News

Social media asks: ‘Who is the woman in black?’

Social media asks: ‘Who is the woman in black?’

Photo: clipart.com

By Brendan O’Brien

(Reuters) – A quiet woman wearing a flowing, black dress and mysteriously strolling along busy highways in parts of the U.S. Southeast and Midwest has the curious wondering who she is and spurred a social media site to document her trek.

She has been dubbed the “Woman in Black,” by TV stations, police and followers on the Web, including those on a Facebook page where she has been tracked on a nearly 500-mile journey with a black bag and walking stick in hand that has taken her from Ranger, Georgia, to Athens, Ohio, since July 18.

“If you meet this woman, please, offer her a drink, a meal, whatever it may be you feel she needs. Be hospitable. Be kind,” said a post on the Facebook page, which has 19,000 followers.

Several television stations have covered the “Woman in Black” when she has passed through, reporting that some believe the woman, who rarely speaks, is on a religious mission.

An NBC affiliate in Sullivan County, Tennessee, reported she told deputies there that she is from an Islamic nation and worked at the Pentagon. Deputies later said neither was true.

Raymond Poles told Reuters he is the woman’s brother, identifying her as Elizabeth Poles, 56, a U.S. Army veteran, mother of two children and a widow from Motts, Alabama.

Elizabeth Poles had been receiving treatment at Veterans Affairs hospitals to deal with the deaths of her husband in 2008 and her father in 2009, he said.

“Her and my dad were really close,” he said.

Poles spent time in a VA hospital in North Carolina before moving near her brother in Phenix City, Alabama, about four years ago to be close to her family.

For the first three months, Poles was “doing great,” going to church on Sundays and to her regular appointments at the nearby VA hospital, he said.

“She got to where she started walking from the (hospital) about a mile away,” he said. “She then started just popping up at my house and then one night she came over and just started cursing.”

Poles recalled one Sunday when his sister shaved her head and refused to go to church. Since then, Elizabeth has vanished for months at a time. Poles said his sister is a loving, kind-hearted woman.

“I wish she would come back and let us help her,” he said.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Eric Beech)

Latest Stories

15 mins ago in Local, Local Sports, UVA Sports

Virginia Baseball Prepares For ACC Tourney

Fresh
WP-VirginiaBaseball

Virginia's Skipper previews the ACC Tournament.

1 hour ago in Entertainment

Depp back as Mad Hatter in ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’

Fresh
22-overlay-3

The movie follows on from the 2010 box office hit "Alice in Wonderland," which starred Depp alongside Australian actress Mia Wasikowska as the titular heroine and Oscar nominee Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen.

1 hour ago in Lifestyle, National

Record number of Millennials are living with their parents

Fresh
23-overlay-9

Living at home with parents is now the most common arrangement for people age 18-34.

2 hours ago in National, World

Obama to Asians worried about U.S. election: It’s going to be OK

Fresh
16-overlay-8

U.S. President Barack Obama sought on Wednesday to ease growing Asian worries about the raucous election campaign to succeed him which has been dominated by the incendiary rhetoric of mogul Donald Trump, now the Republican Party's nominee.

2 hours ago in Sports

Super Bowls awarded

Fresh
goodell16145779127383

The NFL has awarded the 2019 through 2021 Super Bowls to three cities that have significant financial investments in new stadiums or recently upgraded an existing one.