Does one of your friends or family ever come home or send you a message to tell you “I saw your exact double today. They looked just like you!” How many times are you in a crowd and you think you see someone you know. You go to approach them and it isn’t until the very last minute that you realize it isn’t them….. But they look just the person you thought you were approaching. Have you ever heard the urban myth that if you see your exact double you will die? Or maybe if you run into your exact double, it’s the end of the universe (shout out to Back to the Future fans ) The phenomena of seeing you double is referred to as a Doppelganger. There are a lot of conspiracies, myths, and even some facts.
Doppelganger is a German word. Dopple meaning Double and Ganger meaning goer or walker. It is defined as being the double or look-alike of a living person. It is sometimes referred to as a Twin Stranger, but commonly in today’s world is referred to as a Doppelganger. While the superstition around doppelgangers has been around since the late 1700s (which is evident in German novels where the term was first coined), it has started becoming more of a topic of discussion in paranormal circles.
One of the most famous accounts of a doppelganger is in Edgar Allan Poe’s short story William Wilson. The main character meets his double or doppelganger when he is a child. All through his life, he is followed by his double who seems to cause mischief in the main character’s life. When the main character tries to do some bad things, his double stops him. The main character kills his doppelganger only to realize it is a reflection of his own self. Of course, there had to be a hidden meaning and something to take away – it was a story!
There are theories that a Doppelganger could be an apparition of a living person and hence why it is a double. Much like the myth and stories of the Banchee, people have reported seeing a Doppelganger of themselves or a loved one before someone has died. I have read many ghost stories of where someone has seen a family member in another town or city at the same time or moments before they pass away if almost to say goodbye.
Another theory is that a spirit can take on the form of a living person in order to trick a living person. I myself and others I know have experienced this type of phenomenon during an investigation and I know others have too. There was one specific occasion at Black Rock House where I heard one of my friends call my name. I was inside the house and it sounded like they were outside the house calling my name to come outside. The thing was, my friends hadn’t yet arrived – they were still on their way. At another location, I thought I saw one of my fellow investigators walk across the hallway. The thing was, they were in another building at the time. I could have sworn I saw them, but it couldn’t have been them. Was it a case of my imagination running wild on these occasions or is there some merit to the theory that it is a spirit tricking us?
In 2014 there was a study that concluded that our faces as a human race have evolved due to the importance of individuality. While we may walk down the street and we are able to tell the difference between all the faces (unless there are some genuine identical twins walking down the street), if we look at two pigeons for example, can we immediately tell them apart? No we can’t and they believe it is because of the way we as humans have evolved. Even though our features as humans vary, our genes do not. It essentially becomes a numbers game so there is always going to be a random occurrence that means that someone is going to have similar features to you. When you look at a lot of photos of doppelgangers or when you see someone’s ‘double’ at the shops, you notice small things that can tell them apart. So they are not an exact copy, they just look similar and it is all because of science. There is also your sense of perception to take into account as well. I might look at someone and think wow they look just like you and then you could look at them and say no way they don’t look like me at all. While you are used to looking in the mirror every single day and you know all of your features, your friend doesn’t see them in such detail so their perception is that if something is similar to them it could look like ‘an exact copy’.
Abraham Lincoln has a famous account of seeing his own doppelganger in a mirror. I know that you expect to see yourself in a mirror, but this wasn’t his reflection. He saw two reflections and one was paler than the other. His wife believed it to be a vision. He was assassinated 5 years later in what was likely to be a coincidence. There is also a legend that Elizabeth the 1st entered her bedroom and found herself lying on the bed looking pale and sick. She soon fell ill and died in the exact bed. There is a famous painting by Dante Gabriel Rossetti which captured this fear. It was called ‘How they met themselves’ and depicts a woman being confronted by her doppelganger and faints at the thought of her impending death.
In folklore, some cultures believe that your double followed you like a shadow and that this was your soul. If a person didn’t have a shadow, they didn’t have a soul which is why Vampires do not have a reflection. Your reflection reflects your soul. This can also explain superstition around mirrors. In some cultures, people cover mirrors when their loved ones have died as their souls are wandering the earth, and they do not want their souls to become trapped in a mirror.
There are some conspiracy theories where some people believe that the government uses our DNA to make clones of our self. They believe that we are killed and replaced by our clone who is ‘working’ for the government. I’m not much into conspiracy theories and while I don’t necessarily trust the government, I am not ready to believe they are slowly killing us off and replacing us with clones. I do enjoy the movie the 6th Day though and who knows with the way science is heading, we don’t know what the future may hold.
Whether you believe it is just a coincidence, a spirit, a clone, or who knows what else, here are two of my favourite celebrity Doppelgangers to make you laugh.
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