ByDavid Opie, writer at
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David Opie

Fans of American Horror Story already know that each season of the show plays out in a shared universe that combines the numerous stories into one long-running thread. The problem, though, is that these threads become increasingly more tangled with the release of every new chapter in the anthology. Not even the Supreme herself could possibly see how each connection plays out across the timeline as a whole.

Fortunately for you, we have a lot of time on our hands while we wait for Season 7 to finally air — there's only so many times that one can play the Name Game, after all. Join us as we sacrifice our free time and potentially what little sanity we still have to unravel the entire timeline of American Horror Story for your reading pleasure.

1500's & 1600's

  • 1586-1590 (Roanoke) — English settlers colonise Roanoke Island, but die almost immediately after a stowaway witch called Scáthach slaughters them all and then hides in the woods. That's what happens when people don't buy enough copies of Lady Gaga's Joanne album.
  • New colonists settle in Roanoke, but trouble returns when some of their number betray the Governor's wife, Tomaysn, and leave her in the woods to die. Scáthach discovers the poor woman and saves her life, turning Tomaysn into a Little Monster called the Butcher, who then regains control.
  • A number of colonists are murdered by the Butcher, including a girl called Priscilla, and a thief who's forced to wear a pig's head during his execution. Ambrose White tries to convince his fellow colonists to desert Roanoke and its murderous ways, but The Butcher kills them all before she herself dies at the hands of Scáthach.
  • An English colonist discovers that Roanoke is abandoned by the living. The ghostly settlers who remain are trapped by a Native American elder who restricts their murderous ways to the Dying Grass Moon, invoking the power of "Croatoan." Doesn't always work though, does it Shelby?
American Horror Story [Credit: FX]
American Horror Story [Credit: FX]
  • 1692 (Coven) — In order to save her Coven from the persecution of the Salem Witch trials, the current Supreme, Prudence Mather, sacrifices herself so that a younger and stronger Supreme may rise and lead them to the safety of New Orleans. It's kind of like the film Hocus Pocus, but with less singing and more death.

1700's & 1800's

  • 1775-1881 (Coven) — Madame Delphine LaLaurie is born. Fans of Kathy Bates applaud.
  • Miss Robichaux's Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies is established in New Orleans. Exceptional Young Ladies in the vicinity immediately enrol.
  • The Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau is born. Fans of Angela Bassett applaud.
  • After killing and torturing countless slaves due to her fascination with blood, Delphine LaLaurie imprisons her own daughters for plotting her death. On Christmas Day, LaLaurie stuffs human faeces into the mouth of her daughter, Borquita, presumably because the last turkey had already been sold.
  • Marie Laveau sacrifices her baby to Papa Legba, the gatekeeper of the spirit world. In exchange, the Voodoo Queen receives immortality. Laveau grants LaLaurie immortality soon after, before lynching her family and burying her alive in revenge for her racist ways.
  • Miss Robichaux's Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies is closed, and becomes Miss Robichaux's Military Hospital for Exceptionally Injured Young Men.
  • A Supreme called Marion Warton buys Miss Robichaux's Academy and secretly establishes it as a school for gifted youngsters, but with less mutants and more witches.
  • Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau fakes her own death, probably to avoid taxes.
American Horror Story [Credit: FX]
American Horror Story [Credit: FX]
  • 1792-1893 (Roanoke) — Edward Philippe Mott builds his house on land haunted by the Roanoke settlers and starts having sex with a male slave, in what is probably the most inappropriate relationship we've seen since the Dildo Demon appeared in Hotel.
  • After the ghosts destroy his beloved art, Mott locks his servants in the cellar and leaves them to die. Soon after, the Roanoke colonists murder Mott, who returns as a ghost. Fortunately, Edward still retains his fabulous wig, even in death.
  • The Polk family agree to keep intruders away from the colonists' land, in exchange for sanctuary and a lack of judgement regarding their frequent bouts of incest.
  • Kincaid Polk murders people during the Chicago World's Fair, earning the dubious name of Piggy Man before falling into his own hog pen and being devoured by swines who know a thing or two about irony.

  • 1873-1896 (Freak Show) — Edward Mordrake and all of our collective nightmares are born, as those around him discover a parasitic demon attached to the back of his head.
  • Edward Mordrake does what any sensible man with a demonic face attached to his head would do and breaks out of his asylum to join a freak show. Things didn't quite go to plan, though, as Mordrake then murdered the other freaks before hanging himself.

  • 1895 (Hotel) — Rudolph Valentino and James Patrick March are born in the same year. Coincidentally, both men also grow up to bang the Countess.

1900 — 1935

  • 1910-1918 (Asylum) — Briarcliff Manor is built to serve as the largest and least efficient tuberculosis ward on the East Coast, as an estimated 46,000 patients ended up dying under its roof.
  • A microcephalic woman called Pepper is born to an unwed mother. Scandalous.

  • 1919 (Coven) — After The Axeman goes on a jolly and kills eight people in New Orleans, the witches of Miss Robichaux's Academy kill him, proving that they are indeed the X-Men of the 1910s.

  • 1921-1927 (Hotel) — Director F.W. Murnau takes the method approach while preparing for work on Nosferatu, becoming infected by a vampiric blood virus during a Transylvanian orgy.
  • James Patrick March begins construction on the Hotel Cortez. People die.
  • Rudolph Valentino fakes his own death under the influence of the blood virus. Upon hearing the news, Elizabeth Johnson tries to kill herself, but ends up marrying James Patrick March instead, helping him murder people in the newly built Hotel Cortez.
  • That's all well and good, until The Countess plans to run away with Valentino, forcing March to brick them up in the Hotel. Oh, and Elizabeth also gives birth to a monster called Bartholomew after Dr. Charles Montgomery fails to abort it —because American Horror Story.
  • Hazel Evers betrays March because she's jealous of his love for Elizabeth. Rather than give in to the police, the pair kill themselves and become ghosts, leaving the Hotel and all of its wealth to the Countess.

  • 1922-1926 (Murder House) — Charles Montgomery takes some time out from working as a surgeon and becoming addicted to ether so that he can build the 'Murder House' for his wife, Nora.
  • Charles Montgomery starts performing illegal abortions in the same year that his wife gives birth to their son, Thaddeus Montgomery. Makes sense.
  • Following the untimely death of Thaddeus, Charles stitches his dismembered son back together, creating the Infantata. Nora does what any sensible mother would do and kills Charles before committing suicide, trapping them both in the Murder House as ghosts.
American Horror Story [Credit: FX]
American Horror Story [Credit: FX]
  • 1927-1932 (Freak Show) — Ethel Darling, a bearded lady, performs Shakespearean drama in Paris before eventually having a baby with Dell Toledo. Future Evan Peters is named Jimmy, although he would grow up to become known as Lobster Boy. At first, Dell tries to make money off his son's physical mutation, but is then driven away by Ethel after he tries to kill Jimmy.
  • Family values take an even darker turn when Gloria Mott marries her rich second cousin, who also happens to be a paedophile. Crazy (but kind of sexy) Dandy Mott is born the following year.
  • Oh wait, things get even crazier. Elsa Mars has her legs cut off while starring in a fetish snuff film. Fortunately, famed surgeon Massimo Dolcefino crafts some prosthetics, and helps Elsa to rehabilitate.

1936 — 1950

  • 1936-1948 (Freak Show) — Elsa Mars moves to America and starts what will become known as Fräulein Elsa's Cabinet of Curiosities, adopting both Pepper and Mahadevi Patel as her first two "freaks." Adorable.
  • Elsa Mars recruits Ethel Darling and her son Jimmy for her Cabinet of Curiosities, adding a bearded lady and a Lobster Boy to her attraction.
  • Twisty may be more disturbing than a thousand Ronald McDonalds. However, that didn't help him when two disgruntled dwarves tricked him into thinking that he'd been accused of pedophilia, causing him to flee his dream job at Rusty Westchester's Traveling Carnival.
  • Chester Creb suffers brain damage during the invasion of Normandy Beach and receives a metal plate in his head, possibly contributing to his future bouts of crazy.
  • Chester Creb murders his wife and her lesbian lover at the behest of his dummy, Marjorie.

  • 1948 (Coven) — On a less batshit crazy note, Coven's Fiona Goode was also born in this year, destined to become the only Supreme I've ever needed.
American Horror Story [Credit: FX]
American Horror Story [Credit: FX]
  • 1946-1949 (Asylum) — Hans Grupe (the man who casually sawed off Elsa's legs) escapes to America, finding employment at Briarcliff Manor as a doctor called Arthur Arden.
  • A younger and sexier version of Sister Jude hits a woman called Missy Stone with her car while drinking. Assuming that she's accidentally murdered someone, Jude takes on her very own Sister Act by joining a convent.

1951 — 1963

  • 1952-1960 (Freak Show) — Almost the entire story of Season 4 takes place in 1952, so do yourself a favour and go watch the freakiest season of American Horror Story. Marvel at wonderful sights such as Twisty's jaw being blown off, Elsa Mars singing David Bowie and the glory that is Dandy's abs.
  • Elsa Mars stars in her own TV show, imaginatively titled The Elsa Mars Hour.
  • Elsa Mars summons Edward Mordrake on Halloween, who subsequently takes her to a heaven filled with her favorite freaks from the show. Meanwhile, Bette and Dot Tattler give birth to a baby who is probably going to grow up thinking it's normal to have a mother with two heads.

  • 1956 (Coven) — The Axeman spirit murders a girl picking on Fiona Goode at school.

  • 1962 (Asylum) — Sister Jude takes charge of what's quite possibly the most messed up sanitarium ever. While Arthur Arden mutates patients through unseemly experiments, Pepper is framed for murder, leading to her incarceration, and Leigh Emerson goes on a Santa Claus-inspired killing spree.

1964 — 1971

  • 1964-1971 (Asylum) — We can either type out the entire script of Season 2, Asylum, or you can just go ahead and watch what we ranked as the best season yet of American Horror Story. Highlights include Lana Winters, Lana Winters and the Name Game sequence, starring Lana Winters.
  • Speaking of Lana Winters, our intrepid reporter helps exonerate Kit Walker for the Bloody Face murders. However, the poor gal also gives birth to Johnny, the boy who will grow up to emulate his father's crimes in a Bloody Face copycat killing spree.
  • Pepper dies of pulmonary fibrosis and our souls die with her.
  • Lana Winters finds fame as an author, publishing her happy-go-lucky biography titled Maniac: One Woman's Story of Survival. In the same year, Kit Walker's wife, Alma, dies of a heart attack.
  • Sister Jude dies under the care of Kit Walker just as Lana Winters exposes the horror of Briarcliff Sanitarium in a NBC special, leading to the asylum's closure.

  • 1971 (Coven) — Supreme Anna Leigh Leighton and Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau form a truce between the witches and the voodoo practitioners.
  • Fiona Goode takes advantage of this distraction and murders Anna Leigh in order to take her place as the Supreme. Spalding the creepy Butler cuts out his own tongue so that no one can extract the truth from him, because he's as loyal to Jessica Lange as we are.

1972 — 1985

  • 1972-1975 (Hotel) — If you survived the early '70s, then you're one of the lucky ones, as John Wayne Gacy was arrested for killing 33 young men and boys. Oh, and Aileen Wuornos, Richard Ramirez and Jeffrey Dahmer were all given a 101 in murder by James Patrick March, too.
  • Elizabeth March forgets that she's secretly Lady Gaga and starts calling herself The Countess.
  • Boring Nick Pryor becomes the fabulous Liz Taylor after murdering her prejudiced coworkers and embracing her transgender desires. That's what happens when you hang out with Lady Gaga for a hot minute.
American Horror Story [Credit: FX]
American Horror Story [Credit: FX]
  • 1972-1984 (Murder House) — Constance Langdon pops out a bunch of misfits, giving birth to Adelaide, Tate and Beauregard over this period, forcing her to give up acting for good.
  • Fortunately, newfound motherhood doesn't mean that Constance has to give up murder. Shortly after, she kills both her husband Hugo and their maid Moira O'Hara after the former attempts to rape the latter.
  • Creepy AF twins Troy and Bryan Rutger meet their match after they break into the Murder House and are violently murdered by the Infantata before returning as creepy AF ghosts.
  • Constance decides that she's had enough murder for one decade and decides to move her family out of the Murder House. Makes sense, really.

  • 1973 (Roanoke) — The Chen family inadvertently channel the spirit of The Grudge after the Roanoke colonists butcher them in their new home, trapping them there as ghosts.

  • 1980 (Asylum) — Kit Walker develops terminal cancer, but luckily for him, aliens are on hand to whisk him away — because American Horror Story.

1986 — 1995

  • 1991-1994 (Hotel) — Ramona Royale has a rough year after the Countess kills her boyfriend before dumping her too. Comfort doesn't come from her parents either, as Ramona's mother dies and she's forced to use the blood virus to save her father.
  • Sally McKenna takes some time out from injecting heroin to sew her friends Nick Harley and Tina Black onto her, killing them and leaving her trapped. After The Addiction Demon tortures her for a few days, Hypodermic Sally eventually escapes, but dies after Iris pushes her out of a window. That's what you get for selling bad heroin to her sexy son, Donovan.
  • Fortunately, the overdose doesn't keep Matt Bomer down for too long, as The Countess decides infects him with the blood virus and keep him around. That's a good thing.
American Horror Story [Credit: FX]
American Horror Story [Credit: FX]
  • 1993-1994 (Murder House) — Lorraine Harvey sets herself and her daughters on fire after she discovers that her husband Larry is bumping uglies with Constance Langdon, trapping them in the house as ghosts. For some bizarre reason, this prompts the Langdon's to move back into the Murder House.
  • Keeping with the theme, Tate Langdon sets Larry on fire too, before then slaughtering 15 students at Westfield High School. After a SWAT team kill him mid-massacre, Tate returns as a ghost with an unnerving amount of sex appeal.

1995 — 2010

  • 1996-2010 (Murder House) — Violet Harmon is born two years after her future boyfriend Tate Langdon committed a high school shooting and died. Love's complicated like that.
  • Tate Langdon murders Chad and Patrick, a gay couple who moved into the Murder House. No one is surprised.

  • 1997-2006 (Roanoke) — Dr. Elias Cunningham buys the Roanoke house for research purposes, but soon goes into hiding after the colonists drive him away with their Butchers and Piggy Men.
  • Flora Harris is born, heralding the start of countless memes where each Roanoke cast member screams the name "Flora" at least 19 times in each episode of Season 5.

  • 2010 (Hotel) — The world's worst detective, John Lowe, visits the Hotel Cortez and starts to bang Hypodermic Sally while making friends with James Patrick March. The Countess then kidnaps his son, Holden, and turns him into one of her vampiric children. Jealousy is so unbecoming.

  • 2010 (Coven) — Secret witch hunter Hank Foxx makes a deal with the Voodoo witch, Marie Laveau, agreeing to kill New Salem witches right under the nose of his witchy wife, Cordelia. Someone needs to show this guy how awesome witches can be with a quick screening of Hocus Pocus. Seriously.

2011 — 2012

  • 2011 (Murder House) — The present-day scenes from American Horror Story's first season take place here. Check it out for a ton of ghostly horror, Jessica Lange's return to stardom and some leather-bound sex that takes BDSM to whole new heights.

  • 2012 (Hotel) — Ramona Royale murders her father out of mercy, giving her a million reasons to start plotting revenge against the Countess.

  • 2012 (Coven) — Fan-favorite witch Queenie uses her voodoo doll powers to deep fry a customer's arm at the chicken restaurant where she works. Naturally, this guarantees her admission at Miss Robichaux's Academy.
American Horror Story [Credit: FX]
American Horror Story [Credit: FX]
  • 2012 (Asylum) — That guy from Maroon 5 takes his girlfriend on the worst date ever at the abandoned Briarcliff Manor. Cue a whole lot of Bloody Face related death.
  • Morgan proceeds to show us how much he suffered without the awesomeness of Lana Winters in his life by murdering his hypnotherapist, an innocent elderly couple and a prostitute named Pandora, suckling on her breasts before she dies. We're not entirely sure why Morgan couldn't just buy milk from the corner store like anyone else, although it's smart to cut corners in today's economy.

2013 — 2014

  • 2013 (Asylum) — Lana Winters kills her son, Morgan, in what's undoubtedly the best season finale seen yet on American Horror Story. What did we learn from this? No one messes with Sarah Paulson.

  • 2013 (Coven) — The campy, but delightful third season of Coven cast its spell over us all in 2013, introducing us to minotaur sex, incestuous zombie sex and some soul-sucking sex too, reminding everyone why American Horror Story reigns supreme.

  • 2014 (Roanoke) — American Horror Story moved towards realism with its twistiest chapter yet in Season 6, combining the meta-approach of reality TV with a jaw-dropping jumble of pig men, cannibals and witchy sex, the first half of which took place in 2014. After watching Roanoke in full, you'll never hear the name "Matt" in the same way again.


  • Murder House — Michael Langdon reveals that the very best traits embodied by his father Tate have been passed down to him too, including beautiful blonde hair and a tendency to massacre those around him. Someone should have probably told his Nanny that Michael is the Antichrist before he slashed her throat, though.

  • Roanoke — Despite losing their sanity and their marriage, Shelby and Matt Miller sell their stories to TV producer Sidney Aaron, who proceeds to film reenactments in the Roanoke house.
  • Real-life Butcher Agnes becomes unhinged, stealing props from the set. On the plus side, My Roanoke Nightmare draws 23 million viewers when the finale airs on TV, so that's totally worth all the carnage that's set to ensue.

  • Hotel — Decades of death and murder build to a crescendo in 2015, ending in the murder of The Countess. Amongst all of the present day shenanigans that take place in Season 5, the appearance of a 'dildo demon' and blood orgies starring hottie Matt Bomer are the moments that remain seared into our minds.
American Horror Story [Credit: FX]
American Horror Story [Credit: FX]


  • Hotel — John Lowe suffers the grisly death he deserves, shot down by police just a short distance from the Hotel Cortez. So ends the journey of the Ten Commandments Killer. 'Thou shalt not venture too far from thine Hotel to steal blood, lest you lose pints of your own.'
  • Hypodermic Sally becomes a viral sensation online, presumably because teenage girls mistook her for a zombie version of Avril Lavigne.
  • In order to protect the Hotel Cortez and ensure that it will be declared a National Historic Landmark, the ghosts who reside within agree to go cold turkey on the killing front for a span of 10 years.

  • Roanoke — The final third of Season 6 takes place in 2016, as the people who were first haunted and the actors who played them are picked off by the Roanoke ghosts in increasingly gruesome ways. Highlights include Audrey's British accent, Audrey's indignation that she may be killed and how Audrey almost saves the day before the police mistake her for the killer and shoot her down.
  • On the bright side, Return to Roanoke: Three Days in Hell airs on TV and ends up setting an all-time ratings record.


  • Hotel — After the Countess is gunned down, Liz Taylor develops terminal prostate cancer. Rather than die slowly and painfully, Liz asks the ghost of The Countess to kill her so that she can be reunited with Tristan and have all sorts of ghost sex.

  • Roanoke — Lee is acquitted for the murders of... well, everyone, but one of the Polk's seeks revenge during her interview with Lana Winters, trying to gun them both down. Paulson's wig game remains on point.
  • Flora irritates fans the world over when she runs back to the Roanoke house to reunite with Priscilla. Instead of just putting her foot down and taking Flora away, Lee decides to trade places with her daughter, dying so that she can protect Priscilla from the Butcher in her new, ghostly form. Flora is far from grateful.

The Future

2022 (Hotel) — Billie Dean Howard tries to contact the ghost of the Ten Commandments Killer and ends up partying unwillingly with James Patrick March and all of his serial killer buddies. You can say what you want about these evil monsters, but they sure know how to dance.

Which season of American Horror Story is your favorite? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!

(Source: TV Tropes)


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