What Is A Doppelganger?

When it comes to being an unsettling entity to cross, very few types come close to doppelgangers. Doppelgangers are ghosty twins of people who aren’t deceased, but rather, are still alive. Often associated with a haunted home, these strange beings come with a lot of different myths associated with them.

The definition alone seems pretty straightforward, but like with most other paranormal encounters, it’s not. Truth be told, it’s hard to tell what’s going on when you have a doppelganger in your life. Is it a ghost? A demon? Something else entirely? This guide will tell you the ins and outs of this strange being.

What Is A Doppelganger?

Doppelgangers are ghostly (or otherwise paranormal) “twins” of people who are alive and well. Taken from the German term for “twin walker,” it’s a type of shapeshifting paranormal entity who is an exact replica of a living, breathing human being.

Unlike most ghosts, doppelgangers are not confirmed to be ghosts since the people they mimic are still alive. Some believe them to be demonic entities, others believe them to be ghosts, while even more believe that they’re a category of paranormal creature all their own.

What Do Doppelgangers Do?

It all depends on the entity itself. Many doppelgangers simply behave the way that their human twin would, including doing things like having conversations with others or just walking through the house. Others are a little more sinister, glaring at family members or doing things that just don’t seem quite normal.

Doppelgangers can be both seen and heard by others in their proximity. To the unsuspecting individual, they don’t seem any different than their loved ones. They aren’t transparent, their voices (if heard) sound similar, and even the clothes they wear seem normal.

Are All Doppelgangers Visible?

Though most people associate doppelgangers with an identical appearance, not all doppelgangers are visible. Some just are disembodied voices that sound identical to someone living in their home.

Can Doppelgangers Speak?

In most cases, doppelgangers do seem to have the ability to speak. When they do speak, they don’t sound any different than the people they’re mimicking. That said, they don’t always talk. It all depends on the power and strength of the entity in question.

Multiple accounts show that doppelgangers are not only capable of speech, but can hold fully lucid and intelligent conversations. Poet Percey Bysshe Shelley claimed to have seen his own doppelganger multiple times, with his most alarming moment being a time when the ghostly twin asked him, “How long do you mean to be content?”

Can Doppelgangers Pick Up Objects?

Though doppelgangers can speak and even make themselves visible, they still have some limitations. One of the most commonly cited by witnesses is that they usually don’t seem to have the ability to pick up objects.

One witness thought he was having a conversation with his wife, but things took a turn for the strange when he noticed that the doppelganger didn’t seem to want to pick up food or prepare her breakfast. Knowing that prepping food was a ritual for her at that time of day, he made a remark about it.

His “wife” gave a worried look, and walked into another room. Just as that happened, his real wife came in the front door saying that she just took out the garbage. Ever since then, he started to see the apparition more frequently.

What Are Some Of The Beliefs Regarding Doppelgangers?

Ghosts, in general, tend to have a lot of myths dealing with their existence. Doppelgangers are no exception to the rule. Doppelgangers are known for having multiple superstitions involving their appearance and interactions with them. Here are some of the stranger beliefs about them….

What Are The Superstitions Behind Seeing Your Own Doppelganger?

In many parts of the world, seeing your own ghostly doppelganger is a warning of your own death. This is doubly true if you make the decision to attack your own double, or if you see your own doppelganger in a position reminiscent of death.

Catherine the Great of Russia reportedly saw her doppelganger sitting on her throne and told guards to shoot the “imposter.” Guards fired their guns at the figure, which quickly disappeared. Shortly after, Catherine herself died.

Though death doesn’t always follow seeing your own doppelganger, there is a general belief that having this chilling experience is an omen of bad luck or tragedy. While it may not be lethal all the time, seeing your double definitely doesn’t bode well for you.

What Happens If Others See Your Doppelganger?

The common belief surrounding others seeing your ghostly twin is that it’s a warning that something bad will befall you. Though the belief is fairly widespread, there have been plenty of doppelganger sightings where nothing befell the mimicked individual. So, this is a belief you might want to take with a grain of salt.

What Are Beliefs About Doppelgangers And Mirrors?

There seem to be several rumors swirling around the topic of doppelgangers and mirrors. More specifically, there are two primary rumors that deal with this topic.

The most common belief is that doppelgangers that appear as real, living people “in the flesh” cannot be seen in mirrors–much like vampires. So, if you notice that your friend doesn’t have a reflection, it could be a doppelganger.

That being said, there have been multiple cases where people claimed to see doppelgangers in mirrors but unable to see them “in person.” To a point, it seems like doppelgangers can only be visible in one realm or the other.

What Happens If A Doppelganger Gives You Advice?

There’s a definite theme of “evil twin” surrounding doppelgangers that is heavily played into when it comes to heeding advice they offer. Much like listening to a “friend” who doesn’t have your best interests in mind, listening to the advice given by a doppelganger is a bad idea.

Doppelgangers generally do not have peoples’ best interests in mind and seem to prefer causing chaos and fear in peoples’ lives. Giving people bad advice is often the easiest way for them to make a person’s life turn upside-down.

Author Guy de Maupassant was allegedly dictated a novel by his own doppelganger, and then published it as his own work. The story, The Horla, tells a tale of a man whose sanity was slowly consumed by an evil spirit. Not too long after de Maupassant wrote the story, his own sanity started to eke away. Coincidence? Probably not.

What Do Doppelgangers Want?

This is definitely the million-dollar question that everyone wishes they knew. With many other entities, it’s fairly clear what they want out of people. Some ghosts have unfinished business with the living, while others are just there, reliving what was once their daily lives. With demons, the end goal seems to be tormenting people.

With doppelgangers, it’s hard to tell what they want. For the most part, they just seem to enjoy mimicking people and stirring up trouble. Some also seem to get a rise out of scaring people who see them, while others just seem to do their own thing for no reason at all.

That being said, there are many cases of doppelgangers with more sinister intentions.

Tales Of Doppelgangers Luring People To Their Deaths

Perhaps the most alarming tales of doppelgangers involve stories where a person’s doppelganger leads loved ones into dangerous situations. In most cases, the strange double tries to lure unsuspecting witnesses into nearby woods.

The story of these lurings all pan out the same way. People see what appears to be a friend or a loved one walking into the woods. They follow them, curious as to why they may be walking into the forest. Then, they look back and see the real loved one calling them over asking them what they’re doing.

Of course, there are variations in the story, but the variations are relatively minor. Sometimes, the person isn’t a human being, but a pet they own. Other times, they don’t see the loved one, but rather, hear them calling for help. Regardless, the outcome is always the same.

Stories like these have been around since the dawn of time, and truthfully, it’s not entirely certain that traditional doppelgangers are to blame here. Many cultures believe a vengeful forest spirit may be to blame.

How To Tell If Someone Is A Doppelganger

If you have been starting to “see doubles,” then there may be times when you aren’t sure whether the person you’re seeing is really who you think they are. These signs are what witnesses most commonly cite as signs of a doppelganger:

  1. The “person” don’t speak or lift up objects. Though there have been cases where doppelgangers are powerful enough to do things like most people can, the vast majority of them don’t have the ability to speak or move objects on their own.
  2. You know that the person they’re mimicking isn’t around. If you know for a fact that your friend is overseas, yet you see them right in front of you, something is up.
  3. They don’t quite look right. Many reports of doppelgangers mention that there’s always something slightly different about the twin. Oftentimes, they have darker eyes, or look sickly, or are wearing clothes they don’t own. If something doesn’t quite look right, it could be a doppelganger.
  4. They don’t act right. Doppelgangers are often described as emotionless, odd, or sinister in their behavior.
  5. Something doesn’t feel normal or good about the interaction. Sometimes you really can’t tell that you’re dealing with a doppelganger except for the fact that you feel very uneasy about the interaction. Trust your gut!

About Brandon Hall

Hi! I am Brandon. Writer and content creator for PA, specializing in phenomena that is sometimes beyond normal scientific understanding. My mission is to help guide people seeking answers in a positive and enlightening way.

6 thoughts on “What Is A Doppelganger?”

  1. Me and my sister once saw a doppel ganger my experience was – i was going down stairs and i remember being about 15-16 i was checking to see if anybody else had woke up yet. I checked all the rooms after looking back into the front room and coming out my “brother” was there. It was weird because i didn’t hear him come down stairs – he looked very pale, and was just standing still by the kitchen starring at me it was pretty weird for me but i asked if he was okay and he said that he was okay. It was very quiet though so i went back upstairs backwards because i was scared so i watched him until i got up stairs he starred at me until i hit the corner. I went into my brothers room because i felt uneasy about the whole thing and he was in his bed.I asked him if he was downstairs and he said no and asked why i said no reason and ran back to my room obviously afraid. My sisters experience – so me and my sister share a room and we both use to have a doll house and our beds were pretty far from it my sister didn’t tell me the time but she was pretty young about 9-10. She mentioned that she woke up thirsty and that she woke up to noise. She was looking around the room looking for the source of noise she eventually found out were it came fron it was from the dollhouse we use to own. She mentioned that i was sitting crossed infront of it playing with the toys. It was pretty late at night so she asked “me” what i was doing she said that i replied back saying “im playing with the toys” and that i didn’t look at her while saying that. She didn’t say why but she looked at my bed and saw that i was in my bed fast asleep so she instantly looked back at the dollhouse and “i” was gone. We both haven’t forgotten this since I’m now 18 and she is turning 13 soon. I would add that our house was somewhat weirdly haunted and the haunting only had a connection to me and my sister. We started going to church with our parents and praying at night for our safety like always do and the weird hauntings have stopped since. Not sure if i should be thankful or if it was a sign of something would be helpful if i can get sone answers. Especially since it mentions that they can’t touch or hold things…

  2. My sister was in the bathroom putting on makeup and I walked in the doorway and talked to her for a bit and then left, went down the hall around the corner into my room to put on a sweater (which was green) then I walked into my sister’s room (which was across from the bathroom) and sat down for a minute. I heard my sister saying, “what!?, What did you say!? Hello are you ignoring me?!” I’m thinking, who the hell is she talking too? They she walks into her room, seeming irritated, and asked my why are you ignoring me? I say, what are you talking about? She said you said something and walked off. I’m said yes we were talking like 2 minutes ago. She said, yes you left, came back in the bathroom wearing that green sweater and said something and walked away. So I’m looking at her like she’s crazy, she thinks I’m messing with her. I told her I wasn’t wearing this sweater when I was talking to you after I left and put it on, I didn’t come back and say anything! There’s no way she could of seen me put the sweater on. Finally she looks scared, realizing I’m not messing with her and I’m confused about what’s happening. We both look at each other for a second and all of a sudden there’s a loud POP! Noise. The lightbulb in the lamp next to us exploded and went out. We did not know what to make of what happen it was weird. That house was so haunted I wish some paranormal investigators would go inspect it. I had constant nightmares about that house. I’m happy I don’t live there. Also new owner had similar experience, she said she had a Convo with her daughter and she wasn’t there.

    • We just herd something we went out of my room and my dad was standing there he was loading the dryer but struggling picking up the cloths but he is really strong I said why are you struggling and he said I’m I’m having a bad day but it was faded I said its midnight and went in his room he was playing on his tablet and we screamed and my brother grabbed his nife out of his pocket and threatened him but when we looked back at the person at the cloths he wasn’t there we ran in the closet and slammed the door when we opened it we were alone in the house we questioned it and walked around in then we found are brother layer in the floor looking dead we screamed and I cried I’m only 10 the brother I was with was 13

  3. This syory isn’t quite true I saw my doppelganger when I was 7 we ran into each other on a beach. She went into the water after we ran into each other and disappeared Now Im 56 I was on pintrest and I saw me in an old photograph I snapped the screen shot and I still have it, I asked family that saw the picture who it was they said it was me, I said nope its not But I have been trying for 5 yrs now to find the person that posted it with no luck But I do have her picture we are twins everything from hair smile eyes even the way I post my head and our clothes thanks for listening and yoyr other page anout the shadow people well I see them everywhere I see ghost from ww1 I hear yhem in the middle of the night playing music and babies crying. So Im weird huh??

  4. Doppelgangers absolutely can hold and pick things up. I met a man near Christmas in Oakland, CA while fleeing a bad family situation in Arizona. We were falling in love when the reality of his divorce-in-process and some of my circumstances started to interfere. When I stopped seeing him he started drinking very heavily and got sick. We were both very sad it didn’t work out, said goodbye on good terms, etc.
    When I returned to Arizona (2014) and was bussing to work at night, I saw him. The night of a gorgeous full-moon later that year in December, no less. I was walking from my stop to work with my headphones on when I saw someone standing at the corner up ahead, looking down at a cell phone. This alone was odd, because I never saw ANYONE on this stretch at that time of night. The closer I got, the more I realized it was my guy from Oakland. I couldn’t understand why he would be in Arizona, or how he could know where I was. My stride quickened as I was excited to approach and maybe talk to this person, but when I got about 50 yards away and could see it was DEFINITELY him (aside from this strange “softness” to the skin on his face he did not normally have, but the haircut, sideburns, his height, build, shoes, and clothes were incredibly uncanny) he looked up from his phone, directly at me, and then took off at a full run up the adjacent street. I hurried to the corner, looked down the street he’d run up, and saw absolutely no one.
    This was a friday night. I would work whole weekends (group home for foster youth) and return Sunday mornings. When I got off of work, I went home and took a very long nap, as that was my routine at the time. When I woke up, I had received text messages from the guy in Oakland, out of the blue. He said he had been thinking if me since it was Christmas time again, and that he just wanted to say hi. I asked what he’d been doing that friday and he said he’d simply worked, gone home, and gone to bed. I told him what I’d experienced and he had no more answers than I did.
    I actually had several dreams later that someone was relaying his passing to me at a party in Oakland, but shrugged it off as my own fears toward his alcoholism.
    In 2021 (7 years later) he passed away at the age of 41. I’m not sure how and haven’t asked his family.

  5. My son is 85% a normal 44 year old but every now and then!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Years ago I saw his doppelganger. I just stood and stared at “It”. where he sat, in his place, was this evil green demon!
    I thought over the years that it had diminished. after several attempts at Psychiatrists who simply said he’s an angry young man (6-14) they never got to the bottom of why. He saw yellow eyes staring at him at night when he was trying to sleep. he grew into an Adult but once twice a year stuff would happen. he always said it wasn’t him. Stealing etc. now. he’s just told me, on the verge of marriage, he’s £35,000 in debt but doesn’t know how OR what it was used for?? at 44 I must let him go but know he still needs help


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