Warning! This article contains spoilers from episode 2 of American Horror Story: My Roanoke Nightmare. Read at your own risk, or bookmark for later!
Even though viewers are still wondering what American Horror Story: Roanoke is really about, after this season's second episode we started to learn more about this colony of 16th-century ghosts. We know that they have a thing for roasting people like a pig, and they are out to kill everyone living in the house.
That still doesn't tell us much, but besides this Lost Colony story line, audiences were also introduced to a separate story.
In "Chapter 2," Matt Miller (reenactment played by Cuba Gooding Jr.) goes to investigate a noise coming from downstairs in the middle of the night. To his surprise he finds two women in pure white nurse outfits and an elderly patient in a hospital bed in the dining room.
We learn later - thanks to the background story from Denis O'Hare's character who is hiding out in the bunker outside the house - about these two nurses who have a bloody good time with ending patients' suffering.
He reveals that the two sisters named Miranda and Bridget Jane worked as nurses in Rochester, New York, but fled to avoid charges after they were suspected of intentionally killing a patient. They moved into the Millers' house in North Carolina in the '80s and opened a nursing home.
However, they were particular about who their patients were, making sure these were old people whose families didn't want to deal with them anymore. They also made sure the letters in their first names spelled out their favorite word: MURDER.
The sisters only made it has far as M-U-R-D-E before vanishing from the house.
We are not surprised that there is a story within a story here, especially since showrunner Ryan Murphy has been teasing at a big twist coming in episode six that will spilt this season into two sections. Fans of the series also know that the creators are no stranger to using real-life events to inspire their story lines.
And yes, there is actually a true story behind these sister nurses.
The characters are based on a real murder case involving aides in an assisted living home. But instead of these nurses being sisters, in real life they were thought to be lovers.
The nurses' real names were Gwendolyn Graham and Cathy Wood, a lesbian couple who also shared a love for killing. The two met and fell head over heels for one another while working at the Alpine Manor nursing home as nurse's aides in Walker, Michigan from 1985 to 1988.
As their romance blossomed, instead of planning dates, they plotted ways to kill their patients. And they were crazy about each other to actually do it.
There were eight deaths that were suspicious during the "Lethal Lovers'" time at the nursing home, and they were later arrested and arraigned for murder.
The most creepy part about this case is that a New York Times article from the time cites that there was a theory that the women were attempting to spell out the word "murder" from their victims' names.
Police could not confirm if there was any truth to this at the time, but one of the victims had a name that started with the letter "M," and another with the letter "E."
Besides selecting their victims based on their name, Graham and Wood would make sure they were too weak to defend themselves and made the murders look like the patients died of natural causes.
In the series, we see the nurses murdering the patients in various different ways, such as rat poison and a bullet to the head. The first death reveals they suffocated the elderly person with a washcloth. According to the real-life investigation, the women were suspected to have suffocated their victims.
Things got messy for the women because Graham got tired of doing all the kills herself and wanted Wood, who was always on lookout, to prove her love. Wood would eventually tell her husband the story, and it was he who contacted police.
Their love wasn't that strong because both women turned on each other in court.
Wood pleaded guilty to second-degree murder charges and was sentenced to 20 to 40 years in prison in 1989 after testifying against Graham to avoid a life sentence. She has been eligible for parole since 2005, and a set release date of June 6, 2021.
Graham was convicted of five counts of first-degree murder and is serving five consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole.
What's also chilling is that the women told their story, much like how the fictional characters in Roanoke are, for the TV docu-series The Serial Killers.
We can't wait to see if these murdering nurses find their "R" when American Horror Story: Roanoke airs on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on FX.