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George Lutz on "Ghostly Talk" Part 1 of 2 (2005)

Interviewed just 2 months prior to the opening of the movie remake of The Amityville Horror, George explains why he's upset with this new film, and why MGM dragged him into court. Other things are touched upon, including details on how the original book deal came about, plus a previously untold story of a ghostly encounter had in the basement of the house by one of George's employees.


Ghostly Talk, Night 1

(Feb 27, 2005)

: Doug, Scott and Will

DOUG: Tonight we have a very special guest who is going to be with us for the next hour. We have Mr George Lutz of Amityville Horror fame. You know, that's that movie that some people have seen. Some of our listeners have seen, like, this movie, called The Amityville Horror.

[off-topic talk excised]

SCOTT: On that note – George, how ya doin'?

GEORGE LUTZ: I'm doing fine. Actually I should be working on my website – it went down yesterday. Probably you guys were doing this show [unintelligible]...

SCOTT: You know what, I noticed that today. I noticed that today, I checked your site...

GEORGE LUTZ: We don't know what happened. We don't know why this is happening.

SCOTT: I noticed, he had the big ugly "forbidden" thing on there.

DOUG: Oh no.

SCOTT: I'm like, "I'm forbidden to go to this site. Did I do something to make this man angry?"

GEORGE LUTZ: [laughs] I'm forbidden to go there.

DOUG: It sounds like some phone calls are in your future, George.


SCOTT: Well George, we need to thank you regardless, because we know you're a little under the weather right now. We want to thank you for coming on the show regardless. [unintelligible] very nice of you to do that for us.

GEORGE LUTZ: And I get to miss part of the Academy Awards pregame show, which I don't really care about.

SCOTT: I don't think too many people who listen to this show really care about that, either. I think we're all in a very good boat – I think we're all in a very good shape not to worry about that.

DOUG: Well you see, we're ghost hunters. We're ghost hunters. What we do is we tend to dress up in, well this time of year, warm clothes. And it usually involves like a couple of layers of pants and things – and then it involves several shirts and plaid somewhere. So we're not really fashion-conscious when we go out and about ghost hunting.

GEORGE LUTZ: Well we have a house-full every year just for the Academy Awards – for the party.

SCOTT: Oh really?

GEORGE LUTZ: Yeah, so I had to go on down to the other end of the house, but it worked out fine for me because I don't miss this part at all. I like the awards, but not the fashion show.

DOUG: Right. Although there are people who do, but our particular interests aren't in the fashion – at the moment, anyway.

SCOTT: I don't know one fashion-conscious ghost-hunter, to be honest with you. I've never met one that was, like, suave and debonair, and looked really nice when they came out. They just throw on whatever, like we do...

GEORGE LUTZ: Lorraine Warren is probably the best-dressed person I've ever known to be involved in this.

DOUG: There we go.

GEORGE LUTZ: She is always a really classy woman.

DOUG: Well that is entirely true.

SCOTT: We've had her on the show before, and she was great. We absolutely loved talking to Lorraine – or Doug did.

DOUG: I talked to Lorraine. Yes. And that was awesome. Now she is definitely a class act. 100% class act. So anyway...

GEORGE LUTZ: You would never catch her in a pair of jeans out at somebody's house. Just not gonna happen.

DOUG: I agree with you. But the interesting thing is, Lorraine happens to be a demonologist, right?

GEORGE LUTZ: Ah, Ed. She's a light transmedium and clairvoyant.

DOUG: Oh, okay – and Ed's a demonologist. Did you meet them at first, like, because of the Amityville house?


DOUG: And so they came out to investigate that.

GEORGE LUTZ: Right. I don't know how much you know of what went on right after we moved out of the house.

SCOTT: We really don't know too much. If you wanna enlighten us on that, it'd be great.

GEORGE LUTZ: Oh, okay. Well I can help you out a little bit there. After we moved out, the intent was to get the house fixed, and to find out what was wrong, and to find experts or whatever was needed to fix this so it would be livable. The first person that I spoke with, that comes to mind today, is a fellow by the name of Stephen Kaplan. And you've probably heard of him. One of the problems with him was that none of his credentials could be verified. None of the statements he made about teaching at the State University at Stony Brook in New York. He was not a published ghost-hunter or parapsychologist. His degree was from a university without walls, which meant it was mail-order. And he turned out to be a vampirologist, and so that, when speaking with the people from Duke University about him – they had never heard of him, and there was just no way to verify who he was.

The second part with what happened with him was that he broke his agreement with me in that he contacted Newsday and Channel 5 – whatever it was – and got involved with the media. We just wanted to get this investigated and fixed and move back in our house – we weren't looking for publicity of any kind. So a woman by the name of Laura DiDio, from Channel 5 News in New York, called me and said, "Look, you really need to do this with responsible, qualified people," and she recommended the Warrens. So that's how they came into the mix – it was really because of Laura.

Her first choice had been Hans Holzer, but he was evidently unavailable at the time, and when you think about it now, he probably wishes he was available.

DOUG: And that kind of stuff does happen. I mean there are scheduling conflicts even with us.

GEORGE LUTZ: Oh sure. Absolutely. But then we're talking about almost 30 years ago now, so... This isn't stuff I think of every day, so when I remember it, I just have to wait for the words to come out [unintelligible] what happens.

DOUG: Well what's interesting is the, for example, the Warrens, especially at that time, were extremely busy people. And so was Hans Holzer. I mean these are very very busy folks, and that was around that time when their, ah, you know, they were doing, what, the lecture series and things like that. It very well could have worked out that they would have been unavailable as well, and you would have been, "Who now?" But it turned out...

GEORGE LUTZ: Oh absolutely. You're absolutely right. I think its the grace of God why things happen, and when they do and how they do.

DOUG: So I think you were – it was – whether it was, you know, by chance – although I'm believing less and less in chance – or by some kind of interesting synchronicity – they happened to be available and you needed the help.

GEORGE LUTZ: And they came down. Lorraine and Ed and Laura came down and they went in the house. Tried to get me to go in with them. I just gave them the key. And then Ed said – because of what happened there that night – then Ed said he would bring back a group. And that he didn't mind coordinating with people from Duke University.

So then Alex Tanous and Dr Karlis Osis also were coordinated to go in the same day, and channel 5 News went in – and that was all on March – I think it was March 6, 1976.

DOUG: Oh, well happy anniversary, then. Or un-happy anniversary in this case. Yeah, cause that's coming up next week.

GEORGE LUTZ: It is. So that's how the investigation, itself, was done after we moved out of the house. The consensus of opinion from that night from all the people who were there was that, as far as they were concerned, they were done with it. They couldn't fix it.

What was suggested was that we get either an Anglican exorcist or a Roman Catholic exorcist to come and say mass in the house. And we figured if all these people couldn't deal with it, then the one thing we weren't going to do was to ask that kind of thing to save the house. How do you ask someone to put their own life in jeopardy for that? We had seen too much at that point.

So that's when the idea started to – how should I word this – come to mind; take grasp, take hold – we started to believe in the possibility that we weren't going home. That we were not going to get to move back there.

DOUG: And I know that's got to be like one of the hardest things, because some of the books that I've been reading lately actually... Deb in California sent us like stacks of books, and some of them had some interesting, you know, books, and they're written by folks who have now mild, compared to the Amityville case, hauntings in their homes. You know, they save and save and then they buy this home, and then they're pretty much stuck with it.

It's like, "This is my home – I love it – I scrimped and saved to get it," and then they have to somehow coexist with other entities in it. So those are mild. But of course in your case, George, you weren't very fond of having to live with that house, were you?

GEORGE LUTZ: This is a very difficult position to be put in. First of all, you know what you've experienced, but you can't explain it. You can't talk to your friends about it openly because you're going to lose those friends. You can't talk about it at work – even if I was the boss and owned the company – because the people you work with are gonna start looking at you like 'there's something really wrong here.' The people you can talk to about it – they have their own lives, their own problems – and they're educating you constantly. The situation you find yourself in is that you own this house that you really loved – your boats and your cars and your motorcycles and your clothing and your jewelry and your baby pictures and high school yearbooks and everything that you can think of that you put together is there.

In our case we put $20,000 cash down plus another $4,000 in closing costs – moved in and were committed. I mean we were there to stay.

SCOTT: Well you bought that house. That's your home.


SCOTT: Every problem in that house belongs to you, then, unfortunately. I mean whether its hard or not, that goes along with any house you buy.

GEORGE LUTZ: And so what do you do? I mean, you don't... We didn't know what to do in terms of how to get rid of it. We were told we couldn't go back and get the stuff that was in it.

DOUG: Why?

GEORGE LUTZ: And I do believe that that was the correct thing to do – the auction. We auctioned everything off. We had an auctioneer go in and take care of that.

SCOTT: Really?

GEORGE LUTZ: So we left everything there.

SCOTT: All of your belongings?

GEORGE LUTZ: We made payments on the house until – I think it was June or July of the following year. Because we... I sold my business to the first guy that came along that wanted it, and we moved to California. But there we were out in California living in a brand new rental house. We have this house full of everything that we own in New York. And we really didn't, you know, we didn't have any friends out there – so its not like we could, you know, go talk about this problem with anyone and make sense of it. It was quite a time. It was very difficult for us.

DOUG: Well, just briefly, I wonder what you think, because I know this is probably gonna take a whole nother track, but what do you think about the times that have changed since then? Because where I'm coming from is that, for example, now there are shows like "Ghostly Talk" and "W-Paranormal" and of course Art Bell, "Coast to Coast AM." And there's the show "Ghost Hunters" on the Sci-Fi Channel, and there's "Proof Positive," and there seems – oh, and then they do like a ton of things on the Travel Channel in October – you know, Travel and Discovery with all those haunted everythings.

GEORGE LUTZ: Yeah, its like they save them up all year and then run 'em–

DOUG: All in October, yeah. Do you think things have changed in the past, like, what – what would that be like – twenty, almost thirty, just under thirty years? Have they changed?

GEORGE LUTZ: Attitudes in the United States certainly have. I mean, we don't have a history of talking about this stuff.

DOUG: Right, not previous to that. Because the Warrens and Hans Holzer and uh, umm, oh who was Nancy Reagan's astrologer? I can't remember. Anyway, all those folks, they did the cutting edge. They did the "breaking of the ground" kind of thing to bring it out and open it up, and say, ya know, "Hey this is something that we talk about – we can talk about this stuff." So all that stuff was happening when just like during the time when you needed it. You needed like today's society what twenty-some years ago, perhaps.

GEORGE LUTZ: Today's society would have had webcams in there. There would have been a whole different technology to document this.

DOUG: And it would have been documented, and anybody could have seen it at any time for themselves, and said, "Oh look at what's, you know, floating by," or, you know, different things like that. And so, yeah, technology has picked up, and also I think society.

SCOTT: Will be accepting of it. That's the big thing for me right there. We have all this technology now – that's a given – and we use it all the time. The limited amount that we can get our hands on or whatnot – we use whatever we can. But the big thing right here is you need to have the attitude, the desire, to not have this as a taboo thing anymore. And let's discuss this thing, and let's see what – this person's describing these things to us, let's see if we can see them ourselves, also.

DOUG: And then try to work – and then trying to work out the problem.

SCOTT: Well, yeah...

DOUG: Because...

SCOTT: You're talking about past cases. You've been reading books, Doug, about houses people buy, and they come with these ghosts or whatever they may be in there running around. And just about everybody I've ever talked to personally, or read about, they say, "Hey look, you know, I bought this house and there's these other people or beings or entities there – I learned to live with them."

DOUG: Right.

SCOTT: "I learned to live with them, and I like them – I'm happy that they're here."

DOUG: So far none of – at least in modern times – its not been as extreme as what Mr Lutz went through.

SCOTT: Yeah. And I mean this has gotten to the point, obviously, Mr Lutz, where you've just described to us – you've left everything that you've worked for, just about. Did you–

GEORGE LUTZ: I have heard that there are other cases that are not published that are not, uh, that haven't been turned into books.

SCOTT: Okay.

GEORGE LUTZ: And I understand the families' reasons for not going public.

DOUG: Well, of all people, yeah. [laughs] Well you, for...

GEORGE LUTZ: And the thing here is – this house was challenged with the house blessing. This house was challenged again with the investigation of some of the things that were said then. Whatever was there had no intention of leaving. No intention of giving that up – that property. I only talk about it when I owned it, not now. But there are so many indicators that we wouldn't have looked at the same way 30 years ago that we might today, also. The DeFeo murders. Before the murders the family put the statues up. They went out and bought these special statues in Canada and brought them down and put them out in the front and the rear of the house. They had a priest come in and say mass a number of times.

One of the things when we did the Art Bell show was that I had never been able to find the archive of what Malachi Martin, Father Malachi Martin, had said about the house. I had heard he said something, but I didn't know what his exact words were. And he said on the Art Bell show words to the effect that that was the most evil house in this country and that the Catholic Church knew all about it for a long time.

SCOTT: Really?

DOUG: Interesting.


DOUG: That's right from Father Malachi Martin, then.


SCOTT: Well, what I'd like to get into, though–

GEORGE LUTZ: And that's an archive that still exists today, now. I mean that's not, you know...

SCOTT: It still is. Actually, they had a giveaway, I think. They were – that was one of their promotions they were doing on the show, is that you'd actually get that archive.

DOUG: Well what that was – that may not have been the specific one.

SCOTT: The specific one, yeah.

DOUG: The one that they did for the promotion, that was Art Bell's final interview with Malachi Martin before he had passed away. You know, because Father Malachi Martin is deceased now. But they, you know, that was the final...

GEORGE LUTZ: So Art Bell just asked him straight out one night, "What do you know about that house? Do you know anything about it?" And he said, "Oh yeah, they knew all about it."

DOUG: Wow.

SCOTT: Well, when you were living in the house, George – and, I mean, I don't wanna go too far – I don't want, as far as you wanna take it, 'cause I know this may be kinda touchy for you. I'm sure you've discussed some of the things that happened while you were in the house. Just to give the listening audience an idea, you know, what went on, I mean what was going through your mind when you were in... You bought this house, and, its a beautiful house, by the way. Its an absolutely stunning home. I've seen pictures of it. I mean I can imagine how happy you were to get this home. You worked many years. You've been open enough to say how much money you spent to buy, to get possession of this home, more or less...

GEORGE LUTZ: Well its all public records stuff, too, you know. The mortgage was $60,000. The house was probably worth $110,000, something like that. It was 4,000 square feet with a basement on the water with a boathouse and attached garage and a heated pool in the backyard.

SCOTT: Okay. Well when you – finally when you were in this house, I was just wondering if you want to elaborate on a few things that may have happened to you personally when you were living there, before it was time to, like, leave [laughs] more or less. I mean is there a few things that stick out to you? We were talking about this earlier, like, "I can't tell people this – they're not going to believe me, but..."

DOUG: I think the audience of Ghostly Talk will.

SCOTT: The audience – yeah, these people – we're people – especially the people sitting here talking to you right now...

DOUG: We're out looking for that kind of thing to see if we can document it...

SCOTT: And find correlations, too.

DOUG: And understand it, and work with it.

SCOTT: Yeah, that's it exactly. Were there some things that really stuck out to you that happened to you when you were there?

GEORGE LUTZ: I'd really rather ask, answer specific questions than try to do a recount of the 28 days.

SCOTT: Well, yeah.

DOUG: Yeah. It is a bit broad. It causes it–

GEORGE LUTZ: I hope you don't mind.

DOUG: Yeah, we don't wanna cause you to relive the whole thing. [all laugh] Like "woah."

GEORGE LUTZ: I try really hard not to do that.

DOUG: Right.

SCOTT: No, I understand.

DOUG: Well the things that we look for – this is what we do as ghost hunters. Then let us know...

GEORGE LUTZ: Let me give you a few statements, and maybe this will help you out, and then...

SCOTT: Okay.

DOUG: Alright.

GEORGE LUTZ: ...we'll do that if you don't mind.

DOUG: Okay.

SCOTT: No problem.

GEORGE LUTZ: The last night is obviously the... The events of the last night were the reason to have to leave.

SCOTT: Okay.

DOUG: Right.

GEORGE LUTZ: And even with all of that, the idea of leaving and not going back never occurred to us. It took getting a hold of Father Ray, and him saying, "Well can't you go stay at your Mom's house," Kathy's mom's house for a couple of days. It was just that reasonable question to get us out of there, to actually get us in the van.

And then you go and get in the van and try to leave and it wouldn't start. And that's [a] "right out of the movies" kind of idea. But that was very simple. That was... Forgive me for huffing and puffing, but I have...

SCOTT: That's okay.

GEORGE LUTZ: This pneumonia is just, like kicking me a bit right now.

SCOTT: That's okay.

DOUG: We understand.

SCOTT: We understand.

GEORGE LUTZ: We had put – this is when transistor ignitions were kinda new, and on my boat and on the family van I had put the same system which let you actually push a button and change over from transistorized ignition to conventional. And when the transistorized ignition, which was always working, always had from the moment it was put on – when the van wouldn't start, I just got out and went, opened the hood and pushed the button and put it on conventional ignition, got back in, and it started right up and we left. So it wasn't like, uh, you know – it wasn't as terrible a thing as it could have been. That's just one of those things that comes to mind tonight.

DOUG: Well just on that one particular thought, that's one of the things that happens on almost every, every time I'm out on the field. Whether I'm in a haunted house, or at a haunted location, or at a, you know, different places, is – and we call it equipment failure. Our batteries get drained immediately. You know, fresh batteries, or batteries that just got pulled out of the charger. They get drained immediately and something doesn't work. Will had a camera that just would not shut off, even with the batteries removed.

WILL: For three days.

DOUG: For three days it would not shut off.

WILL: I couldn't take pictures with it, but all the indicators were on.

DOUG: Right. The indicators were on, but there were no batteries inside. And so we call it equipment failure, but that is a host of, you know, that is a description of the kinds of things that happen to us on ghost hunts. And we document it. We write it down in our logs. And, you know, its nothing to that extent where you're trying to leave and then your car won't start. That hasn't happened to me, but I have heard of ghost hunters that have that happen to them. So that's got to be really scary. But that is one of the kinds of things that we look for, George. Exactly.

GEORGE LUTZ: It was just something that you remember that was the last event, you know, before getting out of the driveway and leaving. Just the last thing.

DOUG: Did you feel cold spots and warm spots in the house when–

GEORGE LUTZ: Sure, there was one in the boathouse. It was right by the side door entrance to the boathouse, off the backyard. You walk in there and to the right there was always one right there. Going up the stairs to the, from the first floor foyer, up to the landing in about maybe six or eight steps up, something like that.

SCOTT: And that was on the stairs, itself?

GEORGE LUTZ: You'd feel it right there. And it, they always felt like a draft, but it wasn't like if you held something up, like a feather, you know, the feather would move, or anything like that. It was just the cold.

SCOTT: It was just cold. It would go from–

GEORGE LUTZ: Just a shot of cold right there.

SCOTT: And that was on the stairs, you said. Right?

GEORGE LUTZ: Yeah, that's on the way out.

SCOTT: That's very interesting.

DOUG: Because you know ventilation was happening on the staircase, 'cause air moves and there should not be a stationary cold spot.

SCOTT: That and just stairs, themselves. We've discussed that a million times on this show.

DOUG: Stairs tend to be...

GEORGE LUTZ: They leak from air underneath them, and they have a, yeah, they have, in this house they would have – the staircase wound around and went on up to the third floor, so... And a lot of air placed open air above it.

DOUG: So it should have had plenty of opportunities to equalize the temperature on the whole staircase.


DOUG: But there was this one cold spot. Yeah, that's the kind of things we're looking for.

GEORGE LUTZ: But there were two cold spots. One in the boathouse, one there, and then there was one that would come and go in the basement. It wasn't like always there. That was just one of those "its there today, and not there, you know, the next time."

DOUG: And we follow those, too. [laughter] Those are the kinds of things...

SCOTT: Yes, exactly.

DOUG: Even on "Ghosthunters" – the series on Sci-Fi – you've seen them, "Ooh, its moving!" And they're trying to follow the cold spot, and take pictures. And they document it. Did you take any photos in the house?

GEORGE LUTZ: I don't remember, I don't remember it moving – I remember that it would be there or wouldn't be there. That's all.

DOUG: Oh, okay, so this would appear some days and not be there other days.

GEORGE LUTZ: No, you'd go down to the basement, and you'd walk around to the right into the laundry room and at times it would strike you that there was another spot like that. The next time you'd go down expecting it and it wouldn't be there.

DOUG: Wow.

SCOTT: And that, it may just be moving and...

GEORGE LUTZ: You know I don't know how to describe that.

DOUG: Either the energy was there or not, taking the heat out of the air. Interesting. That's the kind of thing we look for. We also look for... Is it time for you to go?

SCOTT: Well I was just gonna take a quick break here. Let's give George a break. Let's give him a break.

[off-topic talk excised]

DOUG: (cont'd) ...And we were discussing things in the previous segment, we were discussing things about ghost hunting and the way society has changed. How if he had needed this help that he needed back then in 1976 – if he needed this help now I think he probably could have received–

SCOTT: Much more help.

DOUG: Much more help. Then its because of technology, its because of society, its because of, you know, cable...

GEORGE LUTZ: Communication, too, I would think.

DOUG: Yeah, communications, and, uh...

GEORGE LUTZ: Communication has changed so drastically from back in the '70s.

DOUG: Yeah, everything is instantaneous now, it really is the fast food of information nowadays.

GEORGE LUTZ: Well long distance calls were a financial concern to anyone. I mean you really thought it out before you made a call to California.

DOUG: Yes you did. I remember those days.

SCOTT: Well my biggest concern with the whole thing still would be this idea that back then this was still – even though there was things happening, we had people like Ed and Lorraine Warren going around doing work like this – it was still a taboo subject. If you were to go, "Hey Freddy, I saw a ghost last night," he'd be like, "You're crazy," alright, "I don't wanna talk about this with you. You're going nuts. You're seeing things." And that's how it was just kinda warded-off, and there wasn't anymore questions.

Now there's more questions. If somebody comes up to me, for example, and says, "Hey Scott," believe me, and a lot of people do come up to me – I'm the person to talk to apparently. "Hey I saw a ghost." The first thing I say now is, "Well, you know, what did it feel like? What was the impressions you were getting? What was this, what was that? Where were you at?"

DOUG: "What did it look like? What did you see?" Yeah. And suddenly you get the third degree.

SCOTT: Yeah. "Give me the details," you know, as opposed to "you're nuts, get outta here."

DOUG: Right. Things change.

SCOTT: "You're seeing stuff. You're crazy." And I know for you it had to be a lot worse, obviously, because you're in the house, George; but you also owned a business at the time. You ran the business – you were the boss. So this stuff was gonna bleed into your professional life. If you started discussing this with your employees, they'd start thinking, "Well what's going on with my boss here?" Your personal life, like you said. This was compounding on top of all the elements of your life outside of this house, too. And that...

GEORGE LUTZ: One of the, um, one of my – and that's interesting you brought that up again. One of my employees from back then – John McCarthy, he lives in Florida now – got in touch with me about 6-8 weeks ago, or probably longer now, it might be 90 days, um, for the first time in all these years. He did the original land survey for us, for the house. In New York you have to get a land survey when you change title on a property. And John came into the chat room on one of the websites that we have –, we have a forum in there, its a chat room, and Thursday night about, I'm gonna guess now about 70 days ago or so, he came in there and told the story to the people that were in the chat room at the time. First time ever that he had told anyone publicly of what went on for him when he did the survey. He had never told me this story.

And he had – one of the requirements when you have a house on the water is that you have to get the basement floor elevation above sea level, relative to sea level. And he had dropped his tape down the basement stairs. And the tape had dropped out of his hands and he had to go down and get it. The tapes at that time – we used to buy them from a company called Lufkin – they were a hundred bucks or so. I mean these were very precise and very important, and you don't lose these, or you pay them out of your own salary.

So he had gone down the stairs to get them, and this was in the dark. And he's down in the basement, in the house. The fellow that was with him to do the survey was sitting out in the car waiting for him. He heard footsteps on the second floor. He went down after the tape, was crawling around, found the tape on the floor, and a voice behind him told him to get out.

At the same time of finding the tape, he found a sack. Just a small cloth sack. And he took that with him. And he got out of the house and he got out to the car, and he opened the sack, and the sack had silver dollars in it.

SCOTT: Silver dollars?

GEORGE LUTZ: Now this is after the murders. This is after the house has sat vacant for a year. This is after the family has come in and cleaned out the final things that needed to be moved out before we moved-in. This is after Kathy and I had seen the house a couple of times before making an offer on the house. And here he is finding a sack of coins on the floor.

DOUG: Something that they would have seen sitting on the floor.

SCOTT: Obviously, yeah...

DOUG: Because they would have gone into the basement to clear it out, and had the lights on.

GEORGE LUTZ: The day we moved in to the house, we found hundreds of pills in the carpet and on the floor and in the be – by the baseboards, and all over the second floor. All kinds of pills.

SCOTT: Just strewn about in the carpeting, you said?

GEORGE LUTZ: In the house. In the house. Second floor. And just why weren't these found before? Why weren't they cleaned-up? Why weren't they... They don't show up in the autopsy photos, for example. Where did those come from? And that's the day we moved in.

Yeah, its just another story – another Amityville story. And here it is, 30 years later, John found me, found the website amityvillehorrortruth, and went there, got hold of the webmaster and emailed me through him and then told the story, and came into the chatroom and on his own told the story.

DOUG: Well we call that evidence. [George laughs] We do. That's what ghost hunters would call it. Its another, you know, bullet item kind of thing in a report. And that is evidence. Its another eyewitness testimony.

You know, speaking of 30 years later, they're making a new movie.

GEORGE LUTZ: I heard that.

DOUG: Yeah, they're making an Amity... I do indeed hope its a little, its gonna be better than the "White Noise" movie. Because that was a little disappointing for me. So what do you think of them making yet another movie. I imagine the first movie had to intrude on your life quite a bit, but this second movie – what do you think of that?

[George pauses, sighs and laughs – Doug & Scott laugh]

DOUG: Uh oh!

SCOTT: Oh no! George, if we can't talk about this, just tell us.

GEORGE LUTZ: No, we can now. MGM is making this movie. Free speech still exists in this country. There's no, you know... I've been accused by MGM of being a hostile competitor of theirs, which I find a very interesting statement. One of the, presumably, one of the moving papers recently. They sued me last year.

DOUG: Oh my gosh!

GEORGE LUTZ: Yeah. They sued me because we questioned their legal right, in a letter, to make a – to do a remake. And we questioned it for a number of different reasons, and we asked basically to discuss this with them. After we resent the letters three times, they got an attorney – the largest law firm here in Nevada – and sued me.

SCOTT: Just 'cause you wanted to talk to them about it?

GEORGE LUTZ: No, they never, they wouldn't talk.

SCOTT: I mean that's what that was what your–

DOUG: But you want them to.

SCOTT: You came to them and go, "Hey can we discuss this."

GEORGE LUTZ: We just wanted to discuss this with them and let them know what our point of view was with this and see if there was a way to come to some kind of understanding.

SCOTT: Well you think they may be, like, "Well maybe he can give us some help with this."

DOUG: Yeah. Why wouldn't they be seeking your help?

SCOTT: I mean, yeah. "Maybe we can discuss this with him..."

DOUG: Instead of the opposite. Trying to alienate you.

GEORGE LUTZ: I mentioned the Academy Awards before. The Golden Globes were on this year, also, and two movies were made this last year about true stories. And during the Golden Globes, movie stars that depicted real life people, real life events, were talking about how important it was to do research and to get in touch with the real people. For them it was everything in terms of doing the most accurate movie that they could. And what has been such a disappointing part of all of this is that MGM has made no effort in any way, shape or form, to do that here.

SCOTT: So basically they just see a cash cow. Let's move on it and put it out, cash in. Per usual. I mean I'm not trying to knock...

DOUG: Well that's Hollywood, you know.

GEORGE LUTZ: Well it gets more interesting, you know. It turns out that Orion Films, we knew, we had, we had sued years ago after Amityville Horror came out as a movie with American International Pictures. They eventually sold their company to – Sam Arkoff sold the company to Filmways. And Filmways got in a bit of financial problems, and it eventually ended up with Orion Pictures. In the process of the original movie coming out, one of the things that happened was that Jay Anson, who wrote the original book, sold the movie rights to CBS for a TV movie without our permission. The people at AIP got a hold of the book, decided they wanted to make the movie, and they got an option right – they got an option deal done with Jay Anson. Then they came to us and told us, "We're gonna make the movie," and we said, "No, we don't think you're going to do that because Jay Anson owns 1/3 of the copyright to this book; Kathy and I each own a third each," and we say what are known as sequel rights. AI did the movie, but that would be the only Amityville Horror movie they would make.

DOUG: So at least you were limited down now to one.

GEORGE LUTZ: Well you never get sequel rights. So you need to understand that this was a very unusual thing to have happen. So Kathy and I walked out of that with very little money, compared to everyone else, but we did have the sequel rights. Still do. In the process Dino de Laurentiis comes along and sees a good thing and says, 'Well I'm gonna make an Amityville 2 movie.' And their working title changed while they were making that movie – and they called it at one point "Amityville Horror 2" and used our names to publicize it. So in 1982 we sued them. And that was a 12 year lawsuit – and was settled in '93. That was with – settled with Orion Pictures because that's how the rights had changed hands by then. Orion Pictures' film library was eventually picked up by MGM; but Orion Pictures as a company – as a legal entity – still exists today, and Federal law, title 7, says specifically that you can not, will not, transfer interest in copyrights, unless they're done by written form or memorandum. Which means you gotta do this stuff in writing. MGM never did that. So they've gone into production, produced and finished this movie, and they've done pre-screenings of the thing; and they've advertised it all over the place, and they've got announcements all over the web for a year now, doing this remake that we took issue with, and they don't have the right to do it, from our point of view – from what we can understand. You're not allowed to have a – well I guess you're allowed to, but the shareholders would sure be interested that a publicly-traded company the size of MGM, that they're doing verbal agreements to make movies in violation of title 7.

DOUG: That is unheard of.

SCOTT: What's unheard of in the first place is that you do not do verbal agreements for something like that. We're talking millions of dollars.

DOUG: See that's the one thing that – 'cause we had only talked about that one movie once with the folks in Hollywood, the screenwriter. And we had talked about one movie once and everything had to be on the up and up. But that wasn't MGM, though. That was a different company.

GEORGE LUTZ: Well this gets more interesting than you can imagine. This is just the beginning of this lawsuit. So we'll see how this goes.

DOUG: That'll be interesting. So there's more to the movies. So when you see it, or if they're allowed–

GEORGE LUTZ: Oh its not just [unintelligible] the right. And I don't mean to limit this problem to just whether they have the right to do this, but the content is... The other part of the getting [of] the sequel rights was to get a definition for what the sequel will be. That, and this was really hard-fought – it was hard negotiations back then. They were chomping at the bit to do this movie, and they – we did not have the resources to deal with them legally, properly. But one of the things that was so important was to say – to get language in our agreement with AIP that would pass down to whenever, whoever, whenever – was the specific definition for what a remake would entail – what the content would be.

We knew we didn't, as I said, we knew we didn't have control – you never have control over the content of a movie once you sell them the rights.

Doug & SCOTT: Right.

GEORGE LUTZ: We did get a limiting clause that said that it had to be limited to the same basic characters, same basic events. And to depict the same basic events with the same basic characters. Well with the new version that Michael Bay's company has made, with the cooperation with, who is it, Dimension and Miramax and – Miramax is part of a distribution deal – and MGM, what they've done here is they have from everything we can determine, they've strayed way far from the original content of the book, the original content of the original movie; and that then doesn't become the legal definition that we had worked out and negotiated and agreed to and thought was always going to be honored by these people, with regards to what a sequel will be; or, I'm sorry, what a remake would be.

DOUG: So it goes from being a paranormal nightmare to a legal nightmare, and it continues on in your life.

GEORGE LUTZ: Well I think its been something like 13 lawsuits.

DOUG: Oh man! [laughs] We only have a few minutes. I don't wanna get into a really really lengthy discussion because we're like pressed for time, but – what makes them think just that they can do that, and have any basis in reality if they're not talking to you, if they're straying from even the book–

GEORGE LUTZ: They're not concerned with that. You need to understand that they're not concerned with that. We're on a program that 30 years ago couldn't have existed, wouldn't have existed, for so many reasons – technologically as well as attitudes.

DOUG: Exactly.

GEORGE LUTZ: And 30 years from now its gonna be even better.

DOUG: Exactly. I hope so.

GEORGE LUTZ: And some point, the movie-going public is going to go, "Oh, that's what you did? Well we don't wanna go see that." Some point the movie-going public is going to say, "If you're gonna–" they'll make a law, hopefully someday, someway, that says "you're gonna adapt a non-fiction story, then you're gonna adapt it properly. You don't get to do things in the name of creativity, just because you want it." We're talking about real people's lives here – and people that still are alive. And this is wrong.

DOUG: Wow. Yeah, I do – the one thing that I look for, that I as a movie-going person – and I go see very few movies actually – but one thing that I look for is I try to find, in these ones that are based on real events, I try to find, you know, the real events. I wanna see what happened. What was going on. And there's, um, even the original Amityville Horror – which was, by the way, and still is probably a classic for us who engage in this kind of hobby...

GEORGE LUTZ: Oh this is, this is – it actually gets worse. MGM got involved with some kind of special re-release of the publishing of the book – and they had no rights of any kind to publishing. They did this with Simon & Schuster...

DOUG: The author, the author of the book – who wrote originally Amityville–

GEORGE LUTZ: Jay Anson wrote the original book.

DOUG: Jay. Yeah, and...

GEORGE LUTZ: He died in 1980.

DOUG: But copyrights and rights like that last for a hundred years, even after death, don't they?

GEORGE LUTZ: Yes, I think its 75, maybe 100 now.

DOUG: Seventy-five. Okay. Well either way, umm...

GEORGE LUTZ: I am the single living, surviving copyright holder of the book, but Jay Anson's family estate still owns their percentage.

DOUG: Exactly.

GEORGE LUTZ: And Kathy died earlier this last year – her estate still owns her percentage of course.

DOUG: Exactly. And no, none, nobody was going to take–

GEORGE LUTZ: No rights were ever transferred to – no publishing rights in the book itself were ever transferred to anyone else – yet MGM got involved with Simon & Schuster and made an announcement earlier this year. Well we found out that Simon & Schuster republished the book in 1990 without ever accounting to it for us – to us for it – or telling us about it. Without the Internet we never would have found out about this. Now Simon & Schuster, when we've taken issue with a few things that they were doing about this, and this new – they were going to put some kind of new foreword in the book, and we had no idea of what that was going to contain. We got in touch with them, and they strung us out for over four months this last year, so that now here we are at the point where this remake is coming out, and they refuse to allow not just for them to republish it, they refuse to allow us to republish the book.

DOUG: Oh my gosh!

GEORGE LUTZ: [laughs] "Oh my God" is probably more accurate.

DOUG: Yeah. This is just – that's another – its a nightmare. Its a lingering nightmare for 30 years.

GEORGE LUTZ: It goes on and on and on. I have what are known as "Amityville days," where I actually spend 3, 4, 5 days a week doing nothing but dealing with some of this stuff. And so we're looking, right now we're looking for an e-book publisher, and we're going to publish this book, put it on my website and we'll make it available to people no matter what.

DOUG: This is amazing.

GEORGE LUTZ: We sold originally something like 16 million copies of this book worldwide. Its an important book in that it documents for the first time an event that is unlike any other in so many ways. And a lot of those people are still alive. A lot of those witnesses are still here to say what happened to them, and I will not allow this to be silenced while I'm still alive.

DOUG: And also stretched and reworked, because–

GEORGE LUTZ: Distorted and I will fight forever when it comes to calling it "Amityville Horror."

DOUG: Wow. That is amazing what you're going through, George. I know you've got to go because our time is up. But I do have to say, I do hope, if you're feeling better next week, we would love to have you back on. We can talk more about that, we can talk more about the events, you know, for another hour.

GEORGE LUTZ: And if people want to email in questions to you guys, that'd be great.

DOUG: Oh, yeah.

SCOTT: We will.

GEORGE LUTZ: Let's deal with some of those. I'm sure there's a bunch of 'em out there.

DOUG: Yeah, 'cause this would be more like a little teaser. People can actually formulate questions. We can just ply you with questions about this stuff. But yeah, we will, if possible, if you're feeling better, we would love to reconvene.

GEORGE LUTZ: Oh I will be feeling better. I've got about 50% of my medicine done, and I go back in on Tuesday to the VA to get some more, so...

DOUG: Excellent. Well George, hang on the line for just one minute 'cause we're going to go to break, and then – and we'll go to break and then I'll let you go.


DOUG: I wanna say, though, before we go to break and let you go, I want to say thank you so very much. And I am very much looking forward to next week.

WILL: Thank you.

GEORGE LUTZ: Thank you for having me, I really appreciate this.

DOUG: 'Cause that's amazing to get to talk about one of our favorite stories. And you – I have absolutely no doubt in my heart that you are the owner of this story, because it happened to you. And you're the one. I mean–

GEORGE LUTZ: I heard a story this last week about people getting all upset about what somebody said recently that wasn't involved in this directly, on some kind of public foreign radio station or something – and, you know, you gotta stop getting upset about that, because they weren't there, so what difference does it make what they say?

DOUG: Right.

GEORGE LUTZ: We were there – we know what happened.

DOUG: Wow. Let's go to break, Will; and George, thank you so very much.

GEORGE LUTZ: Thank you.

[off-topic talk excised – end of show]

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