There are many theories about how American Horror Story’s seven seasons are connected. Some link just a couple of seasons, while others manage to thread lines between every single series, including ones yet to be made (yes, that’s how far an AHS obsession can go). Either way, it’s safe to say the show is packed full of links still waiting to be discovered. Let’s start with the biggest talking point:
The nine circles of hell
Creator Ryan Murphy shared this idea on his Instagram. Ahead of the premiere of Cult (Season 7), he shared a screenshot of a note listing the nine circles of hell, with corresponding AHS series listed beside them. For example, Roanoke (Season 6) was attributed to anger, which makes sense when you think of the colony and how hellbent they are on destroying anyone who moves into the cursed house. There were two circles without series linked to them, which again makes sense – the assumption is these will correspond with seasons eight and nine.
The return of Lana Winters
Journalist Lana Winters was committed to Briarcliff in Asylum (Season 2) and, after eventually getting out, makes a TV documentary that gets the asylum shut down for good. Years later, she comes out of retirement to interview Lee Harris, Roanoke‘s last survivor.
The mystery of the Montgomery family
Dr. Charles Montgomery is the original owner of the murder house, which The Countess is later shown outside in one of Hotel‘s (Season 5) flashback scenes. It turns out Montgomery tried to perform an abortion on the Countess, only to find her baby to be the creature she names Bartholomew. The doctor also shares a surname with Coven‘s Madison – could the two be related?
The Mott family
Remember Dandy Mott? He was the bloodthirsty rich kid who terrorised Freak Show‘s inhabitants, while his mother Gloria feebly bowed to her son’s every whim. Later, Roanoke (S6) revealed their ancestor Edward Philippe Mott had built the house which caused the Millers so much misery.
Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters and Jessica Lange’s characters are all linked
A fan theory exists suggesting that every character Sarah Paulson plays throughout each series are all linked. It claims that’s also the case with characters played by Evan Peters and Jessica Lange. As the theory goes, each actor’s characters are forced to relive every one of the seven deadly sins they’ve committed. For example, Lange’s characters are all very envious. Paulson’s are prideful, while Peters’ characters are full of wrath. It’s a theory that seems to stand up.
Pepper and Sister Mary Eunice
Pepper was the first character to be seen in more than one series, appearing first in Asylum (S2) and then in Freak Show (Season 4). Sister Mary Eunice also later follows that trajectory, when she is shown in the latter giving Pepper her entrance examination to the mental institution.
Realtor Marcy is the one forced to give the Harmons the bad news about what happened in their new home in Murder House. Later, she appears in Hotel (S5) as the realtor of The Cortez. She is also murdered there, and thus destined to spend the rest of eternity within its corridors.
Human voodoo doll and member of the Salem coven Queenie also appears in Hotel (S5) as a guest visiting LA to try and win big on The Price Is Right. She never makes it to the TV studio, though, as James Patrick March – immune to her powers – kills her in her room.
Billie Dean Howard
Psychic Billie Dean Howard first pops up in Murder House (Season 1) when Constance Langdon hires her to try and help her son Tate move on and stop haunting the house. Howard uses her medium abilities again in Hotel (S5) as she tries to make contact with John’s ghost for a Devil’s Night TV special.
In Asylum (S2), physician Dr. Arden is revealed to have been born Hans Gruper, a Nazi doctor interested in acts of torture. In Freak Show (Season 4) it was revealed Gruper had come into contact with Elsa Mars in Germany, where he had sawed both of her legs off below the knee.
Lady Gaga’s character from Roanoke (S6) has yet to reappear in any of the series since, but Murphy has confirmed in interviews that she is the original Supreme, connecting her to Coven (Season 3).
Detective Jack Colquitt
Jack Colquitt first appeared in Murder House (S1) to investigate the disappearance of a patient of Ben Harmon’s. He later reappeared in Freak Show (S4), albeit played by a different actor, to arrest Jimmy.
Freak Show‘s killer clown doesn’t have all too big a part in Cult (S7), but he does feature in the opening episode, and is later referred to as the star of his own comic book series.
Florida, California and Massachusetts
These three states pop up time and again throughout the seven seasons of AHS. Coincidence? Maybe, but with how deliberate every decision Murphy makes seems to be, it seems unlikely. Freak Show (S4) is set in Florida, where Murder House’s Vivien Harmon has relatives. The Harmons move to LA from Boston – i.e. Massachusetts – while Freak Show‘s Elsa Mars finally finds fame in Los Angeles. In Roanoke (S6), the Millers move to North Carolina after Matt is attacked in LA, and Hotel (S5) is set in the city of angels.
Massachusetts, meanwhile, is the setting for Asylum, while the witches in Coven (S3) are descended from the witches of Salem. More specifically, Queenie is related to Tituba, a Massachusetts slave who was among the first people to be accused of witchcraft in the infamous trials. Freak Show has two links to the state, with Elsa having previously worked in a circus in Boston and Pepper being sent to live with her sister there. Finally, Hotel‘s James Patrick March has been speculated to have a Boston Brahman accent, although there is no official proof he was from Massachusetts.