In January, someone claiming to be “Linda Glocke” left a fateful Disqus comment on an ABC7.com story about the jihadi group ISIS threatening to kill two Japanese hostages. “I will destroy ISIS,” she promised.
Coming soon to a theater near you! 🎬 pic.twitter.com/CGV2Mew5hp
— Linda Glocke (@LindaGlocke) November 19, 2015
— jonah (@barapng) November 20, 2015
— BitJoseph (@BitHumorJoseph) November 19, 2015
But just who is Linda Glocke? The answer isn’t so simple. For starters, there are two Linda Glocke accounts on Disqus. The user who goes by “linda_glocke” seems more plausible as an average, genuine Internet commenter: clearly religious, a little judgmental, and sometimes sarcastic.
It seems obvious, then, that linda_glocke_1 is just poking around for a reaction with “her” comments, the ISIS vow being their viral masterpiece. We’re left to wonder, though, if linda_glocke is a genuine commenter or whether anyone by that name actually exists. This Linda Glocke on Facebook is not a physical match. LinkedIn’s Linda Glocke, based in Omaha, Nebraska, doesn’t have a profile picture. Whitepages gives us two Linda Glockes (the one in Nebraska and another in Wisconsin), but both are over 60, which again seems to contradict the photo avatar attached to both Disqus accounts.
So let’s take a closer look at that photo. This Twitter parody account carries a slightly expanded version of it—you can see the woman is standing in a group. Plug that into a reverse image search and you find what appears to be the source image; it came from a long-dormant blog about “teaching cardio to the 2nd batch of first year medical students at the Patan Academy of Health Sciences in Nepal,” written by Dr. Carol-Ann Courneya, currently an associate professor in the University of British Columbia’s Department of Cellular & Physiological Sciences.
Sadly, she could not. “I do not know the person in question,” Courneya told the Kernel in an email. “It was a group shot at a popular viewpoint.”
And so, for now, the trail runs cold. We could find no connection, either, between any Linda Glocke and the Patan Academy of Health Sciences, and if we had, it would be a stretch to link her and the Linda Glocke in Omaha who specializes in public relations. Did a real Linda Glocke simply co-opt someone else’s appearance for the linda_glocke account? Or did someone separately borrow the image and name? And what relation is the linda_glocke_1 troll? We may never know.
What would be most incredible (and is perhaps most likely) in all this confusion is that there’s a woman walking around right now who has no clue she’s the face of 2015’s most enduring, relatable, mysterious meme. Whoever you are, ma’am—Linda Glocke or not—we salute you.
— Linda Glocke (@LindaGlocke) December 2, 2015
A version of this story originally appeared on the Daily Dot on Dec. 3, 2015.
Photo via Carol-Ann Courneya