The True Story That Inspired The Nurses Of American Horror Story: Roanoke

October 10, 2016


Written by Kelli Marchman McNeely

Kelli Marchman McNeely - Horror Fuel CEO & Executive Producer Email: [email protected]



Season six of American Horror Story is now under way, the theme, ‘My Roanoke Nightmare’. This season is set up like a show, ‘My Roanoke Nightmare’. Odds are you ave seen those ghost shows like ‘My Ghost Story’ which reenact people’s experiences with paranormal activity.





This season is heavy with true story inspired details. In the premiere AHS revealed the season’s connection to The Lost Colony, the true story of the disappearance of  117 people in 1590 in Roanoke, North Carolina.



Episode two introduced two murderous sisters who served as nurses (Maya Berko, Kristen Rakes) while murdering patients, whose first letters of their names made up the word “Murder”. The two disappeared before finishing the word painted on the wall of the house, leaving “Murde”. What makes this so unnerving is that it was based in reality. We haven’t sen the last of the killer nurses on the series.
In 1996, Gwendolyn Graham and Catherine Wood met while working at the Alpine Manor Nursing Home. Unlike in AHS, the two were not sisters, but lovers. Wood admitted serving as lookout while Graham smothered patients. They attempted to spell out “murder” with the first letter of their victims names, but that ended when one patient fought back.
In December of 1988 they were arrested after Wood confessed to the crimes to her ex-Husband. Wood pled guilty and served as witness for the prosecution against Graham, who insisted she was innocent.  Wood was sentenced to 20 to 40 years for once count of murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder. Graham had a much tougher sentence. She was sentenced to life in prison for five counts of murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder for the deaths of  Marguerite Chambers, Myrtle Luce, Mae Mason, Edith Cole, and Belle Burkhard, though more victims were suspected.
Lily Rabe stars as the real Shelby, with Sarah Paulson playing the actress in the reenactments. Shelby’s husband, Matt, is played by Andre Holland and Cuba Gooding Jr. .  Adina Porter and Angela Bassett both play Lee, Matt’s sister. Kathy Bates plays the spirit of a colonist, and possible witch. We’ve only had brief glances of Lady Gaga, nearly unrecognizable. She is always by Bates’ characters side.  Finn Wittrock, Chloe Sevigny, Wes Bentley, Matt Bomer, Cheyenne Jackson, John Carroll Lynch, and Even Peters will also be co-starring this season.
 On the last episode we finally got a good look at the witch, played by Lady Gaga. We saw that Lee’s daughter is still alive and the period when the ghosts of the land become able to physically harm the living began. The episode ended with the ghosts of the Lost Colony ans their victims surrounding the house with Shelby and Matt trapped inside. It’s been rumored that a big twist is coming so be sure to tune in Wednesdays to FX to see what happens next.

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