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The Primary Source

The journals sailors, soldiers and colonists wrote throughout the early age of exploration in the New World are known as primary sources. These records are an integral part of our understanding history through the eyes of those that lived it. Here on our blog for Finding Croatoan, filmmakers Rain Bennett and David Iversen will keep their own journal of their thoughts and experiences. This journal is our way of saying "thank you" for your support in this project and is only available to those that have signed up to our mailing list.

  • Writer's pictureRain Bennett

Earlier this week, the Finding Croatoan team drove up to the mountains of North Carolina to spend the day with Andrew Lawler, the author of The Secret Token: Myth, Obsession, and the Search for the Lost Colony of Roanoke.

Have you read the book yet? It is incredible.

Andrew, after writing an article for National Geographic following archaeological digs happening at "Site X" in Bertie County as well as Buxton, NC -- with Scott Dawson and Dr. Mark Horton -- caught the fever that many do when diving deeper into the world of "America's Oldest Mystery."

This lead him to spend the next two years writing the book that came out in 2018.

On a rainy day in Asheville (thanks to Hurricane Zeta) we sat with Andrew for almost four hours talking about the theories, conflicting evidence, and the real reasons that people become obsessed with finding the Lost Colony of Roanoke.

Currently, Andrew is writing a new article for National Geographic about "Site Y," the location of a new dig happening in Bertie County, NC.

Ultimately, Mr. Lawler isn't sure that this mystery will ever be solved for good.

“Of course we want to solve the mystery. But if we solve the mystery, then we may actually have to confront those deeper, thorny issues that our country still faces today. That is, what does it really mean to be “American?”

What is it that drives us to chase this mystery so passionately?

Is it just for the sake of solving a riddle?

Or are we trying to answer a question about who we are?

Stay tuned for more news on Finding Croatoan! We have some exciting plans for releasing the film in late 2021/early 2022.

Because as you may know, this story continues to grow...

- Rain Bennett, Director

  • Writer's pictureRain Bennett

After 10 years of digging on Hatteras Island, Scott Dawson (the main character in our film) has published a book announcing the evidence that they have found.

The Lost Colony and Hatteras Island came out on June 15, 2020 and even in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, has exploded on the Outer Banks and beyond!

What started off as a few local book signings and one local news appearance on WAVY 10 has grown into a viral story that originated in

The Virginian Pilot and gained national attention through outlets like VICE and Newsweek.

Dawson's book reached the #1 spot in Amazon's history category and #625 in overall books on Amazon -- that's out of 8 MILLION!!

We couldn't be prouder of Scott since we know first hand what he has gone through, and fought against, to get this story out to the public.

We will be doing our part, as well, when we bring this film to UNC-TV next year and possibly even national PBS, given the renewed national interest in this story.

If you haven't read the book yet, get your copy now and see what all the fuss is about!

Have a great week,

Rain Bennett, Director

  • Writer's pictureRain Bennett

Travel Channel's Josh Gates and the CAS crew!

Growing up in eastern North Carolina, and with family in the United Life Saving Service, I had an affinity for all stories of coastal Carolina. That included the rescue missions of the USLSS, the evolution of lighthouses, the Wright Brothers' first flight, the adventures of Blackbeard the Pirate, and all the legends, folklore, and ghost stories in between.

Over the years, I accumulated quite the collection of North Carolina books.

One one of my trips to the Chicamacomico Life Saving Museum in Rodanthe, I picked up a book by Scott Dawson called Croatoan: Birthplace of America.

I reached out to Scott on Facebook and we became friends, both recognizing our commonalities as two eastern North Carolina boys that grew up playing sports. He shared with me his passion and his mission and I knew I wanted to be a part of telling his story, but I just didn't know how.

In 2016, the opportunity presented itself.

I was working with the Travel Channel show, Expedition Unknown, for the second year in a row. This time, they were doing an episode on the Lost Colony and coming to the Outer Banks. I immediately jumped at the opportunity to help them make this show and I knew that if it was going to be good, it needed to feature the work of Scott and Maggie Dawson and the Croatoan Archaeological Society.

When I asked if the team had spoken to Scott, they told me they tried but had gotten no response. I messaged Scott on Facebook and he said that he was skeptical of working with reality shows, as they tended to over dramatize everything instead of trying to find the truth.

I was never happier to be a middle man.

I convinced Scott that Josh Gates was the real deal and they wanted to present real theories, not just the wacky ones that people love to dream up. He trusted me and I think we are both pleased with the outcome of that trust. Expedition Unknown featured \Scott and CAS as a major player and leader in the search for The Lost Colony.

Everyone was happy with the final result - which was both entertaining and educational.

After working closely with Scott on the show, and building up that friendship and trust even more, I pitched him the idea of my producing parter David and I following CAS on their next dig and telling their story.

He finally agreed.

As of now, we are in the company of media outlets like Travel Channel, National Geographic, and Discovery Channel in the coverage of this story, but are the ONLY ones with this amount of access to the behind-the-scenes events and findings down on Hatteras Island.

This is how the story started, but boy I can't wait to see how it ends. ;)

-Rain Bennett, Director

Filming in the pit down in Buxton

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