American Horror Story Moments That Actually Happened In Real Life
Thought American Horror Story was just a nightmare? Think again. Here's all the moments that actually happened at IRL, over at MTV.co.uk.
There’s no show that will stop you from sleeping, haunt all of your nightmares and generally ruin your life when you’re home alone quite like American Horror Story.
From Season 1 of Murder House up to Season 6 of Roanoke, the whole thing is just the right amount of terrifying from start to finish, and if the episodes themselves weren’t enough to send a shiver up your spine, just wait until you hear the real life versions.
Yep, unfortunately for your imagination, a whole lot of AHS plot lines are actually based on a true story. So to make sure you never want to be alone again, here’s all the most terrifying characters and storylines that actually happened IRL. Sleep well.
Season 1: Murder House
Elizabeth Short, aka The Black Dahlia
It's revealed way back in Season 1 that one of the past guests at the Murder House was Elizabeth Short, better known as The Black Dahlia - a very much real and now legendary murder case.
While AHS had a creepy dentist as her killer, Elizabeth's real life killer is a mystery to this day. In 1947, a mother and her child stumbled across her body, which has been sliced in half and drained of blood with her mouth carved upwards.
The Nurse Murders
Seeing as AHS really doesn't show any mercy even for new viewers, the second ever episode of the show flashes back to two nurses who're brutally killed in the Murder House.
Ryan Murphy has said their deaths are inspired by the Richard Speck massacre in 1966, which saw him break into a Chicago dorm filled with nurses to viciously torture and kill eight of them in one night. So actually, the AHS version is pretty tame in comparison.
Season 2: Asylum
Kit and Alma Walker
Producers have revealed that season two's couple, Kit and Alma Walker, were inspired by a real life pair named Barney and Betty Hill. They were some of the first people to have ever claimed to have been abducted by aliens in 1961.
Just like Kit and Alma, Barney and Betty were also a mixed-race couple, which becomes an integral part of the storyline in AHS: Asylum.
Season 3: Coven
Madame Delphine LaLaurie
It's hard to believe that it could be possible, but Madame Delphine LaLaurie was in fact a real person and every bit as awful IRL as she is in the show.
A truly chilling historical figure, LaLaurie was a prominent New Orleans socialite in the 1800s, who was discovered to have tortured and kills a huge number of slaves in her real 'Chamber of Horrors'.
It was only discovered when neighbours rushed to her house to help rescue the slaves from a fire. Dead slaves were found chained to the walls, while others were mutilated or dismembered. Buckets of their organs and body parts were scattered across the floor.
LaLaurie escaped the city in her carriage before facing any repercussions. Her house is still said to be haunted to this day... *shudder*.
Quite a few of the characters in AHS: Coven are actually based on real life figures, or at least the stuff of real life legend. Another is Papa Legba, a legendary character in voodoo culture.
It's up for debate as to whether he's technically 'real' or not, but he's the middle man between life and death - both a good and bad figure who controls who communicates between the two worlds.
In reality, Laveau was a much-respected but much-feared woman who lived in New Orleans between the 1820s and 1860s. She practised black magic and, just like on American Horror Story, was a hairdresser on the side. Casual.
She's most well known for her nursing and healing powers, and believers still visit her grave in the hope that she might grant them their wishes.
The Axeman of New Orleans
It's kiiiind of a weird sidestoryline to season three, but the axeman of New Orleans was also very much real. The anonymous killer terrorized the city between 1918 and 1919.
He broke into houses and murdered whoever was inside with an axe, and in March of 1919, he reportedly wrote to The Times-Picayune, threatening another attack on any homes who weren't playing jazz music, his personal favourite.
Jazz was blared across the city that night so no one was killed, but randoms attacks continued until October, when a grocer was the final unlucky victim. The axman's identity was never uncovered.
Season 4: Freak Show
A whole selection of the freaks in season four's freak show were inspired by real people, including Pepper who's based on Schlitze Surtees, or Schlitzie the Pinhead.
He was a sideshow performer in the early 19902, living with microcephaly, a neurodevelopmental disorder that causes an unusually small brain and skull. He had the cognisance of a 3-year-old and could only speak in single-syllable words.
It's hard to believe but even Edward Mordrake, the man with an evil face on the back of his head, is actually based on a true story, and was a real person who lived in the 1800s.
It's said that he genuinely had a small face on the back of his head, and repeatedly begged doctors to try and remove it with claims that it whispered things to him that "one would only speak about in hell".
When they refused, he killed himself at the age of 23, leaving a letter asking for the face to be destroyed before his burial. Gulp.
Evan Peters' character Jimmy is heavily influenced by Grady Franklin Stiles Jr, a performer with the same Lobster Claw Syndrome (or ectrodactyly). He was born in Pittsburgh in 1937 into a whole family who had the condition.
Sadly, he was forced to become a sideshow performance act at a very young age and felt the effects, becoming an absuive alcoholic later in life just as Jimmy looks to be heading towards.
Grady murdered his daughter's fiancé in 1978, and then Grady himself was gunned down by a neighbour in 1993, so it's a pretty tragic story.
Twisty The Clown
Hate to break it to you but yep, the truly terrifying and slightly life ruining character of Twisty The Clown is based on a true story. Help.
While Twisty is at least a confused and misguided murderer, his inspiration of John Wayne Gacy was not so redeemable. A cold blooded killer, his stage name was Pogo the Clown, and between 1972 and 1978 he raped and killed at least 33 young men.
He was finally caught and died by lethal injection in 1994, leaving behind a series of haunting self portraits that will probably ruin your life if you google them.
Dot and Bette Tattler
It's pretty likely that Dot and Bette were based on a pair of sisters named Violet and Daisy Hilton, who were around in the early 1900s and famous for being conjoined by the pelvis.
By the '20s, they were successfully performing in San Francisco vaudeville shows alongside Charlie Chaplin, but when fame died down later on, they eventually ended up working at a grocery store.
Season 5: Hotel
The Hotel Cortez
While it's Hotel Cortez on the show, the IRL version of the season five venue is the Cecil Hotel in LA. It probably wouldn't have picked up too many stars on Trip Advisor, as people who stayed there basically kept dying or murdering others. Awkward.
Ryan Murphy has explained how the inspiration for AHS: Hotel came from “a surveillance video that went around two years ago that showed a girl getting into an elevator in a downtown hotel that was rumored to be haunted, and she was never seen again.”
Fans were quick to connect his version to Elisa Lam, a Canadian student who was found dead in the Cecil Hotel water tank. Earlier footage of her acting seriously strangely in the elevator was later revealed.
The Cecil Hotel was a favourite haunt of multiple serial killers, while several women chose it as the place to jump to their deaths, and it was even rumoured to be one of the last places that the Black Dahlia was seen alive. Maybe not the best for a holiday.
Mr March couldn't be called a direct reference to anyone that existed in history, but he almost definitely came from H.H. Holmes, who's often referred to as America's first serial killer.
In 1893, he built a hotel in Chicago with a mission for murder. His burial methods were particularly gruesome, as he'd hide his victims in the walls of the building he was constructing.
When a selection of serial killers join Mr March for dinner in the 'Devil's Night' episode, each of them are representations of real life criminals, including Lily Rabe as Aileen Wuornos.
Wuornos killed seven men while working as a prostitute between 1989 and 1990, before she was convicted and later executed by lethal injection in 2002.
Also joining the dinner table is Jeffrey Dahmer, perhaps one of the most infamous and terrifying serial killers of all time.
Dahmer murdered at least 17 boys and men. He was also known as the Milwaukee Cannibal thanks to his habit of raping, dismembering and eventually eating his victims.
At the time of his discovery, the world was particularly fascinated by the fact that he just looked incredibly normal. Once he was imprisoned, he received a ton of love letters from women in the outside world.
Season 6: Roanoke
Last but not least, the most recent season of American Horror Story is entirely inspired by true events. The lost colony of Roanoke is one of the most epic mysteries in American history, when a whole townful of 117 people on the outer banks of what is now Northern California completely vanished in 1590.
All that was left behind was one single skeleton, and the word 'CROATOAN' carved into a fence post.
So yeah, sleep well.