I wrote a post last week about the true meaning of a doppelgänger, and you should totally read it because, you know. I wrote it. And also it’s interesting.
However, in case you choose to pass on my fantastic piece, here’s the long and short: doppelängers are not simply people who look like you – they are you, in spiritual form, and often portend your death.
Great. Now that we’re all caught up, let’s dive into this creepy list of 7 people who basically saw their own ghost.
#7. Abraham Lincoln
The first time Lincoln saw his doppelgänger, it was the night of his first election. He was sitting on the couch and happened to glance into the mirror, where he saw himself…and a second face (also his). The second Lincoln was pale and ghostly and disappeared when the new President stood.
His wife was hysterical, sure that it was bad news – a certain sign that Lincoln would not survive the presidency…
#6. Catherine the Great
The powerful 18th-century Russian empress was not the type of woman to be fazed by seeing her own ghost sitting on her throne. In fact, when servants ran to wake her with the news that they’d just seen her enter the throne room and take a seat, she calmly investigated.
She found the claims to be true (she saw herself with her own eyes) and coolly requested that her guards shoot the “imposter.”
The history books don’t tell what effect the bullets had on the spirit, but Catherine herself died mere weeks later.
#5. George Tryon
On June 22, 1893, Vice-Admiral George Tryon made a grave error while commanding two columns of ships off the coast of Syria. His lapse in judgement caused the death of 357 men – including himself.
At the same time, the Vice-Admiral appeared in full uniform at a dinner party his wife was hosting at their London home. He walked silently down the staircase and through the drawing room. He opened the door as if to leave… and disappeared.
#4. Percy Shelley
You may not know him, but you definitely know his wife – renowned horror author Mary Shelley. Percy confessed to her that he had seen his own personage on more than one occasion, and was particularly unsettled (as one would be) after one spoke to him, asking “How long do you mean to be content?”
To lend credence to the account, Percy’s double was witnessed by Mary’s close friend Jane Williams as it passed by her window while the man himself was asleep in bed.
Percy drowned in a sailing accident not long after he told his wife about these disturbing experiences.
#3. Sir Frederick Carne Rasch
It was 1906 and Sir Frederick Carne Rasch was ill and in bed with the flu when fellow Parliament member Sir Gilbert Parker spotted him sitting nearby during a debate on the floor. Parker was surprised, but greeted his co-worker and told him he hoped he was feeling better.
He received no response, and when he looked again a moment later, Rasch was gone.
When told of the incident, Rasch was initially amused, saying that he had very much wanted to attend the debate so it made sense that he had subconsciously sent his spirit to do just that. He was less amused during the following months, during which his fellow Parliament members poked and prodded him to convince themselves that Rasch was not a ghost.
He laid the matter to rest with a sarcastic letter to the local newspaper, apologizing for not having the good sense to die at the time of the doppelgänger sighting and promising to behave better next time.
#2. Emilie Sagee
Emilie Sagee was a teacher, and by all accounts a good one – which makes it hard to understand why she held 19 different positions over 16 years.
In 1845, however, her latest employer quickly discovered why she could never stick around for long.
Her students reported seeing a double of their teacher at the front of the room, with the ghost mirroring Sagee’s movements as she taught, walked, and even ate. You can imagine that it would be quite the distraction for a bunch of kids, but oddly enough, Sagee herself never saw her own doppelgänger. She did, however, report that the spirit seemed to be doing things that she was thinking about in the moment it was sighted.
When the doppelgänger began to venture beyond the woman herself, her students grew more bold. They approached and even walked through the spirit, which they said was like attempting to penetrate thick fabric.
Despite the woman’s credentials, she was let go as the apparition became a common and distracting sight about the school grounds.
#1. Queen Elizabeth I
That this level-headed queen wasn’t one to dabble with the paranormal only makes her claim that she saw her own double more convincing. According to Queen Elizabeth, she saw herself lying motionless on her bed… almost like a corpse.
She died soon after the experience.
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