The "#Woman In Black" Mystery Unravels As Facebook Pieces Together Clues
She's traveling up the eastern United States, shrouded in a drapey, black robe, and walking silently as bystanders try to talk to her or take her picture. She's evoked a whole gamut of responses from people who have encountered her, from being in awe to being totally creeped out. She's the mysterious Woman in Black. Little is known about her, but everyone's intrigued. The anonymous Woman in Black has now become a social media sensation, and the puzzle is slowly being pieced together through the many, many posts.
According to the Daily Dot, the Woman in Black has claimed to be from an Islamic nation and to be a former Pentagon employee — assertions that were later confirmed to be false. But there might be some truth to her claim that she's on a "Bible mission." One witness documented the woman fervently debating religion with a man in a parking lot as a group of bystanders watched. The tape clearly illustrates her passion and knowledge of the Bible, which many believe is driving her journey.
Earlier this week, Raymond Poles told Reuters that he was the woman's brother, and identified the Woman in Black as Elizabeth Poles, 56. According to him, she is a U.S. Army veteran, a widow, and a mother of two from Motts, Alabama. Raymond described his sister as "kind-hearted," but said that since the deaths of her husband in 2008 and their father in 2009, she's been feeling conflicted about church and started disappearing for months at a time.
"I wish she would come back and let us help her," Raymond told Reuters.
On Thursday, NBC4 Washington reported that the Woman in Black had ended her journey in Winchester, Virginia the day before, and that police had escorted her to an undisclosed location for her safety. She reportedly intends to make Winchester her home. The road home has been a long one, though.
The first tweet using the #WomaninBlack hashtag was posted on July 17, and debate over her intentions was already in full swing.
The next day, a Facebook page called "Where is the Mysterious Woman in Black?" was created, providing a platform for fans and critics to engage in the conversation and speculation.
On July 19, the page's administrator posted a few towns in which the woman was seen.
On July 21, the administrator posted that she had been spotted in Cynthiana, Kentucky.
On July 23, the woman was spotted in Fayetteville, Ohio.
Based on Facebook users' posts, the administrators mapped her route, showing that she's been traveling north through Appalachia. Sightings have been confirmed in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, and Virginia.
One woman's personal journey has provided fodder for speculation on social media.
One person even accused her of being an Islamic extremist.
For the most part, people have been respectful, even offering rides and food, which the woman usually turns down. The Facebook page in her honor says it best:
This page was not created as a means to harass, stalk, endanger, or belittle this woman. It was created in hopes of reminding people to open their hearts and become a little less judgmental and more willing to lend a hand to those in need. If you meet this woman, please, offer her a drink, a meal, whatever it may be you feel she needs. Be hospitable. Be kind. And try to remember to carry those qualities not only to this mysterious woman, but to everyone.
Images: Where is the Mysterious Woman in Black?/Facebook