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)

Recent Headlines

54 mins ago in Lifestyle

Public pools are gross, but you’ll go swimming anyway

Fresh
16-overlay-10

A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says almost 80 percent of public pools fail routine health inspections.

1 hour ago in Entertainment

‘The Fast and the Furious’ racing back to theaters for anniversary run

Fresh
11-overlay-13

The first film in the highly-popular franchise was released on June 22, 2001 and will hit theaters again next month for a limited nationwide run.

1 hour ago in Entertainment

Dustin Diamond back in jail in Wisconsin

Fresh
dustindiamond

The former "Saved by the Bell" star reportedly violated the terms of his parole.

1 hour ago in Entertainment

WATCH: ‘Game of Thrones’ creators apologize

Fresh
24-overlay-9

They're not sorry for killing off Hodor ... they're sorry for the aftermath.

2 hours ago in Entertainment

Amber Heard files for divorce from Johnny Depp

Fresh
deppheardREUTERS

Actress Amber Heard has filed for divorce from the "Pirates of the Caribbean" star after just 15 months of marriage.