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  • Writer's pictureRain Bennett

Finding Croatoan's Origin Story

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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