American Horror Story Wiki
American Horror Story Wiki
I'd seen what the virus had done. Miraculous things. Cuts healed. Broken bones mended in just a few days' time..
Ramona Royale[src]
Blood virus

How the virus is spread between humans

The Afflicted, more informally referred to as “Vampires” by some, are humans who have been infected with an ancient virus that grants eternal youth and life, among other supernatural characteristics, at the cost of requiring a diet of fresh human blood. The virus is spread by the drinking or transfusion of blood from a host who is already infected, and this transmission is referred to as "turning" a victim. The virus seems to have originated among the central European forests (Carpathian Mountains), where F.W. Murnau contracted the virus while conducting research for his film Nosferatu in the 1920s, having then spread the virus to other people, including Rudolph Valentino. At the Hotel Cortez, Countess Elizabeth is the oldest and primary host, acting as a matriarch to those whom she has turned.


The afflicted seem to resemble humans, oftentimes known for being "beautiful" due to one attractive afflicted spreading the virus to another attractive person, though they can also appear average. Upon being turned, a human inflicted with the virus dies before returning to life as one of the afflicted, stripped of their mortality; a person who is already dead can also be brought back to life via the virus's effects.[1] As a result, the afflicted have very pale skin and low body temperature, at 75.5 degrees.[2]

They cannot age or grow old since they stop aging once turned; Ramona Royale compares this to being "frozen in amber". The virus causes biological changes in the hosts, endowing them with heightened senses and greatly increased physical abilities such as a supercharged immune system, granting them immunity from illnesses, diseases, viruses and other infections. They also possess a variety of superhuman physical abilities, including the power hold sway over their chosen victims' minds, enthralling them in order to feed on their blood.

They have increased sensitivity to light, especially sunlight, which momentarily weakens their supernatural qualities. They cannot appear in photographs, as still images of them appear blurry and unidentifiable, mistaken for technological problems by the unwary. They don't die from starvation and suffocation, but can be killed via severe physical trauma or firearms, due to hemorrhages and bleeding.[3][4][5] Their blood virus cannot heal mental illness, such as dementia or Alzheimer's, and merely halts these illnesses from progressing as opposed to healing the neurons.[6]

Characteristics and Powers[]

How strictly these "rules" are applied varies and has never been clearly defined in the series itself.

  • Blood Diet - The afflicted have human-like physiology, and their bodies continue to function normally as long as they have a steady diet of fresh human blood. Though capable of eating normal food as well, it does not sustain their life or provide nutrition in the same way, and deprivation of blood for an extended period of time will cause the afflicted to become rachitic creatures, similar to living mummies;[5][3][4] Additionally, they will experience symptoms akin to a high fever,[2] and will grow increasingly ravenous until able to slake their thirst. Blood from deceased or diseased people can be very dangerous to them,[7] and is described as having a vile taste. Due to their acute senses, the blood of a human who has recently consumed drugs or alcohol can leave an afflicted with the aftereffects.
  • Immortality - The afflicted never age and are immune to disease and illness, allowing them to live for hundreds if not thousands of years.[1][4][5]
  • Enhanced Senses - The afflicted are naturally superior to humans in almost every way, possessed of otherworldly senses which allow them to easily overcome mortals:
    • Night Vision - The ability to see in the dark.[4]
    • Heartbeat Detection - The ability to hear a human's heartbeat.[4]
    • Blood Smell Detection - The ability to identify specific individuals based off the scent of their blood, allowing them to track others over long distances. Ramona Royale describes Elizabeth's blood as smelling like "black licorice", while Elizabeth describes Ramona's as smelling of "walnuts".[6] The blood of those who abuse drugs and other substances can also be identified, as Elizabeth describes Tristan's blood as smelling of "copper".[7]   
  • Enhanced Strength - The ability to exhibit strength beyond a normal member of the user's species. The afflicted are easily able to rip out a human's throat to drink their blood.[5]
  • Enhanced Speed - The ability to perform motions, or movements, at a speed and effortlessness that surpasses that of a normal member of the user's species. Elizabeth was able to appear in front of Vendela during her attempted escape from the Hotel Cortez, unemotionally slicing her throat to prevent her from getting help from the outside world,[1] and later appeared suddenly behind Alex Lowe upon the mortal's discovery of the hotel's former pool housing the resting places of several vampiric children.[3] However, the manner through which scenes were filmed throughout the season - of afflicted appearing seemingly out of nowhere - leave this ability up to speculation, as they have never been directly seen moving at supersonic speed. As a result, it is unknown whether the afflicted are incredibly fast, or if they have the ability to instantaneously teleport to different locations at will.
  • Regeneration - The afflicted will heal from any wound as long as they are fed, regenerating all non-lethal damage at an accelerated rate.[4] Particularly grievous injuries, such as bullet wounds, take a longer time to mend on their own compared to other wounds, but can be sped up if the injured afflicted feeds off the blood of another afflicted.[8]
  • Concilium - The afflicted possess some limited control over others' minds, which they often use to seduce hapless men and women. In 1977, Elizabeth prevents a producer from taking advantage of Ramona Royale by glancing at him and commanding him to leave, and he does so without question. In 2010, James March employs Elizabeth to hypnotize John Lowe into forgetting that he's the Ten Commandments Killer by offering to give her John's son, Holden, in exchange. When Elizabeth and Donovan go to a showing of Nosferatu in 2015, they attract the attention of a human couple merely by turning their gaze on them, causing the couple to turn their heads from watching the film to watching Elizabeth and Donovan. Elizabeth later uses this power on Donovan when he refuses to go to Will Drake's fashion show, and then on Tristan during the events of said fashion show, preventing him from stabbing an attendee. 
  • Ability Enhancement (Possibly) - The afflicted are implied to have the ability to increase their abilities by consuming the blood of another supernatural creature. After drinking the blood of Queenie, a Voodoo witch, Ramona Royale claimed to feel "bears running through (her) veins". The exact mechanics of this ability are still unknown.
  • Electromagnetic Interference - Similar to ghosts, attempts to film or photograph the afflicted will result in technological malfunctions.​[9] Unlike ghosts, however, who can still be seen on camera despite causing static to appear in footage, any attempts to film or photograph the afflicted will cause their image to become distorted beyond recognition, preventing proof of their existence from being exposed to humans.
  • Hissing - The afflicted have the ability to emit a loud hiss, similar to a bat, when threatened or angry.[6]
  • Nocturnal - The sun presents no real danger, only weakening their supernatural abilities. As a result, they prefer to hunt at night and sleep in the day.[1] Elizabeth's "children" even sleep in coffins, though this may merely be an affectation. Elizabeth, by her own admission, prefers to sleep with the curtains drawn to dim the light.


  • Sunlight - The afflicted's supernatural abilities will be weakened if they are exposed to the sun, and may even cause the afflicted to age if they are exposed to it for too long, as Elizabeth states to Tristan that it will "sap [his] vitality". Despite this, Elizabeth seemed to be able to mitigate some of the sun's effects by leaving no part of her skin exposed to daylight, enrobed in a full-body black dress, boots, gloves, hat and umbrella while kidnapping Holden Lowe in broad daylight, allowing her to steal him undetected.[3]
  • Physical Trauma - Physical injuries will cause the afflicted pain and, if severe enough, death. Due to their superiority over humans in strength, speed and senses, it is best for a human to attempt to kill an afflicted by using the tactic of surprise against them; although Elizabeth could have easily killed John Lowe, she did not expect to be greeted by him in her suite's elevator and was shot to death before she could properly defend herself. [3][4][5][8][10]
  • Fire - The afflicted will die from fire.[10]
  • Water - The afflicted will die from being drowned.[6]
  • Electricity - The afflicted will die from being shocked.[6]
  • Neurons and Mental Illnesses - Damage or degradation of neurons due to disease cannot be healed by becoming afflicted, but rather prevented from progressing. As a result, those with such illnesses in life will still have them after being turned. [6]
  • Ghosts - The afflicted cannot hurt or kill ghosts. They will also lose all of their vampiric characteristics and powers if they become ghosts themselves.[11]

Vampire Parallelism[]

Though show creator Ryan Murphy is adamant in distinguishing the virus and those afflicted by it as creatures separate from the long standing, historic icons known as vampires, the afflicted are still quite clearly an homage to the fictional creatures.[12] Valentino was originally turned by the director for the film "Nosferatu", which details the story of a bat-like European vampire that feeds on blood. In this universe, actual vampires are "ugly demons", while the afflicted are beautiful.

Known Afflicted[]

Blood Brat Pack[]

(NOTE: Blood Brat Pack is an AHS Wiki construction inspired by the first season's Dead Breakfast Club.)


Also informally known as 'the towheads", these are Elizabeth's pale-blond adopted children consisting of one girl, Wren, and three boys, including Holden Lowe. When not sleeping in their art-Deco glass coffins, they roam freely within the halls of the hotel, often spooking the guests. The blood upon which they feed is filtered by a dialysis machine and decanted as a luxury beverage for their matron.


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