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'American Horror Story' Season 6: Seven Theories About the Mysterious Theme

Ahead of its Sept. 14 premiere, we try to crack down what the show's creators have prepared for the cryptic season

1 / 7

Charles Manson or Cults

A Reddit user with a keen eye noticed there are references to Charles Manson, one of history's most infamous cult leader and murderer, in all five seasons of American Horror Story. In the series premiere, Tate Langdon (played by Evan Peters) mutters "Helter Skelter"—a term derived from a Beatles song that Manson thought was an imminent apocalyptic war between blacks and whites. 

In one of the Season 6 teasers ("Lullaby"), a knife-filled mobile above a baby's crib reads "PIG." This could be a reference to 1968's Rosemary's Baby, which was directed by Roman Polanski. So what's the connection to Manson? Well, the following year, the director's wife, Sharon Tate, was murdered by members of the Manson family. They wrote "PIG" in blood on her front door. 

But it doesn't stop there! Murphy revealed in 2013 that Season 3/Coven was almost about the Manson murders, and that he "might go back to the Manson thing in some regard one day." Lastly, Manson had a thing for spiders and frequently included them in his artwork. The latest AHS teasers feature a ton of spiders crawling on backs, into mouths and out of closed eyes. Hmm...

2 / 7

The Antichrist

The "Lullaby" teaser's blood red "6" is obviously a reference to the new season, but also the Devil's favorite number, maybe giving a hint that the show could focus on Satan's spawn. Also, in Murder House, Vivien Harmon (played by Connie Britton) gives birth to a demon child after being raped by Tate Langdon dressed up as the Rubber Man. The baby is then adopted by Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange), who names him Michael. He goes on to murder his babysitter with a huge grin on his face.

PopSugar also brilliantly notes in their theory that "the show is in its sixth season, and in the sixth month of this year, we beheld a new logo, featuring a six." Which would equal three sixes, or the Devil's 666. 

3 / 7

The Mist

Along with being a teaser title, The Mist is a 1980 horror novella written by Stephen King (and made into a movie in 2007) where a mist and supernatural creatures take over a small town. But this theory seems a little too obvious, as Ryan Murphy and his crew usually don't make the themes so straightforward. Collider thinks it's an allusion to radiation, considering the appearance of toxic green eyes in both "The Mist" and "Sunset Stroll" teasers.

There's also that time when Rotten Tomatoes listed Season 6 as American Horror Story: The Mist earlier this month. But they have since removed the title.

4 / 7

Roanoke Colony

Earlier this month, TMZ acquired photos reportedly from the set of Season in 6 Santa Clarita, Calif. that resembled a Pilgrim-era farm. A tree with the word "CROATOAN" etched in big letters sparked the fan theory that the theme references the lost Roanoke colony, the same people who were talked about in Season 1. Back in the 16th century, more than 100 English settlers mysteriously vanished from what is now Dare County, N.C. after their leader, John White, returned to England. So why is "Croatoan" important? 

Well, your history books will tell you it was the only clue left behind after the colonists' disappearance, carved into a tree.

5 / 7

Classic Hollywood

This speculation stems from "Blind Date," the only teaser that actually references a movie. The clip shows a woman being sucked into the water by a mysterious creature, in the same fashion as 1954's Creature from the Black Lagoon. But if you pay close attention, there are other teasers that hint at other classic horror movies.

This month's "The Shadow" is a direct reference to the 1929 silent vampire film Nosferatu, while other teasers pay quick homages to 1968's Rosemary's Baby, 1972's Deliverance, 1974's Texas Chainsaw Massacre, 1977's The Hills Have Eyes, 1984's Children of the Corn, 1995's Night of the Scarecrow and more. An American Horror Story: Cinema theme wouldn't be too far off. Lady Gaga's The Countess character (who's returning this season) was an actress in her past life, after all. But that's not it.

In Season 4's Freak Show, characters Elsa Mars (Jessica Lange) and Ethel Darling (Kathy Bates) are actually names of people in The Hills Have Eyes. The circus was also located in Jupiter, Fla., and there's a mutant called Papa Jupiter in the movie. Coincidence?

As PopSugar points out, all of this could allude to a theme within a theme, where we see the horrific things that goes on behind the scenes of making a horror movie.

6 / 7

Return of the Aliens

In one of the AHS teasers, a person is seen being lifted by an ultralight beam before his body is cracked in half. The light resembles something from an alien UFO, but the teaser's description ("Rise") may actually be yet another Manson reference. Like "Pig" for Sharon Tate, the word was written in blood on the living room wall of the LaBiancas' after the Manson family murdered them.

Another hint for the theory came from Murphy, who said that filming in Santa Fe, N.M. could be a possibility. The state is known for Area 51 in Roswell, which some claim is an extraterrestrial site covered up by the government as a top secret military institution. If this theme is true, it would be a seamless connection to Season 2 (Asylum), where Kit Walker (Evan Peters) claimed his wife was kidnapped by aliens. The season ended with Walker being abducted by aliens on his farm.

But there were also references to aliens in the handful of fake teasers, so the theory could prove to be false.

7 / 7

Boarding School

In Hotel's finale, John Lowe says that his daughter will be attending the Thatcher School along with Will Drake's son, Lachlan. It seemed random then, but was it intentional that the name of the school was specifically revealed? This would explain Murphy's comment about this season having "elements of children." He told a PaleyFest audience back in March, "If you look at horror tropes, the innocence of children, that sort of wide-eyed entryway into some world is always very dramatic and satisfying." 

But the theory also lends itself to the idea that Michael Langdon from Season 1 (a.k.a. the demon child) will be a student at said boarding school.

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