Headscratchers / American Horror Story: Murder House
How does Ben (and probably a whole lot of other people) not know who Tate is and what he's done? A shooting like the one he carried out at Westfield High (Which Ben is certainly old enough to remember) would surely bring national attention, and Tate's picture would be all over every major new outlet for the next few months. It's like a psychologist moving to Littleton, Colorado, and then being completely un-phased when he starts having sessions with a kid named Eric Harris who has fantasies about murdering his classmates. Just doesn't seem likely everyone could remain oblivious to Tate's true identity for so long.
At the risk of sounding callous, this stuff can fade into the background, especially if the shooter dies (as Tate did). To take one example, it is November 2014 as of writing, and the Washington Navy Yard massacre was over a year ago. How many people do you think could name the shooter or identify him? Especially those who lived across the country at the time, as the Harmons did.
Violet was born or about to be around the time Tate went on his spree. So maybe Ben was more focused on that than a news story from across the country.
Also, he didn't have reason to believe in ghosts, yet, so he had no reason to think that Tate was anything but an unfortunate lookalike of the kid who went on a killing spree and died a decade and change ago. (If he even knew the story that well.)
How is it that some of the ghosts like Tate, the Harmons, Hayden, Patrick, and Chad able to change and wear new clothing while most of the ghosts exactly looked the way they died in?
Perhaps though it is not explored, ghosts can actually change their appearance in the same way they can appear and disappear. Older ghosts are stuck in their identities and stay the way they were when they died, while more modern ghosts are used to changing themselves (because that is what we do in society nowadays or some-such) and therefore can do it without thinking about it too much.
Alternatively, they just still have their clothes stored in the house and therefore can just change into new clothes.
Moira's able to change her entire physical appearance, switching between an old lady and her younger self depending on who she's interacting with. Changing clothes shouldn't be too big a deal.
The clothes they begin with, at least, are the "ghosts" of their old clothes (the real ones are still on their bodies). They can change into real clothes if they want, though; the rubber suit outright proves it. The house is full of huge crawlspaces where, presumably, everyone stores their 'real' stuff if they had the presence of mind to do so before it got carted out. This does raise the question of what happens to the ghost clothes when the ghosts aren't wearing them, though... what happens if a living person finds them, puts them on, and tries to leave the house? They'd end up on the sidewalk buck naked.
Some ghosts have more presence of mind and thus more control over their appearance than others.
Since it's confirmed that ghosts can physically interact with and kill living beings, how come Constance hasn't been killed yet? I mean, seriously, she's pissed off the entire Harmon family, Chad, Patrick, Hayden and some of the other ghosts (like the home-invaders) just seem to like a spot of murder. How is she still able to walk in and out of that house? It's like the prison warden spending the night in jail.
Maybe because none of them want to be stuck with her for eternity.
None of the ghosts that explicitly hate Constance are capable of murder, only a few ghosts are killers. When she finally does piss off a killer ghost (Hayden, in the finale) she explicitly says that she's never setting foot in the house again.
How did Tate go to the beach with Violet that one time?
It was Halloween. They stated it, explicitly, in the episode that ghosts can travel freely on Halloween.
Where does Moira go when she isn't cleaning the house? The third episode revealed that since her bones are buried on the property, she can't leave unless they are removed or destroyed. But when negotiating her employment in the pilot, it was agreed that she only come a couple times a week. So where is she for the rest of the time?
I think she's always there, you just can't always see her. A lot of the other ghosts, like the nurses in the basement or the gay couple in the Halloween episode, seem to always be in the house but only actually reveal themselves to the living on certain occasions.
Maybe she can only leave the house with permission from the home owners, but she can't go to far.
It seems like she's able to go to Constance's House at least, as well as off the premises to visit her mother, at least on Samhain. This Troper assumes it works something like the Being Human 'verse, in that ghosts can leave the house but don't necessarily like it. Besides, they could just be in an unoccupied room whenever they want to remain unnoticed. Or in the basement, that place seems like there's enough scary nooks and cranny to hold a whole rumpus of phantoms.
Addie more or less confirmed that the dead can walk freely on Halloween. That's how Moira can visit her mother and the resident gay guy can go clubbing.
When did Moira go to Constance's house? Constance was living in Murder House when Moira worked for her and she died.
The troper above probably got confused and thought that some of the scenes where Constance is antagonizing Moira's ghost took place in Constance's house. It's actually always the Murder House. Constance was there to steal things so that the Harmons would think Moira did it.
What happened to the dog they had in the first episode?
For the last time, it's still there. You can see it in the second episode sitting on the bed. This is a horror series filled with sex, gore and ghosts and people are more worried about where the dog went.
Hayden stuffs it in the microwave in the fifth episode. Wonder if it will become a ghost now, too?
Actually that was, according to Hayden, a bunch of Tomatos. It was meant to scare Vivien, and it is revealed later that the dog is fine when it comes running out of the closet.
Although Hayden could have been lying, she might really have nuked the dog and the dog we saw was a ghost dog that came out of the closet.
Hayden wasn't lying. Hallie the dog is alive and well, having been adopted by Marcy following Ben's death.
If Larry Harvey is a ghost (which I guess we're not sure of yet) why is he never seen in the house and how is he able to keep going away from the house? Everything else we've seen seems to imply that, if someone dies on the grounds, they are physically unable to leave the house(except on Halloween.) So, why is Larry able to move around so freely and why does he seem to be stuck ouside?
Maybe he doesn't want to go into the house because he's afraid he'll run into his wife and daughters, which would be really awkward for him being that he killed them and all. They died in the house so they're probably still in there somewhere.
He went into the house during episode 5, but didn't run into his family. He runs into Chad instead.
Larry does see his family again, during "Smoldering Children". They're burned even worse than he is, but otherwise seem to be rather happy.
I believe Larry's still alive, he said he went to prison after murdering his children. He's probably like Constance, where he has a past with the house but wasn't consumed by it like the dead.
Larry claims he's alive during the 5th episode, though if what he said about the brain tumor before is also true, who knows how long he'll be alive?
Larry lied about killing his family and going to prison. Who knows what else he's lying about?
If Larry Harvey is dead, what exactly does he need that thousand dollars for?
The house seems to be intent on getting rid of Ben probably because he isn't the father of Vivien's allegedly mutant baby.. One of the ways they can get rid of Ben for sure is to make his second fling with Hayden known as well as making Hayden's murder known also. Larry is asking for $1,000 because then Vivien will find out about Hayden's murder and then assume that Ben hired Larry to kill Hayden. This will not just get Ben out of the house, it will keep Ben from possibly killing his family like Larry did by putting him in prison.
The house doesn't seem intent on getting rid of Ben so much as the ghosts inhabiting it do.
Even if he's not dead, as stated above, then his demand for money would still serve the same purpose.
How come some of this ghosts are able to change clothes while others have to appear in the same outfits they died in? Do they steal clothes from the Harmon's closet? Is there some kind of clothing shop in the after life?
Hmmm, maybe it's a choice type thing. Or people perceive them however they want. Moira's seen as young to Ben, so maybe people just want to see them in different clothing.
I think it depends on if the ghost knows he/she is dead. Tate can change since he doesn't know he's dead and would be in different outfits each theorpy session. While Gladys knows she's dead therefore is always in what she died in.
Problem with that is that Tate does know he's dead, yet he can still change his clothes.
He can change his clothes because he wants to.
Shouldn't Addie be a ghost?
No. Constance failed to get her to the house grounds on time.
She didn't want to be a ghost, either.
None of them did. That doesn't affect it. She's not a ghost because she didn't die on the grounds of the Murder House.
I feel like I missed something...Ben knows that Hayden was murdered, he buried her under the gazeebo. Why is he OK with her coming back like nothing happened? He does not know about the ghosts yet...
Since seeing her running around on Halloween, he now thinks that Hayden and Larry faked the whole thing.
In the second episode, Home Invasion, Ben calls Mrs Langdon to tell her he can't treat Tate anymore. Who was he actually calling? Was he speaking to Constance, and if so, why didn't he recognise her voice? Did Constance get someone else to speak on the phone like Billie Dean? Just who was he talking to?
Considering Constance came to California to be a starlet, she probably threw on a different accent to fool him.
Yes, we can see her in the last episode or near the end of the season answering Ben's phone call in an altered voice.
Definitely Constance. It's right after the phone call that she decides to bake ipecac cupcakes for Violet.
So I understand why Chad and Patrick and Nora and Charles and the twins and Larry's wife weren't invited to Christmas, but the dead nurses don't get to join the festivities?
The nurses seem too intent on being scary to converse or make friends. A lot of ghost seem to have snapped or remain on loop in the house, kind of like how Nora keeps going back and forth from being sane(ish) and weeping over the loss of her child.
Except we saw the nurses acting normal and all walking back to the house on Halloween. They joined the "scare people out of the house" team, why can't they celebrate Christmas? As Moira said, there are a number of ghosts in the house that are nice, not just her and the Harmons.
Maybe they just weren't interested.
Or they don't celebrate Christmas.
They were very Christian, but maybe they think Christmas is too pagan.
They may have been having a private celebration elsewhere, or just hadn't come downstairs to join the fun yet.
It seems likely that this is a family Christmas (Moira was quite fond of Vivien and Violet, and she and Ben reconciled near the end, so she's family-ish)...the other pleasant ghosts will likely drop by, maybe party in the evening, but this is Harmon-time.
How is it possible that Constance has a photograph of Tate and Addie together? Judging from when Addie was a little girl she should not have been old enough to appear as an adult in a photo together with Tate, because Tate has been dead for over two decades (in Re-birth) Constance says Tate has been in his grave for longer than he was alive. He died in high school so how is it possible that the picture even exists. Unless ghosts can be photographed...
Addie was older than she looked. We saw for sure that she and Tate were alive together during the flashback to him burning Larry.
Indeed, Addie is around 30 according to Constance, and was her oldest child.
Tate hasn't been dead for over two decades. Tate died in 1994 which would make him dead seventeen years in 2011 and he was about seventeen at the time of his death. Presumably either Constance was exaggerating since he was dead around the same amount of time or he's been dead for a few days/weeks/months longer than he lived. And Adelaide was a child in 1978 so of course she'd be around when Tate was older.
In the second episode, Constance says she had four children. We see Adelaide, Tate, and Beau, so what happened to the fourth?
Maybe it was still born. Considering her "cursed womb", it may not have even survived to begin with.
Production hiccup. There was supposed to be a fourth kid, an albino, but the show was cut from 13 to 12 episodes.
What happened to the exterminator who found Violet's corpse?
Tate killed him. On screen. We saw him as a ghost in the final episode.
Was it Dr. Montgomery's abortions/experiments that made the house evil, or was it evil before then?
My WMG is that it was specifically the pain and suffering centered around Thaddeus' kidnapping, dismemberment, and "resurrection", followed so closely by the Montgomery's joint murder-suicide. Or maybe it was just the "resurrection": that certainly seems unnatural enough to have some kind of supernatural aftereffects.
Aside from the spirits inhabiting the house, we have also seen the ghosts of the victims from the Westfield High massacre (who might be bound to the school building when it's not Halloween) and Billie Dean's story suggests that the Roanoke colony became similarly haunted after the settlers there were all killed. Therefore, it is possible that any place that has seen a significant amount of suffering and death in a very short time is susceptible to becoming haunted/cursed in the same manner as the Murder House.
In season 5, we see that there are also numerous ghosts inhabiting the Hotel Cortez, which has a similar history in that a very large number of people have been killed brutally there. Therefore, further credence is lent to the theory that places where a lot of suffering and pain has happened can acquire the metaphysical property of trapping spirits of people who have died there.
In the second episode, Constance made two cupcakes with ipecac syrup for Violet. Later in the episode, Bianca eats one and starts vomiting. However, earlier in the episode, Vivien also ate half a cupcake, and it had no effect on her.
She just cuts the cupcake in half and holds it. We never see her bite into it. It may have been just thrown away or saved for Violet.
About all those ghost trying to take the babies: How do they intend to feed them?
Fridge Horror: They don't, they intend to kill them so their spirits remain in the house.
Why is Moira the only ghost who has two forms?
She may play the role of a seductive succubus to the men in the house. That was even the way she died.
At the end of episode 9, Moira says that Ben can finally see the truth, and in that scene, he sees her old form for the first time. But isn't her young form supposed to be the true one? All other ghosts look the way they looked when they died.
Maybe the "true form" is the one the ghost prefer.
My WMG: when she died, Constance thought she was the one responsible for the adultery and deserving to be punished, but actually she was raped by Constance's husband. The young Moira is a threateningly seductive vixen she was mistaken for in her life, the old Moira is sympathetic, visibly hurt and helpless against Constance, more like the victim she really was. Her impaled eye is also visible then, and always rants to Vivien about the male agression, while young Moira constantly talks to Ben about how much under her spell he supposedly is.
Why didn't Moira ever thought of digging herself out?
Because she'd still have to get the remains to the police or someone somehow to prove that she was murdered, and ghosts can't leave the property (Though that raises the question of why she couldn't do it on Halloween, but maybe she thought the police would think it was a joke).
What exactly does Moira expect would happen if her body was discovered? We already see that simply dying on the property binds the person to the house, regardless whether the bodies are removed from the property after death, so if anyone were to find her bones, it's not like she would be any step closer to the afterlife.
Constance would go to jail.
It's somewhat surprising that 2 couples move into the house during the season without doing a google search on the address. I would imagine that a whole bunch of information about the house's history would pop up. Hell I google search apartments I look at.
Why is that surprising? The people who did a google search on the home and were grossed out obviously wouldn't buy the place and thus wouldn't enter the story. And further, many of the murders (the Black Dahlia, Constance's boyfriend, Moira, Hayden, the exterminator, Mr. Harmon etc.) were never tied to the house or appeared to be suicides.
How did Moira appeared to Chad and Patrick? Being gay they wouldn't have a reason to see her hotter self, but she claims men don't know how to see the truth.
Young Moira, wearing old Moira's less provocative uniform since panty-flashes wouldn't get her anywhere, trying to convince them that a pond or something would look great in the yard? Or, Patrick seems to actually be bi even if he prefers men since realizing he was attracted to men (he tells Ben he used to think he was straight, anyway), so she could try pulling the same tricks on him.
They showed it; she appeared to them as Old Moira, which puts a chink in her sexist explanation.
The show makes it pretty blatantly obvious that Hugo is human garbage. But wouldn't he at least try to talk to his undead, troubled son once while he was in the Murder House?
He barely appeared at all as a ghost and might be one of the ones who isn't aware of it. My pet hypothesis is that he spent a lot of time at work or traveling when alive, and since he doesn't have a plausible reason to hang around the house all day, he must need to be pretty oblivious of his surroundings. Also, he died when Tate was a lot younger, so he might just not recognize him.
Marcy acts like the house is a millstone around her neck, but if she's getting a commission every time it sells, shouldn't she be making a bundle on the place? Even repeatedly marked down, it's a big, expensive house, and it sells three times within the span of a few years.
It might have to do with the emotional stress involved. She knows something's wrong with that house. She's seen history repeat itself more than once. Making money or not, selling a house to people who you know in your heart are likely doomed to die or go insane could weigh heavily on one. Yes, Marcy isn't the nicest woman, but that could chafe at one pretty badly.
In "Afterbirth", we see the Harmons and Moira celebrating Christmas together, with a tree and lights. Since all of them are dead, and presumably unable to hold regular jobs, who is paying the electric bill?
They work online maybe?
Given that Violet couldn't have been declared dead by the time the Ramos's moved in to the house, was it legal to sell the house when the possible next of kin hadn't given permission? Also is anyone going to bury this poor girl's body?