EAR or EARs?– Beyond the Ski Mask.

In this series of blog posts we will be exploring the clues that support the possibility there was more than one East Area Rapist and the clues that with hindsight support only a single perpetrator. It must be qualified that neither proposition excludes the accused perpetrator, JJ DeAngelo. There was from the beginning some suspicion that more than one guy was responsible for the series of terrorizing home invasion rapes in Sacramento. No DNA was preserved here, so we must assess the cases in the old style– based on witnesses descriptions, MO, etc. In addition, today, there is the ability to uncover the whereabouts of the accused JJ DeAngelo at the time of the attacks back then to see if his whereabouts can be definitely accounted for.  If they can be accounted for during an attack by the EAR then it is definite he was not the sole perpetrator. This investigation is no doubt continuing behind-the-scenes.

The concept of two EARs is not new obviously.  It was fostered by certain changes in EAR’s MO and physical description back then. These changes, of course, are subject to interpretation. For example, by Victim 12 (Primrose) EAR seems to have lost his aggressive thrill for rape, and thereafter in his attacks he is usually more lackluster. The use of “mother—-r” arrives a bit late in his repertoire and is often overused. There are moments of stuttering and then there are not. The overuse of the sobbing routine came a bit late and can be interpreted as a response to the psychological theories reported in the newspapers. Much of EAR’s repertoire, in fact, is subject to interpretation, and the dominant interpretation is that he was laying red herrings. He was trying to sound like a cheap punk, a psychotic, and someone far less educated than he was.

Some things, however, are hard to disguise– the offending organ is one of them, and it is often noted that on a couple of occasions it was described as quite normal rather than the usual under endowment.

Let us begin:

Commencing with the assumption that JJ DeAngelo is also the Visalia Ransacker, there is the inconsistency of footwear that must be explained in early EAR attacks. The VR was a skilled prowler, so it would seem. He struck up to 11 homes in a single night and there is no real description of his appearance during such prolonged stalking. Supposed footprints of the VR exist in photographs. One shows a tennis shoe print.

On  the other hand, the East Area Rapist did not wear a tennis shoe until Strike 7. Before this he used very unconventional footwear for silent night prowling–hiking boots, desert shoes. The VR was a skilled home invasion artist. EAR’s first official attack on Paseo Drive has the hallmark clues of an amateur– the attempt at cutting the phone line outside, the whittled door frame on the kitchen door. Inside EAR forgot to cut the phone cords. At the next victim he cuts the cords, then at No 3 there was no chance, then he cut them at No 5, 6, 7; at Victim 8 is was not applicable. These are just a few examples. At the October 1975 rape on Dawes Street, long suspected and then later re-suspected of having been EAR, the cords were cut.

The attacks on Victim 1 (Paseo) and 3 (Malaga Way) stand out. He did not cut the cord inside the house at Victim 1, and could not do so at Victim 3 due to the altercation with Rose, the mother. Yet it seems this is the same perp at Victim 7.  At both Victim 3 and 7 the perp’s tan line is so distinctive it appears he is wearing boxer shorts (from a distance). EAR now seems to have progressed to the routine of cutting phone cords, but at Victim 1 he seems quite inexperienced.

Remaining focused only on the first cases in Rancho Cordova–  The later murder of the Maggiores in another section (quite nearby though) of town than the previous rapes was preceded by an excessive amount of prowling. It was not originally (or for decades) attributed to the East Area Rapist. Thus the EAR task force did not know the details of the neighborhood canvassing which had been conducted by homicide detectives. When this was later reviewed by SSD detectives (decades later) it was uncovered that this very suspicious prowling of the area took place weeks in advance– sometimes even months– indicative of the pattern EAR had (by then) established in some of his strikes. Enough prowling details are known so that on the night of the murders the movement of the alleged perp can be reasonably backworked. (See Quester Files). The whereabouts of JJ DeAngelo must not only be established for this night (February 2, 1978), but for several of the prowling incidents, which include a perv entering more than one home and even leaving bodily fluid behind on a window in Toro Court.

Only one sketch or composite exists of the perpetrator of the Maggiore double murders where a face can be seen. The witness came into the SSD a month or so after-the-fact, and it only vaguely suggests DeAngelo. Almost all sketches and composites prior to this capture the features of a man with longer hair. They could all be of some other young man visiting the neighborhood, but some of them are remarkably consistent. Take, for instance, the following:

These three sketches represent perps on Ripon Court (1977), Sarda Way (1973), and East Area, 1977.

These type of descriptions were so numerous that the first officially released composite, though just that, used the hair style portrayed last above. The young boy at Victim 7 was so certain that EAR had blue eyes that this became fixed in LE and the popular mind. DeAngelo has hazel eyes, and DNA has confirmed that the perp who murdered in So. Cal had hazel eyes. But there is no DNA in the Sacramento cases.

There are examples of sketches or “suspicious” persons, though few, that suggest DeAngelo. They arise rather late in EAR’s crime spree. They are:


The Verla Street Prowler (1978), The Maggiore murder suspect (1978), DeAngelo 1973 (bottom).

The descriptions between The Visalia Ransacker and EAR were so radically different Sacramento Sheriffs at the time refused to accept they could be one and the same. There was quite an acrimonious exchange between Sac sheriff’s spokesman Bill Miller and the Visalia PD detectives contained in the Sacramento Bee that later required the sheriff and the chief of police of Visalia to exchange phone calls.

Because DeAngelo was a cop in Exeter, a small town next to Visalia, at the time of the VR rampages, it is now popular to believe that VR and EAR are indeed one and the same. Despite the Ransacker being described as having blonde hair, DeAngelo is credited as being the Ransacker. There is a slight resemblance between him and one of the VR sketches. However, a description that even comes near to DeAngelo’s does not pop up in Sacramento investigative folders until late in EAR’s game, and then it is never directly related to his attacks. The Maggiore Double Murders, for instance, were not associated with EAR back then, and the Verla Street prowler was just that. No EAR attacks ever occurred around Verla Street or the area where the Maggiores were murdered.

From a perusal of all sketches prior to 1978 one would have to say that another perp was responsible for EAR attacks and that DeAngelo came later and dovetailed on EAR’s MO as a cover for his own thrill home invasion rapes.

However, it would be unwise to say there are no consistent links between the early EAR attacks of 1976 and the later (1978-’79) attacks also attributed to EAR. One very subtle one is that the perp on Victim 8 in Rancho Cordova (October 1976, Los Palos) took the victim’s car and parked it mid block on nearby El Segundo Drive. This indicates the perp fled back over the canal (via which he seemed to have arrived) to Moraine Circle. In like manner the Maggiore Double Murder suspect beat a retreat right back up to this same area in February 1978.

It becomes unbelievable to say that EAR was prowling the same neighborhood on the night of the Maggiore murders and was equally startled by the murders (committed by someone else) and fled back to Moraine Circle on foot. Yet it is equally hard to believe that prior to 1978 all the composites and sketches of a “suspicious” person seen in relation to an EAR attack before-the-fact were always of somebody else, and that it was merely coincidence that on several occasions this innocent bystander in far-flung neighborhoods looked similar.

Later EAR attacks (25, 28) also favor a perp coming from the foothills up Highway 80, where DeAngelo was based. But early EAR attacks are the farthest possible from Auburn, Ca, and still within the East Area. Yet they are concentrated where DeAngelo grew up and later lived for a while.

We must pursue more pros and cons in our next post.

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Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester or Q Man. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.


HorrorScope– Spring 2019– The Zodiac Killer

This blog post is more or less just an update of an update of an update. I know many have been waiting for the release of HorrorScope— my tome on the Zodiac Killer. It was delayed for a variety of reasons– my obsession with EAR, but mostly the inability to get contemporary hand printing on my suspect in order to confirm the results of my investigation. This is necessary in any investigation. Since 2012 I have had but one suspect– I called him Steve Beard– but I refuse to play the game of “Solved” when in essence only greater suspicion could be directed at him  . . . at that time. Later, I obtained enough to satisfy myself on his candidacy.  Yet I wanted contemporary hand printing. It is needed for more than just presentation in a book.

The belief that Zodiac left DNA is fiction . . .sorta. He left no DNA in perpetration, and that is what counts. If he did lick those stamps on the letters to the Chronicle then he left DNA in a roundabout way. Technically, it proves he licked those stamps.  If DNA were removed from the stamps and it led to the licker of the stamps, even an official investigation would have to confirm him as The Zodiac Killer based on two points of evidence: hand printing and fingerprints. SFPD still believes in those bloody prints in Stine’s cab, and the printing on the paper of those nasty notes to the Chronicle are in perpetration, wherein he is confessing and threatening more mayhem.

The Zodiac intentionally chose the type of murders that leave little evidence behind that can lead anywhere– ballistics, and that’s basically it. In the case of Lake Berryessa it is also footprints. It doesn’t take a genius to do this. He may also have known that blood type can be secured off saliva on the back of a stamp. I really don’t know if those stamps were licked. According to a later report the first lifting of DNA was actually from the edge of a stamp and therefore maybe it wasn’t even his. Zodiacmockup-icon

In any case, the legal evidence is hand printing and fingerprints. DNA can only direct one to a suspect and then the other evidence must be obtained before he can be definitely declared the culprit.

Independent of my own investigation, people following the case have been waiting on official updates. In 2018 due to the success of genealogical DNA tracing the case has essentially been reopened officially and DNA was sought from more stamps Zodiac had mailed to the Chronicle. Last May there was the announcement they are seeking more DNA in order to confirm the stamps were licked.

A couple of things we can deduce since the big news reports of May. They have Leigh Allen’s DNA on file, so if they lifted better DNA they could immediately match to him if he had been Zodiac. That would not have taken long. So Leigh Allen seems removed (yet again!) from being Zodiac.

I proceed on my own independently. By Spring 2019 I hope to have finally secured the last bit of evidence I want and thereafter there is no impediment to publishing HorrorScope.  I’m sorry for the repeated delays.

In my next post I will share an outsert where I state the my reasons in far more concise and thought-out language than I can ever manage in a blog post.

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Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester or Q Man. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.

The Strange Case of J.M. Lacey

Due to a number of events, a story became very significant late in the case of the East Area Rapist. It contained what could be a valuable lead to his identity. It is the story of a man in his late 20s/early 30s entering the American River Hospital in Carmichael seeking treatment for an injured shoulder. He presented false ID. When the staff became suspicious he fled.

Sac Sheriff detectives backworked this case decades after-the-fact in a dedicated effort  to finally unveil the identity of the real life Michael Myers. This suspicious man came to the hospital in late May 1977, only a couple of days after the EAR’s attack on Victim 22 in South Sacramento– his only south Sac strike. Here the bloodhound had followed EAR’s trail to a cyclone gate in the fence that protected a small, narrow canal. Apparently EAR had jumped the fence. But there was very little room for landing on the other side. The lip of the canal was right next to the foot of the cyclone fence. They postulated that EAR had missed the landing and slid into the canal, injuring his shoulder. DSC06153-50%

What evidence?

On the spot evidence? Not to my knowledge. It is accumulative causes and effects hard to ignore.

When the Sac Sheriffs released parts of their intriguing investigation of the forgotten case of the Cordova Cat an impressive amount of data suggest a concrete link at many levels between him and EAR and even the man at the hospital. This Cat Burglar was active in Rancho Cordova and Carmichael/Citrus Heights in 1972-1973, laying down a pattern which the East Area Rapist, striking in the same areas, would follow between 1976-1978. Having exhausted all leads to expose the EAR based on the evidence and clues of his crime spree, uncovering the existence of the earlier Cat seemed a boon answered. If this was EAR then he could have left clues behind in this early crime spree that would lead to him.

Detectives backworked the old burglary reports. They discovered that in 1973 a neighbor in the area where the Cat had struck (Thornwood area of Carmichael) had lost his wallet– at least so he thought.  But knowing the Cat’s (and later EAR’s) propensity to prowl quietly and take things without any real major burglary, detectives thought it was possible that the Carmichael resident had his wallet stolen and simply didn’t know it at the time. By a strange twist of fate,  it was his ID that this suspicious man at American River Hospital presented in May 1978.

It was not illogical to put the pieces together and see the connection– EAR and the Cat were one and the same and after his attack on Victim 22 on May 28, 1978, he injured his shoulder and had to go to the hospital a couple of days later, there presenting some old ID he had stolen quietly 4 years before. This made following the leads of the case of the Cordova Cat vital.

In developing this old Cordova Cat crime spree, the Sarda Way Incident (Rancho Cordova) was uncovered, an attempted home invasion rape and possible murder of September 14, 1973– the late period of the Cat. An identikit of this perp had been done and included in the report. He looked very similar to the Ripon Court Shooter of February 16, 1977– and the Shooter was heavily suspected of being EAR. This seemed beyond coincidence. Then there is the prowler on Locust Avenue in January 1978 who followed an almost identical MO as the Sarda Way perp– ringing the bell of the house and then going in the backyard to prowl when the woman, home alone, hadn’t answered. In comparing the cases, it was obvious the perp was described as dressed similarly to the Sarda Way perp of 1973 as well. Moreover, this prowling occurred only a week before EAR’s attack on two sisters on College View Way right around the corner. Too many coincidences to be just that.

Sarda Way Suspect-adjusted  EAR-Composite5

The Sarda Way perp and the identikit identified as the Ripon Court Shooter.

Then we all of us were stunned in April 2018 to learn that Joseph James DeAngelo, an Auburn cop based up in the foothills, was arrested for being the infamous Original Night Stalker of southern California. ONS and EAR were also believed to be the same perp, the deadlier incarnation merely the later extension of his earlier violent rape period. There was DNA linking the ONS to 2 EAR attacks in Contra Costa County, but nothing linking him to the Sacramento attacks where EAR began in 1976.

There was always some suspicion there was more than one perp involved in Sacramento initially. But no one could prove it. When DeAngelo was charged with the murders, the case of the EAR was considered closed and the arguments seemed pointless, though all of us remained surprised that a fulltime cop could have pulled off the massive amount of prowling which EAR was believed to have done. (An incredible amount of prowling was revealed by sheriff canvassing of the neighborhoods. This revealed visual sightings of a prowler over several nights for days or even weeks in advance. Footprints confirming a trespasser. Dogs barking for nights in advance, indicating an unwelcome shape was moving through yards, and then hang-up phone calls, illegal entries, attempted break-ins.) The theory of EAR having been the suspicious man at American River Hospital was forgotten. EAR hadn’t been the Sarda Way perp, so it would seem, because DeAngelo’s features are captured in a formal police photo of the period (1973), and he most definitely had short hair. All a coincidence, unchancy coincidences.DeAngelo-cop-formal2

Ironically, the day after the solution buzzed over the airwaves I received an email from a researcher who basically said “I guess this case isn’t relevant anymore.” She was referring to a link she had attached. It was a Doe Network case she had come across. It was the strange case of J.M. Lacey.

J.M. Lacey

His body had been found in 2002 at Grant Park, close to Los Huecos trail in the Lakeside area of the park in the unincorporated area east of San Jose, California. It was deteriorated, of course. No one knows how long it had been there– Maybe 5 years.  From the effects in the clothes he had been quite a dandy for his time– his pants had the name stenciled on the inside waist.  From the skeletal remains, at some point in his life this mysterious J.M. Lacey had had a bad shoulder injury. Forensic facial reconstruction gave us a face that surprisingly looked like an aged version of the Sarda Way perp.

No one has ever discovered who this J.M. Lacey was. His name obviously wasn’t J.M. acey. He remains a dead Doe in an unlikely place, wearing heavy clothes (two pairs of pants), sweater, and a knit cap, and of the right age bracket and resemblance to be the Sarda Way perp, and a shoulder injury to match the suspicious man who came into the American River Hospital a couple of days after EAR’s strike on Victim 22.

Is this the man?

More importantly, was there another East Area Rapist? Did DeAngelo dovetail on the EAR’s MO in order to give himself an alibi? DeAngelo will certainly be tried for the murders, on solid evidence. But there still remains many inconsistencies in the case of EAR which points to a guy with a different eye color, lots of access to old cars, and some motive for halting activities in the Summer of 1977.

The trial will likely have to address the inconsistencies in the reports of the EAR’s Sacramento rapes. They will have to collate a coincidence between DeAngelo’s free time and the times EAR struck. Not only this, they will have to show that if he was the original EAR he had the free time to commit the massive amount of prowling attributed to EAR.

In another post we will begin detailing these dates and the those factors which must be addressed to firmly establish whether there was only one EAR.

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Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester or Q Man. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.

East Area Rapist– the Juggling Game of Identity

Some things have become embedded into the narrative of the East Area Rapist that are hard to shake, and I suspect both the defense and prosecution are planning to deal with them. There is not only original sheriff detective Richard Shelby’s expressed views that a case could have been made at the time for 2 rapists, there are detailed stories– vignettes– in the massive Case of EAR that highlight details impossible to accept as applying to the accused Joseph James DeAngelo Jr.  There is also the rumor, heard by anyone from the foundation of their inquiry into the topic (at least if you are local to Sacramento area) that the Sacramento Sheriffs did, in fact, uncover who the probable East Area Rapist was, confronted him, and basically chased him out of town. The one who went on to commit the murders was another perpetrator.

Countering the last point is the fact that DNA does link DeAngelo to being both the murderer in So. Cal and the Rapist in Contra Costa County using the same MO as the East Area Rapist in Sacramento.

However, this blog article will touch on some of the inconsistencies in Sacramento and how they must be addressed.

Officially the East Area Rapist became active in June 1976. He ceased in Sacramento in 1978 and moved on to Contra Costa County. In late 1979 he went south and turned murderer as the Original Night Stalker. DNA links J.J. DeAngelo to these murders and he is being held on charges of having committed these murders.  However, for over 2 dozen rapes in the Sacramento area 1976-1978 there is only the basic evidence of modus operandi, etc., identifying the perp as the same person as the So. Cal killer.

We will come back to Shelby’s statements in his book Hunting a Psychopath at another time. But suffice it to say here that Shelby was highly suspicious of a reserve sheriff because of his interest in the case. Only someone on the inside, so it would seem, could get a hold of EAR’s unique repertoire in order to copy it. The East Area Rapist stuck to a routine, both of words and actions in a house.

The suspicion that DeAngelo is not the original EAR and was a copycat hinges on the same thing. As a cop he could have been in a position to hear just what EAR’s actual words were in order to imitate them to give himself a cover for his own thrill spree.

While this is only theory, there remains the fact that EAR’s overall description is consistent as smallish– on average 5 foot 8 or 9 inches and of compact, small size. Only on a few occasions he is described as taller– about 6 feet or more. Most often his offending organ is described as unimpressive. On a few occasions it is described as normal, the size of a dollar bill, and “bigger than my husband’s”– the last being subject to the most interpretation. DeAngelo is 5 foot 11 inches and in shoes most definitely 6 feet. He fits one, but not the original, description of the EAR.

EAR’s crime spree begins while he is wearing unlikely footwear for an experienced prowler– clodhoppers or “hiking boots” and maybe desert shoes. At Victim 7 he switches to tennis shoes. At this same strike the little Schultze kid insists that the assailant had deep blue eyes. He also had such a stark white tan line on his legs as to appear he was wearing boxer shorts.

In addition to the starkly different eye color here, the prosecution will have to address how DeAngelo has hazel eyes and also how a fulltime cop like DeAngelo had such a tan line. Were these indeed boxer shorts, here, and at Victim 3 where EAR is described the same? The defense and prosecution must address this. They must explain how a fulltime cop had such a distinct tan line in late 1976 (August to October) if these were not boxers. Shorts were short shorts in the 1970s, so that the tan line doesn’t seem to come from the usual recreational shorts.

The tan line is not a small matter here, for Victim 3, Rose, felt she could take out the assailant if he didn’t have a gun. This small size is repeated by many victims. Victim 15 estimated EAR in shoes could not have been taller than 5 foot 9 inches.

DNA has confirmed that the murderer known as the Original Night Stalker had 97% probability green to hazel eyes. DeAngelo does have hazel eyes. There is no question that DNA links him to the So. Cal murders.  But there is no DNA for the Sacramento strikes, and these are so numerous and the perp described so differently on occasions that the inconsistency of these descriptions must be addressed.

In addition to the size discrepancies between DeAngelo and most EAR reports, there are the numerous reports of dozens of different cars being associated with EAR prowling about a neighborhood in advance, and even on the night of attacks. There are 3 dozen persons of interest composites and Identikits at Sac Co. sheriffs alone, and only a few suggest DeAngelo. Most suggest a much younger man with longer hair, and one victim even noted EAR’s hair sticking out from under his ski mask around his shoulder.

The identikit of the Verla Street prowler (left) in Carmichael was released last by the Sheriff’s Department. More than all others it suggests DeAngelo (right). But this is only one of a few times that an identikit (of those released) features a subject that resembles DeAngelo. 

There must be some believable explanation for how a fulltime cop based far up the foothills in Auburn, California, could devote so much time to in situ prowling in Rancho Cordova and Carmichael. If Sheriff canvassing is correct, EAR spent an unbelievable amount of time prowling before-the-fact than he ever devoted to an actual attack. Prowling occurred weeks in advance, including the jumping of fences, the trespassing into back yards, and home invasion, and the setting up of “command posts” in unoccupied or empty houses wherefrom he conducted his reconnaissance of the neighborhood.

There is the case of Victim 22. Prior to DeAngelo’s identity as the Original Night Stalker, Sac Sheriff detectives advanced a very interesting and highly reasoned theory as to why after EAR’s strike on 4th Parkway (May 1977) he was inactive all during the Summer of 1977. There are suggestions here that he fell trying to hop the cyclone gate to the canal and in doing so hurt his shoulder. Two days later a suspicious man pops up at American River Hospital with ID stolen from a man living in an area vexed by the Cordova Cat (Thornwood area of Carmichael) a few years before. He has a bad shoulder injury. He doesn’t remain after the staff gets too curious. If this was not DeAngelo, then it must be explained how this person had the stolen ID, and we must consider the strange case of the Cordova Cat all over.


The fence guarding the canal remains unchanged to this day. 

There is also the Sarda Way Incident of September 1973, later suspected of having been the Cordova Cat in early action, and, of course, the Cat is an obvious first choice for being EAR in 1976-1978, especially in light of the suspicious man with the shoulder injury at American River Hospital who presented stolen ID from a resident who lived in the area where the Cat had been active in 1973 in Carmichael. On the face of it, it now seems unlikely this man at the hospital was DeAngelo. Moreover, a similar description of the Sarda Way perp and modus operandi is given to the prowler on Locust Avenue, the cross street to College View Way, in 1978.  A week or so later EAR’s attack happens on the two sisters on College View Way.

The Sarda Way incident perp was described as a bit of a dandy of 1973, and this introduces the next case of a dead John Doe to be discussed in the next blog post.

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Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester or Q Man. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.

Amityville– The Horror in Fact and Fiction

I’ve not been blogging much– most of my cases now are quite behind-the-scenes. NorCal Rapist was my most recent investigation that was intended to be a public web presentation as it evolved, and the sudden solution for that before I could even get up more than an introduction gave me much time away from the web and from public blogging. However, in the spirit of the season here is the first draft of my introduction for my book on the Amityville Horror, which I am just beginning. This is not the usual type of approach to take a side, but rather . . .well, the introduction should explain it for you.

Amityville: The Horror In Fact and Fiction by Gian J. Quasar.

Between December 8, 1975, and January 14, 1976, several unusual events are alleged to have taken place upon the Lutz family residing at their new home of 112 Ocean Avenue, Amityville, Long Island, New York. In a very true sense of the word the family was haunted. Their actions afterward confirm their dread to return to the house and resume their lives there. The source of this haunting is what has become the fulcrum of the controversy that still surrounds this case in the annals of the preternatural.

Skeptics and believers alike walk the same avenue with one goal in mind: uncover the kernel of truth. As the most lucrative haunted house franchise in the world, “The Amityville Horror” has become an inflated and profitable legend. Yet a chain of events indicates that the Lutz family fled their home in genuine fear for their lives.
At the very least an unusual set of coincidences were set in motion that convinced the family a malevolent “intelligence” was behind the acts that occurred against them within that house, acts which they felt were intended to endanger their lives. Not least of these coincidences is the fact that the previous family, the DeFeos, had been ruthlessly murdered— no less than 6 family members— in their sleep, and the only surviving family member, Ronnie DeFeo Jr., had been convicted of these bizarre crimes upon his own loved ones. He claimed, as was vogue in the 1970s, that the devil made him do it— in other words, he had been possessed.

The house at 112 Ocean Avenue lay vacant for over a year until the Lutzes moved in. The unusual events began with subtle deviations in the family’s routine, especially noticeable in the patriarch, George Lutz. He no longer felt himself. Rather than going to work, he became obsessed with staying warm in the abnormally cold house. In addition, there were moments in which the wife, Kathy, felt an unseen “presence” and even felt as though she had been touched by someone not there. Accidents also occurred. In one instance, one of the children got their hand stuck in a window that would not let go of him. These and other events progressed until the family feared for their life and fled one night in terror. In the short 28 days they lived at 112 Ocean Avenue their belief system was shattered and their life was completely and drastically altered, never to be the same again.

Much has happened since then. Much has been claimed and counter claimed. Allegations of complete hoax were commonly and openly made. Even those who believed in the haunting thought there had been embellishment.
Nevertheless, some facts and sequence of events support that there is a basis in truth to some of the claims the family made. For one, they never returned to 112 Ocean Avenue to take anything but the most personal mementoes (e.g. family photos). George Lutz gave up a third generation and lucrative business and the entire family moved as far from Long Island as they could, ending up in San Diego, California, on the opposite coast of the United States.

Again, at the very least, an equally unusual set of circumstances took place after the family moved out of their home that catapulted them and their experiences to the forefront of the American public’s fascination. Bank and bunk has been made out of it to this day. Yet that narrow window remains in which the family earnestly sought help and even inquired into the house’s background in an attempt to uncover something that may shed light on what they experienced. For that one week in January 1976, before the franchise was born, the truth remained intact. There are enough witnesses to the chain of events to make it possible to establish the kernel of truth.

This book sets out to do that. This is an arduous task. Forty years of fame has gone by. Neither fame nor hyperbole favors objectivity. They create an antagonist/protagonist world. In such formulae pros and cons are stark and set in motion one by the other.

I am one of the few who is neither an eager believer in such things, nor a scoffer. From middle ground I seek only the truth, in the context that it happened. For indeed, indeed, truth is not a factoid, it is not a single angle; it is the body context of the event. So must every witness swear on the stand to “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” My goal is to make this an objective account of the events leading up to the “haunting,” a vivid window during the haunting, and thereafter a document of those events that have so successfully clouded the issue. The goal, of course, is to then place in one tome the actual events, so that there is one reliable record of this entire affair at the reader’s disposal.

An example of how tricky this may prove to be can be found in the varying opinions expressed by the main protagonists. George Lutz, the often-vilified patriarch of the family, said the house was not haunted. “We don’t think there is anything wrong with the house.” Rather George Lutz believed there was possession by an evil force. Is that not a haunted house? His wife, Kathy Lutz, believed that their transcendental meditation made them aware of the evil that resided there, but that the blessing of the house by the priest started it all, so that, logically, we must accept that she believed there must have been resident evil there, limited and exclusive to that house. After decades of silence, the two boys, Daniel and Chris, expressed their strongly worded views that George was invoking demons through his TM. Transcendental Meditation was frequently practiced in the faddish and quirky 1970s, and it did not lead to a myriad of haunted houses. This may reflect mere boys’ understanding of their step-father’s practices, but then we do not know what names George Lutz was chanting to practice his TM.

Father Ray Pecoraro, the priest who blessed the house, and who has become a pivotal character of the story, admitted that when he was blessing the house a deep voice told him to “Get out!” and then he was slapped on the face. This would suggest a resident evil already there, one for which TM was not necessary to reveal. However, Father Pecoraro’s public views remained ambiguous. He upheld the teaching of the Catholic Church. This teaching specifies that houses cannot be possessed, only people. He did not believe that George and Kathy Lutz were possessed, he said, so he would not recommend exorcism. This public statement mutely reflects that George Lutz did present this fear to the priest. Since Lutz had contact with the priest over a phone conversation and perhaps shortly thereafter in person we know this was one of George Lutz’s first beliefs, that the house was possessed by demonic forces, and if not that then it must be he himself. What would make George believe in a possession rather than a haunting?

Father Pecoraro would not budge, but he did believe “something was there” in the house. Father Pecoraro spoke out on his own only once, for the late great In Search of . . . His explanation for what he felt was “there” was cut off in editing, so that today we do not know what he clarified. The raw footage has not been located. Thus we do not know to what extent the priest qualified a statement that was turned into something quite dramatic by TV editing. Nevertheless, he was an ecclesiastical judge. From this we can get a fairly good understanding of what he believed was “there.”
The answer to the inconsistencies and ambiguities is that nobody really knows what inspired the actual events at 112 Ocean Avenue for those 28 days the Lutzes were in residence, not even the Lutzes themselves. They only hold dear their own theories. The haunting can only be understood visually, not theoretically. I hope to make the reader of this book a witness anew to the actual events, as I have been able to piece them back together. Only a superficial examination of the main protagonists would allow one to be certain that the inconsistencies are indications of fraud. Actions speak louder than words. And this work is based on a recreation and examination of the actions. This will reveal that chronologically the story remains largely coherent, though embellished.

The evolution of opinions over “The Amityville Horror” was always over the cause. Irony and not scorn should have been the result. For in this the most famous “haunting” no one was truly sure what or who was haunted.

All hauntings are subjective. That is why they are so frightening. They are the cumulative result of the interpretation of events the participants feel are unusual; the more unusual the more they will be interpreted as naturally impossible. There can be no other interpretation to the naturally impossible but to believe that it is supernaturally possible— to be explicit, an intelligence is behind them. With this we have now tread into the theory of the supernatural as the explanation.
If true hauntings were like their movie personas there would be little to fear. If ghosts were easy to see moving about a home in their routine, they would soon be nothing more than a botheration. If Sir Percy carried his head under his arm nightly while moaning in the passageways one would grow tired of him. There would be no fear. It would simply get to be too much. We’d pack our traps and move out in a huff. Fear would long have been vanquished and replaced by irk at the inconvenience of it all.

An unseen enemy or potential enemy is what we fear. Fear is in the present. It can be dealt with. Anxiety, however, is over the future. It grows more intense. We do not fear what we do not know as much as we fear what might possibly be. Fear of what is will eventually subside. But fear of what is to come is what truly haunts us.
By no means am I minimizing a haunting. Nor is this an endorsement that hauntings are caused by supernatural forces. I am underscoring that the interpretation of the effect and not the cause is the source of the haunting within us. Whether the effect was set in motion by an unknown natural phenomenon or, indeed, by a supernatural entity, there is no difference. We are left to interpret otherwise ambiguous but abnormal effects. And it will be our interpretation that sets us on edge.

Knowledge builds upon knowledge. In all things, data adds to the interpretation of more data. The human mind cannot stop the process. A few strange sounds in an old house might be unnerving, but when added to yet more unexplained events— cupboards found open, doors that slam on their own— and we begin to ponder and try to add it up. Mixed with our personality, our conclusions will drive us to action.
For the haunting at 112 Ocean Avenue in 1975-76 the same can be said. The Lutz family’s belief in the haunting occurred only after Christmas 1975. It was only in retrospect that they looked back at their first two weeks in the house and then interpreted events from day 1 as bearing on their current predicament. This only added to the fear and, of course, heightened the anxiety as to what might happen next.

In this volume we will try and get to the bottom of it all. This is not a book of theories. This is a vivid reliving of the 28 days in 112 Ocean Avenue, Amityville, Long Island. Events and their chronology are put back in place as best as I am able. I trust no one source. I do not blithely accept a pure motive for any single statement. Everything must be weighed in the greater context in which the claim has been made. This book has no agenda to convince the reader to believe in supernatural forces or to dissuade them. Plainly put, the purpose of this book is to haunt you with the same haunting. We will see what interpretation you place upon the events.

* * *
Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester or Q Man. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.