Halloween is quickly approaching, so now is the perfect time to talk about ghosts. More specifically, the ghosts on American Horror Story . Ghost are back in action on AHS: Hotel, after sitting the last three seasons out — Coven*, Asylum, and Freak Show. Last time we got to deal with these supernatural beings, it was Season 1 and literally everyone inside Murder House was dead. Now, it looks like people are dying left and right at Hotel Cortez, and it's hard not to draw connections between the spirits from these two different seasons. But, there are actually a lot of differences between the ghosts in Season 1 and the ghosts in Season 2. Are you super confused by the rules of being a ghost on AHS: Hotel ? Don't worry. It'll all make sense soon (hopefully).
First things first, what makes a ghost? AHS's definition of it is someone who has died and through some unknown ~power~ is able to manifest as flesh and blood human again (but they're not really flesh and blood). They can interact with humans, they can wander around and pick up things and do things — so we're not getting anything like, "you can pass right though this ghost and then you feel cold!" That seems to be a common ghost trope in both film and movies; that doesn't apply here on AHS. Remember how ghosts were having sex during Season 1? Clearly this isn't like Casper the Friendly Ghost.
During Season 1, the rules for ghosts were straightforward: If you died on the property of Murder House, you came back as a ghost, plain and simple (however, there's one mistake here, and it's that Constance's husband dies on the property, but he never comes back as a ghost. Constance did drag his body off of the property, though, so maybe that has something to do with it. It's never really explained. So, ignore it). If you remember, Constance desperately tried to get her daughter, Addie, back onto the grounds of Murder House so she could come back as a ghost. It didn't work. As for everyone else, they died, they remained there forever and ever, for all eternity, choosing to show themselves when they wanted to.
Now with Hotel, that appears to be the same rule. If you die at Hotel Cortez, you get to come back as a ghost. So far we've seen Sally and Claudia die; Mr. March and his maid, Miss Evers, are still wandering around and talking to people, too. You die inside Hotel Cortez, you get to come back.
HOWEVER, it clearly does not apply to everyone. LOTS of people have been killed before at Cortez, but the hallways are not lined with thousands of ghosts (rough estimate). So, you have to die on the premises to have a shot at coming back at all, but not everyone who dies there gets to come back. (It's the whole, "all squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are squares" thing. Not all people who die at the Cortez become ghosts, but all ghosts died at the Cortez.
We might already know a little bit of the answer to why this happens. In the episode,"Mommy," as Sally is getting ready to help Iris OD, she asks Iris if she's going to "come back" for any sort of "unfinished business." I'm thinking that the only way you can come back as a ghost at Hotel Cortez is if you do have something "unfinished" with the living world. That's why Sally asked Iris about it, because Sally is so over dealing with Iris. This means that the people we see as ghosts there — Sally, Mr. March, Claudia, etc. — are hanging around for a specific reason. We just don't know what yet. If Sally had gone ahead and killed Iris, without her having unfinished business, we probably wouldn't have seen her again.
Just like with Season 1, these ghosts can choose when to reveal themselves. That's also how Sally disappeared mid-elevator ride with John. That's why Mr. March appeared for Tristan, but so far to no one else.
Also, I'm kinda thinking that the ghosts in Cortez are confined to certain areas. In Murder House, they could roam around freely. So, if Mr. March had free reign of the hotel, don't you think he'd be sitting in the lobby? Something makes me think that they've got to stick to specific locations. Otherwise, that's a pretty big area to roam.
What's still uncertain about these new ghosts on Hotel is if they can be banished. Remember how Tate explained to Violet that you can banish a ghost by saying "GO AWAY?" (So simple and easy, and that was ultimately his undoing.) If Iris could banish Sally away, I bet she would. Maybe this rule doesn't apply for this season, but it could come up later down down the road. Or, we're getting a brand new way to banish ghosts with Hotel.
While the ghosts from Murder House and the ghosts in Hotel are very similar, they're still pretty different. These ghost rules are clearly always changing, since it's not like that ever been set in stone. And, who knows, maybe by AHS Season 15, Library, the ghosts really will be able to go through walls and make everything cold.
*OK, fine, we saw one ghost during Coven, the Axman, but I really hated his subplot so I forget about it all the time. He followed the same ghost rules as above. So, it's not like by completely skipping the Axman we miss anything.
Images: Suzanne Tenner/FX; Giphy (3)