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Woman in Black is a mysterious figure who has been sighted wearing a long flowing black dress and black shroud while walking along highways in parts of the United States. After photos of the woman began circulating online in June 2014, the woman was identified as United States Army veteran Elizabeth Poles.
On June 1st, 2014, police responded to a report of a suspicious woman wearing a “black shroud and head piece” outside a highway convenience store in Kingsport, Tennessee. The woman told police she was visiting from the Sahara Desert to complete a “bible mission.” After claiming she resided in “the Islamic Nation” and referring to the United States as “the U.S. foreign grounds,” officers contacted the department of Homeland Security who subsequently cleared her of being a threat.
On June 3rd, 2014, YouTuber HassHail uploaded a video titled “Mystery Woman in Black,” featuring footage of a woman in a long black dress who had purportedly been seen walking around Wise County in Virginia (shown below). In the first two months, the video gathered more than 170,000 views and 200 comments.
On the same day, the local news station WCYB identified her as United States Army veteran Elizabeth Poles from Motts, Alabama and featured a Google Maps layer populated with sightings of the woman (shown below).
On July 18th, 2014, the “Where is the Mysterious Woman in Black?” Facebook page was launched for reported sightings of Poles. Within two weeks, the page gained over 34,000 likes. On July 24th, Twitter user @Milso_Sister posted a photograph of Poles walking on the side of a road in Hillsboro, Ohio along with the hashtag #womaninblack.
News Media Coverage
In the coming days, several news sites published articles about the social media discussions of the mysterious woman, including USA Today and NBC News. A man claiming to be Pole’s brother Raymond told Reuters that she had been receiving treatment from a Veterans Affairs hospital to cope with the deaths of her husband and father and that she has disappeared for months at a time after shaving her head and refusing to go to church.
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