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'American Horror Story''s Worlds Collide

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After four years, fans of FX’s American Horror Story are well acquainted with the series’ conceit: Each cycle, we witness the same cast (Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, etc.) get the bejesus scared out of them as new characters in new terrifying situations (haunted house, mental institution, coven, traveling sideshow). The Internet has long been rumbling that these seemingly disparate seasons are secretly tied together, but nothing had been confirmed — until now. ”They’re all connected,” says co-creator Ryan Murphy in an exclusive interview with EW. ”We’re just beginning to tell you how.” We separate fact from fiction and pick our favorite fan theory.

What we know

The seeds of links between installments of AHS were planted earlier this season when it was revealed that Asylum character Pepper would be part of the troupe on this year’s Freak Show. (Season 4’s events happen 12 years before Asylum) But according to Murphy, it was the recent announcement that Lily Rabe would also be on Freak Show playing Asylum‘s Sister Mary Eunice that was the official confirmation. ”Lily coming back is sort of the first unveiling of that connectedness,” admits Murphy. ”Hopefully by the end of the run, people will be able to stand back and say, ‘Oh, that was connected to X.’ But it is a puzzle.”

What we suspect

Puzzle indeed. There are certain associations that savvy online sleuths have picked up on, and Murphy acknowledges, without being specific, that ”a lot of their hypotheses have been completely right on.” For example, the state of Massachusetts figures prominently on Murder House (the Harmon family’s home base), Asylum (the location of Briarcliff Manor), and Coven (the titular witches are descendants of Salem spell casters). Also, Connie Britton’s Vivien Harmon on Murder House mentions she has family in Florida, the same state in which Freak Show takes place nearly 60 years earlier. Another possible familial connection? The first owners of Murder House‘s haunted mansion had the last name of Montgomery, as does Emma Roberts’ Madison on Coven.

What we wish

Could these installments just be a set of creepy campfire tales told by a hyper-creative group? That’s the clever idea posited by one Reddit user. We just like the visual of Jessica Lange making s’mores. Now, that’s scary.

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