Who Is The "Woman In White" Haunting The Town In Sharp Objects?

Photo: Anne Marie Fox/HBO.
Gossip is dangerous in Sharp Objects, but in a place like Wind Gap, Missouri, it is as deadly as a weapon. The Southern ladies of the fictional small town collect nuggets of (mis)information like arsenals, keeping them locked and loaded to use at a moment's notice. But the juiciest piece of heard-around-town goss that Camille Preaker (Amy Adams) hears is actually from a group of rough kids, not highlighted and tweezed housewives, and it's not about a living person, it's about a haunted one. In episode 2 of Sharp Objects, Camille speaks to a young boy who gives her her biggest scoop yet: there was an eye witness at the scene of Natalie Keene's (Jessica Treska) disappearance — and the boy, James Capisi (Dylan Schombing) who saw her last also thinks he saw who took her. The only problem is that he believes it was the "woman in white," a Grimm Brothers-esque characters drawn directly from the town's superstitious past.
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The circumstances around his home life (his mom's sick — with cancer and an addiction to drugs — and his dad's absent), and his statement (he saw a woman clad in all-white hug Natalie and disappear with her into the woods, but not before flashing him a toothy smile), there's a lot to unpack around this "woman in white."
Could it really be possible that Camille just solved the mystery of who killed Natalie and Ann Nash (Kaegan Baron)? Let's breakdown everything we know about this mysterious woman in white haunting our little James. And possible kidnapping children.
Who is the woman in white?
The "woman in white" refers to a long-standing piece of town gossip that an old woman lives in the woods waiting to snatch little kids. This is the first time that the town's folklore has been used to explain the real-life murders of two young girls. The idea of a woman being involved in Natalie's kidnapping is frustrating to officials because they are confident that a man is responsible for these crimes.
She's "in white," but what exactly does she look like?
We have only seen a flicker of the pale, white woman in the series, but she looks like a ghost. In the book, the "woman in white" is described as looking "old like a mother." James says she "was wearing a white bed dress with white hair. She was just all white, but not like a ghost." Camille presses James further asking, "White like how?" "Just like she'd never been outside before," he replies.
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Is she real or an illusion?
The idea of the "woman in white" is definitely just that: an idea. But that doesn't mean that there wasn't someone in the woods who took Natalie, and that doesn't mean that James didn't see it happen. Maybe the lines blurred between fantasy and reality (it's very hot and humid in this Southern town), but the fact that James is sitting in his house with a gun, reluctant to leave his beat-up home on the outskirts of it, it makes you feel like there's something very real about his fear.
What was the folklore about her?
The book's author, Gillian Flynn, sees the "woman in white" as a sort-of maternal Slender Man. Even though it's unclear what happened to Natalie, this figment of the murders and disputed piece of evidence is a big part of the story. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, she described the importance of her creepy, pale witch-like figure. "The female mythology runs rampant all throughout Sharp Objects, mostly in the novel and, you'll see, in the TV show," she told the site. "That's kind of a first real flicker of that. That whole moment I've always found very creepy, to get to see that come to life."
She added that she was so into this flash of magic and the supernatural in the book that she considered creating a spin-off series about her. "I've always wanted to do a Woman in White spinoff — the original Slender Man sort of idea, how that came to be, what the origin story of the Woman in White was," she said. "I actually sketched out a short story years ago when I was writing Sharp Objects. They always said, 'That story's been around for years. Don't pay attention.' I was like, 'Really?' Of course my weird little brain was like, 'It's been around for years? When did it come to be? Let's write this, too.' Because that has to be a story itself." Whether we see her again in Camille's memories or future, it's clear that Wind Gap isn't yet done with this eerie and ominous manifestation.
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Am I supposed to ignore the fact that Adora (Patricia Clarkson) was wearing a white night gown in last night's episode?
How could you ignore that?
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