A local news station has caused both alarm and amusement this week with its bizarre story that’s gone viral, about evil hair weaves.
“Thieves have killed four people while trying to steal hair weaves and products, and now many Memphians say demonic spirits could be to blame,” noted the report on WMC Action News 5 in Memphis, Tenn. on Thursday.
The news station made the massive leap as a way to explain a recent local crime wave that’s seen several hair vendors robbed and, in at least four cases, killed over their in-demand product. “To a lot of people, selling hair is like crack,“ one hair vendor told the station, explaining that thieves will steal the weaves and then sell it online or on the street. "Everybody is spending money on hair. They’re spending $300 to 400.”
To make its theoretical case, WMC referenced random YouTube videos — including this one from 2012 — being sure to interview a local pastor who noted that a belief in possessed weaves is “not from Christian doctrine.” The story also relied heavily on demon-fearing Facebook commenters, who weighed in with points including this one: “This is why I pray over my hair when I get it and curse every demonic force out because you never know whose hair you got in your head. Some think it’s funny or stupid but you never know. Especially since the hair once belonged to another human.”
Still, the vast majority of commenters on Facebook — where the local news story has been shared more than 23,000 times — have been mocking, calling the report “mind-numbing junk,” “idiotic nonsense,” and “beyond ridiculous,” noting, “this shouldn’t even be news!”
Other sites have picked up on the story, including Pop Sugar, which did a straight-faced take, noting on Twitter that “the whole #demonweave debate will scare he sh*t out of you.” Patheos shrugged, noting, “Must have been a very exciting day in the newsroom,” while the local Memphis Flyer also weighed in with some teasing, writing: “‘It may sound bizarre,’ [Jerca] Phillips said with the serious tone of a veteran broadcaster, ‘but some people believe virgin hair from India may be possessed during a ritual called tonsuring, the cutting of hair for religious reasons, or sacrifices to idol Gods.’”
Much of the hair used for extensions does indeed come from India — as well as from China (the world’s largest exporter of human hair), Malaysia, Cambodia, and Brazil, where there’s a range of stories behind all the hair that’s donated or sold. Do some people worry about it? Sure. But, as one observant Facebook commenter wondered, “Well it’s no different than an organ donor or a blood transfusion… so what’s the difference in the hair weaves?” Touché.