairvoyants, the New York Sunday Times, Good Housekeeping magazine and Hearst Corporation for invasion of privacy, misappropriation of names for trade purposes and mental distress. A Brooklyn judge dismissed the claims ruling that “to a large extent the book is a work of fiction, relying in a large part upon the suggestions of Mr. Weber.”  The Lutz’s disappeared from public view.

Daniel Lutz
But others still believed. Daniel Lutz was 10-years-old when his family lived there for that month in 1975. He says the claims of evil forces in the house were true, and blames his stepfather, George Lutz for dabbing in the occult and bringing about the horrifying paranormal encounters. (Both George and Kathy Lutz did pass lie detector tests concerning their ordeal in the house.)

Daniel Lutz remembers books about magic and satanic practices that his step-father kept on his bookshelves, and believes that George Lutz opened a gateway to paranormal forces before discovering that he couldn’t control what he’d let loose.

Jim and Barb Cromarty
Jim and Barbara Cromarty purchased the house in 1977 and lived there for ten years. They reported nothing unusual happened there during that time.

In fact, several families have lived in the house since the Cromarty’s sold it in the 1980s. None have reported any supernatural happenings in the residence.

The truth of the Lutz’s claims may never be known.  Kathleen Lutz died in 2004, and her ex-husband George died in 2006, both still affirming that the paranormal events did happen.

The house has received a face-lift and an address change over the years in order to keep visitors at bay. After almost 40 years without any paranormal reports, maybe its time to find another house more deserved of the attention, and let these tales die a natural death …

~ Joy

Friday, December 21, 2012

When Children Die

It has been one week since the mass murder of 20 children and six adults in Newtown, Connecticut.  Although this is not the original topic I had planned for the Friday before Christmas, I believe it is one we need to take a closer look at – because mass killings are becoming all too frequent in the U.S.

Children have always been the easiest to succumb among us.  Throughout history, diseases have claimed countless lives – especial those of children.  In the 1600’s, it was small pox and the Plague.  Add measles and scarlatina to the mix during the 1700’s.  By the 1800’s, typhus and cholera were two more deadly diseases taking countless lives.  With the 20th century came the influenza pandemic where 50 million people died, worldwide.

However, with the dawning of the 20th century, we were able to put health issues to the forefront and began developing treatments and cures for those childhood diseases.  We began a plan of treatment, inoculations, and the eradication of those deadly diseases.  We stepped up to protect our children – as best we could.  But by the end of the twentieth century, new threats had overtaken us.   

Now, the top five major causes of childhood deaths, ages 1 – 20, are accidents, cancer, drowning, homicide, and suicide. It is stunning and shameful that homicide is even on the list of five major causes of death for children in the 21st century.  But it is - the child murderer exists.

There are three well-known types of mass killers in our world today; the serial killer is defined as someone who commits a number of murders over a period of time.  The spree killer is one who murders two or more people in various locations.  The mass murderer kills several people in a single event, like last Friday’s school shootings.

FBI stats show that from 1980 to 2008, 4,685 people died in 965 mass murders in the United States.  The FBI classifies a mass murderer is someone “who kills four or more people in a single incident, not counting himself, in a single location.”

Between 2006 and 2008 alone, the U.S. averaged 163 incidents of people killed in clusters of four or more – mass murder.  Mass murders have occurred in school, shopping malls, restaurants, places of worship, work places, government buildings, and military bases in the United States.

Of the over 900 mass murders that have happened since 1980, only two, at Westside Middle School (1998) and Columbine High School (1999) - were carried out by more than one shooter.  Two shooters each, were involved in those two school killings.

The “typical” mass murderer is a white male with an average age of 35.  (Out of the 62 people who committed mass murder, from 1980 to last Friday - only one has been a woman.) Almost all were loners. Over half of them committed suicide at the scene.

Reports indicate that the majority of mass murderers within the past 30 years in this country had mental health issues – most had problems with rampage violence.  Reports indicate that the murderer was seeking revenge for some perceived shame, only he knew or imagined. Many killers were reported to have been delusional, pathological, paranoid, psychotic. Some were diagnosed as schizophrenic. Experts say the mass murder externalizes his blame – punishing others for his own faults. The victims may or may not be deliberately chosen. 

The horrendous realization is when you consider that most mass murders are well-planned executions.  These events have been prepared for – in detail.  These killers are not the victims - they are ruthless murderers without empathy, conscious, or an understanding of reality that is needed to live and function in our society.  The true victims are those who are killed.

James L Knoll
According to James L. Knoll, in the Journal of American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, March 2010, “The pseudo-commando is a type of mass murderer who kills in public during the daytime, plans his offense well in advance, and comes prepared with a powerful arsenal of weapons. He has no escape planned and expects to be killed during the incident. Research suggests that the pseudo-commando is driven by strong feelings of anger and resentment, flowing from beliefs about being persecuted or grossly mistreated. He views himself as carrying out a highly personal agenda of payback.”

Adding to this crisis is the media – by not dealing with mass murder in a responsible manner.  Clear, concise, and accurate reporting seems to go by the wayside when a sensational and dramatic news story occurs.  News now takes on more of a reality show format; get the names, get the sound bites, get the money shots.

Last Friday, media organizations across the country had to recant their information as just plain wrong. When the Newtown Police Department issued a statement that it would not release the name of the gunman, or information on the shooting until it was verified, the media was not patient.  There were ratings to consider – another media outlet to scoop…  All in all – it’s no longer about the necessary information to keep us safe and informed; it’s about the rating numbers, the sensationalism, the number of viewers watching that equals the amount of money made. 

When did we, (How did we…) become a society that accepts a media that can’t wait to release the name of the mass murderer, show his picture, and give him fame?

David Brooks
New York Times columnist, David Brookes said last Friday that he felt the media should not identify the gunman.  I agree. Stop making these mass murders ‘famous.’  That is, after all, what they wanted, to be infamous, to go down in history having “settled their score.”  Do not release their names, their photos, information about their childhoods, or family stories. Mourn those who should not have died – do not give credence to the murderer for taking those lives.

Charlie Brooker
Regarding the media's coverage of such events, Charlie Brooker of the BBC’s Newsswipe summed it up well: 
“If you don’t want to propagate more mass murders, don’t start the story with sirens blaring. Don’t have photographs of the killer. Don’t make this 24-7 coverage. Do everything you can to not make the body count the lead story, not to make the killer some kind of anti-hero. DO localize the story to the affected community and make it as boring as possible in every other market.” 

As a country, we should not; we cannot tolerate these acts of senseless violence any longer.  We need to come together and start looking for answers, for our children, our families, ourselves…