The most popular theory about the plot of Season 6 involves the lost colony of Roanoke Island. Your history refresher: English settlers established a colony on the island, which is off the coast of North Carolina, in 1587. The community was doing OK for a couple years, but when the colonists' countrymen arrived in 1590 to deliver fresh supplies, they found the entire place deserted and a cryptic message carved into a fencepost: "CROATOAN." (It was echoed in a tree carving, which simply said, "CRO.") This bizarre discovery has stumped historians for centuries and terrified more than a few middle-school history students.
Earlier this month, TMZ tailed the production crew to Santa Clarita, California, where it uncovered a set that looked a lot like a 16th-century farm. Cast members were also reportedly seen in "Pilgrim-era clothing." And the real smoking gun? A tree with the word "CROATOAN" carved into it.
The American Horror Story anthology has referenced Roanoke before. In Season 1, psychic Billie Dean Howard (Sarah Paulson) tells Violet Harmon (Taissa Farmiga) that a Native American chief banished the ghosts of the dead Roanoke settlers with a curse. By Billie Dean's account, he used the word "Croatoan" to seal the deal, which is why it got carved on the fencepost. When Violet tries the word on an evil spirit ("Chad") later, it doesn't appear to do anything.