Here's How All Of The American Horror Story Seasons Are Connected

If there's one thing American Horror Story fans love more than pig men and demon babies, it's trying to figure out ways every season of AHS are linked, and this season is no different.

Though AHS is ostensibly an anthology series where each season starts over with a brand-new theme, there are dozens of connections that thread from one season to the next, from the reappearance of major characters like Dr. Arthur Arden (James Cromwell) and Billie Dean Howard (Sarah Paulson), to little teasing clues like a certain brand of instant coffee.

Does every season take place in the same universe, or are all the episodes the same timeline? Fans have imagined some crazy and compelling theories about how the seasons connect on American Horror Story (some of them so complicated Reddit couldn't even handle them). Is it all a documentary? Or does every new season represents another rung down the ladder to Hell?

If you need more proof every season of American Horror Story is connected, show creator Ryan Murphy himself has said as much. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, he said, "They're all connected... They're all very separate but there's clues every season that we're now telling you how the different worlds are intertwined."

Here you'll find the definitive and ever-growing list of proven connections, fan theories, hints, and callbacks that try to tie together the entire American Horror Story universe.

  • Each Season Is A Different Level Of Hell

    Each Season Is A Different Level Of Hell
    Photo: FX

    One of the most imaginative and comprehensive American Horror Story fan theories posits that each of the seven seasons so far has represented another level of Hell as recounted in Dante's Inferno.

    This theory was originally discussed by writer Jacqueline Bircher back in 2014, but it's since been updated as new seasons have come out. Most adherents to the Dante theory map the seasons this way:

    Murder House: Limbo

    Asylum: Fraud

    Coven: Treachery

    Freak Show: Greed

    Hotel: Gluttony

    Roanoke: Wrath

    Cult: Heresy

    Apocalypse: Violence

    1984: Lust

    There are many more clues that back this theory up scattered throughout all seven seasons, too. Even more compelling, Ryan Murphy himself coyly referenced this theory in an Instagram post.

    Of course, with any fan theory this widespread, expect some backlash: Reddit is filled with posts debunking the Dante theory, too.

  • It All Connects At Episode 6

    It All Connects At Episode 6
    Photo: FX

    Early in Season 6, Roanoke, Redditor apple_martini concocted the crazy, genius theory that each Roanoke episode connected to the sixth episode of every former season.

    For example, in Season 6, episode 3: 

    "Roanoke's third outing brought back Leslie Jordan, this time as enigmatic psychic Cricket Marlowe. 'Chapter 3' saw Cricket demanding payment for his services, while trying to communicate with the evil that dwelled inside the house. Cut back to Season 3 and Coven, Episode 6 'The Axeman Cometh' was the one where Zoe and the rest of the junior witches accidentally summon Danny Huston’s villainous Axeman."

    Or what about Season 6, episode 4:

    "'Chapter 4' had the return of another AHS alumni, and Denis O'Hare got some well-deserved screen time. Did anyone else shudder when he mentioned that Edward Phillipe Mott used to own the Roanoke house? The Mott family is comprised of those inbred socialites who spawned Finn Wittrock's psycho Dandy in Freak Show."

    Still with us so far.? Ctuwallet24 complicates it even further:

    "I totally think this is right, because the 6th episode of season 6 will also allude to the 6th episode of Roanoke!

    Ability of episodes 7-10 to predict the theme of the 6th episodes of seasons 7-10 confirmed!


    Okay, that math isn't exactly easy to follow, but everyone loves to speculate about the 10th "secret" season AHS fans have been waiting for.

    Will Episode 6 of Cult continue this pattern? Time will tell.

  • American Horror Story Is A Documentary Series

    American Horror Story Is A Documentary Series
    Photo: FX

    Inspired by the faux reality TV setting of Season 6: RoanokeMartynLann on Reddit asked, "What if it turns out that all of this seasons have been documentaries and that's why they keep using the same actors and actresses?"

    Other Redditors have also wondered if all of AHS could be a "documentary" series (would that makes Season 6 a meta-documentary?) where all the actors are indeed actors playing different roles. It would explain why the actors keep coming back season after season. You know, unless they're doomed to return to work through their bad karma.

  • Ally's Fears In Season 7 Replay The First Six Seasons

    Ally's Fears In Season 7 Replay The First Six Seasons
    Photo: FX

    In the first two episodes of Season 7, Ally (Sarah Paulson) reminds her psychiatrist (Cheyenne Jackson) that she has many phobias, and lists a few of them: clowns, blood, confined spaces, the dark, and patterns of tiny holes (trypophobia).

    Naturally, Ally's fear of clowns links this season with Season 4's Freak Show, and its marauding clown. But what about blood? Or tiny holes? Redditor ItsNotAPersonDamnIt links Ally's fear of blood to Hotel's vampires. Monalisaaa11 suggests Ally's trypophobia is a reference to the needles and swords imagery from Season 3's Coven (as well as witchcraft and voodoo dolls). Others on Reddit connect tiny holes with the heroin addiction Paulson's character suffered in Hotel.

    But what about the other three seasons? Monalisaaa11 explains, "My theory is that as the season goes on, they might give us six specific fears they want to loosely connect with the past seasons." 

  • The Even- And Odd-Numbered Seasons Take Place In Different Universes

    The Even- And Odd-Numbered Seasons Take Place In Different Universes
    Photo: FX

    What if all of American Horror Story comprised not one connected universe, but two? Zemrazjarr on Reddit argues that the even-numbered seasons (2, 4, and 6; or Asylum, Freak Show, and Roanoke) share one universe, and the odd-numbered seasons (Murder House, Coven, Hotel, and Cult) another.

    Zemrazjarr says:

    "In Freak Show (4) we see that it's unquestionably the same universe as Asylum (2) and then when Roanoke (6) rolls around we also see that it is unquestionably linked to Freak Show and Asylum. Then in Hotel (5) we see that it is definitely set in the same universe as Murder House (1) and Coven (3). But as far as I can see the odd seasons and the even seasons aren't linked at all (unless I'm missing something)."

    To be fair, this theory somewhat falls apart at the odd-numbered Season 7: Cult, which shares Twisty the clown with the even-numbered Season 4. Other Redditors raised other doubts, but it's an interesting theory all the same.

  • Journalist Lana Winters Visits Both Asylum And Roanoke

    Journalist Lana Winters Visits Both Asylum And Roanoke
    Photo: FX

    In Asylum in 1964, journalist Lana Winters (Sarah Paulson) attempts to investigate the mysterious Briarcliff Manor and winds up trapped inside, where she is tortured with conversion therapy supposedly intended to "cure" her homosexuality before being raped and nearly murdered by the serial killer Bloody Face.

    Winters eventually escapes and rises to prominence as an investigative journalist and documentary filmmaker. In 2017, Winters interviews survivor Lee Harris (Adina Porter) about her ordeals in Roanoke. So we know that Seasons 2 and 6 definitely take place in the same universe.