Things American Horror Story Gets Wrong About History
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Things American Horror Story Gets Wrong About History

American Horror Story isn’t shy about including
lots of real-life horrors. But it doesn’t always get that history completely
accurate, especially when it comes to actual historical figures that pop up in the show’s
various storylines. Here are things American Horror Story gets
wrong about history. 2019’s American Horror Story: 1984 was a retro
throwback to slasher films of the 1980s. Inspired by Friday the 13th, Sleepaway Camp,
Halloween, and more, the story focused on the fictional Camp Redwood, the site of numerous
killings and ghastly goings-on. But to add a little zest to the story, creators
added real-life serial killer Richard “The Night Stalker” Ramirez into the mix, where
he attacked the camp’s counselors and openly worshiped Satan. Ramirez really did break into homes and kill
the occupants, and he really did have a strange obsession with Satan. Even Ramirez’s origin story, portrayed in
a flashback, is pretty accurate. Ramirez’s capture, where he was chased by
an angry mob through the streets of Los Angeles after being identified at a convenience store,
really happened, too, as amazing as that sounds. Other than the obviously fictional parts about
Ramirez killing teens at a summer camp, the show gets his life story surprisingly close
to the real thing. There is one thing that definitely didn’t
happen with Ramirez, though. He never escaped from prison, as he does in
the season’s final episodes. Using the power of Satan, Ramirez is able
to trick a guard into releasing him, and he begins a journey of revenge from there. The real Richard Ramirez spent the rest of
his life in jail, though. He stayed on death row until 2013, when he
died of lymphoma. American Horror Story: Coven, the show’s third
season, was a fan favorite. The storyline involves a group of young witches
studying at Miss Robichaux’s Academy in New Orleans, where they learn the magic secretly
passed down through generations by survivors of the Salem witch trials. Alongside this are numerous plot threads featuring
real-life New Orleans history and actual denizens of the city’s past. One of these is Madame Delphine LaLaurie,
played by Kathy Bates. A socialite and slave owner, Madame LaLaurie
had a dark secret. In her spare time, she tortured and mutilated
her slaves for various medical “experiments” in her mansion’s attic slave quarters. “Bonsoir, my pets. Did y’all miss me?” That actually happened. LaLaurie was a monster, and was found out
by her neighbors when one of her cooks intentionally set fire to the house to expose her crimes,
according to Deep South Magazine. In the show, LaLaurie was tricked into taking
an immortality potion and buried in a box until the modern day, but the real LaLaurie
had a far less dramatic fate – she fled New Orleans before she could be brought to justice. Although where she ended up afterward isn’t
entirely clear, it’s believed that she made her way to Paris and eventually died there. American Horror Story’s eight season, Apocalypse,
aired in 2018 and finally revisited lingering plots from Murder House and Coven, something
fans had eagerly awaited. Michael Langdon, a child hinted to be the
antichrist and born to the Harmon family in season one, returned, this time he was confirmed
to be the actual son of Satan, and was opposed by the witches of season three. Michael’s abbreviated upbringing, during which
he aged at a very accelerated rate, features a storyline where he is effectively a child
in an adult’s body and has to be taught what exactly it means to be the antichrist and
what his duties are in bringing about the end of the world. In the episode “Return to Murder House,” Anton
LaVey and members of the Church of Satan show up at the titular house and perform a human
sacrifice as part of a Black Mass. Anton LaVey was a real person and founder
of the Church of Satan, but in real life, the Church of Satan is a secular group that’s
focused on earthly matters, not actual devil worshipers. LaVey chose the name for metaphorical purposes,
and the Church is considered an atheist organization. And they don’t do sacrifices, either. The Church of Satan was upset enough about
the show’s portrayal to put out a public statement decrying the episode. Along with the witches of season three’s titular
coven, American Horror Story also features several voodoo practitioners of New Orleans,
a city known for its connection to the religion. The leader is the Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau. She’s a cunning immortal who is ruthless in
defending herself and her compatriots from witchcraft, a competing magic to voodoo. She’ll do anything it takes, and she quickly
arises as an antagonist to the witches of Miss Robichaux’s Academy. “If we don’t fight back, we may as well lay
down in our beds and wait for death because that’s what’s at stake.” Marie Laveau was a real person, and she’s
a legend in the history of New Orleans and voodoo. Practicing her own particular form of magic,
Laveau really was known as the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. She wasn’t evil, though. According to an obituary that ran in The New
York Times, Laveau was, quote, “one of the most wonderful women who ever lived.” Obviously, she also wasn’t actually immortal,
but this rumor predates American Horror Story. It may have come about because her daughter,
who also named Marie Laveau, was also a famous voodoo practitioner who reportedly looked
just like her mother. Similar to Freak Show, American Horror Story:
Cult eschewed supernatural horror for the real-life horrors of cults, brainwashing,
and human manipulation. As the story unfolds, there are flashbacks
to cult leaders of the recent past. In 1968, a woman named Valerie Solanas attempts
to murder artist Andy Warhol and starts a group called SCUM, an acronym for “The Society
for Cutting Up Men.” Solanas and SCUM then begin to commit domestic
terror acts to advance their own extremist brand of feminism, culminating in a plot to
commit multiple killings and blame them on the Zodiac Killer, a fictionalized persona
they created. “These are the Zodiac killings.” “SCUM killings actually, but yes.” “You’re telling me you’re the Zodiac Killer.” “That’s correct.” In reality Solanas did shoot Andy Warhol,
and she did write the SCUM Manifesto, but she never started an actual group. SCUM didn’t even stand for anything, despite
what people started claiming. While Solanas was mentally unstable, the SCUM
Manifesto is typically considered to be hyperbolic and not an actual plan to wipe out men. And there’s zero evidence that the Zodiac
killings were committed by multiple perpetrators or as part of an organized conspiracy. American Horror Story: Coven features a long-standing
feud between witches and practitioners of Voodoo. As Marie Laveau explains to Fiona Goode, voodoo
and witchcraft both trace their histories to the Salem witch trials. The first person accused of witchcraft, Tituba,
was a slave who practiced a shamanistic magic, an early form of voodoo. “You made her a slave. Before that she came from a great tribe, the
Arawak.” Laveau claims that the white Europeans of
Salem learned some of Tituba’s magic, then betrayed her, stealing the magic for themselves. “She learned the secrets of the other side
from a 2000 year old line of shamans. Necromancy. She gave it to your girls of Salem.” Historically, the first woman accused of witchcraft
in Salem was indeed a slave named Tituba. But that’s about all that’s correct of Laveau’s
story. Traditional voodoo is far more closely related
to the religious beliefs of West Africa than with the Arawak, the indigenous people of
the Caribbean. And it’s not even clear that Tituba was of
Arawak descent. She was black, but her specific ancestry wasn’t
recorded, so we don’t know her actual heritage at all. What’s more, Tituba’s accused crimes, which
she forcibly confessed to, were all based around European ideas of witchcraft, like
riding brooms and having an animal familiar. Of course, it’s very likely she didn’t practice
any sort of magic at all and committed no real crime, like most of the women accused
in Salem. One of the lesser-seen antagonists of American
Horror Story: Coven is Papa Legba, a voodoo loa with a top hat, painted face, dark clothes,
and a tendency to make unsavory deals with mortals. He makes a particularly nasty one with Marie
Laveau, requesting that she sacrifice a baby to him once a year to keep her immortality. He’s also portrayed as being a warden of Hell. Papa Legba exists in voodoo, but the show’s
depiction is highly inaccurate. His appearance and behavior are derived from
a different loa, Baron Samedi. Papa Legba is meant to be a go-between from
mortals to the loa. Most voodoo rituals involve calling on Papa
Legba, a wizened old man with a cane, to carry the practitioners’ requests to the loa, according
to Lady Geek Girl. It’s also worth noting that Hell is not part
of voodoo’s mythology. Instead, there is a spirit world, which is
a counterpart to the human world, but not a place of punishment or fire and brimstone. In voodoo belief, the dead move onto the spirit
realm and live there, where they can still be called on by the living. American Horror Story: Roanoke was one of
the biggest departures for the series. Instead of a traditional narrative, Roanoke
presents its story of a haunted house in the form of two documentaries. The first, “My Roanoke Nightmare” is in the
style of a true haunting TV show, with interviews with the homeowners intercut with dramatic
reenactments, and the second, “Return to Roanoke: Three Days in Hell” portrays the homeowners
and the actors who played them in a reality show, where both groups are to spend three
nights together in the house. As the plot unfolds, the source of the horrors
of the historical Roanoke Colony and the modern haunted house are determined to be caused
by a centuries-old witch called Scáthach, an Englishwoman of druidic descent who stowed
away on the Roanoke Colony’s ship and was to be burned at the stake after the colony
experienced misfortune. Scáthach was freed by ancient gods and slaughtered
the people of Roanoke, leading to the events of Roanoke and becoming the first Supreme
Witch, tying into Coven’s storyline. Turns out, Scáthach is a real mythological
entity, but not in American folklore. Instead, she comes from Celtic legends, where
she wasn’t a witch at all. Scáthach was a warrior woman who trained
various figures from Celtic mythology in the ways of combat, and was a noble, venerated
fighter. Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Grunge videos about your favorite
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