The baffling events of early 2013 in a fabled L.A. hotel are one of many inspirations for American Horror Story: Hotel, and an upcoming horror film called The Bringing. While the details of the case drove intense speculation about possible paranormal elements to a young woman’s death, the reality is more of lonely despair.

Area 51 is strange for a number of reasons, but one of the most glaring reasons it’s odd is so obvious we often can’t see it. It’s known as a secret, but it’s the opposite. It hasn’t been a secret since the 1950s, and even then it was a bit of a open government secret shrouded in mysterious coverups that have now been blasted apart. Whether you are a believer in alien stories or not, Area 51 has definitely invaded our imaginations to stay.

The first episode of Fargo, Season 2 involves Kirsten Dunst as Peggy Blomquist, a butcher’s wife who lets her denial of reality wrap them both up in a dizzying coverup. Some of the details of this darkly comedic scenario are inspired by a true events from over a decade ago.

“I’m dying for a drink,” Mike Malloy said as she stumbled into Tony Marino’s speakeasy in the Bronx. He looked a little more worn than before. Each murder attempt took a bit out of him, but being hit by a taxi had so far done the most damage. He was still thirsty, though, and the drinks just kept coming.

A large component of our melancholy moods is a sadness and horror over how fragile we are. Our bodies, always betrayers in the end, are surprisingly strong, but vulnerable to any number of unforeseeable events that could attack us from without or within. Our emotional states, too, are susceptible to hurt and trauma. A way to describe heartbreak or shock from a devastating event is that we feel “shattered.”

The Bobby Fischer biopic Pawn Sacrifice implies that a brilliant mind obsessed with chess is at risk for madness: the threat is that closed system of logic with a massive amount of possibilities can bring you close to some kind of edge of sanity, a rabbit hole towards a maddening peak at the true vastness of the universe. Peter Sarsgaard’s Fr. William Lombardy ominously predicts Bobby’s unraveling by recounting a story about 19th century American chess legend Paul Morphy, who also had a short and illustrious chess career followed by a life of personal failures and mental illness. But, while Bobby Fischer’s antics were highly documented, extreme and political, Paul Morphy’s supposed madness is a bit more of a myth grown larger in the shadow of Bobby Fischer’s rocky life.

This devastating photograph from 1948 seems unreal. Surely people can’t sell their children in the United States, even in the 1940s? Family members accused the mother of being paid to stage the photo, which may have been part of the story, but unfortunately, she was dead serious about selling her children. Within two years all of the children pictures, as well as the baby she was carrying at the time, were sold off to different homes. Just a few years ago the scattered siblings tried to find each other, and their stories are of raw survival and heartbreak.