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Richard Ramirez and the Real American Horror Story Behind the Night Stalker Murders

Richard Ramirez and the Real American Horror Story Behind the Night Stalker Murders

One of the reasons why American Horror Story remains must-watch terrifying TV is the way in which it craftily utilizes real-life figures in its otherwise fantastical story plots, from making the Black Dahlia, Elizabeth Short, one of the unfortunate victims to pass through the Murder House to the banquet of ghostly serial killers convening at the Hotel Cortez in season six.

Moving from Devil’s Night dinner guest to recurring nightmare in AHS: 1984 was Richard Ramirez, played in the latter season by Zach Villa as a reliably murderous presence at Camp Redwood, imbued with supernatural powers that made him unkillable.

Which can’t be far from how it felt when the real Ramirez—the serial killer known as the Night Stalker—was terrorizing the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay areas during a brutal spree of rape and murder between 1984 and 1985 that left at least 14 people dead and countless others physically and psychologically scarred.