This story contains SPOILERS for the "Spooky Little Girl" episode of "American Horror Story," which originally aired Nov. 30 on FX.
So far, the "Murder House" in American Horror Story had, for the most part, stood outside of actual historical events. While some aspects of the overall story -- including the Columbine-type activity involving one of the major characters around the Halloween episode -- might seem inspired by true events, the show has stayed mostly self-contained.
That was until "Spooky Little Girl," which not only introduced a fictional theory of the famous (and very real) "Black Dahlia" murder of 1947, but also some new legends surrounding the Roman Catholic Church's pope.
But how much of it is real?
For the Black Dahlia murder, Elizabeth Short really was found dead in a park in Los Angeles on Jan. 15, 1947. Her body was mutilated, bisected, cut in half at the waist, and a grotesque smile carved into her face.
While the murder received widespread local and national attention, the Los Angeles Police Department was never able to pin the gruesome act on anyone. But it's highly unlikely, of course, that Short went and saw a home-practicing dentist who couldn't zip up his fly (before being finished off by the spirits living in the house).
There were many leads, and even some high-profile speculation, including one that implicated Orson Welles (all "evidence" there was highly circumstantial and he was never even considered a person of interest by the police).
That has allowed the Dahlia case to be picked up by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, and make it part of "American Horror Story's" mythology.
One of the other revelations made in this episode, however, involves the Vatican itself. According to the show, once a new pope is elected, he is led to a small red room located next to the Sistine Chapel known as the "Room of Tears." There, he is provided a box and a key, and is left alone to read what is inside the box.
According to this particular story, the box contains the secret of how the world will end, and in this case, is a perversion of the immaculate conception embraced by Christians, except this time it will create the spawn of Satan.
So what is this box, and what is really in it?
It is true that following a conclave where a pope is elected, he is led to a small red room to the side of the Sistine Chapel, and it is called the "Room of Tears." However, it is widely believed that the room is actually used for the new pope to dress himself, choosing the attire he will don when he assumes the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church.
Because a lot of what the papacy does is cloaked in secret, there have been other legends surrounding the "Room of Tears." One popular one is that the room is used to allow the newly elected pope's body to be inspected, to ensure he's male. That myth arose from a legend that a woman, known as Pope Joan, was once elected by accident. However, historians have never found any truth in that story, and no such inspections of the pope's body takes place.
"American Horror Story" airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX.
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