With 10 seasons since its premiere in October 2011, American Horror Story, also known as AHS, is one of the most critically acclaimed horror series in entertainment history. Part of its success is the production quality with which Ryan Murphy has managed to tell each of the stories, which, by the way, are based on creepy real cases like the ones we list below.
The fifth season, American Horror Story: Hotel, where Lady Gaga stars, is inspired by the horrors lived by Elisa Lam, Jack Unterweger, Richard Ramirez, and Elisabeth Short (The Black Dahlia) inside the Hotel Cecil in Los Angeles, California.
According to some historical records and police information, Elisa Lam died “accidentally” inside the Cecil Hotel, as she was found in the water tanks of the site; however, there are videos of the young woman showing the minutes before her death and which recorded that she was acting very strangely as if she was running away from something or someone, but there was nothing.
Jack Unterweger was an Austrian guest who was imprisoned after allegedly murdering a prostitute with her bra. He worked as a journalist to cover a crime, but contradictorily also took the lives of other women with the same ‘modus operandi.’
In the 1980s, serial killer Richard Ramirez, known as The Night Stalker, stayed at the hotel, and his grisly story became widely publicized in the media. He appears in the episode titled “Ten Commandments.”
Madame LaLaurie and Marie Laveau
Delphine LaLaurie, played in the series by actress Kathy Bates in American Horror Story: Coven, was a high society woman who lived in New Orleans between 1820 and 1860. Her racism and vanity led her to become one of the most sadistic characters in American history. It was known that LaLaurie liked torturing and even killing her slaves.
Also, a key character in the season is Marie Laveau, played by Angela Basset. The Voodoo Queen, not only lived in New Orleans at the same time that Madame Lalaurie committed her crimes, they actually lived only some streets away from each other.
Laveau was famous for practicing black magic. Her legend became so famous that nowadays people visit her tomb and draw three X’s so that Marie will supposedly grant them three wishes.
The Lost Colony of Roanoke
The sixth installment of the series tells the story of a couple who moves into an old house in the countryside. There, they discover that their house was built in the same place where the Lost Colony of Roakone was once established and disappeared. According to the half-legend-half-history of Roanoke, Sir Walter Raleigh settled the colony attempting to make it the very first permanent English settlement in the New World.
After the first Roanoke colony failed for many reasons. In 1585, Governor Ralph Lane and John White tried to set up the colony once again. However, due to a lack of knowledge of the land and very poor communication with the Native population, the colony soon found itself lacking supplies to survive. Lane eventually abandoned the colony and went back to England and White was sent to explore more land for the English Crown. Five years later, White returned to the colony only to find a fortified yet abandoned colony. According to the legend, the only thing he found was a big carved message that read “Croatoan.”
White assumed the colony had moved to Croatoan island. Wanting to find him White found himself trapped in terrible storms; he sailed back to England. To this day, no one knows for sure what happened to the over 100 colonists of Roanoke sparking all sorts of supernatural stories around it as we see in the series.
Story partially published in Spanish in Cultura Colectiva