the hilton twins

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. 

Daisy and Violet Hilton were conjoined twins active in side shows during the 1930s. They endured lifelong abuse at the hands of shady managers, and were eventually abandoned North Carolina after a show. With no income and no means of transportation, they sought work in a grocery store.
They were found dead in 1969, victims of the flu. Daisy had died first. Violet lived for several more days before also dying.


This Day in History: The original Broadway production of “Side Show”, starring Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner, closes on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre after only 91 performances. (January 4th, 1998)

J2 Asylum14 Saturday Panels

*Jared & Jensen’s separate panels have been combined into one summary.

  • Jared says that Gen tells him to throw out the razors when the season ends :)
  • Asked what would season 10 Sam want season 1 Sam to know? “Probably don’t be so hard on that Ruby chick” and to not forget the pie!
  • Jensen talked about how Eric Kripke picked the Impala as the car based on a friend’s suggestion. If Jensen couldn’t have the Impala he would have a Chevelle ‘66
  • Toy car is JJ’s favorite toy <3
  • Jared is afraid of bears, Gen is terrified of worms.
  • Jared thanks for supporting the Always Keep Fighting campaign
  • Jensen says Sam and Dean both have dreams for their lives and a slice of normalcy - thinks that they dream of things they know they can’t have.
  • Jensen talked about being really comfortable with Jared from the very first day shooting in the library in the Pilot ep.
  • Jared says you don’t have to be in a tv show or a movie to be an actor, tells a young actor not to “lose sight of who you are.”
  • Jared: “The only thing you have, that nobody else has, is you.” 
  • Jensen said Kathryn and he were constantly challenging each other to play golf. Says she is talented and sweet.
  • Jared says Tom has a really active imagination.
  • Jensen says working with Jared felt very natural from the beginning.
  • Jared: “This is my life and I’m happy with that. It’s amazing. If my career ended with Supernatural I’d be so proud.” Also reported: “I’m not doing Supernatural and postponing my life. This is my life.”
  • Jared is grateful for his relationship with the fans and wouldn’t trade it for a bigger fanbase.
  • Apparently a woman’s daughter got into acting school because she wrote an essay about Jensen.
  • Fan comments on Jensen’s style - Jensen “fluffs shoulders” and raises eyebrows lol.
  • Jared referred to himself as a sweaty mess lol.
  • Jared would love to go to Poland because of his Polish heritage.
  • Jensen says there are a # of ways to get into acting. No right or wrong way. He says to focus on learning the technical aspects as well as the creative aspects of acting.
  • Jensen jokes that Jared is “tall, awkward, and ugly.” 
  • Jensen comments that he’s a really bad liar.
  • Jared spoke about working with Paris Hilton and the Olsen twins. Had nothing but praise :)
  • Jensen talked about his character Tom Hanniger. He says that he didn’t do a lot of research into split personalities, just talked to his wife a lot. Jensen then defends himself saying he was joking, that he can say what he wants because she’s in America! lol
  • Jared comments that it “doesn’t seem like Jensen ever gets hurt” (unlike Jared apparently lol!) Jared says that maybe he “needs more milk” since he’s always getting hurt.
  • Jared says that Jensen once injured himself by hitting himself in the eye with a gun prop (see: gag reel.)
  • Someone asked Jensen about a funny convention moment, Jensen talked about how he and Misha had the “resume-off” in Rome.
  • Jensen: “We are one big family and we really enjoy being with you guys!”
  • Jared talked about the Soulless!Sam workout scene.
  • Jensen loves to play tricks on JJ, loves to hide and seek.
  • Jared says he and Jensen bump and bruise each other all of the time.
  • SPOILER ALERT!!! Jared says he and Jensen (Sam and Dean) fight in the finale :o
  • Jensen says that he and Jared “teamed up a long time ago and realized we were much better allies than enemies,” especially when working against Misha.
  • Jared said that he and Jensen prank Misha by texting him loads of messages that cost him money to receive in Canada - they send him one word at a time lol. (Kind of funny they were both talking about this at about the same time.)
  • Jensen says that Danneel does not play pranks on him because she knows he would get her back tenfold! 
  • A fan gave Jared a flower crown <3 Jared: “I feel so pretty!”
  • In the s9 finale Jensen found it difficult to play dead at the end and not breathe on camera.
  • Jared says that they wanted Jared to be Conan (in the recent remake) but that his buddy Jason Momoa did it.
  • Jared: “I love Sam Winchester, I feel like he’s my friend.”
  • Jared says that some days he gets home and just wants to sleep for 10 days. His body doesn’t know the difference between real tears and Sam tears.
  • Jensen says Demon!Dean was a surprise to him and he liked the storyline.
  • A fan said Jared is very philosophical.
  • Another fan reported at Jensen’s panel: “Jensen’s face when he talked about the finale…just no.” Jensen gave an “evil chuckle” about the finale. 

Info via SpnUK List, Lauren, Maisie Izzy #Asylum14

  • Marissa Nadler - Daisy, Where Did You Go?

This is a gorgeous song by Marissa Nadler about Daisy and Violet, the Hilton Twins, who performed with Bob Hope and starred in Todd Browning’s infamous 1932 film Freaks. 

I’m reprinting the amazing story of their life below, taken from the text accompanying this video by Leonard Winters from old footage of the sisters.

I didn’t know the sisters were born in Brighton, UK -  quite close to where I live - 106 years ago today (5th Feb). Marissa Nadler is playing Brighton, whilst touring the UK later this Spring (2014).

“The Story of Daisy and Violet Hilton: Daisy and Violet Hilton were born in Brighton,England, on February 5th 1908.Their mother was Kate Skinner, an unmarried barmaid.The sisters were born joined by their hips and buttocks,they shared blood circulation and were fused at the pelvis but shared no major organs. Skinner’s boss, Mary Hilton,who helped in childbirth,saw commercial prospects in them, bought them from their mother and took them under her care.The midwife, "Auntie Lou” as she ordered the girls to call her, and her husband, “Sir” (they also had a daughter, Edith) taught them to sing, dance, and play the saxophone, piano and clarinet. They exploited the girls from the time they were 3 years old, making them tour circuses, fairs and side-shows, and kept all the money for themselves. When Mary Hilton died, the twins were around 15 years old,her daughter and her husband took over. They kept the twins from public view for a while never letting the girls out of their sight, and trained them in jazz music.Eventually, the girls were taken from the circus shows, and brought into vaudeville.

When the girls were 23 years old, they were falsely named in a divorce case,so “Sir” drove them to meet the lawyers, who instructed “Sir” to step out of the room. The twins saw this as their chance.The twins begged for help from the lawyer. They told him in their meeting that they were treated like slaves, and begged him to help get them free of their “owners.” In their own words, “We’ve been lonely, rich girls who were really paupers living in practical slavery.” The lawyer took them on as clients, sneaked them out of their music lesson, and smuggled them into a hotel. Again, in their own words, “We had dresses sent up, and selected no two alike, and all the silly hats we wanted. We could dress and act our age, and no longer be made up as children, with bows in our hair. I, Violet, had always wanted to drink a cocktail. I, Daisy, wanted to smoke a cigarette. We did.” They took Edith and “Sir” to court, and came away with their freedom and $100,000. They left the sideshows and went into vaudeville as “The Hilton Sisters’ Revue”. Daisy dyed her hair blonde and they began to wear different outfits so they could be told apart. Harry Houdini taught the girls to use their mind power to separate themselves emotionally, giving each of them an individuality. They had to be together physically, but could block the other out totally. In 1926 Bob Hope formed an act called the Dancemedians with the Hilton Sisters, who had a tap dancing routine.In 1932 they appeared in the movie Freaks, which dared to pose the question of whether or not conjoined twins can have a love life. Over the coming decade, it would become quite clear that the answer was yes. They had numerous affairs, Violet, the more outgoing of the pair, had a string of celebrity boyfriends, including the musician Blue Steel, boxer Harry Mason, and guitarist Don Galvan, before becoming engaged in 1933 to bandleader Maurice L. Lambert. She and Lambert began a nationwide search for a clerk who would issue them a marriage license. Each of her requests - in 21 states - was denied .Unable to get married, Violet and Maurice split. Eventually, two years later she got married to James Walker “Jim” Moore,it was a fake marriage arranged by the twins’ agent. Daisy, too, got to experience wedded bliss when she married vaudeville dancer Harold Estep, stage name Buddy Sawyer, at Elmira, New York, on September 17, 1941. Their marriage lasted two weeks. 

In 1951 they starred in Chained for Life, an exploitation film loosely based on their lives. The film was a colossal failure, banned in many places due to its lurid subject matter. Having spent nearly all of their fortune and struggling to survive, the twins opened a hotdog stand, The Hilton Sisters’ Snack Bar, in Miami, in 1955, but the business failed in part due to the objections of fellow vendors who didn’t like a pair of freaks stealing their business. Short on cash, having been unable to manage their showbusiness earnings responsibly, the sisters decided to bank on the cult revival of their first movie, Freaks. In 1962 they arranged to appear at a drive-in movie theater in Charlotte, North Carolina.It was their last public appearance, their tour manager abandoned them there, and with no means of transportation or income, they were forced to take a job in a nearby grocery store where they checked and bagged groceries. On January 4th 1969, after they failed to report to work, their boss called the police. The twins were found dead in their home, victims of the Hong Kong flu.Daisy and Violet were found dead lying on a heating grate, on the hallway floor. They were probably trying to stay warm. According to a forensic investigation, Daisy died first, Violet died between two and four days later.“


Daisy and Violet Hilton were conjoined twins active in side shows during the 1930s. They endured lifelong abuse at the hands of shady managers, and were eventually abandoned North Carolina after a show. With no income and no means of transportation, they sought work in a grocery store.

They were found dead in 1969, victims of the flu. Daisy had died first. Violet lived for several more days before also dying.