American Horror Story excels at making fans want more. Each season tells a contained story, but no season closes without leaving some loose ends. Because of this, and because its length allowed the writers to create an entire universe, viewers speculate widely about what the series really means.
Hence, AHS has more than its fair share of fan theories. Some of these are meta — they predict that entire seasons or the whole show are stories within stories, while other theories are the stuff of fan dedication, built by hawk-eyed viewers scouring episodes for clues. Because AHS co-creator Ryan Murphy keeps a lively media presence, some of these theories are recognized, discussed, and sometimes debunked. Others are confirmed causing fans to look for new implications in each morsel of news. When one theory becomes cannon, a dozen others are born. Those stabs in the dark are the focus of this list.
Each new season of AHS spawns new fan theories, but some seasons also disprove existing ones. With more questions in the air than ever, it’s time to take a look back at the theories that became cannon and the ones that still might.
Here are the 8 American Horror Story Fan Theories That Were Actually Confirmed (And 12 That Should Be).
20 Confirmed: All seasons exist in a shared universe
AHS is widely credited with making the limited series anthology format popular again. After three seasons of horror shenanigans and world-building, fans started to wonder if the seasons were more than just one-offs. When Asylum’s Pepper turned up on Freak Show, fans were certain that they were watching a shared universe. With the announcement that a pre-possession Sister Mary Eunice would guest star on Freak Show, the writers confirmed what many fans suspected.
Co-creator Murphy confirmed as much to EW in 2014, saying “We’re just beginning to tell you how they’re connected. They’re all very separate but there’s clues every season that we’re now telling you how the different worlds are intertwined.”
19 Should Be: Every season is a circle of hell
Since the confirmation of a shared AHS universe put to rest one fan theory, another took its place as the prevailing AHS question. This is sometimes referred to as the Inferno Theory, in reference to the Inferno section of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Trilogy. In Dante’s Inferno, there are nine rings of hell modelled after sins. The fan theory, popularized by Red Herry, suggests that each season corresponds to a circle of hell, and each corresponding sin is the motivating factor for the characters of the season.
It’s a meta twist that might limit the length of the series. Ryan Murphy has referenced the theory, and even engaged with it by assigning each season to a ring of hell, without ever confirming or denying. In a frustrating move for fans, Murphy has left fans in their own state of limbo.
18 Confirmed: Cordelia’s Coven vision came true
In season 3’s penultimate episode, Cordelia had a vision of Fiona betraying the coven and dispatching each witch. One Redditor posted a theory that the vision would come true in the sense that it foreshadowed how each witch would fall. The next episode confirmed some of this. The tragic, if temporary, fates of Zoe, Madison, and Misty were all reminiscent of what we saw in the vision.
Hotel added a similar twist for Queenie. With the events of Apocalypse, the vision was confirmed all over again, though it was the Antichrist, not Fiona, that carried out the attack. While the perpetrator and the means of disposal don’t exactly line up, enough of the violence does to make this theory as good as confirmed.
17 Should Be: Apocalypse’s Rubber Man is someone we’ve seen before
Before anyone knew what AHS would be, the Rubber Man was the face of the series. He was heavily featured in the series’ promotional campaign and served as one of season 1's primary villains. His reappearance in season 8 was an exciting point for fans eagerly awaiting the season 1 crossover. After his dalliance with Gallant, fans were desperate to know who was behind the latex. Even with Apocalypse over and done, the question remains.
Newsweek guessed that it could be Tate, Kyle from Coven, Andre, or, despite the denials, Michael himself. Romper suggested it could be a demon projection. Regardless, the attention and the mystery around Rubber Man’s identity means that there’s a lot of anticipation for the reveal, and if it goes unanswered or turns out to be someone random, fans will be disappointed.
16 Should Be: All the Montgomerys are related
Madison Montgomery has been a main character on seasons 3 and 8, but the Montgomery name first appeared in season 1 and was tied to socialite Nora and her unhinged doctor husband Charles. This led Vulture to wonder if the Montgomerys are all related.
This brings up a larger question. AHS repeats surnames over seasons, making it possible that each season features descendants of recurring clans. Huffington Post noted that detectives in Freak Show and season 1 share the same surname, and the show’s creators confirmed that Freak Show’s Dandy Mott was a descendant of Roanoke’s Edward Philippe Mott. With one high-profile lineage confirmed, it’s hard to believe that the writers chose to reuse the name Montgomery simply because they liked it.
15 Confirmed: The Piggy Man is more than an urban legend
Season 1 introduced the Piggy Man, an urban legend that took cues from Bloody Mary and the Candyman. Eric Stonestreet, far from his bubbly Modern Family character, portrayed a patient whose crippling fear of the myth was realized via a bungled home invasion.
Piggy Man then retreated from AHS lore for five seasons, reappearing in Roanoke and joining an impressive rogue’s gallery including the Rubber Man and Addiction Demon. However, fans debated if the Piggy Man we were seeing was connected to season 1 or just a bit of writer’s room recycling. As Romper pointed out, the backstory told in Roanoke matches the story from season 1, mainly that a Chicago butcher donned a pig’s head when undertaking some very anti-social behavior. Given the overlap, this theory is as good as confirmed.
14 Should Be: Dandy Mott started the clown cult
Clowns are a recurring motif in AHS. Freak Show’s inbred psychopath Dandy Mott took to dressing like Twisty the Clown midway through the season. In Cult, the main character suffers from a fear of clowns, her son reads a comic about Twisty, and she is menaced by cult members who dress as clowns.
This has led to another theory, mentioned by Alloy, that Dandy either started or inspired the clown cult. While this theory looks threadbare, it would actually help redeem some of Cult’s messiness. Cult was criticized for featuring too many nonsensical, unresolved plot points, and the clown element was one of them. It was like the cult did it just to mess with Sarah Paulson’s character and then dropped the whole thing. Confirming this theory would help ground season 7 and make it more menacing.
13 Should Be: Hotel's Countess was looking for the Antichrist
The Countess kept a room of blond children, a plot point that was strange and creepy in itself. After Apocalypse, this detail took on added resonance, as did the theory that she was looking for the Antichrist. Reddit users got the ball rolling in 2015. Ryan Murphy’s comments that the Countess was only interested in blond children and that Michael Langdon might show up at the hotel added to this. Existing theories linking the Countess to season 1’s Infantata also furthered speculation that the Cortez has a place for Langdon.
This theory would be a nice link between Hotel and whatever the Antichrist does next, especially since the main connection — Queenie — is no longer there. It would also make the Countess more menacing and tragic while adding depth to a season that was criticized as over-stylized and underwritten.
12 Confirmed: Time travel prevented the apocalypse
Season 8 starts with the end of the world in 2019, so fans instantly wondered how the story would progress. Once the season’s non-linear structure became apparent in episode four, one of the theories bounced around involved going back in time. Also, because Hotel’s epilogue took place in 2022, fans assumed 2019's armageddon was either a plot hole or further proof of time travel.
Episode 9 confirmed the theory. Mallory was powerful enough to go back in time and stop Michael before he became a full-fledged destroyer of worlds. As far as theories go, it’s not the most unpredictable, but it was new territory for a show that covers a lot of ground. AHS frequently hops through history, but this was the first time a character time-traveled.
11 Should Be: Apocalypse’s young couple is more than special
Timothy and Emily were the odd ones out on Apocalypse. Their presence was explained by their “special” DNA, and it turned out that they were Satan’s backup plan, which only created more questions. Michael was the result of the unholy pairing of ghost and human, but Timothy and Emily are both human.
Redditor jcoleman87 believed that they were related to the aliens of Asylum, and AlfieBoheme theorized that they were Adam and Eve-like figures who were descendants of alien abductee Kit. The alien angel theories are also supported by comments the producers made about aliens being a metaphor for angels. Regardless of what they are or might be, these theories are far more interesting and involved than the answers the show has left audiences with, and producers should take note.
10 Should Be: Dandy Mott and Bloody Face are brothers
Dandy Mott, the true freak of Freak Show, and Bloody Face, aka Oliver Thredson ,are two of AHS’s most disturbing characters, but they might have more in common than that. Redditor Gohan053 suggested that they were related in some way. Bustle elaborated, proposing that Dandy’s mother Gloria had a child before she was wealthy and put it up for adoption. The theory also offers that they could be cousins or doctor and patient.
While there’s a lot of missing evidence, this theory endures partly because fans love to connect the dots and because the characters are similar in temperament, absolute sadistic craziness, and appearance. Gloria’s admission that violent mental instability runs in the family only stokes the fire. Were it true, its implications for the series would be low, but it would still be a macabre connection.
9 Confirmed: Mallory was powerful enough to stop the Antichrist
If every AHS season is its own mystery box, then Apocalypse was the rare season where fan theories came true more often than not. Since her confrontation with Michael in episode three, Mallory was predicted to be more powerful and important than viewers were initially led to believe. Her transition from meek assistant to new Supreme was confirmed as the season sped to its conclusion. Like the time travel fan theory, it was a straightforward prediction that was largely satisfying without being surprising.
Even with this theory confirmed, numerous others about Mallory’s true nature persist. Is she a just a very powerful Supreme? An angel? An alien? Fans continue to speculate, though when or if these new theories will be addressed is unclear.
8 Should Be: The Apocalypse storyline isn’t finished
After the penultimate episode of AHS, fans were sceptical that all of the loose ends could be tied up in one episode. Consequently, many thought that Apocalypse would also be the theme of season 9. Although the last episode did close out the story, it showed that there’s still an Antichrist in waiting without Michael. Even for a show famous for leaving loose ends, Apocalypse takes the cake.
Some fans believe that we haven’t seen the last of the Apocalypse theme, even if it isn’t addressed in season nine. Redditor agoodleatherjacket suggests that “the apocalypse isn’t the nuclear bombing.” Considering how many questions remain, the writers would be wise to address these questions before fans lose interest.
7 Should Be: Hotel’s James March stole the Montgomery baby
Although James March didn’t appear until season 5, one theory suggests that he was behind one of the show’s earliest and most disturbing moments. In season 1, we learn that Dr. Charles Montgomery and wife Nora operated an illicit abortion service. A man was furious that they performed an abortion on his girlfriend, so he abducted the Montgomery’s baby, returning it in pieces. Charles attempted to sew it back together and created the Infantata.
Both TV Guide and Cinema Blend connected the Countess to season 1 when footage of Lady Gaga outside Murder House surfaced. Reddit users filled in the blanks suggesting that March was the boyfriend. Given what we know about both characters, the theory is plausible and in-line with what we expect from them. It would also be another solid connection between the two seasons.
6 Confirmed: Roanoke broke the fourth wall
Roanoke was a season shrouded in intrigue. Unlike seasons before or since, the theme wasn’t announced beforehand. The promos were misdirection. Once the theme was announced, the writers teased a huge twist in episode 6. Naturally, the internet teemed with fan theories, including a crossover with season 1. The most dominant theory was that the show would break the fourth wall, with the talking heads meeting the actors that played them on the show within a show.
As Vanity Fair reported, the season’s IMDb page featured clues that turned fans on to the meta twist. While it didn't blow the doors off any in-show mysteries, it did allow AHS to experiment with different formats and do something new.
5 Should Be: Coco’s powers will become more substantial
Since the reveal that Mallory was (at least) the new Supreme, recappers have wrote at length about her power. However, it’s Coco St. Claire Vanderbilt who has some viewers intrigued. Coco’s powers were limited to instantly knowing any food’s gluten and calorie content.
However, Cordelia and Myrtle said they could develop, and Thrillist and Reddit users have theories. After all, a calorie is a measure of energy. Now consider Mallory’s monologue at the end of Apocalypse: “We are all made of energy and energy can neither be created or destroyed. It can only be transferred.” Coco’s powers could develop into some way to detect or harness energy on a large scale. This would be a retroactive triumph for the writer’s room and would justify the time Apocalypse spent on what was, for now, a mildly humorous gag.
4 Should Be: Massachusetts is a key clue to unlocking the story
California has served as a main setting for three seasons of AHS, but some say that it’s actually Massachusetts that holds the key to understanding the series. This seems odd considering that only Asylum was set in Massachusetts. Yet, unlike other settings, the Bay State gets a lot of mentions. As Huffington Post notes, in season 1 the Harmons relocate from Boston. The Coven had to flee Salem. Freak Show’s Pepper and Elsa both spend some time in Massachusetts. Hotel’s James March had a Boston accent.
While these references could just be call-backs, the series would benefit from validating its repeated references. Not only would it reward observant fans and go a ways towards world-building, it would also show that the lack of coincidence in the AHS universe is one of its eeriest features.
3 Confirmed: Baby Tate is the Antichrist
The first episode of season 1 featured the demonic union between ghost Tate and then-alive Vivien Harmon. The very last scene of that season laid the groundwork for the theory that the child was the antichrist. When Freak Show confirmed that the seasons were connected, that scene went from a creepy epilogue to potential spinoff, and audiences wondered if the demon child would be seen again. A now debunked theory theorized that Oz from Cult was actually the same child from the end of season 1.
However, the most prevalent theory was that Tate’s unholy son would reappear as the Antichrist. The idea gained more steam when the Apocalypse theme was announced, and season 8 confirmed it in a big way. Now fans are hoping it won't be as long until we find out about Timothy and Emily's evil spawn.
2 Should Be: Asylum’s aliens still have a big part to play
The theory that Apocalypse’s special couple, Emily and Timothy, are descended from aliens may or may not be true, but fans are convinced that we haven’t seen the last of the ETs. Pop Sugar thinks that season 9’s theme could be space or Roswell. The use of the Carpenters’ “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft” and a reference to sci-fi classic 2001: A Space Odyssey might be clues placed by the producers.
Another theory of Redditor Punkypinkk and Elite Daily says that aliens are planting the seeds for an all-out war with the Antichrist. The lack of aliens since Asylum makes it likely that the writers are planning something. Having dove so deeply into the mythology of the show’s demons and ghosts, it would be odd if the show completely abandoned the alien concept.
1 Confirmed: Scathatch is the original supreme
Lady Gaga’s character from Roanoke had many names, wood witch and Scathatch being the most prevalent. Fans, however, had a different title for her: Supreme. In many ways, Roanoke went further than any season before it in terms of establishing links to previous seasons and displaying the AHS universe. The existence of Scathatch in the season quickly had fans thinking.
As Fuse reported, Ryan Murphy confirmed that Scathatch was the original Supreme and promised that we’d see her again. That appearance has failed to materialize thus far, confusing fans who expected to see her in season 8’s Coven crossover. However, given the unambiguous fan theory confirmation, this is one connection the writers can’t easily walk back from.
Are there any other American Horror Story fan theories that have been confirmed? Any others that should be? Let us know in the comments!