A type of apparition, a doppelgänger is an exact duplicate of a living person in whose company it appears. (The word doppelgänger essentially means “double” in German.) The doppelgänger’s movements are a mirror of its companion’s; it is seemingly oblivious to eyewitnesses and does not utter a word. One theory is that a doppelgänger is the product of some kind of psychic phenomenon, such as telepathy or hallucination, existing in the mind of the person it is duplicating. In some cases, the doppelgänger appears to be several years older than the person viewing it. To believers, this suggests that a doppelgänger might be an image from the future. In some cultures, moreover, a doppelgänger is considered to be a sign that the apparition’s “double” is about to die.

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The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena – written by Patricia D. Netzley © 2006 Gale, a part of Cengage Learning