Amityville Indians, the Truth of their Legends & History

The Facts about the Indian Tribes of Suffolk County including the Shinnecock & Massapequans

Shinnecocks of Suffolk County, NY. They got the idea for the headresses from the 19th century  mass media.

The Indian Legend of Amityville

The original angry Indian chief legend of Amityville is based on the Sachem (Chief) Takapausha and John Underhill. Takapausha accused the Dutch of not properly compensating his tribe the Massapequans properly for land. A war started and the Dutch hired an Indian fighter called John Underhill from Salem, Massachusettes. In a place called Fort Neck outside Amityville John Underhill did the only large scale one day killing of Indians on Long Island. He killed about 120  people and the people were buried in a mass grave. Newday said, "the bones of 24 people were dug up during an excavation at the site." in 1935 and "Capt. Underhill and his men collected the bodies of the Indians and threw them in a heap on the brow of the hill, and then sat down on the leeward side of the heap to eat their breakfast. When this part of the county came to be settled, the highway across the neck passed directly over the spot where, it was said, the heap of Indians lay, and the earth in that spot was remarkably different from the ground about it, being strongly tinged with a reddish cast, which the old people said was occasioned by the blood of the Indians." (A Man Hated and Hailed By Steve Wick, Newsday)

The leader of the Indians Killed was Takapausha. The local legend said that because of the horrors Takapausha is out to seek revenge and possesses people to kill them. A well known related story is of the Indian Princess of Lake Ronkonkoma. She kills two lovers per year for revenge. William Webber, the lawyer of Ron DeFeo first hear the Amityville legend from some kids near the famous house.


Massacres, Wars, Puritan Settlement and Legends of the Amityville Area

We often heard about the Amityville legend included stories of Long Island Indians which included an Indian "Sachem" (Chief) that was buried standing up, an Indian graveyard, an evil Indian spirit, and a massacre of Indians in the Amityville area. This article will separate fact from fiction.

The idea of the angry Indian chief seeking revenge came from a medium that Han Holzer brought to the house. There is a famous local legend about Lake Ronkonkoma about how every year an Indian Princess that kills two lovers, because her and her lover was killed in the lake.

The Indians in the Amityville area of Suffolk County, New York belonged to the Mohegan Montauk tribe and they were further subdivided into groups such as the Massapequans. Contrary to what was in the original Amityville Horror book by Jay Anson the Shinnecocks lived on the East end of the county. Amityville is located near where the border of Dutch and the English controlled Long Island. The English controlled the East and the Dutch the west.

The English Puritans got along well with the local Indians and the great Sachem of Long Island Wyandanch was good friends with the "Father of Long Island" Lionel Gardner. However, there were great battles and killings on the Dutch controlled part of Long Island. Near Amityville a large number of Indians were killed by the Dutch in a battle led by John Underhill, who lived in Salem before coming to Long Island.

Contrary to popular belief the Puritans that settled Long Island did not steal the land from the Indians, they bought it bit by bit for amounts of wealth that was beyond the Indians imagination. The Montauks welcomed the Puritans because they helped free them from their enemies the Pequats.

The Great Indian Massacre

The largest killing of Indians on Long Island was in an area that use to be considered part of Amityville, but is now called "East Massapequa." Long Island was divided between the Dutch and the English. Unlike the English, the Dutch did not get along with the Indians. Amityville was located right on the border between the Dutch and English territory. The Dutch did not have enough troops so they hired an Englishman called John Underhill to help them. John Underhill was a very good Indian fighter and in 1644 he brought the fight to the Indians at their stronghold. He killed 120 Indians in the only major Indian battle on Long Island. For this Underhill was paid 25,000 guilders by Governor Willem Kieft. (From Running Deer, Below is quote about how there was a local legend about the ground being red with blood.

In the 19th century local historian Samuel Jones wrote:

"After the battle of Ft. Neck, the weather being very cold and the wind northwest, Capt. Underhill and his men collected the bodies of the Indians and threw them in a heap on the brow of the hill, and then sat down on the leeward side of the heap to eat their breakfast. When this part of the county came to be settled, the highway across the neck passed directly over the spot where, it was said, the heap of Indians lay, and the earth in that spot was remarkably different from the ground about it, being strongly tinged with a reddish cast, which the old people said was occasioned by the blood of the Indians."

The location of the killing was  in Fort Neck, about 1.5 miles from the famous Amityville house at the corner of Merrick Road and Cedar Shore Road. In 1935, the bones of 24 people were dug up at the site.


How the Puritans Bought the Land from the Indians

According to the Amityville Historical Society "In 1653, during the English interregnum, a strip of land running from the Long Island Sound to about where Old Country road now is was purchased from the Indians and the Town of Huntington was established. Soon after, further purchases extend the boundary south English law required that the settlers with grants from the Crown, obtain confirming deeds from the local Indians. In 1658 an Indian deed conveyed West Neck south and Josias Neck which covered all of what is now Amityville south of the then Indian trail now known as Merrick Road." (A Centennial Salute by William T. Lauder 1994,

Where the Indians Went

The Indians being eliminated on Long Island by Genocide is a popular myth generated by people who advocate racial strife. The reality is that over 2/3 died from diseases in a great plague. Another large group went to Canada. Most of the rest intermarried with the settlers, both black and white. Many went to nearby Manhattan to work and lived in Black neighborhoods intermarrying with former slaves. The rest lived lived on reservation that still exist to this day. In the Dutch west end many Indians were killed, however they were killed in rebellions. Neither the Dutch or the English killed Indians on Long Island of the sake of clearing it out of Indians.

Lional Gardner said when he learned of the death of the Sachem Wyandanch , "My friend and
brother is gone, who will now do the like?" ( March 14, 1998 Lion Gardiner: Long Island's Founding Father by Roger Wunderlich

The way the Indians of Long Island made their wealth was by creating wampum which was used as money. wampum was created from the purple part of the clam shell and hung on a string. two of the three names the Indians used for Long Island was Sewanhacky and Wamponomon which is named for the quahog which is a clam. Most of the clams came from the Great South Bay. Amityville is right on this bay. 

Thomas Jefferson came to Suffolk to study the language of the Montauks. He traveled though Amityville on the South Road which was originally an Indian path. In the East County he made a record of their language because there was some belief that they were descended from Egyptians who crossed the Atlantic. On this page is a picture of David Pharoah. His name is Pharoah because of this belief.

Indian Princess Kidnapped - Grandmother of Sleepy Hollow Character!

The grandmother of Katrina van Tassel of Sleepy Hollow fame was an Indian princess called Cantoneras or "Heather Flower."  She was the daughter of the Grand Sachem of what is now Suffolk County, Wyandanch whose headquarters was in Montauk. Cantoneras was born in Eaton's Neck which is on the other side of the island from Amityville. During her wedding there was an attack by the Narragansetts of Connecticut and Rhode Island. They killed her groom and brought her across the Long Island Sound as a prisoner.

Her father went to Lionel Gardiner for help. It was on the island owned by Gardiner that Captain Kidd buried his treasure. Gardiner then went across the sound and rescued. Out of gratitude Wyandanch gave Gardiner what is now Smithtown.

She went on to marry a Dutchman called Cornelius Jensen Van Texel. Their granddaughter Katrina van Tassel was born on Western Long Island. Cantoneras son Jan Cornelissen Van Texel moved the family to Sleepy Hollow and joined the Sleepy Hollow Church. (From Van Tassels in America. According to Lisa Marie, "...she married her Brom and they lived happily ever after. They had many children. One born so dark (and Jr. to boot) they called him Indian Brom." Yes, that is the "Bram Bones" of the "Legend of Sleepy Hollow." Contrary to popular belief, the Katrina van Tassel character was not primarily based on the Van Tassel that Irving knew. It was based on a story that she told Washington Irving about her family.  The character Katrina is based on Katrina van Tassel born on Long Island. However, Irving based some of the character's characteristics on the  descendent that he knew.

Steven Talking Horse of Suffolk County

Coat of Arms of the Underhills. John Underhill was an expert Indian fighter as well as a friend to many Indians such as the Matinecocks that gave him 150 acres near Oyster Bay, named "Killingworth."

<< David Pharaoh, the last pure Montauk Indian. Note that they dressed in regular clothing even 100 years ago. Notice the picture at the top of the page where they are wearing headdresses. They got the idea for this from the 19th century mass media depiction of Indians of the West.


At right is a book about the widespread belief that some of the ancestors of the Suffolk Indians came from Egypt.

There actually were pyramids on Montauk Point that many say were Indian mounds



John Ketcham: The Facts

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

Amityville General History

Al Capone in Amityville - Sinks into insanity.

Witch Trials - Woman accused of witchcraft in Amityville area!

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

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

More about Amityville

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From Newsday, A Man Hated and Hailed, by Steve Wick.(,0,6174655.story)

"Underhill's claim to a bloody piece of Long Island history began in April, 1644. Dutch records of the day say that 'seven savages' were arrested at Hempstead, an English village within the Dutch sphere of influence, on charges of killing pigs 'though it was afterwards discovered that some Englishmen had done it themselves.'"

"Hearing of the arrests, the Dutch governor in New Amsterdam, Kieft, sent Underhill and 15 or 16 soldiers, who promptly killed three of the seven Indians. 'They then took the other four with them in the sailing boat, two of whom were towed along by a string around their necks till they were drowned, while the two unfortunate survivors were detained as prisoners at fort Amsterdam,'' according to a Dutch account written at the time. The report went on:"

"'When they had kept them a long time ... the director (Kieft) became tired of giving them food any longer and they were delivered to the soldiers to do as they pleased with.'"

"'The prisoners were immediately dragged out of the guard house and soon dispatched with knives of from 18 to 20 inches, which director Kieft had made for his soldiers for such purposes ... that these knives were much handier for bowelling them. The first of these savages having received a frightful wound ... dropped down dead. The soldiers then cut strips from the other's body ... Kieft ... stood laughing heartily at the fun.'"

John Underhill later bought an estate nearby in Oyster Bay that he called, "Killingworth"

Montaukett Massapequans Shinnecock
sanitarium angry Indian - Book and movie posters

The angry Indian chief possessing Butch DeFeo in Amityville was from a curse. He said the house is located on the site of an ancient Montaukett Indian burial ground and that a chief.  Hans Holzer is a professor of paranormal psychology and an author. The torture of the Indians in the Amityville Horror. The Amityville Horror, Ron DeFeo, and George Lutz. Chief Rolling Thunder. The truth and history of the Indian graveyard and cemetery.

The Warrens investigated. Images of the monster and the true story of the horrors and the tale of the house. Tales and stories of the supernatural and Jodie the Pig, and other monsters. City Confidential and info on Kaplan, with details on the Seventh Victim. George Lutz said the house was scary and creepy. The murder was spooky in Long Island. Really freaky. The biography of Butch DeFeo. Amityville photos and pictures. There was a possession of the son at the Horror House. He killed his whole family. George Lutz went insane. John Ketchum and accusations of being a witch.
The house in New York had many stories told about it, but what is the truth? The murders on long island could very well have been a hoax. The house may be haunted. The murder was terrible. The dollhouse at 2 brunswick became a movie The auction and pictures of the dmv may of been a true story haunting haunting the horor and the basketball team had any difffernt Amityville pictures that are horrow of the house that lutz lived in. Plenty of Amityville horror photos and useful information about the Dominicans and dmv and the history of the village and house. Father Pecoraro the priest was called Father Mancusco in the movie. The haunting of the horrible house. Home of horro. Amityville Real Estate.
The evil Reverand Jeremiah Ketcham was very significant. Reverand Jeremiah Ketchum was an the bad guy in the film.


There were many horrors in the house. The house was known to be haunted. But many say it was a horror hoax, just a story. The haunting and the horror story was well known. The Amityville Horor occured many years ago. The history of the area tell the truth about the horror. The news and photo of the photo amytville home is here, with photos of De Feo. Links to sites and a space project.

Amityville Asylum

Catoneras and Wyandance


Good Long Island early Indian history article.

Two of the 1600's great sachems were Wyandanch of the Montauks and
Tackapausha of the Massapequas.