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American Horror Story: Ranking the Season 6 Theories

Charles Manson, aliens and murder, oh my!

Sadie Gennis

American Horror Story returns this week, but for the first time ever fans are completely in the dark regarding what to expect. Creator Ryan Murphy has opted out of revealing the theme for Season 6 ahead of its premiere, and FX even admitted to putting out fake teasers to further misdirect viewers.

Naturally, all the secrecy hasn't stopped AHS fans from theorizing about the upcoming season. If anything, the clandestine campaign means the theories are even wilder than usual! Ahead of Wednesday's premiere, we ranked the eight biggest Season 6 theories from completely crazy to so crazy they just might be real (and keep in mind, there's no rule that states more than one of these theories can't be true).

Everything we know about American Horror Story Season 6

8. There won't be a theme at all: What if the reason Season 6's theme hasn't been announced is because there isn't a theme?

It's possible that Murphy might decide to break with tradition and dispose of having one overarching narrative in favor of standalone episodes, like in The Twilight Zone. Most of the Season 6 teasers seem to be inspired by classic horror films ("Blind Date" is Creature from the Black Lagoon, "The Lesson" isChildren of the Corn, etc.). So what if each episode will pay homage to a different horror story, with the actors playing new roles each week as opposed to new roles each season?

It's a radical notion, sure, but not entirely out of the realm of possibility. The biggest snag is how turning AHS into an episodic anthology series would affect how the whole AHS universe is connected, but who knows what Murphy might have up his sleeve.

7. Scissorman: If you watch the opening credits of Murder House, you can catch multiple references to Scissorman, who was originally going to be a character in the season.


Murphy wound up cutting the Scissorman storyline (pun fully intended), but now a few Season 6 teasers indicate that Scissorman may finally be getting his due. Hedge clippers similar to the ones showcased in the Murder House opening are seen being wielded by a female nurse snipping strings of human teeth in "Wind Chimes," and some think the mask in "Self Preservation" is too similar to the one Scissorman wears to be a coincidence.

However, hedge clippers have appeared in seasons of AHS (notably, with Twisty the Clown in Freak Show) without ever connecting to Scissorman in the past. That being said, the fact that the woman in "Wind Chimes" appears to be wearing an old nurse's uniform could also be a huge hint that this season will draw from Murder House by possibly revisiting the R. Franklin murders.


6. The Benders: Based on the teasers "Sunset Stroll" and "What's Cooking?" some fans have suggested Season 6 will include the notorious Bender family, who murdered at least a dozen people in 19th-century Kansas.

The Benders reportedly would kill guests at their inn simply for the thrill of it, with one of the male Benders first hitting the victim over the head with a hammer. One of the women would then slit the victim's throat and drop the body through a trap door underneath the "seat of honor" where the guest had been placed at the dinner table.

Once the bodies (and body parts) of victims were discovered on the Bender property, several groups of vigilantes executed searches for the family. However, the fate of the Benders remains unknown.

This tale seems just up AHS' alley. And if Season 6 will take place in a rural setting, as many believe, it would fit right in. However, it's unlikely that we'd be getting a whole Bender season, since Murphy likes to draw from a variety of influences for the main storylines. More likely, we suspect the Benders could pop in for an episode or two - much like the way Anne Frank did in Asylum, or the Black Dahlia in Murder House - without playing a major role in the ongoing storyline.

5. The Tooth Fairy: Knowing this season would feature "elements of children," the "Wind Chimes" teaser has lead to speculation that Season 6 would incorporate Murphy's twisted version of the Tooth Fairy.

This could be anything from a demon who steals children's teeth (and possibly the children themselves) to just a regular ol' human who breaks into family homes to terrorize them. The sky's the limit when it comes to Murphy's mind, so it would be interesting to see his take on this classic figure.

4. Aliens: One major thread Asylum left hanging was who the aliens were and what they wanted with humanity. We know extraterrestrials abducted Kit (Evan Peters) and placed a robot spider in his neck, but that's about it. Will Murphy finally use Season 6 to explain? Maybe!

One of the new teasers, "Backtrack," shows a trail of spiders marching into a person's neck, and other videos showcase crop circles and alien abductions. Taken together, those trailers definitely point to the possibility of aliens returning to the world of AHS.

3. Charles Manson: When members of the Manson family murdered Sharon Tate and her unborn child in 1969, they infamously smeared blood on the walls to spell out "PIG" in the hopes of framing the Black Panthers for the crime. Astute AHS fans noticed that the deadly mobile in the "Lullaby" teaser appears to spell out the same word.

The various promotional materials featuring spiders could also be clues about Manson, who often used arachnids as inspiration for his artwork.

And these aren't the only reasons why we wouldn't be surprised if Charles Manson was a character this season. The show has always loved to incorporate real-life crimes in its fictional world -- dating back to when Murder House did a Black Dahlia storyline -- and Murphy has previously stated his desire to do an AHS season about Manson. Plus, Wes Bentley currently has a very scraggly beard, making him our prime suspect to play the notorious cult leader.

2.The orphanage: Murphy loves leaving clues for future seasons in AHS, so it makes sense that many fans latched on to the multiple references to the Thatcher School in the Hotel finale. Both Scarlett and Lachlan attend the prestigious boarding school, which is a real-life academy in Ojai, California. But while it's unlikely Murphy would set a season of AHS at an actual school, Season 6 could take place at another previously mentioned institute for kids: St. Ursula's Home for Lost Children, where Lana's (Sarah Paulson) and Kit's (Peters) kids were sent.

We already know that children will play a role in Season 6, and TMZ has leaked photos of what appears to be a large, dilapidated building in the woods with a school bell out front. An orphanage could provide the perfect setting for the season, opening up the possibilities of flashbacks to the main characters growing up at St. Ursula's as children and providing easy connections to past seasons like Asylum. Not to mention it could explain that terrifying doll from the "Baby Face" teaser.

1. Roanoke: Since TMZ leaked photos that purported to show AHS filming at a 16th-century farm with the word "croatoan" carved into a tree, Roanoke is a practically a sure bet for this season. The mystery of the lost colony has baffled historians for centuries as they struggled to find the reason behind the 117 settlers' disappearance in 1590 and the meaning of croatoan, which was carved into a fencepost at the deserted colony.

Murphy has actually put forth his own theory behind croatoan's significance already. In Murder House, Billie Dean Howard (Paulson) said the ghosts of the Roanoke settlers were banished from the land after a Native American chief used the word croatoan to seal the spell. And now it looks as though Season 6 will feature flashbacks to the colony itself, where we'll likely learn what killed the colonists in the first place. Was it aliens? Was it a cult? We'll just have to wait and see!

American Horror Story returns Wednesday at 10/9c on FX. What do you thinkSeason 6 will be about?