The year was 1585, and a gentleman named Sir Walter Raleigh had become a cherished member of Queen Elizabeth I’s court.

By this time, the Queen of England had become quite interested in the colonization of what is now North America, and had elected Sir Walter Raleigh to travel with a small group of villagers, and begin America’s first permanent colony.

While Sir Walter Raleigh organized the expedition, a man named Ralph Lane was elected as governor and leader of the initial group. They set sail on April 9, 1585, with a fleet totaling five ships.

Storms and rough seas temporarily separated a couple of the ships, and the fleet’s primary ship, The Tiger, sought temporary refuge in Puerto Rico.

Eager to reunite with the other ships, The Tiger set sail once more but ran aground off the Ocracoke Inlet, which is part of the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

The accident damaged the ship and a lot of the group’s food supplies in the process. Sir Richard Grenville, who was Sir Walter Raleigh’s cousin, caused much strife with the local Native American tribes and accused the locals of stealing a prized silver cup he had brought with him on the journey.

Angered, Grenville proceeded to loot, and set fire to the nearest Native American settlement, causing a lot of tension, and hostility between the two groups.

Seeking revenge, the Native Americans carried out an organized attack on the settlers, which they were barely able to repel.

Increasing violence and ever-shortening food supplies made Ralph Lane decide to retreat back to England. The first attempt at colonization failed.

Fresh Hope 

Undeterred, Sir Walter Raleigh selected a man named John White to lead a second expedition to North America. This group arrived on what is now Roanoke Island in 1587. White led between 112 – 121 families, and individuals to the island, with the hope of beginning a new life for themselves.

Settling the land proved to be quite a challenge, but Governor White remained optimistic. Not long after their arrival, White’s daughter, Eleanor Dare, gave birth to her daughter, Virginia Dare–the first English child born on North American soil.

Eager to fortify the settlement, John White decided a supply run to England was necessary. Not long after his arrival in England, however, the country went to war with Spain. The war postponed White’s trip back to the colony until August 18, 1590.

The Colony, Vanished 

Excited to be reunited with his family, John White returned to Roanoke Island, only to be met with sheer bewilderment. The fort and the colony’s houses were damaged, but still standing.

The entire colony itself had vanished, including White’s daughter, and granddaughter. A single word, Croatoan, had been carved into a nearby tree. It was the only clue found.

White assumed it was a message from the colony, indicating that they had relocated to Croatoan Island, which is modern-day Hatteras Island. But when White explored the area, the colonists were still nowhere to be found.

To this day, historians and archaeologists have been unable to definitely say what happened to what is now known as the Lost Colony of Roanoke. Some people believe the colonists integrated themselves into the local Native American tribes.

Many people, however, believe that the colony was massacred, due to the continual poor treatment, and hostility towards the local tribes. The Croatoan message on the tree could have very well been left by the Croatoan tribe after the murders took place.

Visitors and permanent residents of present-day Roanoke Island believe the land is now permanently haunted by the lost colonists.

The Legendary White Doe  

Virginia Dare
An 1857 woodcut of Virginia Dare freely imagined in Native dress from Harper’s Magazine.

Historians who believe the Roanoke colonists integrated themselves into the local Native American tribes also tend to believe that Eleanor Dare was among them.

Legend has it that Eleanor, along with her daughter Virginia, were worried John White would never return with fresh supplies to the colony, and they had to rely on the locals in order to survive.

Several years passed. Virginia Dare, now a grown woman, got into some type of quarrel with one of the Native Americans, not knowing the man in question was considered to possess magical powers.

The Native American is said to have put a curse on Virginia, that would begin immediately following her death.

When, where, and how Virginia died continues to remain a mystery, but the legend states that upon her death, Virginia’s spirit became permanently trapped in the body of a white doe.

To this day, people visit Roanoke Island in the hopes of seeing this now famous doe. Many people claimed to have seen her, wandering about on the island, forever trapped.

Roanoke Island Inn

This now infamous island is haunted by more than just lost colonists, however.

During the 1860s, Asa Jones, and his wife Martha, built a modest, yet charming building on the island. It quickly became a bed, and breakfast, which remains in business to this day.

roanoke island inn

Passed down within the family, a man named Roscoe Jones owned the Roanoke Island Inn at some point after Asa had passed away. In addition to running the inn, Roscoe was also employed by the U.S. Postal Service, and is said to have taken great pride in his work.

He served as a postman in the town of Manteo for several years until, quite unexpectedly, he was let go from his position.

Utterly humiliated, Roscoe shut himself up in the inn, and refused to leave the confines of his bedroom if any guests happened to be about. Falling into despair, Roscoe passed away not long after he was let go.

Shortly after his death, family members, and guests began seeing an apparition walking into the front doors of the inn quite frequently. They believed it to be the spirit of Roscoe Jones, on account that the apparition always wore a postman’s uniform.

To this day, guests remain convinced that Roscoe’s spirit continues to linger at the Roanoke Island Inn. He is often heard walking back, and forth throughout the inn at night.

Blinds are often mysteriously put up, or down, and radios like to suddenly turn off, and on as well. Every once in a while, vases, and other delicate objects will be found smashed to bits on the floor at the hotel.

Many people suspect that Roscoe still harbors anger at losing his job, and makes his anger known, even in death.

Spend the night at the Roanoke Island Inn

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