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Jim & Barbara Cromarty on "That's Incredible" (1980)

Transcript of the popular TV show's interview with the Cromartys – the couple who bought the Amityville home a year after the Lutzes left, just months before the release of the Jay Anson book, which launched the ghost story into international notoriety.

 

That's Incredible
(1980)

CATHY LEE CROSBY: How would you feel if the goblins of Halloween occupied your house all year long? Even the most ardent prayers couldn't rid one house of ghoulies and ghosties. At least as they were reported to most of America in a recent shocking book and motion picture. The unexplainable and terrifying became commonplace in the house of horrors.

FRAN TARKENTON: On the night of November 13th 1974, Ronald DeFeo brutally murdered six members of his family in their lovely house in Amityville, Long Island. In late 1975, George and Kathy Lutz and their three children moved in. A month later, they moved out.

JOHN DAVIDSON: They claim they'd experienced a horrifying period of demonic possession. The house stood empty for a long time. After all, why would anyone want to call such a ghost plagued house "home"? Jim Cromarty and his family bought and moved into the house. But let him tell you why.

JIM CROMARTY: I've had uncles and aunts of mine who have played in this house as children – I played in this house myself as a child – and there's no doubt about that tragedy that took place. To be very honest, the reason we bought the house at the time was because it was a good buy.

BARBARA CROMARTY: And because we loved the house. It was...it is a beautiful house and we really felt that once we moved in – we changed the number, we repainted it and we made it a beautiful part of the community again – and we really thought everything was just go away. We never dreamt what would take place here.


CATHY LEE CROSBY: The fame of the Amityville house brought the gawkers, the tourists and the traffic jammers.

BARBARA CROMARTY: It was such a pleasant scene inside here and outside it was so insane. It was right after the book had come out. People all fighting to have their picture taken in front of the house and here we were trying to have a lovely quiet Sunday afternoon together and this insanity was out there. When they came they literally, on Christmas Eve, attacked the house. Three cars. One car drove all over the front lawn. Another one watched for the police and the other group, all men about twenty to twenty-five I guess, the other groups just stood out on the front porch and urinated all over it...on Christmas Eve.

CATHY LEE CROSBY: The normally law abiding community faced new police problems. Amityville police Sgt Pat Cammaroto.

PAT CAMMAROTO: One occasion after the Lutzes moved out, a man came to the house in a van with six goats and he wanted the goats to eat the grass and chase the evil spirits away. So, we have a lot of cuckoos. One of the police officers saw two young couples outside of the building. One of the girls was in hysterics more or less and the policeman figured maybe he could help her and asked her what the trouble was. She told him she had vibrations and she was all upset because of the house. He told her, he said "You're not by the house, you're by the Yacht Club." And she turned it off just like that.

CATHY LEE CROSBY: As a result of the story of the Lutzes twenty-eight day stay, this small piece of Long Island real estate gained an international reputation. The Amityville Horror told the Lutzes' story and in a way created a legend. There are some people, particularly the Cromartys, who are highly skeptical of the incidents. For example it's written...

JOHN DAVIDSON [reading from The Amityville Horror]: "January 13th Amityville was hit by another storm of hurricane strength. Sleet was pelting all of Long Island."

BARBARA CROMARTY: It's a very simple thing to write to the National Weather Bureau down in Washington and ask for the weather on the dates that coincide with the book and they will see for themselves that none of the weather coincides. Not one day, not one snowflake not one raindrop!

JOHN DAVIDSON [reading from The Amityville Horror]: "December 29th, Father Mancuso could no longer ignore the red splotches on the palms of his hands nor the excruciating pain he felt when he touched the sore spots."

BARBARA CROMARTY: As far as the priest goes, he testified in federal court in Brooklyn, in October I think it was, that he had only come to this house once. To bless it. As far as the rest of the book goes, none of it was true. He did not have any of the afflictions on his hands, and the sores and the stench and anything that was mentioned either in the book or in the movie. None of that was true and this is under oath in federal court.

CATHY LEE CROSBY: The transcript of the trial does not reflect the denial by the priest. In fact, no specific mention is made of sores and afflictions that he suffered, neither pro or con. Film audiences were led to believe that a window shattered.

BARBARA CROMARTY [opening one of the quarter moon windows]: This is the window and you can see that it's exactly the same as it has been for the last 51 years. The house was built in 1928. Here's all the old paint, and the old putty. Nothing's been disturbed. Perfectly innocent windows. [on stairs] This is the original banister. In the book it was supposed to have been torn out of it's hinges and completely demolished or something. As you can see, this is the original banister. It's been here, like everything else, 50 years and it's still in perfect condition.

JOHN DAVIDSON [reading from The Amityville Horror]: "January 2nd, holding his nose, George forced open the paneling and shone his flashlight around the red painted walls. The stench of human excrement was heavy in the confined space. It formed a choking fog."

PATTY CAMMAROTO [showing red room area]: My name is Patty Cammaroto. I was friends with Allison DeFeo, the girl who was murdered with the rest of her family here in 1974. I'm going to show you the mysterious red room that's so noted for in the book. This door, which they say was never here, was here, is here, always will be here I suppose. This is the red room. Nothing more than a storage area where Allison and her brothers and I used to keep toys. Just red you know? There was never any feeling of spirits, presence or ghosts or any sort of thing like that. It was just a play area [where] we used to keep toys. Nothing more than that.

BARBARA CROMARTY [showing main front door]: This is the door of our home. In the book it became 250 pound door which was completely blown out of it's frame and off it's hinges. As you can see, it's the original door. Solid as a rock. Immovable and quite innocent.

JIM CROMARTY: We just hope that sooner or later we're going to knock a complete hole in this charade that's been created and hope that we can just get back to living just a normal life again. Not have to worry about when we come home at night that there are thirty people in the yard, that maybe we'll have to call the police again...give them a break and give the neighbors a break.


CATHY LEE CROSBY: Its recognition to this day has bedeviled the Cromarty's who are clearly convinced there are no ghosts or demons or ghouls or rattling chains or bloody screams. But, would you live in this house?



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