Mythical Creatures Series
Doppelgangers are similar to the ‘evil twin’ and cause a lot of trouble, but others see them as ghosts. Whichever way you see them, one thing is certain – its appearance is rarely good news.
What is it?
A doppelganger is a paranormal double or look-alike of a living person, and usually represent something evil. They are considered sinister, as well as the harbingers of misfortune. In some traditions, a doppelganger seen by a person’s friends or relatives portends illness or danger, while seeing one’s own doppelganger is an omen of death.
In Norse mythology, a vardøger is a ghostly double who precedes a living person and is seen performing their actions in advance.
In Finnish mythology, they are called having an etiäinen, (a firstcomer).
In Ancient Egyptian mythology, a ka was a tangible “spirit double” that has the same memories and feeling as the original person.
Carl Sandburg’s biography contains the following about Abraham Lincoln, who was believed to be superstitious. It’s worth noting that old mirrors will occasionally produce double images. Interesting.
A dream or illusion had haunted Lincoln at times through the winter. On the evening of his election he had thrown himself on one of the haircloth sofas at home, just after the first telegrams of November 7 had told him he was elected President, and looking into a bureau mirror across the room he saw himself full length, but with two faces. It bothered him; he got up; the illusion vanished; but when he lay down again there in the glass again were two faces, one paler than the other. He got up again, mixed in the election excitement, forgot about it; but it came back, and haunted him. He told his wife about it; she worried too. A few days later he tried it once more and the illusion of the two faces again registered to his eyes. But that was the last; the ghost since then wouldn’t come back, he told his wife, who said it was a sign he would be elected to a second term, and the death pallor of one face meant he wouldn’t live through his second term.
A double of a person, but the doppelganger does not have a blood relation with its double. Some believe that doppelgangers don’t have shadows or reflections.
Appearances in Culture
- In the series, The Vampire Diaries, the character of Elena Gilbert is a doppelganger of the vampire Katherine Pierce
- Heroes TV show has a character named Jessica with an evil doppleganger called Niki who manifests as part of her own psyche, and has supernatural strength.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show character Willow has an evil doppelganger in an alternate reality known as “Evil Willow”
- The movie Silent Hill has a child named Alessa who’s doppleganger is called Dark Alessa, and has frightening telepathic powers
- They appear in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons – later they became a playable race called Changelings
- The Spider-Doppelganger, is a fictional character and supervillain in the Marvel Comics universe
- “William Wilson” by Edgar Allen Poe
- A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
- Stephen King’s The Dark Half is a horror story about Beaumont’s struggle to catch up with his doppelganger and kill him dead. Though the ending reveals something completely different. Don’t want to give it away.
- Doppelganger (a.k.a. Doppelganger: The Evil Within) is a 1993 film starring Drew Barrymore.
Did you know? Doppelgänger in German means double walker. Doppel (double) and Gänger (walker).
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