American Horror Story Characters Based On Real People
Season 1: Elizabeth Short aka The Black Dahlia - Mena Suvari guest-starred on the very first season of American Horror Story as Elizabeth Short, the woman who would become infamously known as The Black Dahlia. Though parts of her story were fabricated for the show, The Black Dahlia murder is very much real. Short was a 22-year-old aspiring actress who was brutally murdered in 1947. Her body was chopped in half, and her killer carved up the sides of her mouth, giving her what’s known as a “Glasgow smile.” Her murderer was never identified.
Season 1: The Nurse Murders and the Richard Speck Case - One of the story lines from the first season revolves around a couple of nurses who are killed in the Murder House. Though the nurses on the show (played by guest stars Rosa Salazar and Celia Finkelstein) aren’t based on individuals, Ryan Murphy has said their murders are inspired by the Richard Speck massacre in 1966. Speck, a seaman from Texas, broke into a Chicago dorm filled with nurses and viciously tortured, raped, and killed eight of them in one night. The sequence in the show is light compared to what actually happened.
Asylum: Kit and Alma Walker and Barney and Betty Hill - Remember Asylum’s Kit and Alma Walker? According to producers, they were inspired by a couple named Barney and Betty Hill, some of the first people to ever claim to have been abducted by aliens in 1961. Their experience was widely publicized and became a bestselling book called The Interrupted Journey and a 1975 TV movie The UFO Incident. Just like Kit and Alma, Barney and Betty were a mixed-race couple, an integral part of the story line on Asylum.
Asylum: Anne Frank - Franka Potente starred on several episodes of Asylum as a mental patient who insists that she is Anne Frank, the 15-year-old girl who famously documented her horrific experience during the Holocaust before her death. It’s not conclusive whether or not Charlotte truly is Frank, but she does make a pretty compelling case. The American Horror Story character remains one of the most tragic and puzzling parts of the series to this day.
Coven: Madame Delphine LaLaurie - A handful of main characters from Coven were based on real people, but none as chilling as Madame Delphine LaLaurie. Portrayed by Kathy Bates on the show, LaLarie was a prominent New Orleans socialite in the 1800s. She was discovered to have tortured and killed many of her slaves in her “Chamber of Horrors,” and her house is still said to be haunted.
Coven: Papa Legba - Whether Papa Legba is “real” or not is up for interpretation, but the Coven character, played by guest star Lance Reddick, is based on a popular legend. In voodoo culture, he is the intermediary between the living and the dead. Papa Legba is both a good and bad figure, controlling who communicates between the worlds, and in American Horror Story’s case, sentencing some to live in their own personal hells.
Coven: Marie Laveau - Angela Bassett came aboard Coven as Marie Laveau, the ancient voodoo queen of New Orleans. In reality, Laveau was a revered woman in the city between the 1820s and 1860s. She practiced black magic, and just as she is on the show, she was a hairdresser on the side. She was known for being a nurse and a healer, and people still visit her grave to see if she’ll grant them wishes.
Coven: The Axeman of New Orleans - Danny Huston’s Coven character, The Axeman, was a real person - though we still don’t know his identity. Between 1818 and 1819, a series of murders were committed around the New Orleans area. The killer used axes or straight razors owned by the residents of the houses he broke into, and, as seen on the show, he even threatened to kill anyone not playing jazz music on one particular night.
Freak Show: Pepper and Schlitze Surtees - One of the many Freak Show characters to have been inspired by a real person, Pepper (and her husband, Salty) was inspired by Schlitze Surtees. Known as Schlitzie the Pinhead, he was an early 1990s sideshow performer 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. He is mostly known now because of his part in the 1932 film Freaks.
Freak Show: Edward Mordrake - Wes Bentley appears int he two-part Halloween episode of Freak Show as Edward Mordrake, a man with an evil face on the back of his head. Mordrake was a real person who lived in the 1800s. According to books, he had an unusual deformity: a small face on the back of his head. Mordrake committed suicide at 23, and unlike on the show, he probably doesn’t go around to freak shows on Halloween, killing its performers.
Freak Show: Jimmy Darling and Grady Franklin Stiles, Jr - Though many performers with ectrodactyly, aka Lobster Claw Syndrome, were prevalent throughout freak-show history, Grady Franklin Stiles, Jr. is clearly a large influence for Jimmy Darling. Born in Pittsburgh in 1937, Stiles was part of a whole family of people who had the condition. He was forced to become a sideshow act at a young age and became an abusive alcoholic - which seems to be the direction Jimmy is headed. He murdered his daughter’s fiancé in 1978, and then Grady himself was gunned down by a neighbor in 1993.
Freak Show: Twisty the Clown and John Wayne Gacy - There have been a lot of clown killers throughout history, but none as infamous as John Wayne Gacy. At heart, Twisty the Clown is just an extremely confused and misguided murderer, but Gacy was cold-blooded. His stage name was Pogo the Clown, and between 1972 and 1978, he raped and killed at least 33 young men. He died by lethal injection in 1994, leaving behind a series of haunting self portraits.
Freak Show: Dot and Bette Tattler and Violet and Daisy Hilton - Though conjoined twins Dot and Bette are quite unique, they’re probably based on a pair of sisters by the name of Violet and Daisy Hilton. Born in England in 1908, the twins were fused at the pelvis. They came to San Francisco in 1915, and by the ‘20s, they were successfully performing in vaudeville shows alongside Charlie Chaplin. Following success on stage, their professional lives took a downturn, and they eventually ended up working at a grocery store. Their lives are the subject of a documentary called Bound by Flesh: The Story of Violet and Daisy Hilton.
Hotel: Mr. March and H.H. Holmes - H.H. Holmes is often referred to as America’s first serial killer. He was profiled in the bestseller The Devil in the White City, which tells of Holmes’s technique of hiding his victims in the walls of the building he was constructing. While Mr. March isn’t a direct portrayal, he’s certainly inspired by the killer.
Hotel: Aileen Wuornos - Series veteran Lily Rabe guest starred as Aileen Wuornos, the serial killer who was portrayed by Charlize Theron in the 2003 drama Monster. Wuornos killed seven men while working as a prostitute between 1989 and 1990. She was convicted and later executed by lethal injection in 2002.
Hotel: Richard Ramirez - Also known as the Night Stalker, Ramirez (played by Anthony Ruivivar) went on a two-year rampage in California in the ‘80s. He killed at least 13 people and tortured many more.
Hotel: Jeffrey Dahmer - Seth Gabel played the notorious Jeffrey Dahmer for the “Devil’s Night” episode of Hotel. Dahmer is one of the most well-known serial killers in American history, having murdered at least 17 boys and men. He was also known as the Milwaukee Cannibal, as he raped, dismembered, and eventually ate his victims.
Hotel: John Wayne Gacy - While Gacy inspired Twisty the Clown, John Carroll Lynch returned to American Horror Story to play the real deal on Hotel.
Kathy met Nick one day in the middle of the school
year. It wasn’t any sort of unusual day, Kathy hadn’t woken up feeling any
different and everything went as it normally did. She checked herself on the scale
in the morning, depression flooding her as she noticed she hadn’t lost a single
pound and then she went about the rest of the time getting ready for school.
That was normal too, the girls and boys laughed and
whispered about her and a nice little pink note that read ‘Piggy’ with a
crudely drawn pig on it was waiting for her, stuffed into her locker rather
She had gone into the bathroom to cry and it was
when she looked up into the mirror after washing her face that she saw him, the
tall, handsome boy that she’d never seen before and hadn’t heard come in.
i love seeing the duality of neil’s frantic grasping at survival and his quiet acceptance of his own death. like he’s got his mother’s voice in him telling him to run at every turn, the secrets and the lies that he keeps as long as possible, but then you also get lines like these:
and neil’s entire character all year has been about him not wanting to die quietly. andrew’s first deal with neil, to let him stay, came entirely from neil’s jealousy of kevin and then this:
like obviously staying is a bad idea, and there are several stages where riko and then kevin find out who he is, and obviously that will get back to his father, but neil doesn’t run at any of those opportunities. and partly that bc of andrew’s deal, but it’s also bc neil’s already resigned himself to dying, so might as well do what he wants? like sure, neil still tries to stay hidden, but not very hard, and he’d stayed in millport an entire year,and he’d picked up exy again
so of course neil defends kevin on kathy ferdinand’s show. of course neil goes to evermore over christmas, and brutally drags the ravens and demands coach moriyama’s resignation and insults riko on live tv, and pokes and prods at andrew even when andrew threatens to kill him, and goes to baltimore for the foxes, and ignores the countdown. and of course he does all this without a second thought, because neil was always going to die at some point, so what would it matter if he died now vs in three months??
and his deal with andrew – of course neil trusts in his deal with andrew, he has nothing to lose. even if andrew breaks his deal along the way, or fails to protect neil, it’s no different than if neil didn’t have andrew’s protection. so of course he takes it, on the off chance that andrew might be the one thing capable of standing between him and his death, because that 1% chance of having everything he wanted is too hard to pass up
but for andrew, this is huge. for andrew, this is someone to keep kevin around (kevin who’d promised to give andrew a future), someone who trusts andrew’s deals when even his own brother ignored him, someone who pokes his nose in where he shouldn’t and makes andrew feel anger that isn’t directed inward, fear that isn’t at the edge of a roof, and if it means losing you, then no, and i’d drag you with me
i just think it’s fitting how neil, this poor boy who was going to die this year and might as well do something with it, meets andrew, this poor boy who’s going to live this year and might as well do something with it, and of course they see themselves in each other
and then baltimore comes, and suddenly neil’s not going to die anymore, but by then there’s already no going back
Everything goes the way it does in the books, except that occasionally someone looks up and Neil isn’t there and the air smells a bit like burning, but then they blink and he’s right back in front of them. The Ravens switch divisions. Neil and the monsters go to Eden’s Twilight. Neil pays someone to knock him out. He hitchhikes back to Palmetto. He tells Andrew his half-truths and whole lies. They go on Kathy Ferdinand’s show. He fights Riko. Andrew offers Neil his protection.
It goes the same. Sometimes Neil travels in time and space, sometimes only in time. Usually to somewhere around Andrew, except he hates Andrew, so for the most part, Neil stays away, even when Andrew is an angry-looking kid, even when Andrew is a calm-looking adult.
Until one day, when he gets whisked into a bedroom in the middle of the night and the figure on the bed stirs.
did u ever do a post about the Minyard-Josten Rivalry™ bc that is what i live for lol
okay i’ve kinda addressed this in one prompt but i’ve never written one about just this so here we go:
it starts when they’re still playing for the foxes
in fact, after the foxes win the championships and defeat the ravens, the 9 foxes are all forced into the spotlight
the public quickly forms opinions of each of them
the already prevalent opinions on dan and kevin are reinforced (they’ve both been common class 1 exy names for a while, but now the opinions on them are almost all positive)
aaron, matt, and nicky are all sort of put on the backburner and aren’t in the forefront of people’s minds (except for some few crazed fanatics who like to obsess over the less popular athletes on the team)
allison and renee are quickly labeled the “darlings of exy” (allison was ready to fight whatever publisher branded that statement but renee convinced her not too and instead they did a photoshoot involving knives and other weapons to show just how “darling” they were)
andrew and neil weren’t quite so simple to label
after the game against the ravens, neil and andrew were quickly labeled as the “new exy duo” becuase of their dynamic on the court (specifically andrew coming to neil’s rescue when he broke riko’s arm)
Another Foxhole Court Fic Rec! Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV This is a sequel fic rec to this, so the fics on the other list will not be on this list. a ★ indicates the fics that I would sell my soul for.
I always think about when Riko and Kevin are on Kathy's show with neil, and Andrew is in the audience, he has to be physically restrained by three different people to stop him from jumping up and reacting. We know this situation was uncomfortable enough for andrew because he hates being helpless (unable to help kevin in this case) above all else and is the protector for others, but the added stress of being physically restrained must have been excessively traumatic, even if under different circumstances to his past abuse, the echoes of helplessness physically are still there and this is why I wouldn't be able to deal with Andrew's point of view at this point. And then he watches as Neil, this pipsqueak runaway, defies all doubt and rips Riko up on national TV in defence of kevin, and I think this is the moment where Andrew sees Neil as not only a non-threat, but also a saviour, a person who helped him (indirectly this time) whilst he felt helpless, which is something he would have never experienced.
Wow this is over 1,500 words so Ima put most of it under a cut my lord. Shout out to @persistentplutonium for helping me with this and @andrewsneil and everyone else who liked this. Again, tw for minor gore, violence, and suicide and overdose mentions (still not too much tho).
I don’t think it is a big deal. He is clearly on a trip with his friends and in a place he loves. He saw Kathy’s show, a person he absolutely considers a friend. I would not be shocked if he saw Dreamgirls again as Amber is finished with the show soon (I think in a week).
But his trip clearly has a PR component. He has already made sure there is a pic released that shows the PA is present. That is PR. That is bolstering the nonsense happening in LA. That is Chris supporting D. And that is Chris saying I am guilty too, look i take my fake plus one on vacation and lie to my fans just like Darren. It is all very intentional.
Of course, the over protective part of me worries about D and just hopes he has support in LA as things continue to spiral out of control. I can’t imagine we don’t get a stunt this weekend. It seems to be multiple per week and it looks like he escaped last night (likely due to filming).
But life doesn’t stop because there of what is happening. And I hope chris is enjoying his time away.