For those fans of the long-running CW series “Supernatural,” the word “Croatoan” may ring a bell. But while the term referred to a demonic virus that led unsuspecting town folk into a rabid and violent rage, it looks like Season 6 of “American Horror Story” will be dipping into our country’s odd history to explore the meaning behind the mysterious term.
On Monday (Aug. 1), TMZ released new set photos that not only showed the word carved into a tree, but depicted what looks like a Puritan settlement.
In previous speculation pieces regarding the theme for Season 6, we have mentioned the notion that these new episodes will revolve around some sort of Antichrist figure. It’s uncertain really how this new plot detail adds to our theory … but for those who don’t remember, the word “Croatoan” has been mentioned in the series once before.
Back in Season 1 — better known to many as “Murder House” — Sarah Paulson appeared for the first time in the series as a psychic by the name of Billie Dean Howard. It’s in the 11th episode of the season, titled “Birth,” that Howard tells Violet (Taissa Farmiga) about an exorcism that transpired at the Colony of Roanoke Island in the year, 1590.
According to Billie Dean, all the settlers in the colony died and ended up haunting the Native Americans. To banish the spirits from the land, one of the elders burned an item left behind by one of the English and uttered the word, “Croatoan” out loud.
It was a rather small moment in the series and, while Paulson reprised her role as Howard in the season finale of “Hotel,” the tale inspired by The Lost Colony has not been revisited. That is, until now.
This much we know is true about The Lost Colony: the settlers of the land disappeared without a trace and, to this day, the reason behind it is a mystery. The word “Croatoan” did indeed appear carved into a tree and many have theorized the meaning behind the ominous term.
The nearby island of Hatteras was once called Croatoan, but those settlers who disappeared were not found amongst the Native Americans who inhabited the land. And there are theories that lead to a deeper meaning to the word. This is where things get creepy … There are multiple instances connecting the word “Croatoan” to the deaths or disappearances of people throughout history.
It is said that a few days before Edgar Allan Poe died — and following an unexplained disappearance — the author whispered the word on his death bed. Before her disappearance in 1937, it was found scribbled in the journal of Amelia Earhart. These are just two examples to whet your collective whistles. We’ll leave it up to you to go down the “Croatoan” rabbit hole, yourselves.
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Really, we don’t exactly know how heavy this Puritanical theme will encompass the new episodes of “American Horror Story.” It’s an intriguing notion to see this genre favorite try and answer questions history has not been able to. We already know the new season will take place during two different eras, so traveling back to the 16th century doesn’t at all feel far-fetched.
While these new photos help to answer one or two questions about the new season, we now have so much more to ask. One thing is for certain, these new episodes — in one way or another — will be taking a trip back to “Murder House.”
“American Horror Story” Season 6 premieres Wednesday, September 14, on FX.