Merv Griffin Show
(Aug 1, 1979)
Note: First half of show [Rod Steiger solo interview] omitted.
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 enter and shake hands with Merv and Rod Steiger]
GRIFFIN: How are you, George?
MERV GRIFFIN: Nice to meet you, George.
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...
No, he's still "Father."
ROD STEIGER: He's still a "Father"?
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
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
On many occasions.
MERV GRIFFIN: On many occasions?
MERV GRIFFIN: In what form, Kathy? You mean letters,
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?
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"...
It was a fantastic house. It was beautiful.
MERV GRIFFIN: Really? The property...
Inside and out – everything.
MERV GRIFFIN: Country property?
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,
MERV GRIFFIN: Had you known the history of the
property prior to the mass murders?
No, no – not till afterwards when we started doing our own
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?
It was great.
MERV GRIFFIN: Sure. Lots of fun, deciding where
everything was going to go.
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...
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?
MERV GRIFFIN: Instantly?
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]
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.
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?
You couldn't. You just couldn't move. There was just no way to
MERV GRIFFIN: And the children experienced it
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?
Duke University came in when the researchers came...
MERV GRIFFIN: I have to ask you to speak up a
little more, Kathy.
I'm sorry. And...
MERV GRIFFIN: Duke University.
MERV GRIFFIN: They do a lot of research in this
Yes, they helped us to organize the investigative team that went
in on – in March.
MERV GRIFFIN: So an investigative team did go
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
MERV GRIFFIN: Oh yeah.
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
MERV GRIFFIN: Will that become a matter of public
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
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 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?
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?
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?
No, as I understand it, not yet. Just about, but not yet.
MERV GRIFFIN: You mean about public disclosures
about the property?
Yes. So when we talk about it, we only talk about when we owned
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
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]
MERV GRIFFIN: Any experiences, though, in the
last few years, or since moving-in?
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
GEORGE LUTZ: That happened again the next time,
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
MERV GRIFFIN: Well you don't have to worry a
thing about it. You know why?
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...
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.
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.
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"]
[points] He's right there.
MERV GRIFFIN: He's right in that...
He's just peering out.
MERV GRIFFIN: Its very clear, he's – wait
a minute, now – he has glasses on. He has glasses.
He looks to have glasses, yes. But we asked Missy about this,
MERV GRIFFIN: [shows photo to Rod] Can you see
it? There's his face, right there. Its as clear as a bell.
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?
MERV GRIFFIN: Four. Daughters?
Two and two.
MERV GRIFFIN: Two and two.
MERV GRIFFIN: And Missy – one daughter
said she used to talk to him all the time?
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?
There was a drowning many years ago, out off the bulkhead, where
there were two young boys involved.
MERV GRIFFIN: Aha.
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.
MERV GRIFFIN: Right.
The next picture is of a moose head. [hands photo to Merv]
MERV GRIFFIN: A moose head – right.
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.
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?
ROD STEIGER: Yeah.
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.
So many miracles happened around him, its just amazing.
MERV GRIFFIN: Here is the face of this man in
here. A different angle.
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?
I was a non-practicing Methodist. Kathy was a divorced Catholic
with 3 children when we got married. We got married in a Presbyterian
MERV GRIFFIN: Would you, did you think there
would be some kind of exorcism if you, you know, that they...
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
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.
and end of show]