The True (REAL 2018) Legends behind the "Fictional" Movie and Books

Stories of the Real People and places that famous character were based on.

The List

Amityville Section

Ray Buckland: Starts the Modern Wicca near Amityville

Amityville's Sister City and Sport's Rival Sayville

Indians in the area: Massacres, Legends, and Reality

John Ketcham: The Facts

Bram Stoker who wrote "Dracula": His link to Amityville

Amityville General History

Al Capone in Amityville

The Doors: Jim Morrison's Witch Wife: Grew in same township as the horror house is in!

Hardy Boys and the Stratemeyer Syndicate

The Hardy Boys - Hardy Boys in Bayport, New York. Setting selected by Edward Stratemeyer.


Christopher Robbins of Winnie the Pooh.

Rebel Without a Cause with James Dean.

Peter Pan: Darlings are a family called the Davies!

The Exorcist: From an incident in 1947.

Poltergeist Movie: Based on incidents of poltergeists in Long Island's family's home.

Dracula: Bram Stoker uses Long Island Poet Walt Whitman as model for Count Dracula.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Influence from a small town.

Jaws: Shark movie based on real shark killing!

Translation Homepage
Portuguese and Spanish Translation and Interpretation.



One of the strangest mysteries in Long Island history was the case of the popping bottles and flying globe. I know. I heard them pop and saw it fly.

When I came to work in the old Newsday building in Garden City on Feb. 10, 1958, I saw a story headlined ``Balmy Bouncing Bottles Jar LIer's Home.'' It told how, in the Seaford house of Air France employee James Herrmann, bottles of hair tonic, perfume, bleach, even holy water, had spontaneously unscrewed their tops and fallen over. His wife, Lucille, actually saw one bottle spin off its top, turn on the shelf and fall on the floor. Herrmann watched a bottle of medicine hop at least 6 inches across a bathroom vanity into the sink. Their son, Jimmy, 12, was pictured looking at broken glassware.

Years earlier, I had written about psychic phenomena, including poltergeists. The German word, which means ``rattling ghosts,'' refers to unseen spirits that cause strange noises, movements of furniture and breakages of crockery that have been recorded for hundreds of years from all parts of the world. A teenager often is present. I told my city editor that a poltergeist might be at large in Seaford. He assigned me the story.

The events began Feb. 3 in the Herrmann's six-room ranch house. They came in spurts, but averaged about two a day. On Feb. 20, they grew more numerous and malicious. A bottle of ink flew from the dinette table against the front door, spattering the door, the rug and the wallpaper. A porcelain figurine hurled itself twice against a wooden desk, 10 feet away, denting it and then shattering. The sugar bowl crashed onto the dining room floor. Lucille Herrmann, alone in the house, went to a neighbor's.

Nor were the Herrmanns the only ones to witness the events. A British reporter saw a flashbulb leap from an end table, carom into drapes and bounce twice on the floor. A Nassau County detective, Joseph Tozzi, twice heard noises, ran into adjoining rooms, and found that a sugar bowl in the dinette had flipped three feet and that a porcelain statuette had flown 10 feet across the living room and smashed into a wooden secretary. I myself several times heard and once observed an event.

At about 8:10 p.m. on Feb. 24, the children in bed, Herrmann and I were talking about the disturbances. Suddenly, there was a crash from the living room behind me. We rushed in; Jimmy was there before us. A porcelain figurine of a Colonial man had smashed against the wooden desk, denting it. The figurine was in pieces. Fifty minutes later, hoping to see one of the events, I positioned myself on the living room couch facing Jimmy's darkened bedroom. Suddenly, a 10-inch cardboard globe of the world flipped silently out of Jimmy's room in my direction and bounced into the opposite corner of the living room. I jumped up, ran into Jimmy's room, and snapped on the light. He was sitting up in bed, the covers over his legs. Could he have thrown it? I thought it was possible, but improbable.

Jim Herrmann sought an explanation. Air officials at Mitchel Field said none of their equipment could produce those effects. A neighbor suggested that vibrations from an underground stream might be causing the movements, but a vibration detector set up by the Long Island Lighting Co. found nothing out of the ordinary. Technicians from RCA, covering most of the radio spectrum, found no abnormal signals. The head of the Hempstead Town Building Department found no defects in the 5-year-old house, in which only the Herrmanns had lived.

As the events escalated -- from statuettes flying to bureaus falling over -- and the story went national, more than 250 letters poured in. A Chicago man proposed, ``Leave out a pad and pencil, and write on the pad, `Who are you? Can we help?'' One of the people spoke Portuguese, so a translator was hired to translate into English. The interpreter did as asked. '

Was it a hoax? Neither Tozzi nor I thought so. The family -- there was also a daughter, Lucille, 13 -- didn't seem the type.

But what about young Jimmy? Many thought he was the culprit, including my night city editor. ``Catch the kid!'' he ordered.

It is true that in many of these strange events, it was possible for the bright and lively seventh-grade honor student to have done them. But he would have had to have been extraordinarily strong and agile. When the statuettes struck objects, they did so with an almost explosive sound. It's unlikely that he could have thrown them with such force.

Tozzi agreed. Moreover, both of us felt that he had no desire to harass his parents and no need for attention. We both thought Jimmy was not doing this.

In the end, after 67 occurrences, the events stopped. The last took place on March 10. A 45-page study by a Duke University parapsychologist, likewise exonerating Jimmy, concluded that the events would remain forever a mystery.

When asked what the answer is, I say that all we can do is class the events as an instance of a poltergeist and await an explanation of that phenomenon. As Hamlet said, ``There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, /Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.''


Selection of Movies from True Stories

" Death Benefit"aka "Justice for Annie"
";A Woman Scorned" and "Her Final Fury" (the Betty Broderick Story)
"83 Hours Till Dawn" starring Robert Urich and "The Longest Night" starring James Farrantino
"A Child Lost Forever" 
"A Family Torn Apart" starring Gregory Harrison and Corin Nemec
"A Father for Brittney" starring Andrew Mccarthy
"A Friend to Die for;starring Kellie Martin and Tori Spelling (based on the article Death of a Cheerleader
"A Killer Among Friends"starring Patty Duke and Tiffani Amber Thiessen
"A Matter of Justice" starring Patty Duke
"A Mother's Justice"
"A Promise to Carolyn" starring Delta Burke
"Abandoned and Deceived" starring Lori Laughlin
"And Never Let Go; starring Mark Harmon
"Before He Wakes";starring Jacklyn Smith
"Betrayal of Trust" starring Judith Light
"Beyond Obsession" starring Victoria Principal
"Beyond Obsession"starring Victoria Principle
"Beyond Suspicion" starring Markie Post
"Captive" starring Joanna Kerns
"Caught in the Crossfire: A Moment of Truth" starring Dennis Franz
"Corpse had a Familiar Face"
"Cradle of Conspiracy"
"Crime in Connecticut: The Story of Alex Kelly"
"Cross of Fire" starring John heard and Mel Harris
"Dangerous Evidence: The Lori Jackson Story" starring Lynn Whifield
"Dead Before Dawn"
"Dead by Sunset" starring Ken Olin and Annette O'toole
"Deadly Matrimony" starring Treat Williams
"Deadly Relations" starring Robert Urich and Gyweneth Paltrow
"Deadly Vows"
"Deadly Whispers"
"Death in Small Doses"
"Deceived by Trust"
"Deep in My Heart"
"Desperate Journey: The Allison Wilcox Story" starring Mel Harris
"Double Jeapordy"; aka "Victim of the Night" starring Joe Penny and Teri Garr
"Every Mother's Worst Fear"starring Cheryl Ladd
"Fatal  Vows: The Alexandra O'hara Story" starring Cynthia Gibbs and John Stamos
"Fight for Justice: The Nancy Conn Story" starring Marilu Henner
"For My Daughter's Honor"
"Forgotten Sins"
"Frequent Flyer"starring Jack Wagner
"Fried Green Tomatoes" starring Mary Stuart Masterson
"Ghosts of Missisisippi" starring Alec Baldwin
"Good Night, Sweet Wife";starring Ken olin and Joanna Kerns
"Guilty Hearts" starring Treat Williams
"Hav Plenty" 
"Highway Heartbreaker" starring Heather Locklear
"I Know My First Name is Steven"
"In a Child's Name"starring Valerie Bertanelli
"In the Blink of an Eye" starring Veronica Hamel
"In the Line of Duty: Blaze of Glory" and "Normal Life"
"In the Name of Love: A Texas Tragedy" starring Laura Leighton and Richard Crenna
"In Too Deep" starring LL Cool J
"Killing in a Small Town" starring Brian Dennehy
"Lean On Me"starring Morgan Freeman
"Legacy of Sin: The William Coit Jr Story"starring Bonnie Bedilia
"Lies He Told"
"Like Mother, Like Son"starring Mary Tyler Moore and Gabriel Olds
"Locked in Silence"
"Love, Lies, and Murder"
"Moment of Truth: One Child Too Many" starring Michelle Greene
"Mother Knows Best" starring Joanna Kerns
"Murder at 75 Birch";starring Melissa Gilbert
"Murder in New Hamshire: The Pamela Wojas Smart Story"starring Helen Hunt and "To Die For" starring Nickole Kidman
"Murder in the First" starring Kevin Bacon
"Murder of Mary Phagan"
"My Son is Innocent" starring Marilu Henner
"Nightmare in Columbia County"
"Not Our Son"
"Our Guys: Outrage at Glen Ridge"starring Ally Sheedy
"Precious Victims" Park Overall
"Reason for Living: The Jill Ireland Story"
"Seduced by Madness: The Diane Borchardt Story"starring Ann Margaret
"Separated by Murder"
"Shattered By Trust: The Shari Karney Story"
"Shattered Innocence" 
"Sleeping with the Devil" 
"Someone She Knows" starring Markie Post
"Stay the Night" starring Barbara Hershey
"Stolen Miracle"
"Sudden Death in Carolina" (the Rae Carruth story and the murder of Cherica Adams)
"Taking Back our Town" starring Ruby Dee and Laura Innes
"The Birds" (Alfred Hitchcock)
"The Hunt for the Unicorn Killer"
"The Perfect Crime" starring Jasmine Guy
"The Perfect Crime"starring Jasmine Guy
"The Perfect Mother" starring Tyne Daly
"The Preppie Murder"  starring William Baldwin and Laura Flynn Boyle
"The Price of a Broken Heart" starring Park Overall
"The Stalking of Laura Black" 
"The Texas Cadet Murder" starring Holly Marie Combs
"The Wednesday Woman" starring Meredith Baxter 
"Too Rich, The Secret Life of Doris Duke" 
"Twisted Desire"; starring Melissa Joan Hart
"Video Voyeur: The Susan Wilson Story "(2002)
"Voice from the Grave from the files of unsolved mysteries"
"What happened to Bobby Earl" starring Kate Jackson
"What Makes a Family"; starring Brook Shields
"When Love Kills" starring Gary Cole
"When No One Would Listen" starring Michele Lee
"Why Do Fools Fall in Love"starring Halle Berry, Vivica A. Fox, and Larenze Tate
"Why My Daughter: The Gayle Moffitt Story"
"Wife, Mother, Murder: The Marie Hilley Story" starring Judith Light
"Woman on the Run: The Lawrencia Bembenek Story"
"Woman With a Past" starring Pamela Reed
;Betrayed By Love; starring Patricia Arquette and Mare Winningham
Our Mother's Murder:;starring Holly Marie Combs and Roxanne Hart
Snap Decision: starring Mare Winningham (2001)


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