Did the Lutz Family’s Practice of Transcendental Meditation Lead to the Amityville Horror?

posted: 07/27/16
by: Sasha Brown-Worsham
The Amityville House at 112 Ocean Avenue
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The Amityville House at 112 Ocean Avenue
By BrownieCharles99 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Thanks to a book and series of movies in the 1970's and 2000's, we all know the story of Amityville Horror. For those who don't, the story goes something like this: The Lutz family moves into their dream house on Long Island. Just five years before, an entire family (the De Feos) were slaughtered in their sleep on the same property by their eldest son Butch DeFeo. The Lutzs moved out after just 28 days in the house. The story inspired a book, movies, sequels, remakes and copycats for years to come. A new movie is coming out just this month starring Jennifer Jason Leigh as a single mom who moves into the infamous house.

We all have heard the story again and again, but may never know the truth about what the Lutz family experienced or didn't experience within the walls on 112 Ocean Drive. Several families have owned the house since the DeFeo murders in 1974 and not one has reported paranormal activity. So why the Lutzs? Why would their family have been so haunted -- and eventually driven out of the house? Could it be because both Lutz parents practiced Transcendental Meditation? In fact, they practiced so regularly they'd planned to design rooms in the house just for that purpose. Did the practice bring them closer to the spirit world and possibly make them more susceptible to a haunting?

Meditation is known to bring peace of mind and calm. It is the first recommendation many doctors make in terms of stress reduction and greater mindfulness. There are many types of meditation, though, and the deeper one is able to explore their own mind, the more they open it, both to peace and to possible sightings of the paranormal kind. This is particularly true of transcendental mediation.

Transcendental Meditation (or TM), differs from other types of meditation in that there is little chanting. It is not guided and does not include movement like tai chi or yoga. Rather, in TM, the practitioner repeats a simple word or phrase to themselves until they fall into a deep rest. Some describe this as an almost trance-like state. And while it is known to help relieve stress, people who practice it regularly may also be opening themselves to new spiritual experiences. And possibly even to paranormal experiences.

Certainly we all know that religion of any kind, affects our beliefs. It would be hard to believe in demonic possession (or be susceptible to it) if you were a skeptic or non-believer. So why wouldn't TM, which stems from Hinduism, not also bring people closer to the spirit world?

Interview With George And Kathy Lutz from Cory X on Vimeo.

At one point in the book, The Amityville Horror, by Jay Anson, Kathy Lutz (mother of the Lutz family) worries openly that the family's TM practice is the cause of their issues. But could it be?

For many religious people, TM is a danger zone. They call it "occult" and worry that the trendiness of the practice may truly be harming our nation's youth. "TM asks you and requires that you empty your mind.... You've given up the control of your mind.... Who knows what's coming to visit? You open yourself up to all kinds of effects that you wouldn't otherwise," Eric Barger, a spiritual leader who spends his time fighting spiritual practices he believes run contrary to Christianity, told Jan Markell on her radio program, Understanding the Times Radio.

Whether or not TM is responsible for the hauntings the Lutzs experienced, it is fascinating that the house has changed hands several times since they fled in 1979 (it is even on the market today) and not a single subsequent owner has reported anything unusual. Perhaps they are interested in maintaining market value for their home. Or maybe they aren't open to it. Certainly we know that being "open to" or sensitive to paranormal events makes one more likely to experience them. Therefore, it stands to reason that those who might be closed off might not experience them.

Did the Lutzs open their minds to the spirit world through their unique meditation practice? We may never know. But it's a fact about the case that isn't discussed nearly as much as it should be. When we open our minds, we open our doors.