See UPDATE below.
An admittedly creepy photo of a hooded mysterious figure has sparked some speculation on the Internet.
A picture of a cloaked person posted online sparked a Facebook frenzy Monday.
And the speculation followed.
Was she a witch performing a ritual, or was he a guy playing a prank?
Two pictures popped up on the Facebook group One Man’s Junk Sunday night and Monday morning.
The photos are taken through a window with blinds in the foreground and a cloaked, pale person outside near some woods.
The social media chatter says the man or woman is in the Hudson Woods apartment complex off of Hudson Boulevard, but police say it hasn’t been confirmed.
The Gastonia, North Carolina police aren’t clear where the photo was taken, if it was nearby at ALL. It’s also difficult to tell if it’s a man or woman. Then, the rumor evolved that the figure was leaving raw meat around. The Daily Mail reports this in their headline: “Cloaked figure is ‘dropping RAW MEAT on North Carolina playgrounds'”, thus coining the idea of the “meat man”. I’m leaning towards it being a woman due to the gracile arms and hands.
The raw meat scare seemed to be spawned by a Facebook commenter. However, the recent news reports that police have still NOT confirmed the location (which probably shouldn’t be too difficult if it was the apartment complex) and note it could just be a prank. It’s not even clear if the “meat” claim is at all true! Be skeptical; stories take on a life of their own beyond truth.
For stories like this, it is important to pay attention to sources (Facebook posts), confirmation (if any, in this case, none) and the transmission of the story (social media sharing and media repeating the story). In this case, it has caused some concern but there is little basis for that concern.
UPDATE (26-Aug) The figure was a girl practicing for a school project.
The apartment director told WBTV on Tuesday that the photos are real and were taken at the apartment complex, but the figure was just a student acting like a television character for a school project.
Calhoun told the Gaston Gazette that the girl’s mother saw the “overwhelming response” and called the leasing agent.
There was no meat involved. People might need to stop taking their sensationalist stories to social media and perhaps leave their house to find out what’s going on if they are so concerned.