Your First Essay: SEARCH The Amityville Horror
Essay 1: SEARCH The Amityville Horror
Research question: Are two claims in the book The Amityville Horror reasonable and possibly true?
Length: 750 words (about three pages), double-spaced, in MLA format
Sources: Your primary source is The Amityville Horror. Your secondary source is How to Think About Weird Things. A Works Cited page is required, although you will have only these two works listed. No quotations or paraphrases are required. In your essay, if you quote or paraphrase any specific ideas from these works, you need to provide the author/page number in parentheses after the quote/paraphrase.
NOTE: I would like you to investigate The Amityville Horror with just these two sources. Please do not research on the Internet. There is a ton of stuff out there about the case, but for this assignment, it’s your critical thinking that counts.
Thesis statement: In this essay, your thesis statement should be your answer to the research question.
Explanation: Choose two of the many claims the Lutzes and the author, Jay Anson, make in the book The Amityville Horror. Develop an essay where you examine these two claims using SEARCH and any other critical thinking tools you’ve learned in chapters 2 and 7 of How to Think About Weird Things. For example, you could look at the two claims to see if they are logically, physically, or technologically possible.
My first helpful hint is to have fun with this assignment. Pretend, for instance, that you are a paranormal investigator trying to prove if the Lutzes’ claims are true.
My second helpful hint: There are tons of claims in this book. The hardest part of your writing job may be choosing only two! It will help if you’re very specific about which claims you’re looking at. Here are just some of the claims made in the book. You can choose two of these, if you like:
The priest, Father Mancuso, had car accidents and illnesses which were caused by the Lutzes’ demon. Another priest also had a car accident, which could prove that the demon “had it out” for priests.
The demon caused the Lutzes’ phone to not work whenever Father Mancuso or George tried to call each other.
The demon caused George to not work, shower, or shave.
The demon caused the Lutzes’ dog, Harry, to sleep all the time.
The demon caused lots of flies to appear at the window in the sewing room.
The demon caused Kathy’s crucifix, hanging in her closet, to turn upside down.
The demon revealed itself to Missy in the form of a huge pig named Jodie.
The demon caused Kathy to stay home and not shop for any Christmas presents. As a result, the kids were disappointed on Christmas because there weren’t many presents under the tree.
The demon stole $1,500 cash from Kathy’s brother.
The demon caused George to get into debt and have trouble with the IRS.
The demon caused the two Lutz boys to fight a lot. Before the Lutzes moved to the Amityville house, the boys never fought.
A demonic voice yelled “Get out!” at Father Mancuso when he came to bless the house.
Demons caused Ronald DeFeo to kill his parents and siblings one year earlier, in the same house.
A ghost hugged Kathy as she sat in the kitchen. Kathy could also smell the ghost’s cheap perfume. Kathy knew the ghost was a woman.
The demon caused the house to stay cold, even though the heater was cranked to 75 or 80 degrees; George was running through 100 gallons of heating oil a week; and countless logs had been fed into the fire.
A mysterious man came to the house with a six-pack of beer, claiming to be a neighbor. The man then left and the Lutzes never saw him again. The author hints that this man may have been a ghost.
The boathouse kept unlocking itself, the doors swinging open, caused by a demonic presence.
George Lutz woke at 3:15am each morning because that was the time when Ronald DeFeo murdered his family a year earlier.
Kathy Lutz slept in the same bedroom where the DeFeo parents had been shot a year earlier. Kathy dreamed that Mrs. DeFeo had been shot in the head. Although Kathy didn’t know it at the time, Mrs. DeFeo had indeed been shot in the head, and the other members of her family were shot in the back. Kathy’s dream was a ghostly “imprint” of Mrs. DeFeo’s murder.
The house was evil and possessed by a demon because it had been built over land that ancient Native Americans had used for the sick, mad, and dying.
The author, Jay Anson, hints that the Lutzes’ neighbors kept their window shades pulled because they knew the Lutz house was evil.
The Lutz children and Kathy began sleeping on their stomachs because that’s how the DeFeo family’s bodies were found: on their stomachs.
George and Kathy Lutz looked into their fireplace and saw a demon with its head half blown off. Later, Kathy saw the same demon upstairs.
While Kathy was in bed, her body rose two feet in the air and her chest developed hot red welts. These were caused by the demonic presence in the house.
George repeatedly heard a loud marching band downstairs, but when he went downstairs to check it out, nothing was there. The music was caused by a demon or a ghost.
Hoofprints of the demonic Jodie the pig appeared outside in the snow.