Monday, 15 June 2015

Monster Mondays - Doppelgangers

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Being a twin, I already have someone who looks like me, so it's not that that disturbs me about doppelgangers, which literally means double-goer. It's the fact that doppelgangers are usually associated with bad fortune, or evil intent that gives me the creeps.

As monsters go, doppelgangers are a versatile bunch. They can be ghostly apparitions, or solid entities. The first one I ever remember reading about was in the book of the children's TV series The Ghosts of Motley Hall, and, unusually, that one was a ghost of a ghost. I found it very sinister that there could be another version of a person in the world, who was out of their control and meant to do them harm.

Needless to say, the doppelganger in that story, being a children's book, did not do much harm, but it left a lasting impression on my young mind. I became very interested in true-life accounts of ghosts, and another form of doppelganger is the crisis ghost. This apparition has no evil intent, in fact, they usually appear to warn loved ones of the danger a person is in. They can also appear to loved ones due to a violent death. The account below comes from  Monstrous,com:
December 1943:  Mrs. Violet Almond was awakened by an apparition of her husband that floated above her for a few minutes.  She learned later that her husband, who was on a battlefield in North Africa, was being shelled heavily and was praying to God to save him so he could see his wife again at the exact time she was seeing his apparition in their bedroom.

Crisis ghosts are spooky, but they tend to be harmless. It's the evil end of the doppelganger spectrum that are monsters. In traditional folklore, doppelgangers would put evil thoughts into their counterpart's mind, and seeing your own doppelganger could mean you were about to die! In fiction Edgar Allan Poe used a doppelganger in his short story, William Wilson, where William is haunted his entire life by a look-a-like, who interferes in everything he does, and in the end, he stabs his double. He then discovers he has stabbed himself.

It is the similarity, the insidious interjection of wrongness, opposites into a person's life that make doppelgangers so monstrous. They are not drooling, monstrous looking things, they are cunning, deceptive and supernaturally bad!

What would you think if you saw your doppelganger?

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  1. They say if you saw yourself that you might not recognize yourself because how you think you look is different from how you really look, even in a mirror. Of course, twins don't have that issue.

    1. That's an interesting thought and would be an interesting one to explore in a story - how different would a doppelganger seem to us. Everyone else could see it was a double, but not the person whose double it was! :)


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