23 Aug 2010
Hundreds come for 'Amityville Horror' house moving sale
Photo credit: Newsday photo / Rebecca Toback
Cars lined Ocean Avenue and surrounding blocks Saturday as the current owners of the famously known "Amityville Horror” house held a moving sale.
Hundreds of people lined up outside 108 Ocean Ave., some hours earlier than the 9:55 a.m. start of the sale, to get a peak inside the house, the scene of the 1974 DeFeo family killings and later the subject of a bestselling book and a string of horror films. Organizers might as well have charged for entry, people outside were saying; just as many who filed out of the house and backyard with axes, power tools, coolers, scales and other random items left with only a story to tell of how they got on to the property.
The elegantly appointed waterfront Dutch Colonial recently went into contract. It was on the market only 70 days for $1.15 million.
This is the third owner since the Lutz family -- which claimed the house was haunted and whose story inspired the book and motion pictures -- lived in the house.
Caution tape and bodyguards helped to keep the sale under control, and a cap was made on how many visitors got the chance to enter at once -- about 20. Certain parts of the house were blocked off, but most of it was open for buyers to check out, including the upper floors, where members of the DeFeo family were killed. (The basement, which many people on line outside gossiped about, thanks to the book and movies, was not open for viewing.)
Coolers, beach chairs, VHS movies, books and fishing equipment were among the most popular sellers. Fishing poles sold for $20 and coolers went for as little as $3. The inexpensive items were sold in the garage, where buyers could catch a glimpse of the infamous but restored boathouse, where the current owner's boat is located. In the house, the most expensive item on the main floor was a baby grand piano, ticketed at $15,000. Chairs were selling for more than $1,000 each, the living room couch was ticketed at $600 and a $175 antique mirror sold to a buyer who also bought two $1,500 chairs.
On the line that consistently held about 200 people at a time (from 10 a.m. to noon, at least), people debated the house's legend. Many cheered as they left the sale, sharing information with those still waiting to get in about what they found.
“I used to work in Amityville and my bookkeeper's grandfather built the house,” says Pam Monaco of Babylon, who was waiting on line to see the house. “I don’t think it’s haunted, and in fact I wanted to buy the house about 30 years ago.”
Going in, Monaco says she didn’t know if she would buy something but that she always wanted to see the house and is a fan of antiques.
Another woman waiting to go inside tells her husband that the tag sale was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “We’re seeing a house that was made famous by a movie,” she says.