American Horror Story: The Nine Circles of Hell

You’ve probably heard by now that Ryan Murphy, sadistic co-creator behind the origins of the haunting anthology series, known as American Horror Story, somewhat “confirmed” a fan theory. For some time, the show’s fans have speculated that, in accordance to Murphy’s revelation that all seasons are interconnected, the series follows the overarching theme that each season is a circle of Hell, which can be found in Dante Alighieri's Inferno.

However, Ryan Murphy’s “interesting” response to the fan theory is not exactly a confirmation, per se. His confirmation came about on his Instagram when he posted an iPhone-typed, heart attack-inducing picture of how each season matches a circle of Hell.

As of now, there have been only seven seasons of American Horror Story, which includes the upcoming AHS: Cult, which will focus on political turbulence and malignant anarchy. In this case, the remaining circles of Hell, lust and violence, have yet to be turned into seasons, so two of the “circles” are left blank; but, with the show having been renewed and greenlit for two more seasons, this theory has, once again, been ignited.

With this evidence, I have concocted a list of why each season matches to its circle of Hell.

  • American Horror Story: Murder House (Season 1) - Limbo
    • In this season, the Harmon family - now ghosts - is trapped in the confinement of their home, stuck in purgatory, unable to cross to the light or, in violent terms, descend into Hell. The series begins with introducing Tate Langdon as a limbo-strucken ghost with feelings for Violet before unraveling to showcase the unknowing suicide of Violet and the unstoppable deaths of Violet’s parents, Ben and Vivien, all of whom now work together to scare tenants from inhabiting their home.
  • American Horror Story: Asylum (Season 2) - Fraud
    • In “Asylum,” the whole season revolves around fraud, for the nuns fake their patients’ sicknesses, pretending to go to extreme measures to ensure their "recuperation." As well, Dr. Arthur Arden conceals his past identity of having been Dr. Hans Grüper, a Nazi medic that carried out experiments of torture. And, not to mention, Charlotte Brown showcased “fraud” by convincing herself to be Anne Frank - although, she is very knowledgeable of WWII archives and resembles the likeness of the historical figure.
  • American Horror Story: Coven (Season 3) - Treachery
    • In “Coven,” the circle of Hell that plays a pertinent role is treachery, as seen through the power-hungry witches who vie against each other to become the next Supreme; however, their competition leads most competitors to suffer a lethal fate during the test of Seven Wonders, leaving once-blind Cordelia as the reigning witch of the land.
  • American Horror Story: Freak Show (Season 4) - Greed
    • “Freak Show” demonstrates greed through the abuse and exploitation of the members of Elsa’s Cabinet of Curiosities, all of whom have their aberrant features used for fame and fortune. And, not to mention, Maggie and Stanley, professional con artists, make their way into the freak show in the hopes of selling the bodies of the freaks to a museum.
  • American Horror Story: Hotel (Season 5) - Gluttony
    • Sex, drugs, and blood - the three essentials when living in the Countess’s hotel. Orgies, addictions, and bloodbaths have ensued in the enclosure of this building, so gluttony makes perfect sense!
  • American Horror Story: Roanoke (Season 6) - Anger
    • “Roanoke” practically screams anger. In this season, the ghostly Thomasin White, or “The Butcher,” returns every blood moon to an eighteenth-century house that a modern couple buys, seeking vengeance against those who have crossed into her property with an awaiting hatchet and violent followers.
  • American Horror Story: Cult (Season 7) - Heresy
    • Although not much is known about this season, except snippets of unified, marching clowns, Evan Peter’s dying of his brown hair to blue, and the setting of political turmoil, it can be guessed that heresy might play a part. Think about it: a cult of marching clowns standing against authority!

In all honestly, Ryan Murphy’s revelation seems to solidify how American Horror Story goes from less violent and pervasive to more sinful and gory.

But, if I can have my way in publishing my own theory, maybe the past seven seasons give ode to the Seven Deadly Sins from the Bible.

  • American Horror Story: Murder House (Season 1) - Lust
  • American Horror Story: Asylum (Season 2) - Pride
  • American Horror Story: Coven (Season 3) - Envy
  • American Horror Story: Freak Show (Season 4) - Sloth
  • American Horror Story: Hotel (Season 5) - Gluttony
  • American Horror Story: Roanoke (Season 6) - Wrath
  • American Horror Story: Cult (Season 7) - Greed

Whatever our theories may be, and if American Horror Story really does in fact end after nine grueling seasons, signaling each season’s descent through Hell, we should just accept that Ryan Murphy is the ringleader of this freak show, planning to take us into a nightmare through our television sets and computer screens.

But, remember, just because Ryan Murphy might find something to be “interesting” does not mean it is true, whatsoever. He might just be trolling us to further his devilish plan!

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