The legend of doppelgangers have been around since the beginning of written time. Referred to as a “twin stranger” in medieval times, running into your own double is considered a bad omen in most cultures.
Heautoscopy is the hallucination of seeing “one’s own boy at a distance”. This has been documented as a symptom of schizophrenia and epilepsy. This phenomena is most widely accepted as an explanation for doppelgangers throughout the scientific community.
But we here at Mangled Matters like to think that weird things happen all the time and it can’t all just be explained away. So today, we dig a little deeper into three of our favorite doppelganger experiences.
Guy de Maupassant was a French novelist who wrote a short story about his experience meeting his doppelganger back in 1889. The author claims that while he was writing, his double walked into his study and sat beside him. Even more odd, the double began telling Maupassant the exact story he was currently working on. Maupassant would go on to state he’d met his doppelganger numerous times throughout his life. Sadly, the author attempted suicide in 1892 and was ultimately committed to an asylum, where he died the next year. Maupassant suffered from syphilis and it was believed, even at the time, that his claims of seeing his twin stranger was a direct symptom of the disease.
Percy Shelley is best known as the husband of Mary Shelley (you may have heard of her) but he also had his own scary stories to tell, namely regarding his encounters with doppelgangers. Percy admitted to his wife that he’d seen his own doppelganger several times throughout his life, including once when the body double simply asked him, “How long do you mean to be content?”. To make the story more eerie, Percy actually had a witness who also saw the doppelganger one time. The friend stated that she once saw Percy walking past her window on a path the real Percy regularly strolled down. However, Percy was nowhere near the location at the time of the visit. It’s rumored that Percy saw his doppelganger again shortly before he drowned in a boating accident in 1812.
This last one is the weirdest.
Emilie Sagee was a well-respected teacher who simply couldn’t hold down a position at a school for too long. Why, you ask? Because she had a rather pesky body double who creeped out students and colleagues big time.
In 1845, Sagee was teaching when her students suddenly saw another Sagee standing beside their teacher. The apparition mimed the real Sagee’s every move. Sagee herself couldn’t see the figure, but her students insist there was a visitor at the blackboard with their teacher that day. Sagee admitted to feeling “groggy and powerless” whenever the doppelganger was around, prompting some to believe that the apparition manifested itself by using Sagee’s energy.
Others saw the doppelganger when Emilie was nowhere around. Some state they approached the mysterious figure and were able to “walk right through her… she had the texture of thick fabric”.
Eventually, word got around to parents of students and the enrollment at the school began to dwindle. The school felt compelled to fire Sagee, leaving her and her eerie twin to look for work elsewhere.