A woman wearing a flowing black dress and headdress wandering the highways of the U.S. Southeast and Midwest has become a social media phenomenon. Since she began her trek on July 18, the wandering woman, dubbed The Woman in Black, has accumulated over 41,000 likes on a Facebook page titled "Where is the Woman in Black" devoted to tracking her travels, as well as a Twitter hashtag, #womaninblack.
According to Reuters, the woman has been identified as Elizabeth Poles, 56, by a man claiming to be her brother. Raymond Poles told Reuters that his sister was an Army veteran and widowed mother of two from Motts, Alabama. Poles reported that Elizabeth had been recieveing treatment at a Veterans Affairs facility in North Carolina due to difficulties she had in dealing with the deaths of her husband and father before she moved to Alabama to be near him four years ago.
The brother said his sister was doing well right after her release from the VA hospital, keeping her VA appointments and going to church. But a few months after the move, she started exhibiting strange behavior. She started walking long distances, showing up at his house unexpectedly at night, and cursing at him for no reason. Eventually, his sister refused to attend church any longer and began wandering, vanishing for months at the time.
According to local news station, WBTW in Tennessee, the woman has told people that she is "on a Bible mission." She has also told investigators that she was from an Islamic nation and worked at the Pentagon.
Elizabeth, wandering woman, or woman in black – no matter how you refer to her – has captured the hearts of social media users. People are fascinated by the mysterious woman clad in flowing black who wanders the busy highways, politely declining offers of assistance.
The woman's Facebook page contains photos of "Lady in Black" spottings and a map of her journey throughout the Southeast and Midwest. Twitter users have been posting pictures and messages keeping track of the wandering woman's journey, most of them, such as these, encouraging.Wherever you are going, I am praying for your health and safety #womaninblack
— TheQueenJenn (@JennDake) July 29, 2014Ok, she's at her destination of Winchester, VA...now what?! #womaninblack #TravelTuesday Travel is amazing no matter how you go about it :))It seems that U.S. social media users aren't the only ones fascinated by the mysterious black-clad woman, though. Her story is being reported on local media where ever she wanders, and was recently reported by British news outlet, The Daily Mail. Whatever her message, it seems destined to go international.
— Lindsay Marissa (@LindsayMarissa) July 30, 2014
Image courtesy of Free Bridal Themes