There’s no show on TV more twisted than American Horror Story. And that’s why I love watching it every single week. No matter how disturbed your own thoughts are at times, they will never come close to touching the insanity that is an AHS episode. At least I hope. If you ever find yourself watching this show and thinking, “ooo, I didn’t know anyone else did that,” seek help.
After watching the season premiere of Coven last week, I heard word that the season was based on a true story. Considering that I’m a sucker for disturbing true stories, I immediately started googling. And guys what I found will make you sick. But also intrigued. But also sick. Now before you start getting excited about the prospect of witches being real, know that that’s not the true stuff that I’m talking about. I know, I know, I also was hoping to find a use for my cauldron and eye of a newt this year, but alas, it will have to continue gathering dust in my closet for now.
The stuff that is real is the bad stuff — the stuff that you really don’t’ want to believe happened. Turns out that Madame Delphine LaLaurie, the immortal old racist who’s played by Kathy Bates in the show, really did exist. Also she really did torture and mutilate slaves in her attic. She treated them so horribly that the city of New Orleans actually took her slaves away from her. Which, guys, is a pretty big deal. Slavery in itself is a horrible institution. For the people who participated in that institution to say that she crossed a line means she must’ve have really crossed a line.
While there’s a big blurry area between fact and legend when it comes to this story, my friend Wikipedia says that there are rumors that the slaves, “showed signs of being flayed with a whip, were bound in restrictive postures, and wore spiked iron collars which kept their heads in static positions.” And even more disturbingly, there are legends that go on to allege even more horrific things. While these things are not substantiated by any legit sources, they gave me a stomachache and I want them to give you one too.
After 1945, stories of the LaLaurie slaves became considerably more explicit. Jeanne deLavigne, writing in Ghost Stories of Old New Orleans (1946), alleged that LaLaurie had a “sadistic appetite [that] seemed never appeased until she had inflicted on one or more of her black servitors some hideous form of torture” and claimed that those who responded to the 1834 fire had found “male slaves, stark naked, chained to the wall, their eyes gouged out, their fingernails pulled off by the roots; others had their joints skinned and festering, great holes in their buttocks where the flesh had been sliced away, their ears hanging by shreds, their lips sewn together … Intestines were pulled out and knotted around naked waists. There were holes in skulls, where a rough stick had been inserted to stir the brains.”
In only slightly uplifting news, the town eventually chased the LaLauries out of New Orleans and freed all their slaves. Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean freed. I meant put them on display to show off their torture. Like I said, the news is only slightly uplifting. At the end of the day, 1830s New Orleans was still not exactly what we’d call progressive. Apparently the LaLauries ended up in Paris, but there’s no real proof of that either. In conclusion, humans are the worst when it comes to keeping records and when it comes to treating humans like humans.
But, twist, they’re also magical. I know guys, I lied to you earlier when I said that the witchcraft stuff wasn’t true. Marie Laveau, played by Angela Basset, also existed in New Orleans in the 1800s. While there’s nothing showing that she ever interacted with Madame LaLaurie, there are tales of her being able to do voodoo magic. Also, similar to her character in the show, she was a hairdresser! Annnddd, get ready for the magic part, she’s rumored to have showed up around town after her death. Which means she was (is???) a witch. So while the stories about the LaLauries are beyond depressing (like really humans?), the upside of this whole investigation is that witchcraft is real. Yep, you heard it here on Crushable first!
And in case real witches aren’t enough to get you all excited, I’ll tell you one more fun fact. Nicolas Cage, played in real life by the insane person who is Nicolas Cage, use to own the LaLaurie house in the late ’00s. Yep, that’s a true story. We can only do our best voodoo magic and hope that he shows up in this season of AHS.