Photos of mystery person in black cloak sparks spooky speculation (UPDATE: Solved)

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?

Source: Photo of cloaked figure sparks Facebook frenzy

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.

hooded figure

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.

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 9.08.03 PM

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.

  19 comments for “Photos of mystery person in black cloak sparks spooky speculation (UPDATE: Solved)

  1. Eric
    August 24, 2015 at 10:07 PM

    My only concern is for the person in the cloak. They will definitely get a major beating in most places in the US. I’m far more concerned about thugs, muggers, etc than cloaked people dropping meat!?!?

  2. August 24, 2015 at 10:10 PM

    I have a cape like that, which I wear in the winter because it’s warm (I admit I am an old hippie who wears eclectic things like that). It seems like an odd choice for summer, but it could be lightweight. I don’t see a bag so where would the “meat” come from? It’s hard to tell what’s in her hands.

    Still…who cares? Why jump bad on someone just because he or she dresses a bit eccentrically? Someone called the police? On the basis of what, exactly?

    This is an incredibly depressing story to me. And to think, no one just went up to the person and tried to strike up a conversation – which, to me, would be the most logical thing to do if you were that nosy.

    “Witches” don’t do rituals alone, in public, in the daytime. I agree with the first poster, I am concerned for this person getting beat up, or worse.

  3. Ronald H. Pine
    August 24, 2015 at 11:25 PM

    Admittedly creepy? I guess that I just set a higher threshold for what I regard as creepy. My response to that outfit would be ho-hum. That would be the case even if we didn’t have an apparently homeless woman who dresses like that here in town.

  4. Chris
    August 25, 2015 at 12:17 AM

    I suspect it is someone doing cosplay, and the photographer was unaware. If the photographer had bothered to go outside, they might have seen more people wearing costumes.

    Youngest child would do group cosplay (like a meetup, once a month for a themed event, the Googles says it no longer happens since the major participants started college). They would descend upon a park to act out in their costumes, and photograph each other, all the while relishing the confused reactions from others. Though one time there was a wedding party at one of the city’s more prominent parks (Gasworks, a park on the lake with the skeletal remains of a former gas plant), and the wedding party invited the cosplayers to participate in a large group photo.

    edit to add: Of course this is what I was thinking about. Child has graduated from college and moved out. I am going through and packing up the many costumes made in high school, and the false starts done in college.

  5. H.K. Fauskanger
    August 25, 2015 at 4:34 AM

    The ghost of Emperor Palpatine, obviously. Don’t go too near or he’ll fry you with Force lightening.

  6. reprobate
    August 25, 2015 at 9:04 AM

    Oh, that is definitely creepy! Dropping raw meat anywhere is not an act that should be considered. Have you seen the price of meat in the markets these days? I’m lucky I’m even allowed near the meat counter as poor as I am. And to just throw it away? For kids who probably don’t even like meat (What??? It can’t be nuked in the microwave? It has to be cooked on the stove? No, I don’t want any!)?
    As for the garb, that isn’t close to upsetting. I know quite a number of people who have and wear cloaks similar to this and they’re about as creepy as fresh baked bread. Like our previous poster, Ms. Victoria, they’re either renegade hippies or even followers of Gaia or some combination therein. Their aversion to crass commercialism would be what some consider creepy.
    If this is an accurate report, I would have to automatically agree with Eric’s assessment. I would be concerned for the safety of the subject in the photo. There are some truly unsavory characters out there in the real world and the mind boggles at what could occur.

  7. Tony
    August 25, 2015 at 9:40 AM

    “May the farce be with you.” 😉

  8. raymond
    August 25, 2015 at 10:03 AM

    There is something incredibly staged looking about this shot with the hooded figure just too well lit for a “caught in the act” deal, But anyone would be scared if they saw that out of their window.

  9. Mauro Toffanin
    August 25, 2015 at 10:06 AM

    Occam’s razor suggests that the person with the cap is enjoying role-playing or LARPing.

  10. Tom
    August 25, 2015 at 11:08 AM

    We could have some fun of our own with this screen capture from The Innocents. How many would recognize it? Very few would be my guess. Let the trolling begin! 😉
    http://www.flavum.com/Picts/Innocents.jpg

  11. busterggi (Bob Jase)
    August 25, 2015 at 11:15 AM

    I don’t find the picture creepy at all.

    Maybe I know too many Wiccans to see this as odd.

  12. Dana
    August 25, 2015 at 12:54 PM

    Nightvale fandom? “There are hooded figures in the dog park.” Do they drop meat, though? Lol

  13. Blargh
    August 25, 2015 at 1:26 PM

    Intern Dana, is that you?

  14. L.Barth
    August 25, 2015 at 2:09 PM

    Just saw this story on a national news channel asking the question “Are we making too much of this photo”

  15. Apexdisorder
    August 25, 2015 at 5:33 PM

    The way the arms are positioned and the skin tone I see a Mannequin dressed in a cloak.

  16. August 25, 2015 at 5:37 PM

    There is hope.

  17. Christine Rose
    August 26, 2015 at 9:33 AM

    Apparently someone found a bag of meat two weeks earlier in a different spot and decided that the most likely explanation was that a teenager in a costume had dropped it as part of an obscure occult ritual. Eek.

  18. G
    August 28, 2015 at 12:47 PM

    Something like a decade and a half ago, I compared some cheap meat products and dog treats and decided the meat was cheaper. Lamb tail, or something like. My dogs wouldn’t touch it, ungrateful twits, until I microwaved it (oh, terrible, I know) *and* cut it up into tiny chunks.

    I got my full-length, hooded wool cloak at a garage sale. When I was a student it was my warmest winter garment. Cloaks aren’t creepy, they’re clothing.

  19. Russian Skeptic
    September 1, 2015 at 3:53 PM

    Nuns do look much creepier than that.

Comments are closed.