American Horror Story Wiki
American Horror Story Wiki

Samuel Van Wirt is an eccentric millionaire fascinated by dolls. He is a character in American Horror Stories portrayed by Denis O'Hare.


Samuel Van Wirt was once the normal, if eccentric, owner of a toy factory that specializes in creating dolls. After catching his wife cheating on him, Van Wirt had both her and her lover thrown down a well outside his house, killing them. Van Wirt was then left to raise his son, Otis, by himself.

Van Wirt built a real-life "dollhouse", which he uses as a prison for the women he kidnaps. His goal is to test them in various different "games", with the loser of each being thrown down the well, and the ultimate victor will become the new mother of Otis.

Van Wirt kidnaps Coby, a woman applying to be his secretary, and forces her to join the game as one of his "dolls". Coby quickly forms a bond with Otis, promising the boy that she'll be his mother if she escapes. Van Wirt also rigs the dollhouse with microphones in order to spy on the dolls. He then has several of the dolls thrown down the well for failing his games.

After learning of Coby's plan to escape with the other two remaining dolls, Van Wirt decides to use the escape as a final test. Coby breaks away from the group to go rescue Otis, while the other two are killed by Van Wirt's guard. Van Wirt then recaptures Coby, revealing that by going back to rescue Otis, she'd proven herself to be the perfect mother. Van Wirt then has Coby's entire body encased in plastic and forces her to act as a mother for Otis.

A week later, the dollhouse is broken into by two members of the New Orleans witch coven, who detected that Coby was a witch in distress. The witches then rescue Coby and Otis before setting the dollhouse on fire, leaving Van Wirt and his guard to burn to death. All his victims were avenged.

Personality and Appearance[]




  • The first name of Van Wirt is never mentioned in the episode, and the name Samuel is not known until a Reddit post featuring a call sheet from the episode has listed the character with such name.
  • Denis O'Hare played an adult Spalding in American Horror Story: Coven, Van Wirt's son.