Nyogtha Volume I, Issue XX

Well, I’ve been super busy what with an eleven page review of Jade Empire, and also writing three previews this weekend, so to be honest, I’m taking it easy with the column this week.

For starters, I’m going to re-run part of Issue IV, from 12.13.05, as it’s about the Amityville Horror. I saw the Movie on Saturday and although it was a zillion times better than the 1970’s one, the fact remains the entire movie is NOT based on a true story at all. It was based solely on real estate fraud. I’ve spent the night in the actual house and nothing in the slightest happened. In fact, everyone that has lived there hasn’t had anything happen to them. And even worse, this movie makes up even more stuff that didn’t even appear in the original fraudulent book and claims by the Lutz’s. So I feel what with people going to see the film, especially as it’s the only one that opened this weekend, there are going to be people who actually think the events happened. And I guess I feel it’s my job to once again retell what really happened.

And nor for a reprint from 4 months ago…

America’s most famous Haunted House is steeped in over twenty-five years of controversy. From the murders that started the publicity about the house, to the debates over whether or not the hauntings were nothing more than an elaborate hoax, the Amityville house has become a part a major part of American folklore.

One of the few aspects of the Amityville house that is considered fact by all sides is that on November 13th, 1974, one Ronald DeFeo Jr, rose from his second story room at 3am after watching a movie called, White Keep, and picked up a.35 Marlin rifle. From that point DeFeo brutally murdered his father and mother, Ronald Senior and Louise, and then moved on to murder his two brothers and sisters as well. In all, six people were murdered that early morning, and the eventual aftermath would send a 2 and a half story Dutch Colonial house into the annuals of Parapsychology.

Police reports state that all six bodies were found in bed. The sheer mystery behind how an entire family could sleep through gunshots made by a high-powered rifle is only the start of the controversy. AT DeFeo’s trial, two different psychiatrists argued heavily over the state of Ronald Jr’s sanity. Even after Ronald was given six consecutive life sentences for the murders he had committed, he continues to give the same eerie defense. Ronald admitted he had killed his family. And that he felt no remorse for the crimes. But insisted something had gotten inside him and forced him to kill the family he swore he loved. Was Ronald actually possessed by something from another world?

Many people believe DeFeo was actually possessed, but just any many feel that DeFeo’s defense attorney, William Weber convinced DeFeo to use the possession defense in hope of making a lot of money from a book deal. In fact, there are book contracts between the two men, and DeFeo was also slated to receive a percentage of book sales from the Lutz’s, whom we will meet later, as well as money from Hanz Holtzer’s book Murder in Amityville. Today, DeFeo sings a different story and claims he was tricked into perpetrated into a hoax by the aforementioned parties into making them rich. Yet is this because he truly was tricked, or simply bitterness that they made money of his psychotic murders? The truth about DeFeo’s actions may never be known, but those six murders were the starting point for the story that would eventually become knows as, The Amityville Horror. To Holzer’s credit, his book, Murder in Amityville, is more concerned with the court case and documentation of what occurred during the trial than the actual hauntings.

On December 18,1975 George and Katherine Lutz moved into 112 Ocean Avenue in the small town of Amityville. The house in question had six bedrooms, a huge yard and a swimming pool. But best of all was the price. Only $80,000. When they queried how such an incredible house could cost next to nothing, the broker explained that a year before, that house had been the sight of a mass murder. The Lutz’s, claiming they were not superstitious people, bought the house and moved in with their three children, Daniel, Chris, and Melissa, as well as their dog Harry. On January 14, 1976, a mere 28 days later, the Lutz family fled the house in fear, vowing never to return. What had happened?

It all started after the Lutz’s priest, Father Ralph Precario aka Father Ray aka Father Mancuso had blessed the house that strange supernatural events began to take place. Father Ray also claimed a deep masculine voice warned him to leave the house when he sprinkled holy water upon the floor. He then suffered from a strange sickness that plagued him until he transferred to another parish.

As for the Lutz’s they encountered stranger and more horrifying events over the next four weeks. The family began to see ghosts floating through their home. Windows across the house would break in unison. Swarms of flies would hover in the Children’s bedrooms. There would be extreme temperature changes, a ghostly parade every night, oozing slime from the walls, marked changes in personality, along with the stereotypical strangely appearing wounds and gashed, horrid smells and unexpected bouts of illness.

The Lutz’s also began to encounter Poltergeist style activities. Items would fly across the house violently and suddenly. Their telephone would repeatedly disconnect. And strangest of all, young daughter Melissa began talking to a demon only she could see that she named “Jodie.” It also was in the shape of a pig. Kathleen began to have psychic dreams were she saw the murder of the DeFeo family unfold, along with visions of Louise having an affair with the artist who painted the DeFeo family portraits. Interestingly enough, there was no evidence to show Louise having an affair. Another odd contradiction between the hauntings and reality was when George grew out his beard and hair, which they claimed made him look like Ronald DeFeo Jr. In actuality, Ronnie’s hair did not go past his neck. Even with these inconsistencies, the family began to live in a world of fear. The children refused to go to school. George refuses to go to work. Eventually, the family left the house and their worldly possessions behind in a desperate attempt to escape the evil that they believed lived within the house.

Soon after, the Lutz’s told their story to professional author, Jay Anson, whose book called, The Amityville Horror was published by Prentice-Hall in 1977. It was released as a non-fiction book. Although Anson had never visited the house, and made errors throughout his book, from minor mistakes about meteorological data, to utterly false floor plans of 112 Ocean Avenue being included in the book, it became a best seller and also became the basis for of the of highest grossing film of 1979, which had the same title as Anson’s book. This also set off a spree of Haunted House movies, books, and True Stories, including Smurl house.

Even if the story told by Anson and the Lutz’s was true, credibility was lost when John G. Jones wrote not one, but TWO sequels to the Amityville horror. These books were also credited with being “True” stories, yet Jones was not able to get the name of the children correct, calling them Greg Matt and Amy, instead of Danny, Chris and Melissa. Nor did Jones accurate state what George Lutz dud for a living, calling him an air traffic controller, instead of the manager for a surveying company.

More cracks began to appear in the Lutz’s story. A large one comes from the fact they claimed their house was built atop an abandoned well where the Shinnecock Indians would leave their sick and insane to die from exposure to the elements. In fact, the Shinnecock Indians lived nowhere near what would become the town of Amityville. All Indians on Long Island, which is where Amityville is located, were actually Montauckett. Although these Indians DID bury their dead in shell mounds along water, but there are no records of Sanitariums or Indian Burial grounds where 122 Ocean Avenue is located. The only Indian burial grounds around Amityville are now dumping grounds. As well, Native Americans are known to care for their injured and dying, and wouldn’t abandon them in a well. Other rumors of a satanic magician named John Ketchum living where the Amityville house now stands, an ancient cursed cemetery standing where the house now does, and the like were all proven false.

The infamous red room that the book and movie claimed was a “gate to hell” and where Ronald DeFeo jr. practiced black magic in was nothing more than where the DeFeo children kept their toys. Brunswick Hospital had no record of every seeing Danny Lutz whose hand was supposed smashed by a window controlled by the spirits in the house. George’s claims that the house was constantly freezing was proved not to be the work of ghosts, but nature as they lived on the water’s edge, and also had a heater that known to be faulty, even when the DeFeo’s lived there.

Worst of all for the Lutz’s is that many of their witnesses began to admit falsehoods about the case and book. Father Decorator admitted under oath during a civil case that the majority of the story was false. William Weber, the man who cooked up the entire “possession” defense for DeFeo appeared on a radio show in 1979 where he firmly stated the entire story was created in the Lutz’s kitchen over a few bottles of wine. After he came up with the idea, the Lutz ran with the tale and refused to share any of the profits with him. Weber sued for what he felt was his share of the book and movie profits, while the Lutz’s countersued to validate their tale. During that trial, both Lutz’s passed a lie detector test, but the results were of course inadmissible in court. The suit eventually ended with Judge Jack Weinstein finding verdict in favor of Weber, believing the Lutz’s had created a hoax with the sole intent of getting a book published.

Other names joined in the suit of the Lutz’s. Jim and Barbara Cromarty, who moved into the house after the Lutz’s, encountered no evidence of paranormal activity. The house was quiet as any other building. However, due to constant barrages by the media, tourists and assorted wackos, the Cromarty’s sued not only the Lutz’s, but also Anson and Prentice-Hall for 1.1 million dollars. The matter was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.

Father Ralph also sued the Lutz’s and publisher for invasion of privacy and distorting his words and involvement in the entire affair. He too, received an out of court settlement.

It should be noted that the Lutz’s were the only family to ever have a problem with the house. Families before the DeFeo’s and after the Lutz have reported no bizarre happenings during their stay in the building.

Although one cannot prove whether or not the Amityville house was actually haunted, it is quite easy from all the facts gathered that the story was at the very least, filled with embellishments. What is most important is not the debate of whether or not the Amityville house is a gateway to the netherworld, but that in 1974, six people died because someone snapped. If people truly did try to profit from the death of innocents, then they are far worse than the beings they claimed terrorized them for merely a month.

Sources

Anson, Jay. The Amityville Horror. New York: Bantam Books, 1977.
Auerbach, Lloyd. ESP, Hauntings and Poltergeists: A Parapsychologist’s Handbook.
New York: Warner Books, 1986.
Guiley, Rosemary Ellen. Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits, The. New York:
Checkmark Books, 2000
Holtzer, Hans. Murder In Amityville. New York: Belmont Towers, 1979.
Holtzer, Hans. Ghosts: True Encounters with the World Beyond. Black Dog: New York,
1997.
Jones, John G. The Amityville II: The Possession. New York: Warner Books, 1982.
Jones, John G. Amityville: The Final Chapter. New York: Jove Books, 1985.
Kaplan, Stephen K. The Amityville Horror Conspiracy. New York: Toad Hall Inc., 1995.
Morris, Roberts L. The Case of the Amityville Horror. Review of the Amityville Horror
appearing in Kendrick Frazier, ed., Paranormal Borderlands of Science. Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1981.

Web Pages

The Amityville Murders: http://www.amityvillemurders.com
Amityville: The Web Site: http://www.jarrett.nu/amityville/main2.html
City of Amityville: http://www.amityville.com/
The Hoax in Amityville: http://chatanuga.topcities.com/Amityville.html
The Amityville Horror No Hoax page: http://members.tripod.com/~AmityvilleHorror/
The Amityville Horror Movie page: http://www.amityvillehorrormovie.com

2. Cooking

This week, we’re having the first (and possibly only) Inside Pulse Iron Chef cook-off.

Through the IP fan forums, I released an ingredient of choice and the goal was to create a recipe based on that ingredient.

Here’s the original post.

Allright. Here’s the rules and the food.

You’ll have from tonight (monday) until Sunday afternoon to come up with your best recipe featuring the theme ingredient. All recipes will be featured in next week’s Nyogtha and then there will be a voting as to which is the best. The winner will then be April’s Inside Pulse Iron Chef. If it goes well enough and you guys have fun with it, we will make it a monthly thing.

Now for the theme.

I wanted to go with something that everyone could do at first. I know we have a lot of vegans and Vegetarians who read my column and I wanted this contest to be accessible to them, even though I am a proud carnivore.

And thus I chose a theme ingredient that all could use and yet will allow maximum creativity for the all involved.

So I unveil to you at this time…

BATTLE CAPSICUM

If memory serves me correctly, Capsicum, or what we now call bell or chili peppers first received its erroneous name from Christopher Columbus, who in the 1600’s was trying to reach the East Indies and instead discovered the Caribbean and America. He was going to the East Indies in an attempt to make a fortune off of spices, chilies amongst them was piper nigrum or what we call white or black pepper.

There is no relation between true pepper and Bell/Chili peppers but they now share the same name thanks to this explorer who tried to pass chilies off to the queen as a plant that could make the spice pepper. This deception did not succeed, but it did give us one of the world’s most favorite garnishes and vegetables.

The fruit of most species of Capsicum contains capsaicin (methyl vanillyl nonenamide), a lipophilic chemical that can produce a strong burning sensation in the mouth (and, once digested, anus) of the unaccustomed eater. Most mammals find this unpleasant; however birds are unaffected, and it therefore appears that the secretion of capsaicin is an adaptation to protect the fruit from consumption by mammals while the bright colors attract birds that will spread the seeds. Chile peppers are of great importance in Native American medicine, and capsaicin is used in modern Western medicine; mainly in topical; preparations and as a circulatory stimulant and pain reliever.

The fruit is boxlike, conical, or spherical and filled with air. It has 2 to 4 vertical ribs on the inside, which may carry seeds; but the bulk of the seeds are on a dome at the stem end.

Capsicums vary in horticulturally ripe colour and may be green, yellow, orange, bright red, lavender, brownish purple, or other colors depending on variety and on what stage of botanical ripeness is considered best for use.

And there you have it. Your task is to make the greatest dish you can think of using PEPPERS.

ALLEZ CUISINE!

And that’s what we went with.

We had three readers write in with their recipes, one who did more than the requisite one recipe, and gave us a 3 course meal. I ask that you read all three entrants and then go to the forums and vote for whose meal you like best. The winner gets announced next week and will be the IP Fan Forums “Official Iron Chef.” Signing up for the forums is nice and easy and gives you access to a lot of great discussions.

First up Forumer “Dwead_Piwate_Paulie”

Appetizer:

Spring Rolls and Salsa

Ingredients

1 orange, peel and white pith removed, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, seeded, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 red or green jalepeno chili, seeded, minced
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon oriental sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon soy sauce
4 7-ounce packages prepared frozen spring rolls
Large radiccio leaves

Preparation

Combine first 8 ingredients in bowl.(Can be made 2 hours ahead. Chill.)
Prepare spring rolls according to package instructions. Set radiccio leaves in center of platter. Fill with salsa. Cut spring rolls in half and place on platter. Serve, allowing diners to spoon salsa into cut end of spring rolls

Main Course:

Pepper Red Snapper

Ingredients

1 (1-lb) red snapper fillet with skin (3/4 inch thick)
1 tablespoon medium-dry Sherry
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (3-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into 1/16-inch-thick matchsticks (1 1/2 inches long)
1 scallion, cut lengthwise into 1 1/2-inch-long very thin strips (1/3 cup)
2 fresh serrano chiles, seeded and cut lengthwise into very thin strips
1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil

Preparation

Arrange a 9-inch metal cake rack or steamer basket in a 12- to 14-inch wok or a deep 12-inch skillet (with a domed lid) and add enough water to reach just below rack. Cover wok and bring water to a boil.
Score skin of fish in several places, then put on an oiled heatproof plate that will fit into wok or skillet with 1 inch clearance around plate. Stir together Sherry and salt in a small bowl, then rub mixture onto both sides of fish, leaving skin side up.

Heat vegetable oil in a small skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then saute ginger, scallion, and chiles, stirring, until fragrant but not browned, about 30 seconds, and spoon over fish. Carefully transfer fish (on plate) to rack in wok and cover tightly, then steam until fish is just cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes. Carefully remove plate from wok and sprinkle fish with sesame oil.

Dessert:

Chocolate Chipotle Cakes

Ingredients

1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus additional for greasing ramekins
1 cup sugar plus additional for dusting
6 medium dried chipotle chiles* (1 oz)
6 tablespoons fresh orange juice
10 oz Valrhona semisweet chocolate (56%) or fine-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 large eggs
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
Special equipment: 8 (4-oz) ramekins

Preparation

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter ramekins and dust with sugar, knocking out excess.

Toast chiles in a dry heavy skillet over moderate heat, turning, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Discard stems, seeds, and ribs, then soak chiles in hot water to cover until softened, about 30 minutes. Drain, reserving soaking liquid. Puree chiles in a mini food processor or a blender, adding 2 to 3 tablespoons soaking liquid as needed to form a paste. Force paste through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard solids. Set aside 1 1/2 tablespoons chile paste and freeze remainder for another use.

Bring juice and 1 cup sugar to a boil in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Pour hot syrup over chocolate in a large bowl, stirring until chocolate is melted. Add butter and stir until melted.

Add eggs 1 at a time, whisking after each addition, then stir in chile paste, flour, and salt. Divide among ramekins and bake in a hot water bath, uncovered, until just firm and top is starting to crust, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer ramekins with tongs to a work surface and let stand 2 minutes.

Unmold warm cakes directly onto dessert plates (they will be difficult to move once they adhere).

The second competitor is “Heartburn Kid”.

Well, I’ll be honest; I was born and raised on fast food, and most of the stuff I come up with reflects that. Still, I think this recipe is pretty tasty, and quick to boot. All measurements are approximate, as I actually don’t measure much when I cook. Enjoy!

Mexican Pizza

Ingredients

4 soft-taco size flour tortillas (“gordita-style” recommended)
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup queso quesadilla, shredded
1/2 lb. ground beef
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
Canola Oil, enough to fill skillet to 1/2″ depth
Sauce:
1 (8-oz) can tomato sauce
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
2 serrano chiles, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp freshly-ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine all sauce ingredients, except chiles, in small saucepan. Wrap chiles in cheesecloth and tie off with string; place in sauce. Put lid on pan and simmer over very low heat for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, mix ground beef, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and cumin; brown while breaking into chunks. Heat oil in another skillet over medium heat. Once oil is hot, fry tortillas until they turn a very light brown. Lay fried tortillas on cookie sheet, spread sauce on top, sprinkle cheese on top of that, top with browned meat and bell peppers. Bake for 10 minutes, or until cheese melts.

And the third and final competitor is Lady Dragoness.

Ok Since I am Jamaican the first thing that comes to mind when I hear pepper is Jerk (for those who do not know…let’s just call it a hot Jamaican BBQ sauce)…

Here is one of our family recipes for Jerk (every Jamaican family has a couple)

Jerk Sauce

Ingredients

1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup finely chopped scallions (green onions) (green & white parts)
4 – 6 Scotch bonnet peppers, stems removed and cut in halves, retaining seeds (the number of peppers depends on how hot you want it)
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon salt
2 cloves of garlic

Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor. Process or blend on the liquify setting for two minutes. Pour into a jar and refrigerate until ready to use. It will remain good as long as it is covered and kept refrigerated. To use, brush on about one tablespoon per pound of poultry, fish, or meat. Cover and marinate for three hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

Seasoning Instruction for Chicken

* Rub the meat (chicken, pork or beef) with the seasoning.
* With chicken, be sure to rub under skin and in cavities
* Marinate overnight.

Seasoning Instruction for Pork or Beef

* Rub the meat. If using a pork shoulder, make shallow cuts and rub in.
* Marinate overnight.

Seasoning Instruction for Fish

* Can also be used with fish, but use a “steak fish” like grouper, dolphin, king
* Marinate overnight.

Cooking Instructions

* Grill at lowest possible setting over a low fire until done.
* Chop meat into pieces

There! You got your three contenders. Let us know who you think is the best.

13 Plugs

I checked in with both Jade Empire: First Impressions and a review of Obscure

In Games, Liquidcross reviewed Mercury and Widro reviewed a shitload of games.

In Wrestling, there’s a Matt Hardy petition with over 6,000 signatures and David Brashear talks about the only time I found Jericho interesting.

In Movies, Shaun Norton gets plugged only because he reviews the movie of the Amityville Horror, and Rob Russo predicts Gloom and Doom for Disney.

In Music, Jeff Fernandez is missing an eye, and Gloomchen reveals her massive obsession with Livejournal.

In Comics, Jim Trabold talks Thanos and accuses James Hatton of having the Alcohol tolerance of a dozen Irishmen while Nick Piers wrote a review of American Dream, a TPB about the JLA.

In Figures, Batesman posts a picture of a Pedophilic Kermit the Frog, and PK gives us ECW and WCW figures.

Closing

Man, almost no new content from me, and this still hit 11 pages. I’ll be back next week to dig through that backlog of questions you have for me.