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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for Amityville fans
No matter which side of the debate you take (i.e. was it horror or was it hokum?), Stephen Kaplan's The Amityville Horror Conspiracy is required reading. For one, it is the best written book about the Amityville circus that I have read to date (and I have polished off the books by Anson, Holzer, and two by Jones - with only two more to go) and, unlike the others, it is...
Published on January 9, 2005 by Chadwick H. Saxelid

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27 of 36 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting & informative but burdened by the Author's Bias
While I just adore books that expose hoaxes, and I looked forward to this book for a long time knowing that it was in the pipelines and having heard Kaplan on Local radio in NYC, I must say that this book is really only for the serious Amityville researcher since the Author's diary-like approach repeats many statements over and over ad nusaeum and contains too many...
Published on October 17, 1999 by granvier


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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for Amityville fans, January 9, 2005
By 
This review is from: The Amityville Horror Conspiracy (Paperback)
No matter which side of the debate you take (i.e. was it horror or was it hokum?), Stephen Kaplan's The Amityville Horror Conspiracy is required reading. For one, it is the best written book about the Amityville circus that I have read to date (and I have polished off the books by Anson, Holzer, and two by Jones - with only two more to go) and, unlike the others, it is filled with easily verified facts. Whenever Kaplan sites an article or a particular program, he gives detailed information wherein determined readers would be able to track down the material for themselves. I have seldom seen this level of honesty in paranormal books before, where most articles seem to be referenced as being in "local papers" and with independently researchable data kept to a minimum. I know that detractors like to insult Kaplan, but read the book - his detailed analysis of the escalating differences from the first press conference, to the magazine articles, then to the book (which changed from edition to edition as the 'credible sources' complained at the fictions author Jay Anson attempted to pass off as true events) and then the movie(s) is humorous and show just how easy it is to simply tell a willing audience what it wants to hear. I doubt very much that an event such as the one in Amityville could be replicated today - though some have tried, because people are going to believe what they want to believe, regardless; and they want to believe in Amityville, demonic pigs, and bogeymen of sorts. This book is still in print and available from its publisher, Toad Hall Inc, for an affordable price. Highly recommended to both paranormal and Amityville fans (for whom it should be essential reading).
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86 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very illuminating and entertaining, July 11, 2001
By 
This review is from: The Amityville Horror Conspiracy (Paperback)
Dr. and Mrs. Kaplan's book is THE final word on the hoax that was the "Amityville Horror," and few could finish this book with any lingering doubt as to whether this case was a fabrication. Containing factual data and quotes, interesting behind-the-scenes anecdotes, newspaper articles, radio transcripts, a slew of logical reasoning, and no small amount of humor, Dr. and Mrs. Kaplan have irrevocably refuted the avaricious fantasies (packaged as a "true story") told by the Lutzes, beyond all shadow of doubt. All one needs is an open mind and a few hours to enjoy the contents and the real story behind the multimillion-dollar industry spawned by this case is laid bare.
Proof that "The Amityville Horror" was anything but a true story can be found in several concrete examples from the book. One is Dr. Kaplan's description of an interview with author Jay Anson, who admitted he wrote "The Amityville Horror" based on tapes made by the Lutzes and that he did not verify anything, for the Lutzes "seemed like nice people" and he didn't think they would lie. Another example is a series of statements from individuals such as Sergeant Pat Cammoroto of the Amityville Police Department, reporters Steve Bauman and Marvin Scott, and the priest known in "The Amityville Horror" as Father Mancuso (real name Father Pecoraro), all of whom attest they did not observe or uncover certain paranormal phenomena despite claims by the Lutzes in their book. A third instance involves an analysis of the house itself which reveals that the supernaturally-based damage reported by the Lutzes, the spookiness of the so-called "red room," the alleged history of dead and dying Indians on the property, and the supposed uninhabitability of the place due to malevolent forces were all fabrications. A fourth example is based on the scrutiny of the seemingly countless revisions the Lutzes made to their story, as reported through various mediums including television, magazines, and the hardcover/paperback editions of "The Amityville Horror." A fifth consists of a word-for-word account from attorney William Weber describing how he and the Lutzes cooked up this fairy tale. Last but not least, one of the most powerful examples of proof appears in the form of public confessions from George Lutz himself that many of the details of this ghost story either did not happen the way they were told or did not happen at all (my personal favorite was his statement that everything in the house was just fine until the last week or so, rendering the bulk of his claims false). How anyone could continue to believe in this tale after not only seeing the number of times it evolved but also observing several false pretenses crumble under examination is a mystery. Regardless, the proof about this fraudulent ghost story is all here for anyone who cares to examine it; I have only mentioned a few of the many compelling illustrations.
Most readers will rightfully applaud the Kaplans for closing the book on an enduring myth that disrupted a real town on Long Island for 25 years and allowed scoundrels such as the Lutzes and Warrens to profit to this day from shameless deception. However, it seems there is a contingent of loyal believers who feel quite threatened by the possibility that a story they faithfully subscribed to for years was in actuality a fabrication. Rather than thank Dr. and Mrs. Kaplan for offering the truth from behind the scenes, some have engaged in a childish smear campaign against Dr. Kaplan - which only serves as a testimony to the efficacy of the Kaplans' arguments. Dr. Kaplan has been harshly portrayed as either out for money (quite hypocritical given the untold amounts made by the Lutzes' version of the story) or revenge that he wasn't included in the original investigation (which he was... until he warned George Lutz if there was any sign of a hoax he would expose it, causing Lutz to end his association with Dr. Kaplan). However, neither of these juvenile accusations can change the veracity of the information he and his wife provided in their book.
I couldn't help but notice the comments of those who insisted "Kaplan was not a parapsychologist" (he was), "Stephen Kaplan did not hold a doctorate" (he did, from Pacific College) and "There are even a few spots in the book where, if you do your own investigative work, Kaplan just plain lies" (Examples, please?) never contributed any data of their own to address any specific claims by the Kaplans. One reviewer even announced, "Well, actually it has been proven that this book is the real hoax." (By whom?) It's a rather sad commentary on the mindset of the "true believer," who ignores the facts that debunk the Lutzes' lies and instead tries to smear the opposition, usually with the assistance of the load of malarkey provided about Amityville on the Warrens' website. It's not hard to see why there is such desperation by some to change the subject from the facts; throughout the many years this case has endured there has never been a single molecule of factual evidence to support the claims of the Lutzes. People have lived in this house with absolutely no paranormal activity (and no professional investigators of the paranormal other than the Warrens detected any as well) in the quarter-century that has passed since the Lutzes "fled." The original motive for their departure? Severe financial problems caused by their purchasing a house too expensive to afford, despite it's reduced price tag. Those financial problems motivated the Lutzes to release a number of obnoxiously false book sequels (still titled "A True Story," of course) - which all on their own stand as a perfect testament to the Lutzes' lack of credibility.
In summary, this book presents a wonderfully entertaining insight not just towards this case but the world of paranormal investigation, publishing and television. I think it will greatly appeal to those interested in the true story behind the "true story."
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You get What You Paid For, January 16, 2001
By 
Justin A (Malden, MA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Amityville Horror Conspiracy (Paperback)
Kaplans book does a great job at debunking the Lutzes story. His writing doesnt flow very well and he does repeat himself often but he backs up all of his claims. He also seems to pat himself on the back occasionally but all in all its a good read. I would recommend it to anyone interested in the "true story" behind the horror.It is too bad it wasnt really true, i think that would have been much more interesting.
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28 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thank You!!!!!!!!, April 21, 2002
By 
This review is from: The Amityville Horror Conspiracy (Paperback)
When I was younger, about 10, I saw The Amityville Horror on TV and was quite shaken by the movie, becouse it was 'A True Story', so I could not understand why my parents were seemingly so bored with the movie and at times flat out laughed. When I became an adult I would look into this story myself and decide on my own. I found a lot of meterial on the subject from both a pro amd con aspect. I came to the conclsion that the story was in fact a hoax and I decided to read the The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson and found myself at times shaking my head. When I saw the movie agian I couldn't help but laugh. A friend of mine gave me The Amityville Conspiricy and I found it to be very informitive. I have read, and enjoyed, books by The Warrens and I thought this was a good way to get another opinion on the case. And I did just that. At times the book is a little drawn out and wordy but the material more than makes up. Kaplan, in great detail, exposes the The Amityville Horror for the hoax that it really is. I feel that thepublic has been duped long enough and it was refreashing to see a book come out that looks at the case as a work of fiction and that is just what the Anson book was as far as I can see. After reading this book I have read even more on the case and found that it needs some real re-investigating to decide just what the hell went on.I my opinion, nothing. The Amityville Horror is a scary book and movie if you take it with a grain of salt. If not you will never enjoy that great work of fiction........
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27 of 36 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting & informative but burdened by the Author's Bias, October 17, 1999
This review is from: The Amityville Horror Conspiracy (Paperback)
While I just adore books that expose hoaxes, and I looked forward to this book for a long time knowing that it was in the pipelines and having heard Kaplan on Local radio in NYC, I must say that this book is really only for the serious Amityville researcher since the Author's diary-like approach repeats many statements over and over ad nusaeum and contains too many self-congratulatory comments about his own life. I found the details of his personal life an intrusion since he did not strive to make them important to the Story he was weaving of what he believes to be an elaborate but ill-planned Hoax that started out simple and got more complex the more the media grabbed onto the story. It is not particularly well-written and for someone claiming to have spent a lifetime as a researcher he does not back up some of his most startling claims with the necessary follow-through a real investigavtive Journalist would. Also, I found it completely disarming that this dedicated exposer of Hoaxers would admit to having faith in such discredited new age hoakum as "Pyramid Power" of all things. I feel you should buy the book despite it's faults simply for some of the belly laughs you'll get at the simple explanations of who Jody the pig really was ( a cat) and some of the other outragious lies perpetrated by the Lutzes. I do wish the Author were still alive , however, so he and I could go toe to toe and so I could see him have a chance to work with a better Editor and get his writing more polished. He died before the book was published at a relatively young age and although he was not a great writer, he seemed to be a good-hearted man who knew how to have fun and laugh at the sillines of mass hysteria around the Amityville Hoax. My other regret is that he did not investigate the disturbing ties between the Lutzes and the defense attorney for Ronnie De Feo who blew away his family in the house before the Lutzes bought it and supposedly that is what started their nightmare. Why would they, the new owners be so buddy buddy with De feos defense attorney? Were they trying to get him an Insanity plea via a claim of Demonic Possession? This is alleged but never explored by Kaplan and it makes the book peter out at the end with no real conclusions about why on earth the Lutzes perpetrated this Hoax.
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a great Writer but a great researcher!, April 27, 2005
This review is from: The Amityville Horror Conspiracy (Paperback)
The Amityville Horror Conspiracy is highly recommended for anyone who wants to know alot more about the famous haunted house. Though Kaplan is not the greatest of writers (repeats himself alot, praises himself a little too much) he still uncovered a wealth of info on the "haunting". Written in diary form, Kaplans research is exhausting and he back up everything he says. Somwetimes it bogs down as he talks aboutnon Amityville related things it still keeps you interested. Kaplan shows in details the glaring inconsistencies in the the Amityville Book that were so bad they changed alot of the novel in between printings! For example, I bought a first printing of the "Amityville Horror" hardcover and then compard it to a later paperback edition. Huge differences! It is a very convincing read to say the least. After his death he has been attacked by everyone who claims the haunting was real and not a hoax. They claim he didnt hold a PHD which I guess turns out to be fact. They claim he was a "Vampirologist" and he used cocaine. The funny thing is all the people who bash Kaplan and his book do not debunk its info they just try to defame the author so no one will believe him. Well I believe him and I think you will too if you read the book. Do yourself a favor and draw your own conclusion!
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down!, June 20, 1998
This review is from: The Amityville Horror Conspiracy (Paperback)
I've always had my doubts about the truth behind the "Amityville Horror." Even the "true" story points out the financial strain that the family took on when they purchased the property. I too believe deeply in the supernatural. There are things that just cannot be explained. But "The Amityville Horror Conspiracy" makes sense. And it makes a sad point: how quick we are to award the un-true. Oddly enough, many people I have spoken to about Amityville are still not aware that it was all a con. Some of them are from the New Jersey/New York area. You can bet they'll be interested in reading my copy of the book. I also find it interesting that around Halloween of 1994 or 1995, the 700 Club did a short piece on the Amityville horror. Kathy Lutz was interviewed and still claimed that the incident was true. She went as far to say that the incidents portrayed in the movie (i.e., the substance coming from the keyholes, the stuff oozing from the walls) were accurate. (I don't remember the movie mentioning any substance coming from the keyholes.) Unbelievable. This book lays it out quite clearly. The "horror" that occurred in Amityville had nothing to do with the supernatural. I applaud Dr. Kaplan's efforts to expose the truth.
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20 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Creation Of A Haunted Cottage Industry., April 15, 2005
By 
M. Packo (Stratford, CT United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Amityville Horror Conspiracy (Paperback)
Sorry, all you Demonologist wannabes but

Jodie can't come out to play.

From the outset, let me be clear:

Having an open mind and healthy curiosity, I must honestly admit

that I have a great deal of interest in and acceptance of a wide

range of paranormal phenomena. But this is not to say I am easily gullible.

Dr. Kaplan's book happens to remain the definitive history of

what is to every extent a hoax. That it was a clumsily

concocted hoax, there can be no doubt. That it was a hoax which

succeeded so surprisingly well there can be no doubt was due to an even more than usually insipid,

lazy and sensationalistic media that cooperated entirely.

"Journalists" who reported gossip almost verbatim in the furtherance of silly season news filler,

and interviews that rarely provided even a cursory challenge to credulity were the norm back then.

(And what else is new?)

This is a dry, detailed and exhaustive documentation of almost

every event subsequent to the Lutze/Anson deception which proved so

remarkably profitable to all involved. Prof. Kaplan deserves a

great deal of credit for his forebearance and dedication to the truth.

There are no cheap frights or pandering in this book, no scares other than in the way reality can

be so easily hidden.

Red eyed pigs do not haunt its pages.

What you will find is a rather twisted, amusing and depressing tale of mendacity,

wishful thinking and opportunism.

There are some personalities involved in this story who do not bear up very well

under the investigative light.

It only proves that P.T. Barnum was right about suckers.

The saddest part is that it all took such a toll on the investigator.

Prof. Kaplan's effort deserves to be appreciated.
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20 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good conclusion to an international con., July 19, 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: The Amityville Horror Conspiracy (Paperback)
A most exhaustive review of how a con-job is created.

I felt connected with this story. The movie came out in 79, soon after I graduated from high school. My best friend at the time dated one of the girls who played a victim in the movie. Yes I live in LA. I thought the movie was silly. It was even harder to believe that it was suppose to be based on a true story.

I read the book by Anson. It was sillier than the movie. I then started thinking, Wow! I can make fortune by making up stuff like this. Unfortunately I'm to honest to do such a think. O'well, I guess I'm going to have to work for a living.

I first heard about Stephan, and Roxanne Kaplan through a coffee table book called " Great Mystries", by Robert Jackson. It was a one page references to the Amityville horror Hoax. I then started looking for thier writings.

I found " The Amityville Horror Conspiracy" to be an exhaustive analysis of this hoax. Roxanne wrote it in such a way that I felt personally involved, as well as personaly insalted by this fraud.

I've read books by Ed and Lorraine, and anybody who does battle with the Warrens is a champion in my book. they remind me of ambulance chasers of the paranormal.

Mrs. Kaplan... Stephens death was a great loss for us all. I feal I knew him through your writing this book, and I wish I had met Him.

An excelent book. Highly recommended for intellectuals, skeptics or anybody who thinks for a living.

I also recommend "Secrets of the Supernatural, Investigating the World's Occult Mysteries". By Joe Nickell, Prometheus Press. He solves a couple of other Mysteries.

Yours Truly,

Kevin McLean,
a Skeptic
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for anyone interested in the paranormal!, March 17, 1999
This review is from: The Amityville Horror Conspiracy (Paperback)
This is the most honest book on the paranormal that you will ever find! I only wish that it was published earlier so that not only would Dr.Kaplan get to enjoy it's success, but perhaps we would have been lucky enough to see even more fine work from both Dr.Kaplan and his wife Roxanne. I have read this book several times, amd I often carry it with me because it always provides good reading, no matter how many times I've read it. Honesty and integrity are hard to find in todays paranormal researchers. Stephen Kaplan was one of a kind.
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The Amityville Horror Conspiracy
The Amityville Horror Conspiracy by Stephen Kaplan (Paperback - December 1, 1995)
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