DeFeo Grave DeFeo Grave
Laundry room Laundry room
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Roxanne Salch Kaplan with her late husband Dr. Stephen Kaplan.
(Photo by George Lopez and courtesy of Roxanne Kaplan.)

For more than 20 years, the late Dr. Stephen Kaplan and his wife Roxanne Salch Kaplan investigated the claims of the alleged haunting of the now-infamous Amityville house.  Their investigation produced The Amityville Horror Conspiracy, which was published by Toad Hall, Inc. in 1995.

According to the Kaplans, in 1976, Dr. Kaplan was the first parapsychologist called to investigate the purported phenomena at 112 Ocean Avenue.  The Kaplans made it perfectly clear that they would expose any hoax. Dr. Kaplan claimed that the investigation was abruptly called off once this was known.  Despite the fact that the Kaplans and their book revealed much of the Amityville story as being a fraud and a consumer rip-off, certain parties with a vested interest in the haunted-house tale started a number of malicious rumors about the Kaplans.  Below, Roxanne Kaplan sets the record straight.

Interview with Roxanne Kaplan

Ric Osuna:  Roxanne, how did you and your late husband become involved with the Amityville case?

Roxanne Kaplan:  Stephen was founder and director of the Parapsychology Institute of America (PIA), located on Long Island. The PIA was a public service organization, offering services such as ESP testing, referrals to psychics, public lecture series, and investigations of paranormal activities. I had joined the group in August 1974, as a researcher and also corresponding secretary.
In February 1976, a call came in to the PIA hotline from George Lutz. He wanted our group to conduct an investigation of his home, which he claimed was haunted by demons and strange phenomena.

RO:   What were both of your first impressions about the Lutzes and their claims?

RK:  Our first impression, as with all of our cases, was to keep an open mind, take down all relevant information, and plan how to proceed with the investigation. Stephen did find it odd that "Lee" seemed to contradict himself quite often during the phone interview.
For example, Lee first claimed to know nothing whatsoever about the occult, but then talked about "demons" by name, and seemed quite familiar with Wicca, or "witchcraft", stating that he knew Ray Buckland and had discussed demonology with him. Ray had operated a "Witchcraft Museum" on Long Island a couple of years prior to this, but had since closed it and moved to New England. Stephen realized that if Lee had a conversation with Ray about demons while Ray was still on Long Island, then that would indicate that Lee’s interest in the occult went back at least 1 ½ to 2 years. So why was Lee claiming that he had no interest in the subject at all until his experience at the house?
Stephen also found it somewhat unusual that Lee referred to convicted mass murderer Ronald DeFeo, Jr. by the nicknames "Ronnie" or "Butch". I remember Stephen saying to me that it was like someone referring to Jack the Ripper as "Jackie", or to Charles Manson as "Chuckie".   If Lee had never met Ronald, then why the familiarity with such an infamous individual?

RO:  What events or circumstances led you to believe that The Amityville Horror and the Lutzes' claims were nothing but a fraud and a hoax?

RK:  The PIA had planned to bring in two research groups to investigate the Amityville home. Group #2 would take over from Group #1 halfway through the night, so that our researchers would remain awake and alert. Lee had told Stephen that the house was empty because his family had moved out, and that he had no desire to return there. Because of past experiences, Stephen had learned never to investigate a house without either having the owner present, or having the permission of the owner in writing. Stephen and I arranged to meet with Lee at "Zum-Zums", a restaurant at Smith Haven Mall, to get the house key and the permission letter.
Stephen told Lee that since we were a public service organization, there would be no charge to him, but that we would let the public know the results of our investigation. If we found legitimate phenomena, we would tell the public, but if we found it to be a hoax, we would also tell the public that.
In the meantime, the Lutzes’ story had been written about in Newsday and The Long Island Press. One of those papers (I can’t recall which one), knowing of Stephen’s position as director of the PIA, called to ask his opinion. During the course of the interview, Stephen mentioned that he had been contacted by Lutz and that the PIA would be conducting an investigation soon. Shortly after that article was printed, Lutz called Stephen to say that he was "postponing" the investigation. He claimed to be angry that Stephen had told the press he would be going to the house, and that he and his family didn’t want any publicity. Stephen told him that’s fine, just call us back when and if you’re ready to proceed. Contrary to accusations from the Warrens, Stephen was NOT infuriated that he had been "deprived" of the chance to be involved in an infamous case. Believe me, we had plenty of other cases to keep us busy. It was, however, an annoyance that our members had rearranged their personal schedules, or arranged to take time off from work, to be part of this Amityville investigation which was so abruptly cancelled.
Later that week, the PIA members were stunned to see, on local TV news, a séance being conducted on camera inside the Lutzes’ home! This is the guy who cancelled our investigation because he didn’t want any publicity? And now he’s got a media circus going on in his house? Stephen gave another interview to The Long Island Press, called "Ghost Hunter Smells A Hoax", based on our suspicions, and we vowed to get to the bottom of the story. Our group had been "used" before, and we didn’t appreciate someone trying to use us to give validity to false claims. Thus began a 20-year search for the truth, which culminated with our book, THE AMITYVILLE HORROR CONSPIRACY.

RO:  Some of those who strongly promote the Amityville "horrors" as being true often say that your husband arrived at 112 Ocean Avenue with a flock of witches and was escorted off the property. Is there any truth to this?

RK:   A "flock" of witches? What are they, birds? No, seriously, this is a ridiculous and false story. Stephen was never escorted off, or thrown off, the property by anyone, since he was never there without permission. One time that he was there during the auction of the Lutzes’ possessions, which was open to the public, Stephen was accompanied by two PIA members, one of whom considered herself a Wiccan. They were on their way to tape a TV interview for Manhattan cable, heard about the auction, and having some extra time before the taping decided to stop by and check it out. They had a pleasant conversation with the man conducting the auction, walked through and toured the house, and then left to continue on to Manhattan for the show.

RO:  If the Lutzes had not changed their minds about allowing your husband to investigate the house, what techniques would he have used with regards to researching any alleged paranormal activities?

RK:  We always used methods such as psychics, sensitives, independent observation, infra-red photography, temperature readings looking for "cold spots" or "hot spots", motion detectors, and tape recordings to pick up any unusual sounds. As far as sophisticated equipment goes, remember……this was 1976. We did not have the kind of tools that may be available today. Also, we were a non-profit group, supported only by dues and member contributions. We did, however, always bring along an electronics expert, a professional photographer, several psychics, and any other experts who would volunteer their services. Many times we would bring a professional magician as well, to make sure that no fraudulent devices had been planted around the house to produce artificial phenomena. Stephen also liked to bring along a dyed-in-the-wool skeptic, figuring that if the skeptic saw something, then it would be even more impressive than if a "believer" saw it.

RO:  When did you and your husband finally get a chance to do a scientific examination of the house? And please describe your findings.

RK:  We got our chance to examine the house when we were invited to spend most of the night there by Frank Burch, the "housesitter" for the Cromartys. There was Stephen, myself, two psychics, and several other PIA members. We used the methods mentioned above, and found nothing even remotely supernatural in the house. It was a beautiful, warm, comfortable home. The only disturbing moment came from outside in the street, when the local bars let out after 3:00 am, and carloads of drunken young people would slow down outside the house and scream things like "Jodie, come out!" or "Get out!". Frank said it happened like clockwork every night, and that’s why the Cromartys had moved out. Frank had even caught people ripping off pieces of shingle, or clinging to the windowsill to peek inside. One mother brought her small son to the door one day, and when Frank opened the door, she pointed inside the house and told her terrified son, "You see that house? That’s the horror house. If you don’t behave, I’ll put you in there!"
Frank also showed us the original half-moon shaped windows with the original panes intact, proving that they had never been "blown out" like in the the movie; the "keyholes" in the doors that were really deadlocks (decorative only, with no actual hole through the door), where no "green slime" could have oozed through as stated in the book; and the original wooden front door, that had supposedly exploded off its hinges, was still there. Also, he showed us that some of the old windows would go up or down by themselves because of the pulley system that was common when they were built.
We were also in the house during the Cromartys’ Halloween party, where we were given free reign to look around the house, including the "red room" in the basement (actually a pipe-well); and on another occasion when we stopped by to drop off a book or an article for the Cromartys, we were invited inside by Linn Nonnewitz, who thanked us for trying to expose the myths about the house. She had a long conversation with us about "Butch" DeFeo. Linn had worked for the DeFeo family and was deeply affected by the tragedy. She was now working part-time for the Cromartys at the house, and she testified quite adamantly that she had never experienced anything supernatural in that house in all the years she had been there.
Above, The Kaplans examine the notorious "Red Room," which turned out to be nothing more than a pipe-well. In fact, the DeFeo children used the tiny space simply to store their toys.
(Photo courtesy of Roxanne Salch Kaplan)

RO:  Some of your critics have said that Dr. Kaplan only wanted to become a star out of his involvement with the Amityville case. How do you respond to Lutz's claim? And do you find it suspicious that the family said in one breath that he wanted no publicity, but in the next breath he was orchestrating TV cameras to go inside 112 Ocean Avenue?

RK:  Stephen did not need to become "a star" from the Amityville case. He was already doing radio and TV for several years before the case began, and continued to do guest appearances right up until the week of his death. Most of his appearances were not about Amityville. That subject wasn’t bizarre enough for the media; they were more interested in Stephen’s research on contemporary vampirism. It was the shows on vampirism that enabled us to travel around the US, Canada, Japan, and Rome, Italy. Stephen would have preferred to talk about parapsychology and the Amityville hoax, and would sometimes convince a station to do a show on one of those topics by agreeing to do one on vampirism, which was usually the media’s first choice. So again, no, Stephen most definitely did not need Amityville to be "a star," but did use every opportunity he got to mention it on the air because he hated the idea of the public being duped and mislead.
As for the family wanting no publicity, see my answer to Question #3.

RO: Over the years, much has been said about your husband's credentials and doctorate. Could you please take time to clarify his qualifications as a paranormal investigator and how he obtained his doctorate degree?

RK:  Stephen had a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree from the City University of NY (CUNY), majoring in sociology and education. He also had a second Master’s degree from the State University of NY (SUNY) at Stony Brook, in Interdisciplinary Studies. His doctorate was a non-traditional degree in sociology, from Pacific College in California, which was a "University without walls", a type of correspondence school that was popular during the mid to late 70’s. Stephen was always up front about how he wrote his thesis to get the Pacific College doctorate, whenever anyone asked, and never tried to hide the fact that it was non-traditional. As for being a parapsychologist, there is no degree or licensing needed to become one, but Stephen did the research and paid his dues by learning "on the job".
Stephen was also a licensed teacher for the NY City Board of Education for about 30 years. He taught reading and language skills, and English as a Second Language (ESL), to hundreds of middle school students and was a much loved and respected teacher there. His students grieved deeply for him when he passed, as did his colleagues.

RO:  Much of the public is unaware of what a vampirologist does. For starters, was your husband a vampirologist? If so, what did he do with regards to his studies of vampires?

RK:  Yes, Stephen was a vampirologist as well as a parapsychologist. He studied individuals who claimed to be vampires, who actually drank human blood, usually from willing victims. Stephen became interested in this unusual topic while studying sociology and anthropology and the beliefs of primitive cultures. He realized, why study primitive cultures in foreign lands, when we had a fascinating group of individuals right here in this country that were involved in the primitive and culturally unaccepted practice of drinking blood? It started as an offshoot of his research into all types of strange phenomena, but became a favorite topic of the media and so he became well known for it.

RO:  Why do you feel that some of your critics have been so engrossed in the mud-slinging instead of dealing with hard facts? In other words, do you think that people like the Warrens, who continue to slander Dr. Kaplan even after his death, are just trying to shine the spotlight away from their involvement with the Amityville hoax?

RK:  Yes , Stephen was a threat to those who made money from the hoax, such as the Lutzes and the Warrens. By exposing their lies, he could cause them to lose potential sales. So they used the old political method: When you can’t disprove your opponents’ claims, cloud the issue by attacking his character instead. Now ask yourself, how low is it for them to continue to slander his name, 7 years after his death, when he is no longer around to defend himself? It tells more about their own character than Stephen’s.

RO:  Ed Warren has boasted that your husband could not answer his questions with regards to the instruments he used in studying any alleged paranormal activity at 112 Ocean Avenue. Would you care to elaborate on why your late husband could not or would not answer Ed Warren's question during a radio interview?

RK:  Stephen was brilliant as a scholar, a teacher, and a researcher, but when it came to electronic instruments, he had to defer to the experts. He could teach a youngster from the jungles of the Dominican Republic how to speak and study in English within a semester, but ask him to program a VCR and he was at a definite disadvantage. That is why we always brought along an electrical engineer or expert on all of our cases. When Ed Warren unexpectedly cornered Stephen on the radio show with technical questions about the instruments we used, Stephen was caught off guard without his expert consultant there to describe the devices. I don’t see how this damages Stephen’s credibility at all; even the President of the USA calls in his experts to consult on issues – he is not expected to know every aspect of every area of expertise!

RO:  Why do you think the emotions run so deep when it comes to Amityville and debunking the facts pointing to a hoax?

RK:   Good question. My theory is that some of the "believers" have embraced this story as they would a religion. They will defend it to the death, even if confronted with irrefutable evidence to the contrary. Perhaps they embraced it in childhood and are unwilling to let go of the myth. I don’t fully understand it myself, but I do know that the major players are in it for the money, and their emotions run high when their potential financial intake is threatened.

RO: What are your opinions of some of the other stories surrounding Amityville, such as Native American burial grounds, witches and the notorious red room?

RK:  Native American groups on Long Island, as well as local historical societies have stated that there never was a specific Indian burial ground on that land. I think Hans Holzer started that rumor, and I think it’s preposterous. I also know of no "witches" that lived there, that’s another fabricated claim. As for the "red room", I was in it, and it is nothing more than a small access space to get to the pipes, located inside a storage closet under the basement staircase. The walls happened to be painted red at the time. The space was so small that Stephen used to say, "even Herve Villaichaize on knee-caps would have trouble conducting an occult ceremony in there." (Herve being, of course, little "Tatoo", the dwarf from the old "Fantasy Island" TV show.)

RO:  How would you describe Hans Holzer's theories and claims?

RK:  Hans Holzer’s theories and claims are too ridiculous to even warrant discussion.

RO:  Finally, in your book, The Amityville Horror Conspiracy, you discussed meeting some of the DeFeo relatives after one your lectures. Could you elaborate on this?

RK:  Sure. It was after a lecture that Stephen had given on the Amitvyille hoax during a paranormal convention in Manhattan. We were standing outside the lecture hall when we were approached by two very tall, intimidating men in suits, one older than the other. They introduced themselves as members of the Brigante family, Louise DeFeo’s father and brother. Stephen and I had heard rumors that the family was involved with the Mafia, and Stephen later told me that he was thinking to himself, " Oh boy, what if they really hated my lecture and they’re here to let me know that my lecturing days are over for good?" I think Stephen had seen one too many "Godfather" movies! In any case, they were there to say just the opposite – they had loved Stephen’s lecture, and just wanted to thank him for being one of the only people who had shown respect for the memories of the deceased DeFeos. Stephen was very touched by the incident, and he never forgot it. It was one of the things that motivated him to continue telling the true story to anyone who would listen.

Christopher Berry-Dee

A respected criminologist and author, Christopher Berry-Dee researched Ronald “Butch” DeFeo in the early 1990s for a 13-part TV-documentary series, entitled “The Serial Killers.”  Mr. Berry-Dee also discusses Butch DeFeo in his new book, titled Talking with Serial Killers.

Interview with Christopher Berry-Dee

Ric Osuna: What were your reasons for investigating the DeFeo/Amityville murders?

Christopher Berry-Dee: I investigated the DeFeo murders as part of a 12-part TV series of documentary programmers called: ‘The Serial Killers’, and for a chapter in my book: ‘Talking with Serial Killers’ – although of course DeFeo is in fact a mass murderer by definition.
DeFeo interested me because he is an excellent example of a pathological liar, and a sociopath. Unlike your work, my investigation was not an in-depth investigation per se, however, my research did throw up a few interesting matters, which concern not so much Mr. DeFeo, but the unethical and often illegal activities of the criminal justice system.

RO: What was your first impression of Ronald "Butch" DeFeo?

CBD: When I first met DeFeo in prison, I was struck by the fact that he is quite a short and slight man. He is arrogant, self-opinionated, and self-serving. He is a man who actually believes that he is an important character when he is no more than a bullying thug. His only claim to fame being that he is serving a handful of life sentences for the murder of his family and a number of motion pictures and books have contrived to keep his black name in the public domain ever since.

RO: What are your views about the hype surrounding Amityville, including the hoax stories involving demonic pigs and green slime which subsequently became known as The Amityville Horror?

CBD: While I admire the producer for his imaginative ingenuity, I have no views or opinions about the surrounding ‘hype’ surrounding the slayings except to say that the ‘Amityville Horror’ movie and subsequent sequels were a gross misrepresentation of the true nature the case.

RO: Do you think it was an impossibility for one man to have committed this crime the way the police contended the DeFeo murders took place?  If so, why?

CBD: There has been much debate over the years surrounding the possibility that more than one person committed the shootings at the DeFeo residence. With the evidence that is available, I believe that it is highly likely that Dawn DeFeo committed the murders and Ronald DeFeo shot her. It is claimed that there are backfire particles on the nightgown worn by Dawn DeFeo on the night in question. If this could be substantiated by ballistic experts, it would prove that Dawn had discharged a firearm during the time of the murders.

RO: Would it surprise you that in the course of my own investigation that I uncovered testimony where prosecutor Gerard Sullivan admitted that it was likely an accomplice was involved?

CBD: I believe that Gerald Sullivan knows more about the true facts of the DeFeo case than he says he does. However, the entire prosecution case is linked together in a most incestuous manner from top to bottom. We have a cast of crooked cops, bungling and dishonorable attorneys, and a judge whose behavior borders on criminal. Ronald DeFeo, for his sins, plays centre stage.

RO: What did your investigation turn up on Geraldine DeFeo, who insists that she was married to Butch prior to the murders?  I am assuming from your work that you found the marriage to Butch DeFeo prior to the murders likely.  Is that correct?  If so, why?

CBD: Regarding Geraldine DeFeo. I believe that she may have been married to Ronald DeFeo, however, I have not seen marriage documents to that effect. DeFeo makes mention of Geraldine in various correspondence he has sent to me, and there is a sworn Affidavit signed in Geraldine DeFeo’s name in my possession.

RO: Do you think that it was possible for the Mob or some very strong political figures to loose Butch and Geraldine's marriage certificates and divorce papers?

CBD: The question of whether the Mob, or other shadowy figures, conspired to ‘lose’ any marriage or divorce papers pertaining to Ronald DeFeo and Geraldine, is, I feel, almost impossible to answer. In the DeFeo case, where elephants fly, lead balls bounce, and fairies reign supreme, I would imagine that anything is possible.

RO: Do you feel that Richard Romondoe was a real person or just an alias for someone?

CBD: The Richard Romondoe character, and this could well be an alias, is, I believe a real person.

RO: What are your feelings about Justice Stark presiding over the 1992 appeal?  Do you feel this was his way of ensuring that Butch never get a fair trial?  After all, several witnesses came forward ready to take a perjury charge for lying in the 1974 trial.  Obviously, Justice Stark refused to accept their sworn affidavits.

CBD: The question of whether Judge Stark should have presided over the 1992 appeal, is a very interesting matter and one which I have considered in some depth.
I am happy to state for the record that this judge’s behavior from the outset is a damning indictment of the American Justice System when it is allowed to go wrong. I would have great difficulty in finding another example to match Judge Stark’s outrageous behavior anywhere in the world.

RO: You stated in your book that you felt many people who knew the truth were threatened into remaining silent.  Do you still feel this way?  And have you ever been threatened with regards to this case?

CBD: Over the years, there are a number of people who claimed to have been threatened with violence with regard to the DeFeo case, however, I most certainly have not been one of them.

RO: I read some correspondence between you and Butch, where he threatens legal action against you.   Would you care to elaborate on Butch DeFeo's greed and lies?  In my case, after Butch told me the real story he decided that he needed more than just a good feeling for getting it off his chest.  So he decided that unless I pay him a large percentage of my book that he was going to deny he ever met me or told me the real story, even though the evidence backed up his story. He now even has the Nonnewitzes against me, even though at one time they were in my corner.  Sound familiar?

CBD: Mr. DeFeo is a litigious character at the best of times, and he is an individual who has employed the services of more attorneys – most of them gullible and believing they are onto a ‘Get Rich Quick’ scheme – than just about any American inmate in history. That he has threatened legal action against me, is risible. This man is a comedian who never fails to raise a smile. Unfortunately, for him, DeFeo signed a ‘Release’ document which gave me license to publish whatever I saw fit. The man is a clown.

RO: I agree with your assertions that Dawn had more of a likely motive than Butch to kill her family.  What is your theories on how the actual crime took place?  And do you feel Butch is lying when he says he had no hand in the murder of his family, except in the killing of his sister Dawn?

CBD: Regarding my thoughts on what actually happened during the period the DeFeo family was massacred, and who shot who and when, I am completely in the dark and without a switch to put the lights on. At the end of the day, what sensible, right-minded person, is going to believe anything Ronald DeFeo says, promises, or does? No-one! But there remains that tantalizing clue that Dawn DeFeo’s nightgown may well have backfire powder on the cloth. If this was proved to be fact, then at least one could say that the young woman fired a weapon during the night in question.
In summary.
Mr. Ronald DeFeo is an inarticulate, greedy, self-serving and bullying thug. He is of interest to the world of criminology merely because he was involved in the slaying of his family as they slept peacefully in their warm beds.

Click here to purchase Christopher Berry-Dee's Talking with Serial Killers

Ray Garton

Ray Garton’s In a Dark Place: The Story of a True Haunting told the story of the Snedeker family and their alleged “demonic siege.” Needing to be closer to the cancer specialist treating their 14-year-old son, the Snedekers relocated to Connecticut, where they purportedly moved into a house that had once been a funeral home. Feeling their son had become possessed and their house was plagued by evil forces, the Snedekers contacted psychic investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, who also were involved with the Amityville case, for help.

In a Dark Place, published in 1992 by Villard Books, chronicled this alleged haunting, boasting it was a true story. Author Ray Garton, however, disagreed with labeling the book nonfiction, but was bound by contract to finish the book. His recollection about his experiences with the Warrens seemed to illustrate the true nature of these investigators.

Interview with Ray Garton

Ric Osuna: How did you become involved with the self-proclaimed demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren?

Ray Garton: My agent at the time, Lori Perkins, was the one who put me in contact with the Warrens. She got me the job of writing In A Dark Place: The Story of A True Haunting.

RO: What opinions did you have of the Warrens prior to your involvement with In a Dark Place?

RG: I had been following the exploits of the Warrens since I was a little kid. They showed up frequently in the tabloids, like the National Enquirer, and I regularly read about their activities as paranormal investigators. I've never been a big believer in ghosts or demons, but I always found their articles very entertaining, and when the opportunity arose, I was eager to work on a book with them.

RO: What was your first major conflict with the story that the Warrens and the Snedeker family revealed to you?

RG: I honestly don't remember specifically what the first problem was, only that the details of the story given to me by the family involved were not meshing. Elements of Carmen Snedeker's story clashed with elements of Al Snedeker's story, and it seemed everyone was having a problem keeping their stories straight. Frankly, I didn't notice until I had nearly finished all my interviews and began going over my notes, then I started having trouble matching up the details.

RO: How did you broach Ed Warren about the inconsistencies in this alleged haunting? And how did he respond?

RG: First, I went back to the Snedekers and asked more questions. When the details of the stories still didn't match up, I became concerned and called Ed Warren. I didn't even have to tell him which details weren't meshing, I simply pointed out to him that the stories weren't matching. Ed laughed and told me not to worry about it. He said the Snedekers were "crazy" (that was the word he used). Then he said, "All the people who come to us are crazy. Why do you think they come to us?" I was, quite literally, speechless. Without even asking for details, Ed had a solution. He reminded me that I wrote scary stories (at that time, I had written exclusively novels and short stories in the horror genre), and told me to "make it up and make it scary."

RO: What was Ed and Lorraine's reaction to your problem with labeling In a Dark Placenonfiction?

RG: I don't know what their reaction was because after Ed told me to "make it up and make it scary," I cut off all contact with them. After that, I was so angry and disgusted, I wanted nothing more to do with them, and I haven't spoken to them since.

RO: Looking back on it, how do you view your experience with In a Dark Place?

RG: At the time that it was happening, I was very upset about the whole thing. I have called it the lowest point of my writing career. But looking back on it, I suppose I shouldn't have expected anything else. They were, after all, "ghostbusters" whose exploits had been covered in tabloids, the reputations of which did not exactly have a great deal of integrity. As I pointed out earlier, I've never been a believer in ghosts or demons, so I guess I should not have expected my mind to be changed on the topic. I suppose I was somewhat naive. But it was the contempt in which Ed Warren held the Snedekers that made me so angry, and the fact that I went in expecting a solid story to already exist, one that I could simply write down in book form. In other words, I didn't expect to have to "make up" a story. As disturbing as the experience was, I did my best to write an entertaining, scary story. The book was well-received by both critics and readers, and for that I'm grateful.

RO: Did the Warrens ever mention the notorious Amityville case or did you ever ask them about Amityville or their other exploits?

RG: Yes, both Ed and Lorraine did mention Amityville in passing, but we did not discuss it in any detail.

RO: How has your opinion changed of Ed and Lorraine Warren since your involvement with them in In a Dark Place? And do you feel they are more of a detriment to families out there than a help?

RG: Prior to working with them, I found them entertaining and thought them to be, if nothing else, harmless.  Not anymore. I think the families who come to them are, to say the least, dysfunctional. I think they tend to be people who are in need of serious help, not in need of the services of ghostbusters. Ed Warren's contempt for them is despicable. If he were to approach them with any sensitivity whatsoever, he would see that their biggest problems are not supernatural, but are very real. The Warrens enable these families to sublimate those problems by nurturing their dark fantasies.

Ray Garton currently resides in Northern California with his wife, Dawn, and has authored 38 books, including:

  • Darklings
  • Seductions
  • Live Girls
  • Invaders from Mars
  • Warlock
  • Crucifax Autumn
  • Trade Secrets
  • Methods of Madness
  • Lot Lizards
  • The New Neighbor
  • Dark Channel
  • Shackled