News

Meme of Ingersoll student with broken arms has gone viral and seen by millions on numerous social media sites

By Heather Rivers, Woodstock Sentinel-Review

First up Ingersoll resident Kaitlyn Homan wants people to know she never, ever jumped off a water tower.

Secondly, she wants them to know, that, yes, she has seen the viral meme that was created from an altered photo shot by the Sentinel-Review photographer five year ago.

And, Homan, 19, said she hopes her Facebook friends will now stop tagging her in photo that originally was of her with two broken arms standing in front of a science project about the Ingersoll water tower.

Homan was 14 and attending grade eight at Woodstock Christian School, formerly John Knox, when the photo was snapped.

The meme went viral after someone came up with the idea of changing the title of the science project from Ingersoll Water Tower to Jumping Off Buildings: How High is Too High?

“It was funny at first but now its just annoying,” she said.

According to Wikipedia a meme “is an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.”

The photo shows Homan with two broken arms that were the result of a snowboarding accident earlier that year.

According to her mother Lizette Schinkel Homan, her daughter had picked the water tower as the topic of her science project “out of the blue” and thought it might be an interesting topic to research.

Last year, while camping, Homan said she was stopped briefly at Tim Hortons when she first saw the meme on an Instagram page.

“I thought it was kind of fun,” she said. “It wasn’t offending anyone — a lot of memes can be hurtful.”

From there it spread across numerous social media sites and even appeared on a public Ingersoll Facebook page.

Homan, who is currently studying social work at Redeemer University in Hamilton, said last month the meme could be found on one social media site with 12.4 million followers.

“Twelve million people have seen her face,” her mother said. “That’s probably a strange feeling.”

But her mother said the meme shows how naive people can be by reading comments posted underneath.

“If you Google it you can see how gullible people are; they really believe she did this,” she said.

Her advice to meme readers?

“Don’t believe everything you see on the Internet, a lot has been Photoshopped,” she said.

An online forum entitled Snopes, which examines and fact checks urban legends, even published a story about the Ingersoll water tower meme, letting the Internet know the photo had been doctored and was a fake.

Schinkel Homan predicts the Internet will soon tire of her daughter’s meme.

“It’ll die off,’ she said. “But in five years someone will Photoshop it again and it take off.”

HRivers@postmedia.com