It’s what all the cool kids are saying,
Spoilers for the word actually leaked prior to the season starting when TMZ was allowed to take set pictures (see image below), and our minds have been abuzz ever since, and we would like to take a moment to explore the words past within the show, and the actual origins of the word.
On top of the TMZ images, episode 3 was using the word like it was the new bae (see first image), and even the resident psychic Cricket gave us a little Croatoan during the seance
This isn’t the first season the word has been used either. If we take a trip down memory lane to season 1, you might recall a psychic Bilie Dean told Violet the (abridged) story of the Lost Colony of Roanoke, and how the violent spirits of the colonists had been terroizing the local native tribes. She goes on to explain that a local elder gathered the settlers old belongings to summon them and then banished them with a curse–the word Croatoan.
Apparently Billie Dean isn’t the best fact cheker, as the vengeful spirits of the colonists were obviously not banished and are still terrorizing people. Not surprising, as this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Billie Dean provide misinformation about the use of Croatoan
Now lets snap back to reality,
[A gif of Eminem’s Lose Yourself with the line “snap back to reality” was omitted to save everyone’s sanity]
Historically, the word Croatoan is much less spiritual and is actually a name of a Native American tribe that resided on the North Carolina coast. The tribe inhabited the area in which the lost colony of Roanoke was established. It is worth noting that the Croatan tribes were part of the Algonquian peoples which largely favored cooperation with European settlers.
The tie between the Croatan tribe and the Lost Colony comes from the word Croatan being carved on a tree near the long abandoned settlement. When the governor first left the colony after establishment, it had been agreed upon that if the colony were to move they would carve a message in a tree, and that if they were driven out by force they would include a specific symbol in the carving
(which was not present on any trees,and paired with the generally friendly nature of the nearby tribes it is assumed the colonists were not murdered)
It is theorized that the surviving colonists assimilated into the Croatan tribe, who presumably took them in when their supplies ran out.
So while the origins of the word Croatoan are not as insidious as a spirit banishing curse, they are still ominous.
And lets not forget the misuse of the word in season 4 in Supernatural for the name of the demon blood virus!
The promo for episode 4 also includes more insight into the words use in season 6