So what is a ‘doppelganger?’ Well first it would appear we owe you the reader an apology. You see in our article “types of ghost” we stated that all ghost reports could be put in one of three categories of types of ghost. There is though a fourth category, and what’s more is that about half (some say more) of all ghost sightings reported, are unbelievably those of people who are still alive. This is known as the ‘doppelganger’ phenomenon.
The phenomenon is Known officially as ‘bilocation’ although its probably better known by the word ‘doppelganger‘ (a spirit double). Which folklore suggest everybody as one of and that when seen, is a warning that death is near for that person. History is full of reports of such stories a few involving some famous names. Abraham Lincoln, Queen Elizabeth I and the english poet Percy Shelly just to name a few. All reported, shortly before their deaths of having witnessed their own doppelganger.
Living ghost or ‘doppelgangers’ are not only seen by their ‘alive self’. In fact most reports made are by someone known to the ghosts’ double, usually appearing miles away from the persons actual location. Sometimes ghost of the living have been seen by a friend or family member warning them, that the person is in some kind of immediate danger, in pain or ill. It should be noted however, not all sightings of living ghosts foretell a persons death. There are just as many reports, were the person whos ‘doppelganger’ has been seen have gone on to live long and healthy lives.
One famous doppelganger story states that the writer John Cowper Powys told his friend before going home that he would appear to him later that night. His friend, fellow writer Theodore Dreiser was shocked when, just as he had stated, Powys, that night appeared before him for a moment then vanished. Despite it was proven been over 30 miles away. Although it is stated that Dreiser asked how Powys was able to achieve such an effect, no answer is provided in writing.
So what could be the cause of the doppelganger phenomenon? There seems to be two main theorys to whats going on, they are:
- Power of the mind. This includes using astral projection or telepathy to appear simultaneously in another place, in a ghostly form. Some (like in the doppelganger story above) claim to be able to do this at will, although most it seems, do it unintentionally, as they appear shocked when told of their ghostly double. It has been suggested that when in a state of danger or life threateningly ill, the mind opens up psychically, enabling us to send out a kind of ‘mayday’ signal for help, using our subconscious minds.
- Time warp. Like some ghost who appear to be woven into the fabric of time itself (Types of Ghosts) some theorise that doppelganger sightings could be the same kind of thing. That a ‘hiccup’ in space-time could, just briefly, allow one to see a glimpse forward in time. This could explain those doppelganger accounts were a person sees the dead body of themselves, only for the vision to fade away seconds later.
Although I believe genuine haunted places are always due to one or more of the 3 types of ghost, I have received a few emails stating I had not mentioned ghosts of the living- doppelgangers, in that article. So there you have it, there are actually 4 types of ghost. Though unlike the other types you may not wish to see the doppelganger, especially if it’s your own.