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Home > The Interviews Index > Rod Steiger, George & Kathy Lutz on "The Merv Griffin Show" (1979)


Rod Steiger , George & Kathy Lutz on "The Merv Griffin Show" (1979)

Claiming they agreed to do promotion for the movie in exchange for certain edits being made, the Lutzes join actor Rod Steiger on "The Merv Griffin Show" in 1979 to promote the upcoming release of "The Amityville Horror."


The Merv Griffin Show
(Aug 1, 1979)
Note: First half of show [Rod Steiger solo interview] omitted.

MERV GRIFFIN: I'd like to introduce this very special couple. They were the owners of that strange house in Amityville. And they have been, until now, very reluctant to speak publically about their experience. In fact they are about to meet, right now, one of the stars of that motion picture – and they will meet the others as they come on – based on their lives, for the very first time. We are all quite surprised they were here. Nobody thought that they would come on a show. But I'd like you all now to meet them. Give them a warm welcome. George and Kathy Lutz.

[George & Kathy enter and shake hands with Merv and Rod Steiger]

MERV GRIFFIN: How are you, George?


MERV GRIFFIN: Nice to meet you, George.

GEORGE LUTZ: Nice to meet you.

MERV GRIFFIN: Come in. Kathy, I'm gonna put you here. George to your left, there. [motions to Rod] Its Father Delaney, here on the right. Have you ever heard about, or seen again, Father Delaney?



MERV GRIFFIN: And is he now Rabbi Delaney, or did you just accept...

KATHY LUTZ: No, he's still "Father."

ROD STEIGER: He's still a "Father"?

GEORGE LUTZ: Yes, that's one of the rumors that have constantly circulated about him. I think that probably that diocese would like to believe that. He's no longer in that diocese. He transferred into–

ROD STEIGER: Yeah, I know that – he was transferred.

MERV GRIFFIN: But he didn't leave the clergy.


MERV GRIFFIN: He's still a practicing priest.


GEORGE LUTZ: Yes. He's an incredible man. If it wasn't for him, we'd probably be dead.

MERV GRIFFIN: Have you taken ridicule – public ridicule – because of this whole story and series of events?

KATHY LUTZ: On many occasions.

MERV GRIFFIN: On many occasions?


MERV GRIFFIN: In what form, Kathy? You mean letters, or people–

KATHY LUTZ: Letters or just out and out accusations that the whole thing was a hoax. Or "you're in it for the money."

MERV GRIFFIN: Why did you decide to go public about it? I'm sure there are similar situations – not maybe as horrendous a story as yours – but of people who just kept it quiet so that it wouldn't follow them through the rest of their lives. Because I'm sure in many ways it will follow you for a long, long, long time to come. Why did you go public?

KATHY LUTZ: Well before we went public, some other people stepped in to defraud us, and there were very widely exaggerated stories in the press, on the media, when it was fresh, when it first happened. And in order to correct some of those things and be able to live with ourselves, we had to come forward and tell our story.

MERV GRIFFIN: You bought a house knowing the history of the house. But it was because you really wanted it? You really loved something about it, or was it an "immediate need"...

GEORGE LUTZ: It was a fantastic house. It was beautiful.

MERV GRIFFIN: Really? The property...

GEORGE LUTZ: Inside and out – everything.

MERV GRIFFIN: Country property?

GEORGE LUTZ: No, the houses are pretty close on each side. They're about 50 feet away. But it was right on the river, it had an outside heated pool, and a boathouse where we could pull our boat right inside like its own garage; and a 2-car garage. It had a full basement, finished.

MERV GRIFFIN: Had you known the history of the property prior to the mass murders?

GEORGE LUTZ: No, no – not till afterwards when we started doing our own investigation.

KATHY LUTZ: That, and we didn't know that this was the DeFeo house until after we had toured it. We went out with the broker, we saw the house, we liked it. When we were out in the garage, she said, "I don't know if we should have told you before you saw the house or if now is an appropriate time – this is the DeFeo house – and I don't know if it'll change your views. We talked it over with the kids and explained to them they might hear rumors when they go to school. Would it bother them? "No." And when we had made up our minds that we liked the house and would buy it...

MERV GRIFFIN: So you moved-in. Was it a happy moving-in, first day?

GEORGE LUTZ: It was great.

MERV GRIFFIN: Sure. Lots of fun, deciding where everything was going to go.

GEORGE LUTZ: Yep. The first weeks were fine. The first two weeks were really not that bad at all.

MERV GRIFFIN: What was the first incident, though, that really left its – a mark of terror...

GEORGE LUTZ: Questioning? Maybe "question" would be better. We used to do Transcendental Meditation, and Kathy's hand was touched while we were meditating once in the living room. And she told me about it, and she described it as a comforting feeling – not something to be frightened of. And it didn't happen again for quite a few days. So it was – it happened and that was it, you know. We had problems with the heating system, so we called-in the repair people quite a few times, and they never could find out why the temperature would fluctuate 40, 50 degrees.

MERV GRIFFIN: Forty or Fifty degrees?! In one afternoon, or one day?

GEORGE LUTZ: Instantly.

MERV GRIFFIN: Instantly?

GEORGE LUTZ: Instantly. The house would be very cold one minute and very warm the next. We had some odors that we couldn't explain. We blamed the kids on spilling some perfume or something. Eventually that was – the odors would move – they'd go from room to room. So we could no longer blame the kids. And then the flies started. They'd be there, and then they wouldn't be there.

MERV GRIFFIN: But flies, you mean an abnormal number of flies? [Kathy smiles]

GEORGE LUTZ: At first, no. Not so abnormal. Two, three, four. Rare for the Winter, but nothing to be alarmed about. When there were hundreds, and we'd spray them and kill them and they'd come right back. Yeah, that got a little concerning.

MERV GRIFFIN: Right. What were some of the more horrifying incidents? Of course, the fly attack on the priest.

GEORGE LUTZ: The last night was the worst. That's what really made it – we had no longer any choice but to leave – and after that we never went back. The last night – the noises downstairs on the first floor were just incredible. It sounded like 50 to 100 people downstairs, tuning up instruments, slamming doors... The front door would slam. The dog – Harry, our dog – would get up and get sick and then lie down again for no reason.

Doors upstairs across from our bed would open and then close. The boys' beds over our bedroom were being dragged across the floor. And we could hear, but we couldn't get up out of bed and do anything about it.

MERV GRIFFIN: Why? Is [it] a feeling of immobility?

GEORGE LUTZ: You couldn't. You just couldn't move. There was just no way to move.

MERV GRIFFIN: And the children experienced it all, too.

GEORGE LUTZ: The children experienced different things. It affected each of us a little differently.

MERV GRIFFIN: Now what has been documented by experts of any kind?

KATHY LUTZ: Duke University came in when the researchers came...

MERV GRIFFIN: I have to ask you to speak up a little more, Kathy.

KATHY LUTZ: I'm sorry. And...

MERV GRIFFIN: Duke University.


MERV GRIFFIN: They do a lot of research in this area.

KATHY LUTZ: Yes, they helped us to organize the investigative team that went in on – in March.

MERV GRIFFIN: So an investigative team did go in.

KATHY LUTZ: Yes. And prior to their team going in, we relayed none of our happenings to them. And when they came out and told us what took place for them, it was very reassuring to know that we had our sanity.


KATHY LUTZ: Much of what we experienced, they also experienced. The findings that Duke came up with – they don't release to the public for five to seven years. They have their scientific team go through it.

MERV GRIFFIN: Will that become a matter of public knowledge?

KATHY LUTZ: Hopefully. We don't have the inside information from them.

MERV GRIFFIN: Did any of these experiences occur off of that property?


MERV GRIFFIN: In other words, whatever was after you, or–

GEORGE LUTZ: Its not something that just quit once we left. As a matter of fact every investigator that was involved on that March 6th investigation in 1976 has had a series of problems that were all quite similar in patterns – as far as financial problems, car accidents, problems with their own homes. The Warrens left there, the first time they went in, and they had, literally, a cyclone go through their house back in Connecticut.

Its just incredible, I think, that there are 25-30 people that were involved – and if you just go with their stories alone and forget about us, its just unbelievable – the problems they've had – the divorces... Most of them have moved. There's only one person, I think, that hasn't moved yet from where they were living at the time. There isn't one person who was ever associated with it that hasn't gone through a period of financial problems – extreme financial problems – of unexplained headaches and nausea; draining sensations all of a sudden; inability to stop thinking about the house; incredible draws to go back to the house.

The people that went in and got the clothes and the food out for us, and donated them to the Salvation Army, would go back – we found out last year – they would go back time and time again and just sit in front of the house and check on it, for no reason. Just pattern after pattern of–

MERV GRIFFIN: What about the residents now of that Amityville house?

GEORGE LUTZ: We don't know them. We've never met them or talked to them.

MERV GRIFFIN: Have you heard anything about – have the happenings continued?

GEORGE LUTZ: We've heard quite a few things, but we've also been sued by them, and rather than bring that all up again–

MERV GRIFFIN: Has the suit been settled?

GEORGE LUTZ: No, as I understand it, not yet. Just about, but not yet.

MERV GRIFFIN: You mean about public disclosures about the property?

GEORGE LUTZ: Yes. So when we talk about it, we only talk about when we owned it.

MERV GRIFFIN: Right. Okay. [turns to Rod Steiger] Any questions you want to ask?

ROD STEIGER: No, I'm astounded. I just feel that, first place [points to Kathy] you're still frightened, aren't you?

KATHY LUTZ: Well its like any trauma you go through. If you stop and think about it, its still there.

ROD STEIGER: I noticed the way you [unintelligible] [Kathy laughs]

MERV GRIFFIN: Any experiences, though, in the last few years, or since moving-in?

KATHY LUTZ: Since moving-in. [looks at George, they laugh] The only occurrences we've had are minor in comparison; but the very first telephone interview we did with a radio program – we did an hour on the phone, and George went out to the garage to take a ride on the bike and relax, and there was a rattlesnake sitting on the bike.

GEORGE LUTZ: That happened again the next time, too.

KATHY LUTZ: The very next radio interview we did with Canada, for a little bit more than an hour on the phone, we went outside and there was another rattlesnake in the garage, and this was two different locations, so

I don't–

MERV GRIFFIN: Well you don't have to worry a thing about it. You know why?

KATHY LUTZ: You don't have a garage?

MERV GRIFFIN: Yes. Two weeks ago before I even knew you, I had a rattlesnake on my property. So he's there already. That'll show them – the spirits – right? And I haven't been able to get him, either. We'll be back...


MERV GRIFFIN: You have some pictures that we haven't seen yet. I don't know whether – are they on you, or... [George reaches for his folder] Aha. I can hold them up to the camera.

GEORGE LUTZ: This first picture was taken during the day of the investigation by an automatic camera using infrared film. And there are 16 duplicates of this, and for some reason we chose this picture. And a girl who is 9 months pregnant who is typing up the notes for this, her baby went a little bananas when she picked up the notes on this picture. And she kept staring at it, and here's the face of a boy that was there. [points]

MERV GRIFFIN: Oh, I didn't see that.

GEORGE LUTZ: That day, and there was no boy in the house. That's a ghost. That's a boy that stays in that house for whatever reason at that time.

MERV GRIFFIN: [to audience] Can you see the boy? [audience mutters "no"]

KATHY LUTZ: [points] He's right there.

MERV GRIFFIN: He's right in that...

GEORGE LUTZ: He's just peering out.

MERV GRIFFIN: Its very clear, he's – wait a minute, now – he has glasses on. He has glasses.

GEORGE LUTZ: He looks to have glasses, yes. But we asked Missy about this, and...

MERV GRIFFIN: [shows photo to Rod] Can you see it? There's his face, right there. Its as clear as a bell.

GEORGE LUTZ: Missy said she used to talk to that boy. He would come in and out and visit her.

MERV GRIFFIN: How many dau– how many children do you have?

GEORGE LUTZ: Four now.

MERV GRIFFIN: Four. Daughters?

GEORGE LUTZ: Two and two.

MERV GRIFFIN: Two and two.

GEORGE LUTZ: Right. Missy...

MERV GRIFFIN: And Missy – one daughter said she used to talk to him all the time?

GEORGE LUTZ: Yes. Missy knew him right away [gesturing toward ghost boy photo].

MERV GRIFFIN: Not a neighbor kid?



MERV GRIFFIN: Well that's amazing. In checking back on the mass murders in that house, was there a boy this age?

KATHY LUTZ: There was a drowning many years ago, out off the bulkhead, where there were two young boys involved.


GEORGE LUTZ: There were quite a few, uh, if you want to call them "spirits" or people that were contacted that day by the mediums at different times in different rooms. And they appeared to stay in certain rooms, and not go anywhere else – and very sad – as always with death. But we didn't know if they were associated with those murders or from another time or – we don't know.


GEORGE LUTZ: The next picture is of a moose head. [hands photo to Merv]

MERV GRIFFIN: A moose head – right.

GEORGE LUTZ: Up in here, right around here, is a picture that's been verified now by three people that knew the priest – his name is Padre Pio. He died in 1968, and he had the stigmata of Christ – the wounds of Christ, all five of them – for 50 years and 3 days. And he – here is Lorraine Warren, one of the psychics, holding a relic of his that had been sent to her 3 weeks before this, by just someone who knew of their work with haunted houses and the problems. And this...

MERV GRIFFIN: George, you're a Catholic now.


MERV GRIFFIN: You're a convert.

GEORGE LUTZ: This is a picture to compare him. [hands Merv a book] Right there. This is what he looked like in real life.

MERV GRIFFIN: Mmm hmm... [to Rod, who is looking over his shoulder] Do you see the face coming down through there?


MERV GRIFFIN: And there's the beard and everything, and then here is the face. These just cannot be seen – I mean you'd really have to have a magnifying lens.

GEORGE LUTZ: So many miracles happened around him, its just amazing.

MERV GRIFFIN: Here is the face of this man in here. A different angle.

GEORGE LUTZ: It comes out even better on a slide. Then its absolutely irrefutable.

MERV GRIFFIN: Why did I do that moose joke at the opening of the show today?

ROD STEIGER: [unintelligible] rattlesnake.

MERV GRIFFIN: Rattlesnake and moose and [groans]... [to George] You're a convert now, and a practicing Catholic, but you weren't then. Why did you call a priest? Because of exorcism in the church?

GEORGE LUTZ: I was a non-practicing Methodist. Kathy was a divorced Catholic with 3 children when we got married. We got married in a Presbyterian church.

MERV GRIFFIN: Would you, did you think there would be some kind of exorcism if you, you know, that they...

GEORGE LUTZ: No, no, no. A friend of mine – who is a practicing Catholic – insisted, when I told him what house we were buying, to get the house blessed. And I didn't know what he was talking about. I went home and I asked Kathy and she explained it to me. But I didn't know any priest to ask. So I didn't do anything about it. He called me about a week before we were to move in, because his brother was helping us with the move, and he insisted again that we get someone and bless the house.

MERV GRIFFIN: And that's when you first met Father Delaney?

GEORGE LUTZ: Well, no. I had, when I – I was married previously, also, to a Catholic. And as part of the annulment proceedings for that marriage I was called down to the diocese office and interviewed. And that's where I met Father Mancuso, Father Delaney.

MERV GRIFFIN: Its a fascinating story. We'll be back with more after this message.

[break and end of show]

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