So much in American Horror Story depends on the suspension of disbelief that it seems crazy to investigate the "true stories" on which the FX show is based.
In Season 3 of American Horror Story, subtitled Coven, Kathy Bates plays Madame LaLaurie, a real-life 18th century figure who became infamous for torturing and killing her slaves in a way that makes Vlad the Inpaler look like a puppy dog. In fact, Bates herself has called "five times worse" than Annie Wilkes from Misery.
Mentalfloss are reporting that the real-life American Horror Story murderess gained a reputation for behavior like this:
Marie Delphine LaLaurie was a thrice-married New Orleans socialite in the early 1800s. Like many wealthy southerners of the time, the LaLauries had household slaves. Though it had been long-rumored that the slaves were treated cruelly, even for the era, the final straw came in 1833, when a young slave girl named Lia (or Leah) was brushing Mme. LaLaurie’s hair and accidentally hit a tangle. Outraged at the abuse of her tender head, Delphine chased the poor girl around the house with a whip. The chase ended on the roof of the mansion, where Lia was driven to the edge by the whip-wielding lady of the house. Forced to choose between a flogging or a leap, Lia chose the latter and died when she smashed into the stone courtyard three stories below. It’s said that her body narrowly missed hitting a man who was entering the house; the man reported LaLaurie to the police. After the girl’s body was found in a well on the property, the household was fined $300 and had to sell their slaves.
As the years went on, and haunted tours of New Orleans grew in popularity, the tales of Madame LaLaurie grew exponentially, from the body count to the cruelty... Not that it needed much exaggeration.
Well, if if anyone can take such a gruesome tale and turn it into a television series, it's Ryan Murphy. I hope at least the fictional LaLaurie gets what's coming to her.