Croatoan Mystery
Oct22

Given the ghostly time of year – with all hallows eve approaching we thought the local spooky tale of the  Croatoan “lost colony” would get you in the “spirit”.

This true story is a mystery from our North Carolinian history dating back to 1587 – it begins with the word CROATOAN carved into a tree and the disappearance of 115 people. It’s even been noticed by American Horror Story who seem to be including it in their sixth series.

Croatoan Mystery

In 1587 Hatteras island was known as Croatoan Island, its native tribe the Croatans. It’s about 80 km southeast of Roanoke, which is where the second attempt at establishing an English colony on American soil was located. At some point between late 1587 and August 1590 the entire population of 90 men, 17 women and 11 children vanished. Leaving only the word CROATOAN carved into a tree and ominously the letters CRO scratched into another. The mystery still remains unsolved.

The colony had met hostility from the Secotans tribe and their supplies were running low. Leader John White sailed back to England for help. He left behind his daughter and newborn granddaughter, whom he would never see again. When he left he had no idea he would be delayed in his return by almost 3 years due funds and the war with the Spanish. Or, that he would become the only known survivor of the “lost colony”.

He landed back at Roanoke on his granddaughters birthday but found nothing – other than the dismantled buildings and that message on the tree. There were no animals or belongings nor any bodies or evidence of battle or massacre.

He returned to England without investigating the Croatoan tribe – there is no given explanation for why.

Is it possible that the colony travelled and absorbed into the Croatan tribe? Archeological remains found from that area and from a site 80 km northwest and inland of Roanoke are being studied to try to answer that question.

Did they meet tragic ends? Gruesome suggestions range from cannibalism, disease, massacre and a failed attempt to sail back to england.

The Mystery Deepens

Here’s where it gets more eerie…

The Croatans were said to believe in a malevolent spirit from their land who could change people into animals – or trees!

And in these more recent mysteries, where the word CROATOAN appears – people disappear.

  • Aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart scribbled it in her journal before her disappearance.
  • Horror Author Ambrose Bierce had the word carved into his bed before he disappeared. 
  • Poet Edgar Allan Poe uttered it on his deathbed in a delirious state.
  • Stagecoach robber Black Bart prisons cell wall was found to have the word scratched into it – he wasn’t seen again after his release.
  • An abandoned ship, ran aground at Cape Hatteras (close to what was Croatoan Island) in 1912, on the last page of it’s logbook – the word CROATOAN.

Is that spirit leading people to their doom, is it a strange coincidence, some secret society or long standing hoax? Could it just be a fascinating story that intrigued these people and drove them to isolation?

Will we ever know? So far, all attempts by historians, explorers and archeologists have fallen short.

You may lose yourself here, you could find yourself here. We’re sure you will never want to leave mwah hahahahahaha.

NASCAR, moonshine
Sep19

In this neck of the woods, our history is rich and sometimes surprising. PLUS, it’s not all pirates! North Carolina is famous for NASCAR – it’s part of our heritage. But not everyone knows the story of its origins. Bizarrely, the sport only came to be because of prohibition, specifically it’s alcohol restrictions. Which in turn gave birth to the western North Carolina moonshining culture.

Moonshining

Moon shine is so called because the bootleggers booze was made by the light of the moon. This was in hopes of the darkness hiding the smoke from the process. But the risk wasn’t just in the distilling process/making of the moonshine. Distribution was risky too. Times were hard and struggling farmers and the like relied upon whiskey sales to make some extra money. It was highly illegal and the possibility of being caught was very real. The bounty was transported via “runners” in their cars and speed, skill and a dash of recklessness were needed.  The cars needed to look normal or “stock” so as not to draw any attention. But they also needed to

  1. Carry a lot of the booze without it getting bumped about and potentially spilt.
  2. Be able to outrun police and tax officials who were hunting them down.

Drivers and mechanics modified the cars to fit their purpose. Suspension got altered to cope with the bumpy roads and prevent the liquor getting spilt. Internal modifications helped with carrying as much liquor as possible. Power upgrades were essential, when Ford’s V-8 became available it was a hit with the moonshine racket, being a powerful and easily upgraded engine. Something that Teetotal Henry Ford must not have expected! Drivers were on the front line, survival and evading capture were excellent motivators. They had to know every back road and trail both at day and night – even without the lights on! Highly skilled and fearless, they learned to make high speed hairpin turns and control skids. Perfecting techniques like the “bootleg turn” and more. Some even developed sneaky tricks to evade capture such as smoke screens, oil slicks and dumping tacks to puncture tires.

The NASCAR Competition Begins

Drivers began competing with one another in order to show off and to stay on top form. Driving became a part of who they are, pushing their abilities, tuning their cars to gain any power and speed advantages they could. As such even after prohibition ended they continued to organise races and appear at fairs where they could charge thousands of people who wanted to watch the spectacle. The modern NASCAR we all love was formed in 1947 when a meeting took place to create its rules and regulations. In time sponsors were found and the background of this racing institution was moved away from  and ultimately forgotten – in favour of becoming family entertainment. If motorsport sets your heart racing, then you may wish to travel to the Hall of Fame in Uptown Charlotte during your stay. There’s also many moonshine historical sights hidden away. Alternatively, you could relax on our porch with some local firewater and a good book on the fascinating story and just drink in the flavour of North Carolina. Book your stay by calling us on 252-923-9571, or click here to request a room online.