American Horror Story is basically the creepiest thing on television. If we had to think up some of those storylines, we’d probably never be able to sleep again.
Luckily, real life can be pretty creepy too. So creators Brad Falchuk and Ryan Murphy have plenty of inspiration…
1.Marie Delphine LaLaurie, Coven
Kathy Bates’ character in Coven was based on a real New Orleans socialite from 1834.
Although there had beenrumours thatMarie Delphine LaLaurie mistreated her slaves, nothing was proven until a fire broke out in her house. When police arrived, they found a 70 year old slave chained to the stove. She admitted that after making a mistake, she had started the fire herself. She would rather burn to death than by punished byLaLaurie.
As she explained, slaves were taken to the attic to be punished, and none ever came back.
When police investigated, they found seven slaves chained by the neck, horribly mutilated and tortured. They had been there for months, and no one knows how many had died before them…
2. The Axeman of New Orleans, Coven
Another Coven character, the Axeman was based on a serial killer that terrorised New Orleans between 1918 and 1919.
Never caught, the real-life killer would break into houses, and kill the occupants with their own axes or razors. He was believed to be mad, after sending police a letter claiming to be ‘a spirit and a demon from the hottest hell’.
He also promised that any house with ajazz band would have its occupants spared; anyone not playing jazzwould ‘get the axe’.
3. Kit and Alma Walker, Asylum
Everyone’s favourites Asylum inmates, Kit and Alma Walker were based on real life couple Barney and Betty Hill.
When returning from a trip to Montreal, the Hills encountered what they reported to be a UFO. As it approached their car, they entered an ‘altered state of consciousness’, and when they came around they found they had travelled 35 miles.
Immediately after their encounter, the couple reported strange behaviour. While Betty had strange dreams of being medically examined by extra-terrestrials, Barney was seized by the desire to examine his genitals.
Although unlike Kit and Alma, neither Betty not Barney wound up in an asylum…
4. Elizabeth Short, Murder House
One of the many characterskilledin the ‘Murder House’, Elizabeth Short’s death is based on a real life unsolved crime.
While AHS imagined her accidentally killed by a lecherous dentist, Elizabeth’s murder is actually one of Los Angeles’ biggestmysteries. Her body was found early one morning, in two pieces, mutilated, with a smile cut onto her face.
The murder is so famous that over the years over 50 people have confessed to it, with hundreds of other people offering up a friend or relative as a potential killer.
Most people believe that the real killer has been dead for years, and due to the complete lack of evidence, most believe this crime will never be solved.
5. Dot and Bette Tattler, Freak Show
Sarah Paulson’s conjoined twins, Bette and Dot, were actually based on Violet and Daisy Hilton.
Although these real life sisters were conjoined at the hip – and not one body with two heads – they were still seen as ‘entertaining’, and so they toured the US with various circuses and carnivals.
As withBette and Dot, it was impossible to separate Violet and Daisy – one would have died. But the twins managed to live to 60, eventually dying of the Hong Kong flu in 1969.
6. The Lobster Boy, Freak Show
Jimmy Darling is one of Freak Show’s more moral characters, but the real life ‘Lobster Boy’ he is based on was less upstanding.
An abusive alcoholic,Stiles Jr. didn’t approve ofhis daughter’s fiance, so murdered him, but – only receiving probation – was able to continue touring the US, showing off his deformity.
He was killed by an assassin (hired by his wife) in 1993.
7. Edward Mordrake, Freak Show
An English heir, Edward Mordrake had an extra face on the back of his head. He pleaded with Doctors to remove it, claiming that it sneered while he cried, and whispered to him at night.
Committing suicide at just 23, AHS imagined an afterlife for Mordrake, in which he would appear every Halloween, and claim another ‘freak’ to join him in his melancholy existence.