The True Story Behind 'AHS: Hotel' Is Terrifying

Every time a new season of American Horror Story is announced, the entire planet begins to speculate on the various true life events that characters and parts of the plot will inevitably be based upon. Creator Ryan Murphy has always done an unbelievable job of appropriately weaving true stories and real culturally significant figures with his brilliant world of fiction. When Season 5 was announced, the speculation of what true life event could have possibly inspired it began immediately. I did some digging myself because I couldn't help but wonder, is American Horror Story: Hotel based on a true story? As it turns out, it most certainly is and the real events might be scarier than the show.

Two real female serial killers will be paid homage to (in various forms) in Season 5. Aileen Wuornos, a prostitute who killed several men in the late 80s will appear as a character and Lady Gaga's character is inspired by the Blood Countess, Elizabeth Bathory, who holds the Guinness World Record as the most prolific female serial killer in history. So, right off the bat, we are looking at some really unsavory, yet horrifyingly real inspirations for this season to draw from. But wait, there's more.

American Horror Story has the unique advantage of an anthology format, so it's taken the pattern on of switching back and forth between present day and the past every other season. This season will fall into present day Los Angeles, California at the fictional Hotel Cortez, where strange things happen and evil basically leeches from the walls. Immediately, the name of the hotel called into consideration that it may be based off of the infamous Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles, and Ryan Murphy confirmed that this is true.

So, what events happened at the Cecil Hotel that could have inspired a whole season of horror? As it turns out, there are a few things that Ryan Murphy can pick from as his inspiration for the grisly Hotel Cortez.

The Super Unnerving Case Of Elisa Lam

This one is a real nightmare of a story. Ryan Murphy specifically cited this case as his inspiration for American Horror Story: Hotel and I can completely see why. It took place in 2013, when a young student Elisa Lam was caught on security footage (check it out above, but I warn you... it's a little disturbing) acting exceedingly strange in the elevator of the Cecil Hotel. Lam was seen hiding, pressing random buttons and dodging in and out between the elevator and the hallway. This was strange enough, but then she just disappeared. Like, became a missing person. Soon after, guests started complaining about how gross the water was tasting and the cause of it turned out to be Elisa Lam's decomposing body. She was eventually found after two weeks, dead and inexplicably floating in the hotel water tank that was unreachable to guests. No drugs were found in her system and no one has ever been charged for the crime.

Plus, Serial Killers Made The Cecil Hotel Their Home

Infamous serial killer, Richard Ramirez made his home on the top floor of the Cecil Hotel while he committed his horrific murder spree. He rented a room for $14 a night and used the hotel dumpsters to dispose of his blood soaked clothes. Shortly thereafter, another serial killer named Jack Unterweger also made his home at the Cecil Hotel and used his room to rape and murder prostitutes in.

So, needless to say, the hotel has some seriously gruesome history that will no doubt make it's way into Season 5 of American Horror Story: Hotel. Now, let's see if the show can scare us as much as the true events that inspired it!

Images: Frank Ockenfels/FX (2); Giphy (2)