Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Winchester Logic + Murder House Ghosts

I know that one should never try and apply the logic from one supernatural themed TV show to another, but I can't help myself in this case.

All of these American Horror Story ghosts...why have none of them moved on? Or maybe some of them have, and we haven't met them because they don't feel the need to linger? But the vibe that I get from the "logic" of the show is that if you die in Murder House, you stay there for eternity.

Which brings me to the Winchester boys. I think the show Supernatural does a really great job of setting up questions and answering them. And since Sam and Dean Winchester are "hunters", they often look to rules and guidelines set out by hunters before them.

These guys are essentially supernatural detectives who are awesome fighters, dress really well (think worn in jeans, great boots, and plaid flannel, in kind of a cowboy meets lumberjack kind of way), and they can out-smart pretty much any creature known, or unknown, to man. When trying to track down or fight a creature, they look to folklore, legends, and ancient texts for information. If the lore says that you have to use fire to kill a ruguru, then that's what they do and it pretty much always works.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer also did a really great job of this.

And so, on the topic of ghosts, in Supernatural land there are only two types of standard ghosts:

1) Those who are unaware of their death and therefore wander around reliving the events of their death, never able to move on. I don't know that Supernatural actually has a name for this type of ghost, so I'm going to call them "wandering spirits".

2) And then we have vengeful spirits. These people died wrongfully and are sticking around until they exact their revenge.

In order to get rid of a wandering spirit, you need to make them aware of and accept their demise. They always move on after that. For vengeful spirits, all one needs to do is find their remains (all of them), salt the bones, and burn said bones. Easy as pie!

On the American Horror Story episode "Piggy Piggy", medium Billie Dean Howard says something along these lines. She refers to her maid who had been murdered as the vengeful type, and to Tate as the wandering, clueless type. We now know (and I've had this feeling for a while now) that Tate has actually known all along that he's dead. He faked his cluelessness to (supposedly) keep Violet in the dark. "Hi, I'm Tate. Wanna hook up?" probably would not have gone over to well, as Tate points out toward the end of last week's episode, "Smoldering Children".

But my point is, if we look at every ghost in Murder House, are all of them vengeful or wandering spirits?

Take Tate. What is he avenging? His own death? Abuse at the hands of Constance, maybe? And how about Violet? What is she avenging? She was a wandering spirit for a few weeks, but now that she knows she's dead she should be able to move on, right? I know for the sake of the show that we need to see the Violet/Tate relationship come to some sort of climax and/or resolution, but it makes me wonder. In "Smoldering Children", I 98% believed Tate when he told Violet that she died in the bathtub, in his arms, loved, etc. But that 2% of doubt makes me wonder if she is avenging something or someone, and doesn't quite realize it yet.

Or maybe the rules simply don't apply.

I've read that this week's episode of American Horror Story will tackle the topic of "how to get rid of ghosts". I can't wait to see what they come up with!