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June 30, 2020

Hanging dummy stirs social media furor

Credit: Cumberland Times-News, Lindsay Renner-Wood

GRANTSVILLE — Pictures of a dummy hanging by a rope from a tree outside a Grantsville home caused a furor Thursday on social media, attracting the attention of a U.S. congressman.

The photographs of the display have garnered the attention of U.S. Rep. David Trone, who represents Garrett County as part of Maryland’s 6th District.

“It has come to my attention that there is a racist, abhorrent hanging effigy displayed in Grantsville, Md,” Trone wrote on Twitter Thursday afternoon. “I have contacted local officials and authorities to offer my support to take this down immediately.

“If there was any question, racism is still very alive in our country today,” Trone said. “We must fight this disgusting behavior with every bone in our body. #BlackLivesMatter” 

Images of the display began circulating Wednesday on social media.

The dummy remained hanging late Thursday afternoon when a Times-News photographer visited the location. 

“Frostburg students, please know that these are the people that surround us when we go to Walmart, when we decide to go to Denny’s or to go downtown Cumberland,” one Twitter user wrote.

Others on Twitter commented that they had seen it themselves, and not recently; one user posted a video of the dummy they said they took while traveling in the area three years ago.

“Couldn’t count how many times I’ve passed this on my way to Deep Creek and it’s on a long dark road,” another user wrote. “One of the most unsettling feelings. Couldn’t believe my eyes the first time I saw it — thought it was just Halloween decorations but it never went down.”

Photos of similar hanging effigies in the front yard of the Chestnut Ridge Road residence have appeared online in years prior. A 2018 post on the website Reddit shows two dummies hanging from the tree, and a 2017 article from a Fox TV affiliate in Atlanta shows a single dummy hanging. A similar-looking home appears in the background of both those pictures.

The Times-News has unsuccessfully reached out to the person believed to be the homeowner for comment.