The “American Horror Story: Coven” writers have been pulling ideas from history this season with the characters of Maria Laveau and Madame LaLaurie … and they still have a couple more historical horrors up their sleeves.
Episode 6, “The Axeman Cometh,” is set to introduce a new "big bad" – similar to Rubber Man in season 1 and Bloody Face in season 2. As the title suggests, the new villain is “The Axeman.” And like Marie Laveau and Madame LaLaurie, he’s a character pulled from the pages of (very bloody) history books.
So, who was “The Axeman”? He was a serial killer who terrorized New Orleans and its close Louisiana neighbors from May 1918 to October 1919.
The Axeman, whose identity was never revealed, attacked his victims with an axe -- most often the victim's own axe. And according to prairieghosts.com, the Axeman’s crimes were so heinous that many speculated that the Axeman wasn’t a man but rather a supernatural creature “that was able to appear and disappear at will.”
A serial killer had a pattern of attacking grocers, primarily, with one of his most publicized murders that of Joseph Maggio and his wife. The couple had lived above Maggio’s grocery store when they were attacked on the night of May 23, 1918. A panel on the door of their apartment had been chiseled away by the Axeman, who broke in and butchered the couple with an axe. Nothing was stolen (including the axe), and the only clue discovered was a message in chalk near the Maggio’s home. The message reportedly read: “Mrs. Joseph Maggio will sit up tonight. Just write Mrs. Toney.”
Other grocers and their families were attacked following the Maggios’ death and fear swept through New Orleans. However, the Axeman supposedly left his potential victims a clue as to how they could keep safe. Prairieghosts.com reports that on Friday, March 14, 1919, the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper received a letter from a man claiming to be the Axeman. The letter stated the following:
Hell, March 13, 1919
They have never caught me and they never will. They have never seen me, for I am invisible, even as the ether that surrounds your earth. I am not a human being but a spirit and a demon from the hottest hell. I am what you Orleanians and your foolish police call the Axeman.
When I see fit, I shall come and claim other victims. I alone know whom they shall be. I shall leave no clue except my bloody axe, besmeared with blood and brains of he whom I have sent below to keep me company.
If you wish, you may tell the police to be careful not to rile me. Of course, I am a reasonable spirit. I take no offense at the way they have conducted their investigations in the past. In fact, they have been so utterly stupid as to not only amuse me, but His Satanic Majesty, Francis Josef, etc. But tell them to beware. Let them not try to discover what I am, for it were better that they were never born than to incur the wrath of the Axeman. I don‘t think there is any need of such a warning, for I feel sure the police will always dodge me, as they have in the past. They are wise and know how to keep away from all harm.
Undoubtedly, you Orleanians think of me as a most horrible murderer, which I am, but I could be much worse if I wanted to. If I wished, I could pay a visit to your city every night. At will I could slay thousands of your best citizens, for I am in close relationship with the Angel of Death.
Now, to be exact, at 12:15 (earthly time) on next Tuesday night, I am going to pass over New Orleans. In my infinite mercy, I am going to make a little proposition to you people. Here it is:
I am very fond of jazz music, and I swear by all the devils in the nether regions that every person shall be spared in whose home a jazz band is in full swing at the time I have just mentioned. If everyone has a jazz band going, well, then, so much the better for you people. One thing is certain and that is that some of your people who do not jazz it on Tuesday night (if there be any) will get the axe.
Well, as I am cold and crave the warmth of my native Tartarus, and it is about time I leave your earthly home, I will cease my discourse. Hoping that thou wilt publish this, that it may go well with thee, I have been, am and will be the worst spirit that ever existed either in fact or realm of fancy.
So, how will the Axeman tie into “American Horror Story”? Episode 6 will feature a flashback to 1919, when the Axeman (“not truly a man, but a dread spirit”) was on a killing spree in New Orleans. As in the letter he supposedly sent to the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper, the killer promised to “spare any house in which a jazz band is in full swing.” And while the city of New Orleans feared the Axeman, the young witches at Miss Robichaux’s academy had plans to “defy him.”
In modern day at Miss Robichaux’s, a spirit board will “find” Zoe. And while the girls use it to try to find Madison, they’ll instead make contact with the Axeman, “whose spirit is trapped within the Academy’s walls.” Zoe wants to talk with the Axeman, but Queenie breaks the contact … knowing that the board has the ability to release spirits.
You can catch a look at the Axeman in episode 6 of “American Horror Story: Coven.” What do you think will happen? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.
For more TV scoops and spoilers, follow Amanda Remling on Twitter - @AmandaTVScoop.
Amanda Remling studied journalism at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ.
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