S1 Ep. 18 Grace and Doppelgangers

Mimi’s on vacay this week, but Janine’s got some creepy stuff to share. First, explore the (now demolished) Grace General Hospital in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, where ghostly apparitions roam the nurse’s residence, searching for release. Then, enjoy a tale of double walkers, more familiarly known as doppelgangers, and the strange case of Emilee Sagee. This episode contains nostalgia, gardening and astral projection, a creepy little boy in a hospital gown, and footprints leading to nowhere.

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Twin Strangers: The curious existence of doppelgangers.

It’s happened to me several times in the past. I’m walking around a shopping center or a grocery store and someone will tap me on the shoulder. When I turn around, I see a complete stranger staring at me quizzically. “Oh! I’m sorry! I thought you were “insert name here.”” It’s definitely weird. I’m always curious who it is I look like to them. They explain that my nose is similar and the set of my eyes. They might say I walk the same way or look like whomever they’re looking for from the side. Some people have told me I’m the spitting image of their aunt, cousin, niece, neighbor… Sometimes people tell me that they met me in France or England, two places I’ve never been. I am originally from Newfoundland and might look similarly to someone from England or Ireland. I also have French ancestors. I think we’ve all had a similar experience, being mistaken for someone else, but when two people appear in the same place at the same time, it can be very confusing and quite creepy.

The term Doppelganger is German for “double-walker” and the double of a person is considered to be a paranormal duplicate of a real person. On occasion, one can see his or her own double but, for the most part, the individual is unaware of the presence of a doppelganger. A double-walker may appear in the same place as the individual or could appear in a completely different city, town, or country.

“True” Story

In the 19th century, Emilee Sagee, 32, worked as a school teacher at several girl’s institutions in Dijon, France. By all accounts, she was an amazing and engaging teacher and her students loved her. However, despite her popularity with the young ones,  Sagee was dismissed from roughly 18 schools and could hardly hold a job for any length of time due to the strange occurrences that followed her wherever she went. In 16 years, she had changed positions 19 times and, in 1845, 13 students actually witnessed Sagee’s doppelganger mysteriously appear next to her. She stood at the front of the room, her students sitting before her in rapt attention, and all of a sudden, a form appeared beside her. It appeared to mimic her movements and, although the figure was in close proximity to Sagee, she never acknowledged its presence. This was likely a good thing because old folklore tales warn of the dangers of seeing ones own copy or “double walker.” The copy appeared several times, each appearance seemingly making Sagee herself groggy and disoriented, including once while she ate. The copy ate too, presenting the same movements and mannerisms. On one occasion, Sagee was in the garden outside the classroom while her doppelganger sat in a chair at the front of the classroom. Although Sagee reported worrying the students wouldn’t do their work without her supervision, she never looked in on them. Instead, it seems as if she projected an image of herself into the space.

The account reads as follows:

witnessed by nearly 50 persons, the students were intently working in their sewing class while another teacher sat at the front of the room reading a book. Outside the window, the students could see Emilee working in the garden. The supervising teacher stood up and left the room. Seconds later, Emilee walked in and sat down in the empty chair. Students thought nothing of it until one gasped and pointed out the window where Emilee was still working diligently in the garden. Two of the students stood and approached the doppelganger and being quite brave, reached out and touched it. They said it looked just like Emilee Sagee in all aspects except when they ran their hands through the entity, they said it felt empty, like the stuff cobwebs are made of. Later Emilee Sagee had told school officials that she indeed had been outside picking flowers in the garden. She had not seen the doppelganger (in fact, Emilee never once saw her twin) but had in fact, wished to herself that she was in the classroom supervising the sewing class. School officials noted in their documentation that each time the doppelganger appeared to them, the real Emilee appeared lethargic and listless.

A few people attempted to approach and touch the copy, but they found that, although the figure was textural like heavy fabric, they were unable to place their hands upon it. Instead their hands slipped right through the copy, making it more of an apparition. Day after day, the copy would appear and more and more children would be removed from school by their parents. One would imagine it’s quite stressful to have a ghost-like figure drifting about while in the confines of a classroom. Eventually, Sagee was dismissed from the position.

However, this tale is not unique in and of itself. Many others have had similar experiences. Some of them were even famous.

Not the Only One

Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia in the 18th century, retired to bed one evening when servants explained to her that they had already seen her enter the throne room. When Catherine went to investigate, she came upon an exact copy of herself sitting on her throne. She ordered her sentries to fire at the apparition, but to no effect. Catherine herself died shortly thereafter.

Shortly before Percy Bysshe Shelley, a very adept poet, drowned in a sailing accident in 1812 he told his wife Mary (you might know of her, she wrote a little novel called Frankenstein) that he had seen his doppelganger several times. At one point, he had even met his copy on a terrace. The apparition had asked him, “How long do you mean to be content?” before disappearing. Percy’s doppelganger was also witnessed by his friend Jane Williams who stated that she would often see Percy walking past her window toward a dead end. He would only walk toward the dead end and never returned back the way he’d come. The real Percy was no where near at the time of these incidents.

Queen Elizabeth I of England (reigned from 1558-1603) was known by those close to her to be a very savvy and level-headed individual and she was certainly not the type to be concerned with the paranormal, that is until she saw her doppelganger lying motionless on her bed. The spectral Elizabeth appeared to be laid out as if for funerary presentation. Such appearances are often precursors to the death of that individual and, in Elizabeth’s case, this was no exception to that rule.

One day, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, famous writer and politician, (1749-1832) was riding along a footpath toward home, having just left the residence of a love interest named Frederika. Goethe claimed that he saw a rider in the distance riding toward him. As the figure came closer, he realized that the rider was himself, though wearing different clothing. When the figure was close enough to touch, it disappeared. About eight years later, Goethe was again riding the same path in the opposite direction when he realized that he was wearing the same clothes that the figure had been wearing eight years prior.

In another instance, Goethe saw his friend Freidrich walking down the street wearing Goethe’s own dressing gown. Goethe went home and, when he arrived, found that Freidrich had changed into one of his dressing gowns while drying his wet clothes. Freidrich claimed to have been inside and never wandered in the street.

Fact or Fiction?

While mystics believe that double-walkers are supernatural in nature, those with a more scientific lean are inclined to believe that seeing yourself in this way can more reasonably be attributed to schizophrenia or a glitch in the brain.

At present, there are websites where you can find your doppelganger. One such site, http://www.twinstrangers.net, a company based in Ireland, claims that two head shots and a quick search on their site will hook you up with a carbon copy of yourself. Just for fun, I signed up. I have yet to get a confirmation in order to access the site, but it will be very interesting if I happen to stumble upon another me on the other side of the world somewhere.

So what do we make of this phenomena? Have you ever met your double? I suppose not. For, if you did, you’d likely be dead.

Your Fellow Haunt Head,

Janine

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