Fallout Girl's Blog



It’s All In My Head

Radiation Level:  Doubled

Listening To:  Better Version of Me by Fiona Apple

Goethe’s Doppleganger got me thinking…It turns out that numerous famous people also “saw” their evil twins.  Before I delve into the science, here’s some of their very interesting accounts.

Two heads are better than one

Abraham Lincoln.

(in Lincoln’s own words):

It was just after my election in 1860,  and I went home to rest. Opposite where I lay was a bureau with a swinging glass upon it and looking in that glass I saw myself reflected nearly at full length; but my face, I noticed had two separate and distinct images. I was a little bothered, perhaps startled, and got up and looked in the glass, but the illusion vanished.

On lying down again, I saw it a second time, plainer, if possible, than before; and then I noticed that one of the faces was a little paler — say five shades — than the other. I got up, and the thing melted away, and I went off, and in the excitement of the hour forgot all about it — nearly, but not quite, for the thing would once in a while come up, and give me a little pang as if something uncomfortable had happened.

When I went home again that night I told my wife about it, and a few days afterward I made the experiment again, when (with a laugh), sure enough! the thing came back again; but I never succeeded in bringing the ghost back after that, though I once tried very industriously to show it to my wife, who was somewhat worried about it. She thought it was a “sign” that I was to be elected to a second term of office, and that the paleness of one of the faces was an omen that I should not see life through the last term.

Sure, this could have been an old mirror reflecting a doubled image, but the interpretation was so chilling…

Some other famous doppelgangers.

Guy de Maupassant, the French novelist and short story writer, claimed to have been haunted by his doppelganger near the end of his life. On one occasion, he said, this double entered his room, took a seat opposite him and began to dictate what de Maupassant was writing. He wrote about this experience in his short story “Lui.”

Didn't know a mustache could have its own doppleganger.

Guy de Maupassant, the French novelist and short story writer, claimed to have been haunted by his doppelganger near the end of his life. On one occasion, he said, this double entered his room, took a seat opposite him and began to dictate what de Maupassant was writing. He wrote about this experience in his short story “Lui.”

Fancy!

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.

John Donne, the 16th century English poet whose work often touched on the metaphysical, was visited by a doppelganger while he was in Paris – not his, but his wife’s. She appeared to him holding a newborn baby. Donne’s wife was pregnant at the time, but the apparition was a portent of great sadness. At the same moment that the doppelganger appeared, his wife had given birth to a stillborn child.

.

The Johnny Depp of the 19th century

Percy Bysshe Shelley, still considered one of the greatest poets of the English language, encountered his doppelganger in Italy. The phantom silently pointed toward the Mediterranean Sea. Not long after, and shortly before his 30th birthday in 1822, Shelley died in a sailing accident – drowned in the Mediterranean Sea.

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful

Queen Elizabeth I of England was shocked to see her doppelganger laid out on her bed. The queen died shortly thereafter.

Come on, I didn't really have sex with a horse. Seriously, I didn't. You believe me, right?

Catherine the Great of Russia: The appearance of her double seated on the imperial throne frightened her so much that she ordered it to be shot at.  (This had no apparent effect)

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So what’s really going on?  I did a little investigating and found that simple stimulation of the brain can cause the mind to play complex and creepy tricks on itself, neurologists have discovered. They found that, by inserting electrodes into a specific part of the brain, they could induce a patient to sense that an illusory ‘shadow person’ was lurking behind her and mimicking her movements.

Down a little. Now up a bit. Ooh! Right there.

Doctors treating the patient, a 22-year-old woman with epilepsy, found that when they stimulated a brain region called the left temporoparietal junction, the patient sensed the presence of a sinister figure behind her who copied her actions. They suspect that the effect is due to the mind projecting its own movements onto a phantom figure conjured up by the brain, an effect that is seen in some patients with serious psychiatric conditions.

Mum, Mum, Mum.

Who is that typing next to me?  Why is she wearing a gas mask?  Chills are running up my spine.  Stop mimicking me!

If I don’t post tomorrow, you’ll know it was my doppelganger.

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Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. The Doppelganger Effect: Second Selves and Ghostly Doubles « PARALLAX pingbacked on 6 years, 5 months ago
  2. The Doppelganger Effect: Second Selves and Ghostly Doubles « PARALLAX pingbacked on 6 years, 5 months ago

Comments

  1. * taicarmen says:

    Thanks for this great post! I’m researching Doppelgangers for a piece I’m writing and you have several famous doppelganger witnesses which I had not yet unearthed (Queen Elizabeth and Catherine the Great!) TC

    | Reply Posted 6 years, 5 months ago


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