American Horror Story has been scaring the pants off us for six full seasons now, and we’ve only just begun to crack open number 7. Plus the chilly approach of fall looming in the air, there’s no better time to dive into the all-consuming marathon of episode binges and theorizing. We know that Ryan Murphy has been hiding some clues for whatever he’s got up his sleeve and we’ll be damned if we don’t get to the bottom of it.
We went ahead and dove into the black hole that is AHS theories and it’s a miracle we came out alive. There are some insane theories among the fans, and some of them are so crazy that they just might work. Spoilers abound so proceed with caution!
1. Each of the seasons represent Circles of Hell from Dante’s Inferno.
This is one of the longest-running AHS fan theories. It’s back in the spotlight recently due to Ryan Murphy posting an Instagram referencing it and noting that it’s “interesting” (Interesting how, Ryan?! Because it’s true?!).
The theory is that every season of American Horror Story is one of the nine circles of hell — Murder House is Limbo, Hotel is Gluttony, Freakshow is Greed, Roanoke is Anger, Cult is Heresy, Asylum is Fraud, and Coven is Treachery. If it’s true, that means we still have Lust and Violence to look forward to in the next couple years… so that’s fun.
2. The series as a whole exists in two different universes.
Sure, it’s been basically proven that all the seasons exist in the same timeline, but what if it’s actually two different universes? Hardcore fans have noticed that although there are plenty of minor crossovers throughout all the seasons, major crossovers seem to stick to the same pairs or groups of seasons. For example, we know Murder House exists in the same universe as Hotel (due to The Countess’s failed abortion) and Roanoke (due to Piggy Man), but does it exist in the same universe as, say, Asylum? And we know Freakshow, Asylum, and Cult have minor degrees of separation, but what about the rest? This is a theory that may not be solved for certain until American Horror Story is finished for good.
3. Cult’s Oz is actually Tate’s son from Murder House.
Remember how Murder House ended? Vivien finally gave birth to her demon child who turned out to be fathered by Tate and, therefore, was half ghost. Through a flash-forward, we see that little, orphaned Baby Tate — named Michael — is a bloodthirsty, albeit cute, murderous toddler living with his grandmother, Constance.
We have no idea what happened to him after that, and fans are speculating that he was adopted by Ivy and Ally from season seven, who renamed him Oz. Hardcore theorists say the timelines don’t add up, but it’s hard not to notice that Tate and Oz have the same shaggy blonde hair and are seen wearing black and green striped sweaters. Plus, Oz seems to be interested in some dark stuff (like comics about killer clowns).
4. The Wood Witch from Roanoke is actually the original Supreme from Coven.
It’s assumed that Ryan Murphy all but confirmed this, but since he never came out and verified its truth, we have to assume it’s still only a theory. The Wood Witch (called “Scathach,” apparently) in season six is bloodthirsty, soul-stealing, and immortal. She is all-powerful in the Roanoke universe, and so it seems plausible that she could have connections to Coven’s powerful witches as well.
There are a few holes in this theory, like the fact that the Supreme (the “Head Witch”) dies and passes on the title in each generation. From what we can see, Scathach is still alive in season six, but due to all the insane supernatural happenings in that spooky house — we can’t exactly just believe everything we see.
5. Each season is just a spooky tale being told over a campfire (like Are You Afraid of the Dark?).
It would be super meta, but it does make sense when you think about it, especially considering the constant re-use of actors. Fans speculate that the reason we see the same actors every season is because they’re really the group of people sitting around telling the stories to each other — their imaginations only seem to conjure up images of each other as characters. It’s one of the zanier theories, but you never know what the Ry guy has up his sleeve.
6. Asylum’s Sister Jude is actually just Freakshow’s Elsa Mars.
This one requires a bit of suspension of disbelief. In season four, we’re sort of lead to believe that Elsa Mars is killed at the end and taken away by supernatural, top-hat-wearing Edward Mordrake.
However, fans are theorizing that Elsa actually just ran away to start her life over. Maybe she ended up at Briarcliff Manor as season two’s Sister Jude. The timelines line up, and there are similarities in the characters’ mannerisms (and yes, they’re both played by Jessica Lange). Besides the tiny detail of one woman being with legs and one being without, it’s almost plausible.
7. James March (from Hotel) was the one who kidnapped and killed Murder House’s Thaddeus.
Ol’ Botched Abortion Doc, Charles Montgomery, caught some serious trouble in season one when a boyfriend of one of the girls he operated on kidnaps and murders his baby. Since we see The Countess from season five show up in his office, we know they exist in the same universe.
It just so happens that the father of her baby was James March, the meticulous murderer based on real-life psycho H.H. Holmes. He was madly in love with The Countess and thinking back, he’s totally crazy enough to steal and dismember the child of the person who tried to help her abort their own kid. I mean, look at the disturbing stuff he came up with while building that hotel!
8. The Countess from Hotel rescued Constance’s mysterious 4th child before Murder House ever happened.
In season five, we learn that The Countess has a penchant for saving children who are being ignored and neglected by their parents. She saved kids from all over LA, bringing them into her brood of white-haired little vampires. In season one, we hear Constance explain that she has four children, only three of whom that can be accounted for.
It’s that unmentioned fourth child that has fans guessing that perhaps The Countess took him away from Constance altogether. We don’t know whatever happened to him, so it’s easy to speculate he ended up living at the Cortez.
9. Coven’s Madison Montgomery is a descendant of the Montgomery’s from Murder House.
In season one, we eventually find out that all the chaos of the infamous house began with the family who built it — Nora and Dr. Charles Montgomery. It could be a coincidence that they share a surname with Madison from season 3, but nothing ever seems coincidental in the AHS universe. Murder House was set in LA, which just so happens to be where Madison is from. She’s a Hollywood actress, Dr. Montgomery was an abortionist to the stars… there’s definitely a possible connection there.
10. The happenings in Freakshow are just events from a comic book and never really happened.
We know now that all the seasons of American Horror Story are somehow connected, so it’s not completely ridiculous to think that characters of season seven would be aware of a serial-killer clown, Twisty, from season four.
However, it’s not like Twisty is just some urban legend to the characters in Cult — he’s the subject of a popular comic book, and there are action figures of the terrifying clown. It’s certainly possible that Twisty’s killings became famous and his story spread from Jupiter, Florida to all over the world. But it seems more likely that perhaps all of Freakshow was a fictional story in itself. Perhaps the comic book we see in Cult is one of a whole series about the various freaks.
11. The “Piggy Man” referenced in Murder House is the very same one that appears in Roanoke.
It’s easy to get behind this theory, as it’s pretty dang hard to deny. Firstly, a creature with the body of a man and the head of a pig is pretty distinctive — there’s no way it’s a coincidence that we see one in two different seasons. Plus, we’ve been given breadcrumbs of connections.
In season six, we discover the Piggy Man’s origin story that involves a backwoods hillbilly putting on a pig mask and massacring tons of people at the World’s Fair. And in season one, when we’re hearing the legend of Piggy Man for the first time, he is said to have started as a butcher in Chicago before going insane and murdering a bunch of people. He apparently came back as the Piggy Man after his hogs ate him alive. Even though one of the versions of the story has Piggy Man being human and the other as a supernatural creature, it’s highly speculated that we’re talking about the same character here.
12. Dandy from Freakshow founded the cult in season 7.
Remember Dandy? The spoiled, rich, absolute psycho from season four who ended up killing everyone? Well, there’s a theory that his reputation of murderous clown was passed down through the generations.
From what we’ve seen so far on Cult, we are dealing with a group of murderous clowns. So perhaps there is a connection and it started way back in Florida in the 1950s with Dandy Mott.
13. Sally from Hotel sold drugs to Murder House’s Tate.
In season one, ghostboy Tate is discovered to have shot up his high school back when he was alive in 1994. When we finally get the flashback to the awful event, he pregames with a bunch of cocaine in his bedroom. It just so happens that in season five, junkie “Hypodermic Sally” is alive and all over the streets of LA in 1994. Since Tate was also in LA, is it possible these two crossed paths?
14. The neighbors in Cult are secretly vampires.
Since we know from Hotel that vampires exist in the American Horror Story universe, we’re always on the lookout for more to appear. In episode two of Cult, we see new neighbors arrive — stealthily moving huge barrels of God-knows-what into their garage. Could this be blood to feed on?
When we’re introduced to the couple for the first time outside in their yard, each is conveniently covered from head to toe — one in a beekeepers uniform, the other afraid of returning skin cancer. It’s definitely reminiscent of Hotel’s vampires who avoided sunlight as much as possible.
15. Cult is being presented to us out of order.
There’s something special about the first few episodes of a new season of American Horror Story when you’re still establishing WTF is going on. So far, season seven is seemingly about a group of clowns terrorizing a town in Michigan, and they appear to have their sights set on the Mayfair-Richards household. Surrounding these happenings are the 2016 election, a creepy young nanny, and a blue-haired, weird dude named Kai. Everything appears to be happening chronologically, but true fans say if you really pay attention, that might not be the case.
Winter and Kai, both with very obviously dyed hair, have different lengths of un-dyed roots depending upon the scene. Since we’re talking about Ryan Murphy here, we know better than to think it’s merely a continuity error. Plus, in one scene, Ally is reading a Trump Tweet that’s dated several months after the election, though no time jump is specified. Hmmmmm…
16. Ivy from Cult is totally in on it.
We’re only a few episodes into season 7, but already the theories of Ivy being on the dark side are picking up steam. She always seems to narrowly miss the bizarre things happening to Ally — like when Ally’s terrorizing clowns show up at the restaurant and Ivy is in the next room, oblivious to the entire encounter despite Ally’s screams.
Some fans swear Ivy and one of the clowns are even wearing the same shirt in the two scenes. However, we don’t know the character well enough yet to pinpoint a motive, so we’ll just have to keep our eyes peeled for future shadiness. This season of American Horror Story is really keeping us on our toes.