‘American Horror Story: 1984’ — Was Richard Ramirez Based on a Real Person?

It feels like everyone is after Brooke in American Horror Story: 1984. From “Nurse” Rita to Mr. Jingles to Richard Ramirez, who got the nickname The Night Stalker. Just how real are these ruthless murderers? Here’s a look into the real serial killer who inspired the AHS: 1984 character, Richard Ramirez.

American Horror Story Richard Ramirez
Zach Villa | Photo by Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images

Richard Ramirez is a character in the ‘American Horror Story’ series, ‘1984’

The latest season of American Horror Story has creepy characters lurking around every corner. There’s Mr. Jingles, who escaped from a mental asylum to murder the residents of Camp Redwood. There’s the “nurse,” who helped Mr. Jingles escape. Of course, there’s “The Night Stalker,” who started it all, appearing in Brooke’s apartment to steal her wedding ring. Now, some fans are wondering just how real Richard Ramirez, also known as The Night Stalker, is.

The ‘American Horror Story’ character ‘The Night Stalker’ is loosely based on the real serial killer

This television series didn’t completely make up this eerie satanist. Richard Ramirez, also known as “The Night Stalker,” was a renowned serial killer from the Los Angeles area in the 1980s. He’s best known for breaking into houses and apartments through open windows or unlocked doors, robbing, raping, and even killing. According to Crime Museum, “Ramirez spent over two years of his life raping and torturing over 25 victims and killing more than a dozen people.”

While the show proves to be historically accurate in some aspects, this character is not entirely the same as the real serial killer. That includes the timeline. According to Pajiba, “AHS takes place in the summer of 1984… However, Ramirez’s reign of terror as ‘The Night Stalker’ is more tied to the spring and summer of 1985, when the vast majority of his murders take place. [Contrary] to the show, Ramirez had only killed two people — and most likely hadn’t been given the nickname ‘the Night Stalker’ — all sources [found] point to that nickname, which was first bestowed by the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, was given in 1985.”

Richard Ramirez, the "Night Stalker"
Richard Ramirez, accused of being the serial killer called the ‘Night Stalker’ | Bettmann / Getty Images Contributor

This is not the first ‘American Horror Story’ character based on reallife

Historically accurate or not, there were plenty of characters featured in American Horror Story that were based on real people. That’s especially true of the season American Horror Story: Cult, where Evan Peters portrayed cult leaders like Charles Manson. In the same season, Evan Peters portrayed the artist Andy Warhol, in addition to Jim Jones, who pulled off one of the biggest mass murders in history.

On American Horror Story: Coven, one of the characters portrayed by Kathy Bates was based on the real person of the same name, Madame Marie Delphine LaLaurie. According to Pop Sugar, the “barbaric attic was discovered when a fire broke out at her home and volunteers came in and discovered her servants chained up in the attic, crippled from LaLaurie’s cruelty or already dead and decaying.”

Fans can see these iconic characters portrayed by Kathy Bates and Evan Peters on other seasons of American Horror Story. That includes Murder House, Asylum, Cult, and Apocalypse, which are available for streaming on Netflix. Fans can watch more of Richard Ramirez on AHS: 1984, available on FX, FX.com and the FX app.

The next episode of American Horror Story: 1984 premieres on Oct. 16 at 10 p.m. EDT.