American Gothic

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You may be looking for the crossover fic Purity Control, which was also known as "American Gothic."

Name: American Gothic
Creator: Shaun Cassidy
Date(s): September 22, 1995 – July 11, 1996
Medium: TV series
Country of Origin: United States
External Links: Wikipedia
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American Gothic was a CBS television horror series set in the small town of Trinity, South Carolina. It falls into the Southern Gothic genre, as it focuses on dysfunctional relationships with a side of supernatural horror. The main focus of the show is on Caleb Temple (Lucas Black), a young boy who has been orphaned after an apparent murder suicide, and Lucas Buck (Gary Cole), the town Sheriff who seems to have sinister supernatural powers and who is in fact Caleb's biological father. Over the course of the show Caleb struggles with his desire to be good and the corrupt influence of Sheriff Buck. Meanwhile, other characters who start out well-intentioned, such as Caleb's cousin Gail Emory (Paige Turco) and Dr. Matt Crower (Jake Weber), find it difficult to maintain their integrity when faced with the drama going on in Trinity. The implication, though it is never stated outright, is that Lucas Buck is the devil.

Though episodic in nature, the series maintained some ongoing character arcs. It was cancelled after only one season.


As a young girl, Merlyn Temple witnesses the rape of her mother Judith by Lucas Buck, and as a result is severely traumatized. From that point on, the only phrase she utters while living is, "Someone's at the door," which were the last words she said prior to the rape. Judith commits suicide (or does she) after her son Caleb is born, and her husband Gage Temple must raise Caleb and the traumatized Merlyn alone. On the night of Caleb's 10th birthday, Merlyn is murdered by Gage (or is she), and Gage later commits suicide in prison (or does he). In all of the tragic events that occur in Trinity, Sheriff Buck has a hand, though he hides it well and has the town on his side. After the death of his sister and father, Caleb goes to live in a boarding house, and his cousin Gail Emory, a newspaper reporter, moves into town. She's intent on finding out the real story of what happened to her own parents. The ghost of Caleb's sister Merlyn visits him regularly, though nobody else can see her. In death, she can communicate clearly as she never did in life, and she warns Caleb about Sheriff Buck.


  • Caleb Temple, age 10, an orphan who at first is unaware that Sheriff Buck is his biological father
  • Lucas Buck, the sheriff
  • Gail Emory, Caleb's cousin, a newspaper reporter
  • Merlyn Temple, Caleb's deceased older sister
  • Matt Crower, a doctor from out of town who is dealing with the death of his family in a car accident caused by his drunk driving
  • Selena Coombs, the school teacher and town slut, Sheriff Buck's on again off again girlfriend. She is also the daughter of the pastor.
  • Ben Healy, the Sheriff's deputy


Fans of American Gothic were referred to as "Gothniks." Most fanfiction was hosted on individual archive websites, connected by webrings.



  • The Apocrypha of St Judy by Queribus (content warnings apply but are not extremely clearly labeled due to the nature of 90's fanfiction posting), a graphic retelling of the history between Judith Temple and Lucas Buck.


Archives & Fannish Links


American Gothic on Wikipedia