Mistaken Identities

You know how sometimes you see a person and it looks just like someone else you know?   And for a minute, you wonder if it is them?  And maybe you even start to greet them?  And when you realize it isn’t them, it still kind of weirds you out because it’s so eerie?

Do you know what is a thousand times more eerie?  Did you ever see someone and it looks just like you?  And, for a split second, you actually have to figure out whether it’s you over there or you right here?  And then you recognize what you’re thinking and hope no one can see inside your brain because: yikes.

On the positive side, that sort of experience intensifies the creepy quotient of “the doppelgänger” narrative. There are many doubles lurking about in literature (and film, for that matter), especially in Gothic and mystery texts. I’m drawn to those tales because they’re chilling and fascinating at the same time, raising endlessly interesting questions about identity.

What close encounters of the doppelgänger kind have you had, dear readers (anywhere–reading, viewing, or living)?


13 thoughts on “Mistaken Identities”

  1. Wow, I have never had it actually turn out not to be me. I remember once in high school, I was walking down the street and I saw someone the same coat who looked sort of like me (apparently my ‘real’ self and my ‘inner self’ do not look completely alike). Anyway, it turned out that a storefront had been covered in reflective coating. Completely unexpected. Another time, during the Worlds Fair, my best friend called me at night to tell me how hurt she was that 1) I didn’t return her greeting, and 2) I hadn’t told her I was going to the Fair so we all could have gone together. i was in school that day, not near the Fair. Would have loved to have met that double!


  2. I’ve seen my doppelganger, but I went back to grad school at my alma mater some fifteen years after graduation. Then I came back to work at the same university for a decade more. As I walked around campus, I would sometimes see someone who looked exactly like an old friend from my undergrad days. And then I would realize, no wait; that friend is thirty years older now too. He or she doesn’t look like that anymore!


  3. I see other people’s doppelgangers all the time, although not my own. But I have been told a couple times that others have seen mine. There’s a story in there somewhere!


  4. I saw my image on TV once and, of course, it wasn’t me. Others have told me they’ve seen me and really haven’t. There must be more out there 🙂 Makes me think about that movie about body snatchers.


  5. I don’t think I’ve ever seen my doppelganger. I can’t say anyone else has, either. I did, however, see a guy outside the local bakery that looked like the star closer for the Pirates. No, I did not go up and ask him. Figure if it was him, he should have the right to buy his donuts in peace. 🙂


  6. I left my company to pursue writing full time for a bit. Now I’m back and the girl they hired to replace me, and who sits in my old cube, looks EXACTLY like me–same hair color/cut, build, skin tone, even similar style! Not only that, but she also writes cozy mysteries (as a statistical analyst, this is pretty uncommon!)! I’ve never experienced anything like that before. Chatting with her was a little eerie, like looking in a mirror… Fun post, Cynthia!! 🙂


  7. I’m adopted and I found my doppelganger across the street one day. I almost was hit by a car running across the street wondering suddenly if I were twin. Unfortunately I couldn’t catch up with her. my husband has seen her too. Thankfully she’s cut her hair shorter than mine. 🙂


  8. There’s another Sarah who graduated around the same time as me from the same college. We’re both blonde, blue-eyed and petite. And we both write. Once, I was trying to find a particular head shot of mine and found more than one of “me” that was actually her. Posted by the photog who took my photo and went to school with both of us. Guess we’re interchangeable in his mind:)


  9. When I was in college at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, people used to walk up to me and start talking about what we’d done in Atlanta last weekend. I’d never been to Atlanta. Finally, I just would say, “I have a twin in Atlanta.” I’ve never met her.


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