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'Woman in Black' is social media mystery: Is black-clad woman on religious trek?

Have you seen the “Woman in Black?” A mysterious loner – a woman dressed in an all black, flowing robe and carrying a black luggage cart, a staff and a black bible – has been wandering America’s highways and causing quite the buzz on social media. Who is she? We have a name, but little else about this peculiar woman’s trans-country trudge.

Reuters news service reported on Monday that the “Woman in Black,” so named “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,” has been walking since July 18, and thus far has been spotted all over the Southeast and Midwest.

Her curious journey has spurred Facebookers to create a page dedicated to the woman, and her every move is being closely tracked. Over 25,000 fans are now wondering where this mystifying sojourner will end up, and why.

The author of the Facebook page reached out to those who may encounter her:

Despite what a few closed-minded, cold-hearted people may believe, 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. If you don't find this lady's story interesting, please, move along.

Mossy Grove, Tennessee resident Alexandria Schubert spotted the woman and attempted to talk with her, but the strange rambler just walked on. “Nobody knows the story to her,” Schubert said. “She won't talk to nobody. It's like a mysterious story on the internet.”

Reuters news did obtain some information however, speaking to the woman’s brother, Raymond Poles, who identified the Woman in Black as his sister, 56-year-old Elizabeth Poles, a U.S. Army veteran and a widowed mother of two who lived in Motts, Alabama before moving near her brother in Phoenix City, Alabama.

Raymond said his sister has been coping with the tragic loss of their father in 2008 and then, a year later, with the death of Elizabeth’s husband in 2009. Raymond reached out to his sister via the news report:

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.

The woman and her unexplained mission has led many to christen her a terrorist, a bible-thumper – NBC even mistakenly identified her as a former Pentagon worker gone rogue. Some have said she’s responsible for the mysterious white flags on the Brooklyn Bridge, while others are saying she’s mentally ill. Most are simply waiting to see where her Forrest Gump-like march will take her.

Despite being silent, Poles did get into a rather testy discussion over the bible and Jesus with a crowd of people at a Virginia Walmart, captured in a four minute YouTube video.

Have you seen Poles? What are your thoughts on what she’s up to? Sound off below.

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