Are you fascinated with the story of the lost Roanoke Colony, the colony of settlers who mysteriously vanished from North Carolina in the late 1500s?
While many people know the basics of that story, not everyone knows about the Dare Stones, the series of stones discovered across the country whose inscriptions allegedly gave answers as to what happened to the members of the lost colony.
In case you didn’t know, in 1587, English explorer John White sailed with 115 settlers from England to North Carolina and settled on Roanoke Island. A few months after their arrival, John returned to England to gather supplies for his colony. But when he returned to Roanoke Island in 1590, everyone on the island, including his daughter, Eleanor Dare, his son-in-law Ananias, and his granddaughter Virginia, had mysteriously disappeared and were never seen again.
The disappearance of the lost Roanoke Colony had stumped and mystified scholars for years and still does to this day. That is, until 1937 when a fascinating discovery was made.
In 1937, a California resident named Louis Hammond brought a slab of rock he had found with his wife in North Carolina to Emory University in Atlanta. The slab was covered in etchings and had some kind of message on it, which Louis hoped scholars at Emory could translate.
Using professors from various academic departments, the staff at Emory were finally about to decipher the message on the slab, which read, “Ananias Dare & Virginia went hence Unto Heaven 1591” on the front.
The front of the slab also instructed anyone who came across it to give that message to John White and was signed by ‘EWD,’ who scholars believed to be Eleanor White Dare.
On the back of this rock was more of an explanation as to what happened to the members of the lost colony. It explained that after John White had left for England, the settlers moved inland. Then, more than half of them died of disease, while the survivors were killed by Native Americans. It cited that the victims, including Ananias and Virginia, were buried four miles east of the river at a gravesite marked by a rock that listed everyone’s name.
As soon as the message on the slab had been translated, scholars immediately set out to figure out if this information was true and actually written by Eleanor White Dare. Unfortunately, their findings were inconclusive, as there wasn’t any distinguishing evidence to prove the inscription was legit, leading many to believe the stone was a hoax.