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Do we have a twin in this world? Whether we can be in two places at the same time? In history, there are many records about people who claimed encounters with the shadow of himself. This phenomenon is often referred to as doppelganger.
Doppelganger comes from the German word that means “Double Walker”. This term is used to refer to the shadow self that accompanies every human being to believe in this earth.
This phenomenon is different from the appearance of ghosts. If a ghost sighting means one sees images of people who have died, the doppelganger phenomenon is to see the shadow of someone who is still alive.
In many cases, the Doppelganger is believed to be the sign of death. It is said that Queen Elizabeth I met with the shadow of his own before he died.
Percy Byssche Shelley
The famed English romantic poet had seen his doppelganger several times during his lifetime. On one occasion during a trip to Italy, after his children died, the poet was left bereft, victim of heavy depression, ill and tired. He encountered his doppelganger on the terrace of his house as he was strolling.
They met halfway and his double said to him: “how long do you mean to be content.”
The story, retold by Mary Shelley after the poet’s death, is given more credibility when she recounts how a friend, Jane Williams, who had been staying with the Shelleys also came across his doppelganger: “…But Shelley had often seen these figures when ill; but the strangest thing is that Mrs Williams saw him.
Now Jane, though a woman of sensibility, has not much imagination & is not in the slightest degree nervous, neither in dreams or otherwise. She was standing one day, the day before I was taken ill, at a window that looked on the Terrace with Trelawny; it was the day.
She saw as she thought Shelley pass by the window, as he often was then, without a coat or jacket. He passed again.
Now, as he passed both times the same way, and as from the side towards which he went each time, there was no way to get back except past the window again (except over a wall twenty feet from the ground) she was struck at seeing him pass twice thus & looked out & seeing him no more she cried – Good God can Shelley have leaped from the wall? Where can he be gone? – Said Trelawny – No Shelley has passed – What do you mean? – Trelawny says that she trembled exceedingly when she heard this & it proved indeed that Shelley had never been on the terrace & was far off at the time she saw him.”
Shelley’s second encounter with himself was on a beach, the doppelganger pointing to the sea. He drowned in a sailing accident not long after that.
Dr. Wynn Wescott Case
On April 12, 1888, in the British Museum of London, a report created a furor among employees doppelganger museum. Dr. Wynn Wescott and the Reverend WT Lemon scheduled to meet in the reading room of the museum.
Reverend Lemon arrived a few minutes early and saw Dr. Wescott was involved in talks with a colleague who called Mrs. Salmon.
Not long after, Mrs. Salmon with a polite greeting to Dr.Wescott and leave the conversation.
He walked past the preacher Lemon and also gave greetings. Then, Mrs. Salmon turned into Dr.Wescott to tell that the Reverend Lemon has arrived. But he was surprised to realize that Dr. Wescott who had been standing had been lost.
Reverend and Mrs. Lemon. Salmon then asked the receptionist and other museum officials. They get the same answer. All did see Dr. Wescott entered the room, but no one saw him leave the room.
Startled and afraid, they check to the house Dr. Wescott and unexpectedly they found Dr. Wescott was lying in bed, sick and did not leave his bed since the morning.
Case of Abraham Lincoln
Another doppelganger case is a case of eminent experienced by Abraham Lincoln. The story is narrated by Noah Brooks who claims to hear directly from Lincoln.
Told that when Lincoln was elected president, he found “herself” with two faces in her living room. One face paler than the other. When she approached him, the shadow disappeared.
Then he threw his body onto the couch to rest and shadow reappeared. A few days later, the shadow of himself with two faces was re-emerged. But sightings are sightings the last time.
When he told his wife, his wife said that the two faces that means Lincoln will be elected as president for two more term, while a second, more pale face showed that he would not live past the term of office of both.
I do not know where his wife knew it, but the prediction proved true because in 1865, Lincoln was killed at the time of holding the second term in office.
Emilie Sagee Case
From among all the cases that famous doppelganger, perhaps this case is the most puzzling cases. This story is told by Robert Dale Owen who heard it from Julie Von Guldenstubbe, Baron Von Guldenstubbe second child.
In 1845, when Julie was 3 years old, she attended von Neuwlcke school, a girls’ school near Latvia. One teacher was a woman named Emilie Sagee 32 years.
Although Ms.Sagee known as a good teacher, rumors circulated in the school that the “twinning” Ms.Sagee often be seen appearing and disappearing in front of the disciples.
Once told that while Ms.Sagee was writing on the blackboard, identical twins who appeared at his side. Doppelganger was imitating exactly all Ms.Sagee movement, the difference is he does not hold chalk. This event was witnessed by 13 students in the class.
What is more remarkable is the incident that occurred the next day. At that time, 42 students were gathered in the hall for sewing lessons. Ms.Sagee was in the garden, visible from the window by the disciples.
Suddenly, the doppelganger Ms.Sagee appeared and sat in a chair in front of the room. A brave student who runs forward and tries to touch the creature, but he feels there is an invisible barriers that block. Then doppelganger is slowly disappearing.
Ms.Sagee himself knows this, but he also did not understand the phenomenon of what was going on. According to him, when doppelganger appeared, he could feel extremely tired. Even his face turned pale.
Doppelganger and Culture
Doppelganger phenomenon has many explanations vary in different parts of the world. In Denmark, there is a story that mentions a Troll (mythical creature) kidnapped a pregnant woman and then replace it with doppelgangernya to cover up his crimes.
In the Jewish tradition, every person believed to have faced similar angel seems that sometimes arise and manifest themselves.
In the tradition and trust other countries, doppelganger is simply interpreted as an evil spirit that takes the form of a human.