Bizarre things that happened on the set of American Horror Story

When it comes to the small screen, Ryan Murphy's American Horror Story anthology series is about as weird as it gets. But as strange and eerie as the on-screen events have been over the course of its wildly different seasons, the behind-the-scenes oddities have often been just as intense. Here are some of the most bizarre things that have happened on the set of AHS.

Stopping to pray

Gabourey Sidibe, who played Queenie on AHS: Coven, experienced more than her fair share of discomfiting moments on the New Orleans set during her first season. Not only did she and her co-stars get into a bar brawl over a glitter-bombing incident (yes, really), but she was also severely freaked out by all the witch chants she and her co-stars were expected to do to summon spirits on-screen.

She told The Hollywood Reporter that while others around her weren't bothered by all the Papa Legba invocations going on during filming, she couldn't get comfortable with the seances they were asked to do. "I was in the hair and makeup trailer with one makeup artist and we heard scratching, like something was trying to get in our trailer. I turned to the lady and was like, 'PRAY! PRAY RIGHT NOW!'" She added: "People were like 'Ooh, it's Papa Legba,' and I was like, 'Shut up you guys, words have power!'"

As if she wasn't already afraid enough, she then experienced a strange physical reaction that felt like a finger moving up to her lip and making it swell to five times its normal size. Co-star Sarah Paulson told PopSugar she was also pretty freaked out. According to Sidibe, the swelling only went away once she called an old church pal to pray with her. That supernatural encounter mustn't have scared her for too long, though, because Sidibe eventually reprised the character in AHS: Hotel — minus the chanting.

Everybody hates Twisty

Given how skilled John Carroll Lynch is with any nefarious character (especially in his AHS appearances), it's not too surprising that some of the crew got a little spooked by the sight of him in his Twisty the Clown gear for AHS: Freak Show. Lynch didn't expect to become a full-on pariah, but the crew consistently avoided him while he was in costume.

As he told Cinema Blend, "There was a scene in the first episode where Jimmy murdered the police officer and they were dismantling the body, and Twisty was watching. So, I was over there, late at night, on my own, and when I finished my sequence, I was walking by everybody. I can't remember who said it, but one of the actors standing there said, 'Man, you were really creeping me out.'" For what it's worth, Lynch later said that he didn't take it as a personal affront but instead attributed the discomfort to people's' general dislike of clowns. Given the real-life scary clown sightings that have gone down, he's probably right.

Exiting stage left

The makeup and hair transformation that Naomi Grossman went through to become Pepper for AHS: Asylum was rigorous, to say the least. In fact, she ended up looking so distinct from her prosthetic-free self that she was once even escorted off the set by security because they didn't recognize her as a cast member of Asylum.

Grossman also told Huffington Post, "For a very long time, before the show aired, they would hide me behind a shroud when I was walking around the lot because everything was a secret. ... So, yes, at first it was very uncomfortable. People didn't want to stare." Presumably, by the time she reprised her role in Freak Show, people got used to seeing both Naomi and her on-screen alter ego Pepper looming around the set.

Going it alone

Speaking of off-putting facial makeup, actor Denis O'Hare also gained some experience with making people extremely uncomfortable on the set of AHS: Murder House. As Larry Harvey, he had to boast third-degree burns across much of his face, and he couldn't handle the cast and crew's reactions to his image.

He told The Morton Report that walking around the lot was really uncomfortable "because the makeup is so good, and it looks so real that people assumed I wasn't an actor. They assumed that it was, 'Oh, look at that poor guy.' So people would sort of avert their eyes, or they would nod politely, and it's a great exercise in exploring what the character's daily reality must be like. I found myself, and I find myself, not wanting to be in public."

Indeed, O'Hare ended up isolating himself for the rest of the shoot. That's taking method acting to an extreme.

Strange character cultivation

Kathy Bates might be an Oscar-winning actress whose career has spanned generations, but even she has limits on what she can do. For her part in AHS: Freak Show, she played Ethel Darling, aka The Bearded Lady, and had to develop one of America's most distinct regional accents: a Baltimore tongue. And it was quite the challenge for her. As she told Buzzfeed, "I talk in my Baltimore accent even when I'm off set because it's such a tough accent that I feel like if I don't, I won't get it back."

But even though she had to stay in character in one aspect, she also had to do a daily detox ritual to rid herself of the bad juju associated with all her meanest AHS characters. She told Vanity Fair, "When I take off my costume and my makeup, I visualize and remove all the negative energy from myself. It's an important process to let it go and say it's not me, it's somebody else" ... while still in a Baltimore drawl, of course.

The perks of being a butcher

In AHS: Roanoke, Bates had an extremely interesting role as an actress named Agnes Mary Winstead who played "The Butcher" for a TV series about some real-life murders and got a little too into character. By the end of the series, she'd pretty much become the real deal and started chasing around other characters with her favorite weapon, a butcher knife, and took out producer Sidney (played by Cheyenne Jackson).

Jackson later told TV Guide that the scene they shot was the one that scared him the most because it was done in the middle of the night in a fog-laced set. Since Bates has a history of playing murderous women, he wasn't quite sure what would come of it. Jackson explained, "You're in the middle of the woods at four in the morning, and they add fog. Kathy Bates is coming at you with a cleaver. It's a little scary. You know, it's fake, but it's still like, wow, yeah that's Kathy Bates." She probably had to do a double detox ritual after that scene.

Unintentional method acting

Actress Chloe Sevigny had to pull a Daniel Day-Lewis a la My Left Foot on the set of AHS: Asylum after her character Shelley insulted the cruel Dr. Arden's withered member and he amputated her legs. The prosthetics that were affixed to her limbs for her scenes left Sevigny wheelchair-bound for the rest of the shoot, so the crew had to wheel her around the set, much to her chagrin.

As she told Uproxx, the prosthetics kept her legs bent all day: "It was a strange feeling to have to need assistance to do lots of different things. And that was probably the most challenging part, feeling kind of helpless in that way." Of course, considering the intense makeup regime she'd have to submit to later in the season to achieve a mutated face (the second half of her punishment from Dr. Arden), well, perhaps those prosthetic legs weren't too bad after all.

Players only love you when they're playing

One of the most interesting celebrity cameos on the series was in AHS: Coven, when Stevie Nicks led an episode about how she herself was thought to be a "White Witch" by another witch who was completely obsessed with her music.

It wasn't just her ethereal arrival (or the fact that she made Lily Rabe's character's dreams come true by waltzing around the place for a sec) that made her appearance a surprise. She was playing on an old rumor that she was a real-life witch. The rumors stemmed from her hit "Rhiannon" and how she introduced the tune as a song about a Welsh witch.

So she had to throw caution to the wind and just let people think what they wanted to if she were to accept a role on AHS: Coven. She told the LA Times she wouldn't have done it earlier in her career, but "when all this came along, I was like, 'What, really, am I going to turn this down because of all that past nonsense?' I'm way too old and I've been through way too much to give up an opportunity like this. I'm fearless. ... I'm not afraid of anything." Sounds like she was feeling supreme that day.

Getting to know each other

For his part in AHS: Murder House, Evan Peters had to strip down and cover himself in lubricant before he could put on the rubber man suit. As if that wasn't awkward enough, he also had to bare his bottom so that he could be whipped by co-star Jessica Lange for AHS: Asylum. He might've expected his cheeks to be on display for the scene, but he didn't anticipate the rest of his parts being in full view of his new colleagues.

He revealed to Vulture that he wore a sock in the obvious place and figured it'd do the trick. Unfortunately, he covered his twig but not his berries, which didn't go well when they bent him forward over the desk and he flashed both Sarah Paulson and Jessica Lange. "Sarah just walked over after that take and kissed me on the cheek," he said. "I was like, 'Why? What's happening?' That's when I realized. I was mortified." To make matters worse, if that's even possible, this all happened on the first day of the shoot. Off to a good start, Evan!

Bringing home to work

Evan Peters and co-star Emma Roberts have had a tumultuous real-life relationship that bled into the work zone quite a bit. As initially reported by gossip sources to OK! Magazine, the two were very embattled while working together on AHS: Freak Show, which drove the cast and crew nuts. The site claimed that the two were either fighting in front of everyone or making out as soon as the cameras stopped rolling on their scenes and that no one knew which would be the case on any given day.

All that buzz came to a head when Roberts was eventually arrested on domestic violence charges after authorities were called in and found Peters with a bloody nose in their Montreal hotel. The two later reconciled, where else but right there on the set of AHS: Coven for all to see. Hopefully, as the two re-team for AHS: Cult, this kind of wacky and dangerous drama won't continue between them ... for the crew's sake, at least.