By Julia Williams
I can’t count the times I’ve looked at someone – either in person or a photograph – and thought “Gosh, they sure look like so-and-so.” I hear about this happening to others too, so often that I’m sure every person on the planet will have this same experience many times over the course of their life.
I once hypothesized (not seriously, just in fun) that the reason it happened was because our faces were created from “molds” that were reused. Some molds were eventually altered to create different features, but overall a finite number of molds were available. Hence, in our lifetime we were bound to come across people who looked remarkably like other people, and even…people who looked just like us!
These body doubles are sometimes called doppelgangers, a German word meaning “double-goer.” In folklore, doppelgangers were malicious ghostly doubles that haunted their more innocent counterparts and confused their friends and relatives. (Could the doppelganger legend possibly be where the term “evil twin” came from?). Nowadays, a doppelganger is simply any double or look-alike of a person.
Some people say that everyone has a doppelganger. Although there’s no proof of this, there are many stories about cases of mistaken identity, and some have disastrous consequences. For example, a doppelganger commits a crime and an innocent man is sent to jail. I have never seen my doppelganger, but I sure do hope she is a law abiding citizen!
If we believe that every human has a doppelganger out there somewhere – I’m not convinced but I haven’t rejected the theory, either – then what about our pets? Could dogs and cats have doppelgangers, too? Well, sure. Why not!