Tuesday, January 31, 2017


It's not hard to see why the doppelganger has been such a popular device in horror movies.  The very concept of a malevolent double who insidiously infiltrates your life, presenting them to your friends, family and workmates as yourself, gradually usurping you from your own life, is surely the ultimate nightmare.  The worst aspect, arguably, is the fact that the doppelganger frequently engages in behaviour you would consider discreditable, yet those who mistake it for you are perfectly willing to accept that you could commit such acts - the doppelganger forces you to confront how others, even those close to you, see you.  But to get to the point, I've had my own, real life, doppelganger experiences.  Sort of.  The closest most of us get to encountering a real life doppelganger is having a sibling with whom we are confused.  For me, it was an older brother, now deceased.  Despite a significant age difference, people, even within the family, would insist that we looked similar.  We didn't, but we both had curly hair and shared the same first initial.  The problem with this, from my perspective, was that people were forever judging me by my brother's standards and behaviour.  Their entire expectations of me were based upon what he had, or hadn't done. Which was always problematic, as he was something of the 'black sheep' of the family.

It was like being constantly stalked by a doppelganger who was always being mistaken for me, despite the fact that we were completely unalike in our behaviours.  My brother was an apparent extrovert - a gregarious drinker well known throughout the pubs and bars of our hometown.  Terrible with money and with several drink driving convictions, he was the complete opposite to me: I'm the proverbial quiet man, I have a few favourite drinking spots I frequent for a couple of pints a couple of times a week.  I'm careful with money, never drink and drive and feel no need to surround myself with other people, even in the pub.  So you can see why I never liked being confused with him.  Sadly, the confusion persisted after his death, with the common first initial making it unwise for me to try and take out accounts at any bank he had had an account with.   But my doppelganger experiences didn't end there. Some time after his death, I found myself being mistaken for someone called 'Frank'.  I had several incidents with people who clearly thought they knew me, hailing me from across the street as 'Frank', despite the fact that I'd never seen them before in my life.  In the most bizarre occurrence, I was accosted outside a bar I was walking past, by a complete stranger who insisted that I was 'Frank' and got somewhat disgruntled by the fact that I didn't respond to his approach and didn't recognise him.  Eventually, the incidents stopped.  Maybe 'Frank' moved away.  Or grew a beard.  Whatever, it was still a disturbing thought that I had a doppelganger apparently frequenting the dodgiest bars in town and associating with some pretty dubious looking individuals.  A doppelganger just like my late brother, in other words. 

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