Carl Jung is one of the most fascinating psychologists I’ve ever encountered. His notion of the archetypes, specifically, the shadow archetype is one that I have dedicated much of my writing to, for instance. In this article, we play with the idea that the Doppelgänger is the physical manifestation of the shadow archetype.
Ricardo just finished up the night shift. He’s exhausted. He’s waiting for his train when he looks across the platform to see a man staring at him.
He can’t really make out his face as he’s leaning against a pillar in a shadow.
Ricardo tries to look away but he can feel his glaring stare pierce his periphery. A sudden wave of fear overwhelms him. Hairs stand up on the back of Ricardo’s neck and his body suddenly becomes riddled with goosebumps.
The brisk fall air tickles his exposed ears as his train careens into the station. Relief. He can finally sit down, shake the willies off and relax for a bit.
Ricardo looks up from his lap having felt the familiar eery presence not 10 minutes ago back at the station.
What ricardo sees suddenly sends him into a fit of panic and consequently cardiac arrest.
We’re going to explore what it is Ricardo saw that made him suddenly succumb to heart failure. An experience fraught with fear so overwhelming he never made it home that night.
Let’s get into it.
Doppelgänger is the German word literally translating to “double goer.” It is a non-biological entity “twin, look alike or double” of a living person.
The doppelgänger is often depicted as a paranormal phenomenon that symbolizes bad luck for the person who sees their doppelgänger.
The doppelgänger is also referred to as simply one person who looks like another person. I have my own interpretation as to what the doppelgänger represents. We will also explore why the doppelgänger presents itself as such in the latter portion of this article.
I’ll use pop culture references to demonstrate the manifestation of the doppelgänger.
History Of The Doppelgänger
In ancient Egyptian mythology, “ka” was a spirit or being that had the same memories that the double possessed. “The Greek Princess,”was the depiction of the Trojan war from the Egyptian point of view. It demonstrates how Helen of Troys “ka” was used to mislead Paris in order to stop the war.
In The Twilight Zone Series Episode “Mirror Image,” Millicent Barnes is waiting at a bus station.
She looks at the clock and realizes the bus is late. She goes up to the ticket agent and asks what time the bus will arrive. The ticket agent, visibly annoyed, explains that this is the third time she came up to him asking that question.
Millicent denies ever coming up to ask him this question.
She simultaneously noticed that her bag is in the luggage pile. Millicent mentions the bag and the ticket agent tells her that it is indeed her bag. She turns around and her bag next to her bench is gone.
Disheveled, she runs into the ladies room and washes her face to calm down. As she is leaving the rest room an exact copy of herself sitting in her seat outside.
She meets a man named Paul to whom she tells her story. Paul assures her that it must be some sort of joke being played on her by a look alike.
When the bus arrives she notices her twin stranger is sitting on the bus. Millicent is now in shock. She runs inside and falls unconscious.
Millicent comes to, she starts babbling on about a twin from another dimension. Paul isn’t convinced as “there’s another explanation.” He says he will call his friend in Tully. Instead he decides to go over to the ticket agent to call the police instead.
The police comes and takes Millicent away. Paul puts his bag down, walks over to the water fountain for a sip, looks up his bag is gone. He then sees an exact copy of himself race out of the bus station door after which he chases him.
Where Does The Doppelgänger Come From?
In previous articles, we touched on the shadow archetype. An entity of its own when allowed to grow and fester in the dark corners of the human psyche.
The shadow archetype contains all repressed memories, aspects, behaviors that are not suitable for society or a specific culture. As a result of repressed childhood trauma, the shadow archetype manifests as maladaptive adult behavior. A prime example of shadow behaviors.
Shadow behaviors are the expression of the shadow archetype yearning to be acknowledged.
When the shadow archetype is not acknowledged it can lead to escalation of severe shadow behaviors.
These behaviors fall within the realm of self-destructive defense mechanisms such as addiction.
But how does this relate to the doppelgänger? The Doppelgänger is the physical incarnation of the shadow archetype.
After an extended period of time of repression. The shadow archetype springs forth into a physical incarnation of itself resembling the host.
The shadow archetype is not only aspects about ourselves that we reject. It is the opposite of things that we covet.
This is why we can readily refer to the shadow archetype as the “twin stranger.” The twin stranger is a manifestation of everything we have rejected, repressed and no longer think about or consider a part of ourselves. We no longer recognize this part of ourselves.
This surely comes with a price. The twin stranger or doppelgänger, seeks to take over the love and light personas life, killing it in the process.
The Doppelgänger &Abnormal Psychology
The more objective, boring explanations as to why a person may see their doppelgänger may lie in the clinical context and impending diagnoses.
A person seeing their twin stranger may be suffering from a hallucination that reveals their. previously hidden psychosis.
Or, their twin stranger, evil twin or doppelgänger might be a personality disorder. The turning of the inside-out may explain the conscious self, the ego, feeling as if they are dying or being killed. But this death comes in the form of the shadow taking over the hosts life and living it out how it sees fit.
Two Worlds Touching
In either case, whether it be a metaphysical phenomenon or psychosis, we can agree that this is the result of the conscious and unconscious worlds touching, coming together and battling for dominance after years or decades of turmoil.
Have you seen your doppelgänger recently?
Twilight zone doppelgänger episode: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_Image_(The_Twilight_Zone))