7. Supernatural/Religious Explanations
There have been many supernatural and religious explanations that incorporate Native American belief systems. There is no scientific basis for these theories, but they are still taken very seriously by the Native American populations as explanations on what happened to the missing settlers of Roanoke. They mainly revolve around Native American spirits that help explain away not only the behavior of the colonists before they disappeared, but also why the colonists disappeared without a trace.
Native Americans believe in a wild spirit in the form of a beast called a wendigo. When people resort to eating human flesh, as in the case of cannibalism, their bodies are taken over by a wendigo. If the people of Roanoke resorted to cannibalism, then according to this belief, they are still alive, roaming the woods of North Carolina, in the form of wendigos.
The Croatoan belief system includes a spirit on the island that had the power to absorb humans into the landscape. If the spirit was offended or angered, it would turn people into trees, animals, stones, or any other part of the land. If the colonists were exploiting resources or abusing the land, it could have angered the spirit. This means that the people of Roanoke didn’t disappear at all; they were just absorbed into the land.
The Croatoan also believe in the Reptilian Devil of the Woods, an evil spirit that could attach itself to people. This spirit made people violent, greedy, and paranoid. The Croatoan believed that the reptilian spirit had possessed the settlers once they started to turn on each other after White left for England to retrieve more supplies.