Doppelgängers are an uncommon image of literature, yet a very grim one. It is the double image of one self, usually not witnessed by others, and believed to be the harbinger of death. The word is German for "double walker" and the portent can be found in Norse, German, Finnish, and even Egyptian folklore. Though it can be defined as a darker form of bilocation, based on reliable accounts of both events, there are clear and marked differences. In bilocation both images of the same person are exactly alike and seem to be located in the same space-time continuum, there are several witnesses to both images, and usually one of them seem to be drained of energy or catatonic. There are no deaths related to bilocation and it tends to be seen with religious undertones. Doppelgängers are commonly reported by the only witness: The original self, they can be a future image of the person, and most frequently will silently point to the form of death the person will experience in a somewhat close future.
- Guy de Maupassant, french novelist and short story writer, reported to have seen his double image several times towards the end of his life. On one occasion, while writing, this 'second self' took a seat opposite him and began to dictate what de Maupassant was writing. The experience served as inspiration for his short story "Lui."
- Percy B. Shelley, the famous poet, saw a ghostly image of himself in Italy. The doppelgänger pointed quietly to the Mediterranean Sea. Shortly before his 30th birthday, the poet suffered a deathly sailing accident, drowning in the Mediterranean Sea.
- Queen Elizabeth I of England encountered her Doppelgänger laying out on her bed. She passed away a short time after the event.
- Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, the German poet, was confronted by his Doppelgänger while riding out of Drusenheim. His double was riding toward him and wearing a gray suit trimmed with gold. Eight years later, Goethe found himself traveling the same road but in the opposite direction. He realized then he was wearing the very gray suit he'd seen on his double eight years before.
I had a friend whose great-grandparents were so in-love; after a little over fifty years together they still looked at each other with sweet, loving eyes, and sometimes they could finish each other sentences. One day, as they were driving to visit their son in another state, they got in an accident with a drunk driver. As fate would have it, the lady suffered massive damage and ended up in a coma, while the old man came out with just a few scratches. Weeks later, her state deteriorated and one sad afternoon the doctor declared her dead. As soon as the husband was informed, he became very agitated and claimed it was impossible. He yelled at the doctor saying he was wrong and refused to calm down, so he had to be sedated. On the very day of the funeral, such scene was repeated and, once more, the poor, grieving man was sedated again.
Days passed and the husband's conviction never faltered. He pestered the family to force the doctor to ok an exhumation and make sure the woman was death. He claimed nightmares plagued him of his wife clawing at the insides of the coffin, fighting to be freed. The family feared for the man's state of mind and decided to go forth with the exhumation in the hopes that it would bring him resignation. Finally, the doctor agreed and the coffin was opened one gray morning. To everyone's surprise, the woman had her nails turned backwards and the linen inside the coffin was shredded to pieces, covered in blood just as the man had claimed.
So, the time has come for me to announce the winners. Thanks to all who visited and commented, it was a blast to read all your ideas and now I have a few more monsters to write stories! Without further ado...
- Third prize and winner of a copy of Perpetual Night and a set of Tim Burton playing cards: Heather Powers, who presented me with the idea of the Ozark Howler. Quite a scary one!
- Second prize and winner of a copy of Perpetual Night and The Halloween Tree paperback: Milo James Fowler, who brought to my attention the African version of the Chupacabra, the Popobawa.
- And the first prize goes to: Kim. For sharing with me the South African Mamlambo. This one is so utterly cool and bewildering... yay!
I hope I will keep seeing you and hasta la proxima! Hail to Samhain!