That's the spirit
Thank you for an interesting and quite accurate account of the Amityville phenomenon [ The Amityville Horror: 25 Years Later, Cover Story, Oct. 21]. I am the widow of Stephen Kaplan and co-author of The Amityville Horror Conspiracy. The eyewitness testimony that you recount has rarely been available to the general public, other than in my book. Much of the information on the Web is inaccurate, and some of what has been said about my husband is downright slanderous. My husband's sole purpose in his long fight to expose the hoax was to insure that the public did not get ripped off by the many phonies involved. Those individuals give the field of parapsychology a bad reputation, so that any legitimate researcher has a hard time being taken seriously. Stephen felt very strongly that the public had a right to know the truth, and he dedicated his life to making sure our story got published.
If the producers of Amityville 25 Years Later have "proof" that the house was really haunted, they certainly didn't indicate that to me when they approached me to participate in the program. I would like to see this so-called "new evidence." One little mistake in the article: My husband was not a "psychic." He was a "psychic researcher." Big difference. A "criminal" is not the same as a "criminologist."
Roxanne Salch Kaplan
Consider us haunted
The article written by Bill Jensen regarding the Amityville Horror has to be one of the most poorly researched pieces of irresponsible journalistic crap I have ever read!
I am one of the researchers/investigators for the upcoming documentary marking the 25th anniversary of the murders. Ric Osuna and I were the two researchers who flew to Amityville to gather as much factual data and as many people to participate as possible back in June of this year. We made some amazing contacts and discovered many facts never before revealed to the media. Our objective is to present facts about the case and to clear up many of the rumors and myths surrounding the Amityville Horror. The majority of the reports that have surfaced over the past 25 years by the media have contributed greatly to the confusion and the accusations of lies which have been the result. The article by Bill Jensen is a perfect example.
Ric Osuna never said we have proof the house "truly is haunted." I'm not sure what Mr. Jensen's intentions were by printing a completely made-up and untrue statement like that, but it may have already tarnished the credibility of a documentary that has not yet even aired. Furthermore, the Lutz family's claims have never actually been proven to be false, although, yet again, they are spoken of as if there was undeniable evidence uncovered revealing a hoax.
Editor's note: Gee is incorrect in saying that we directly quoted Osuna as saying the house was haunted. Osuna, for his part, says that his statements were "taken out of context" but that he does believe the house has a "charged atmosphere." Osuna adds, "I thought overall it was a well-done piece regarding the DeFeo perspective."
The good, the bad and the ugly
The article on LI artist Kato DeStefan [Gore to the Core, Exit Zero, Oct. 21] brought out a point that being "different" or even bizarre or grotesque in one's artistic expression can give birth to things that are really beautiful.
The beautiful and the "ugly" can and do exist together in life, and the biggest problem that the media seems to have is trying to manipulate our minds into believing that they shouldn't and that beautiful is "good" and ugly or strange is "bad." As a result, those who don't strive for what is the social standard of a "pretty life" rarely achieve success because only a small group of outcasts will ever really be interested. When I was 15 I had a Mohawk and wore blue lipstick and red eye shadow. I was called a freak at most places I went, and most of my teachers hated me on sight and summed me up as a flaky, bad girl who would never amount to much, and they never made any attempt to hide their feelings. Well, I'm all grown up now and am doing very well for myself as a makeup artist. I also recently had gone to some high school benefit-reunion-thing and had to constantly sidestep to avoid the drools I got from my old male classmates and pissed-off looks from the female ones-SO THERE! This guy Kato seems really cool, really interesting and really up-and-coming, so thanks so much for celebrating his interesting work. It makes the rest of us "freaks" feel justified!
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