Written by John Squires
Last week, FX released six different video teasers for the sixth season of American Horror Story, and they left the entire internet scratching its collective head. What will the theme of the new season be, when the series returns on September 14th? It’s impossible to tell, based on the teasers, but set photos may have just solved the mystery.
As shared by TMZ, images from the Santa Clarita, California set (click the link to see them all) seem to reveal a colonial-era theme for American Horror Story Season 6, which reflects a recent reveal that the new season will partially take place in the past. Most telling is a mysterious word carved into a tree on the set, as TMZ notes…
“If you paid attention in school … you remember that word from the mystery of Roanoke — the 1590 North Carolina colony where 117 people vanished. The only clue was the word “CROATOAN” — a nearby Native tribe — carved into bark. There have been all kinds of creepy legends about the colony.”
In 1587, Sir Walter Raleigh dispatched a new group of 115 colonists to establish a colony on Chesapeake Bay. They were led by John White, an artist and friend of Raleigh who had accompanied the previous expeditions to Roanoke. White was later appointed Governor and Raleigh named 12 assistants to aid in the settlement. They were ordered to travel to Roanoke to check on the settlers, but when they arrived on July 22, 1587, they found nothing except a skeleton that may have been the remains of one of the English garrison.
When they could find no one, the fleet’s commander Simon Fernandez refused to let the colonists return to the ships, insisting that they establish the new colony on Roanoke. His motives remain unclear.
White re-established relations with the Croatan and other local tribes, but those with whom Lane had fought previously refused to meet with him. Shortly thereafter, colonist George Howe was killed by a native while searching alone for crabs in Albemarle Sound.
Fearing for their lives, the colonists persuaded Governor White to return to England to explain the colony’s desperate situation and ask for help. Left behind were about 115 colonists – the remaining men and women who had made the Atlantic crossing plus White’s newly born granddaughter Virginia Dare, the first English child born in the Americas.
White sailed for England in late 1587, although crossing the Atlantic at that time of year was a considerable risk. Plans for a relief fleet were delayed first by the captain’s refusal to return during the winter, and then the attack on England of the Spanish Armada and the subsequent Anglo-Spanish War. Every able English ship joined the fight, leaving White without a means to return to Roanoke at the time. In the spring of 1588, White managed to acquire two small vessels and sailed for Roanoke; however, his attempt to return was thwarted when the captains of the ships attempted to capture several Spanish ships on the outward-bound voyage (in order to improve their profits). They themselves were captured and their cargo seized. With nothing left to deliver to the colonists, the ships returned to England.
Because of the continuing war with Spain, White was unable to mount another resupply attempt for an additional three years. He finally gained passage on a privateering expedition that agreed to stop off at Roanoke on the way back from the Caribbean. White landed on August 18, 1590, on his granddaughter’s third birthday, but found the settlement deserted. His men could not find any trace of the 90 men, 17 women, and 11 children, nor was there any sign of a struggle or battle.
The only clue was the word “CROATOAN” carved into a post of the fence around the village. All the houses and fortifications had been dismantled, which meant that their departure had not been hurried. Before he had left the colony, White instructed them that, if anything happened to them, they should carve a Maltese cross on a tree nearby, indicating that their absence had been forced. There was no cross, and White took this to mean that they had moved to Croatoan Island (now known as Hatteras Island), but he was unable to conduct a search. A massive storm was forming and his men refused to go any further; the next day, they left.
TMZ also says that set spies have spotted the cast in Pilgrim-era clothing.
Lady Gaga, Angela Bassett and Cheyenne Jackson have all confirmed their Season 6 involvement. Jessica Lange, however, will not be returning.
Watch all six teasers below.