Top 5 | The Lore Explored | The Doppelgänger

Top 5 | The Lore Explored | The Doppelgänger

Let me ask you a question. Have you ever been
walking through a busy street–when all of a sudden, out of the corner of your eye–you
caught sight of someone you know well, slipping past in the crowd. An old friend, a distant
cousin–but then, your heart sinks. It’s not them–just their Doppelganger. Their spitting
image. You see, it’s a disposable phrase that we often use–a throwaway term of endearment–to
let someone know that you were thinking of them. After all, there are only a certain
number of faces, right? The thing is though, there is a far more sinister undertone to
this conversation piece. The fear of the self is a very difficult concept to approach. Deep
down, in the inner recesses of our mind–the most obscure, and most challenging fear to
face–is our own image. Let’s see where it all came from. Hello horror fans, what’s going on–and
once again welcome back to the scariest channel on YouTube–Top 5 Scary Videos. As per usual,
I’ll be your horror host, as today–we continue our Lore Explored Series–and take a look
at the Origins–of The Doppelganger. Roll the clip. For the curious amongst you, that scene–of
course, was from 2019’s US–written and directed by Jordan Peele in his sophomore
sequence as a horror tour-de-force–and one film in particular that managed to take the
concept of the Doppelganger, put it through the modern horror machine–and then take it
to the next damn level. As a side note–that whole scene is brilliantly well made. And
yeah–whilst that movie is pretty damn awesome and worthwhile of your attention–it also
gave us The Tethered–and we’ll talk about those guys in good time, because by that point–we
may be looking at the Uncanny from a whole new perspective. The point is though, cinema,
particularly horror cinema–has often used the concept of the Doppelganger–ever since
the early days of the silver screen–but it’s origins, are far, far older than that. Also–we should probably preface this video
with the fact that the fear of the uncanny is one of my deepest, darkest fears. I’m
not scared of much–but I am absolutely terrified of things that resemble the human form or
people that I know–that then turn out–aren’t those people at all. That goes for mannequins,
cyborgs–and yes, clones. And also, sorry to anyone that is an identical twin but you
give me the heebie jeebies. So yeah, let it be known that I’m facing my fears. First–and most importantly–we should probably
approach this Lore Explored as we do all others. After all, what’s in a word? And if you’re
a fan of The Kingkiller Chronicles, then you’ll certainly know that knowing the true name
of something or someone is power enough. Particularly if you know the name of the wind, but that’s
a story for another time. You see, the etymology of The Doppelganger is as straightforward
as you may imagine. The German language is remarkably efficient–and so, it is a compound
noun formed by the two German words, doppel–meaning double, and Ganger–meaning walker, or goer.
Literally, Doppelganger means Double Goer. The non-biological spitting image of someone–or
something. Now, whilst the phrase was first coined in the German language, in a novel
written in 1796 which we’ll get to later–the origins of it are older still. It is a function of folklore that has been
disseminated since ancient civilization–which perhaps harkens back to the fact that the
fear of the self is indeed hardwired into the human mind. Now, hold that point–because
to understand the Doppelganger we have to go back as far as possible–and interestingly
enough, we have to poke our head into the mythology of ancient Egypt. You see, in Egyptian
mythology, in perhaps the first example of the uncanny–their ancient belief system portrayed
the human soul as being split into several different components. One of those–was Ka–which
formed as a tangible spirit double which would manifest on the mortal plane and possess the
same memories and feelings of their original counterpart. In The Greek Princess, an Ancient
Egyptian Myth that took place during the age of Pharaoh Seti the II and presented a view
of the Legendary Trojan War–Helen of Troy found her own ka manifesting without her knowledge,
misleading Paris and subsequently ending the war. Now, useful–certainly, but it painted a picture
of a human’s soul acting independently in the best interest of the whole. Interestingly
enough though, that same function occurred again, in an equally ancient belief system.
In Norse mythology, a vardoger–which loosely translates to soul watchman–was a ghostly
double who would be seen as a sort of guardian spirit carrying out the actions of an individual
before they had happened. Again, this would later occur in Finnish mythology–forming
the basis of a figure known as an etianien–a firstcomer–an integral part of Finnish folklore
that would later become a sort of premonition, a clairvoyant feeling of someone that was
no longer present. And here is where folklore does what it does
best–and begin to take a primordial feeling or a concept, and then layer it throughout
many different cultures. You see, that same feeling and cluster of emotions evidently
hung on a chord in Ancient Society. After all, in such a tumultuous time–it was only
fitting that the widow of a warrior, or the son of a bloodthirsty king–would see ghosts
of the past out of the corner of their eye. Although they perhaps didn’t know it at
the time–it is a psychological experience that has long lingered in the human mind.
You see, the origins of The Doppelganger are inexplicably tied to that of the dead. Later, in Breton mythology–which includes
Cornish, Welsh and Norman folklore–the Ankou is a familiar figure of this same paranormal
feeling. A personification of death, that would often take the form of the last person
to die in a parish every year–and then assume the duty of calling for the dead. A familiar
face, collecting the souls of the deceased. In the 19th Century folklore compendium, The
Legend of Death, written by renowned Breton poet Anatole Le Braz–he described: The Ankou as the henchman of Death. Oberour
ar maro. And he is also known as the graveyard watcher. They said that he protects the graveyard
and the souls around it for some unknown reason–and he collects the lost souls of his land. The
last dead of the year, in each parish, becomes the Ankou of his parish for all of the following
year. When there has been, in a year, more deaths than usual, one says about the Ankou:
On my faith, this one is a nasty Ankou. You see, if this feels familiar–that’s
because it is. The Ankou is formed on the basis of many other Celtic figures of folklore.
The Banshee. The Wraith. In many other senses–the ghosts of tradition. In Irish folklore–it
is The Fetch–a doppelganger often regarded as an omen–depicting an impending death.
It is one that is often related to The Morrigan–the great phantom queen–Mor Rioghain–that would
occur as a shade of a warrior just before their death, leading them by the hand to the
other side. And you see, this is perhaps the reason why The Doppelganger has so often been
tied to the fear of death. In folklore throughout Europe and the wider world–seeing a shade
of yourself, or a version of yourself that should not exist–heralded your untimely demise.
If you caught a glimpse of yourself, or your loved one–where they shouldn’t be–it often
meant that the spirit already had one foot through the threshold. In 1617–the English metaphysical poet John
Donne, claimed that on one fateful night whilst travelling through France, he caught a glimpse
of his wife’s doppelganger–where he claimed it to be a wraith–roaming through the streets
of Paris. Unbeknownst to him–that same night would be the stillbirth of their daughter.
And five days later, his wife Anne, tragically died from the same postnatal complications.
And here is where we can bring it back full circle, to the first written occurence of
the word–Doppelganger–although, by now we should certainly take note that the term itself
takes many different forms. After all, not everything is as it may seem. In the Romantic
Novel, Siebenkas–written by German writer Jean Paul in 1796–the unhappily married titular
character, Siebenkas–consults his friend, Leibgeber, about what to do to end his unhappiness.
Unbeknownst to him, but aware to the audience–Leibgeber is the alter ego–or Doppelganger–of Siebenkas–and
he advises him to fake his own death to get out of it. Now, whilst Siebenkas is a relatively comedic
tale–the uncanny was still tied to the act of death or dying, cemented in the folklore
of Europe, and so used as a literary device–but it was in the later, more gothic period of
literature where the true horror of the *other* took another turn. In the 1820 four-part drama,
Prometheus Unbound–Percy Shelley speaks of the character of Zoroaster walking through
a vast and abundant garden–and meeting with his own image. Although only brief, it laid
the seed–and this narrative device was used far more abundantly by Shelley’s life-long
friend, the notorious Lord Byron–who employed the figure of the Doppelganger as a metaphor
for the duality of human nature. Again, although Byron skirted around the truth of the form–it
was an example of a far more ancient feeling. Fear of the self. An extension of the human
mind–coalescing on the mortal plane. The consequence of one’s actions. The metaphysical
manifestation of fear and desire. In 1815–in The Devil’s Elixir, a novel
written by E. T. A Hoffmann and based on the Gothic classic, The Monk–a man murders the
brother and stepmother of the beloved princess Aurelie on her request–who then finds that
his doppelganger has instead been sentenced to death for these crimes. After battling
with his own demons, he goes to great lengths to free his own doppelganger–who then goes
on a rampage and kills the princess. Consequence, in action. Later, in the 1825 work, Tales
by the O’Hara Family–written by brothers Michael and John Banim–they talk of The Fetches–the
familiar images of villagers that occur throughout the twisting tales of Proto-Gothic Horror–this
time taking a function of folklore and describing it on a larger scale. More importantly though, several decades later
in 1846–the legendary Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky–would pen one of his most remarkable
novellas. The Double. It centers on a government clerk who goes mad–and the text itself deals
with the internal psychological struggle on it’s character–a theme which would lay
the foundation of Dostoyevsky’s work–and would later occur in many of his more complicated
characters, notably–the Brothers Karamazov and Notes from the Underground. Dostoyevsky
dealt with the gothic motif of the Doppelganger, by describing it as a character at odds with
itself. The Inner Conflict of the human mind–one that could only be resolved by either side
winning out. Which one would win, would often by the vessel in which this horror was delivered–because
spoilers, but The Double has a far from happy ending. The point is–the 19th century was a period
in the history of horror literature where The Doppelganger truly found it’s stride
by taking components of these tales of folklore and applying them to a far more psychological
image. The Uncanny. The Mimic. The Character who is far too familiar to be coincidental.
In the 1913 German Expressionism film, The Student of Prague–this horror concept finds
itself literally in combat with its own Doppelganger–a visual demonstration of exactly what these
19th century writers were trying to portray. Later, in 1970–in the Basil Dearden film,
The Man Who Haunted Himself–Roger Moore played a character whose doppelganger sprang into
existence following his brief-death on an operating table–who would then descend into
madness, trying to figure out if this Doppelganger was indeed real, or just a figment of his
own imagination. And then–of course, in 2019–we come full
circle, and we have Jordan Peele’s US. The Tethered. A mirror image of a family haunting
the same family, The Tylers–each of them with a Doppelganger of their own. Now, I certainly
don’t want to spoil any of the content of this movie, because if you haven’t seen
it then you certainly should–but what Jordan Peele does in this film, like his predecessors
before him–is take the ancient image of the Doppelganger, and give it a far more insightful
meaning. You see, in 2019–in this strange, new, modern society and rapidly spiraling
out of control technology–we are finding it increasingly difficult to look in the mirror
and stare *ourselves* down. It seems that the truth behind our own Doppelganger–may
be our most important fear to face. Well, there we have it folks–our most recent
entry into this Lore Explored series. And I have to say–I am increasingly enjoying
it. And yeah, I’m still scared of The Uncanny. What do you guys think? Are you scared of
the Uncanny too? Ever seen your own Doppelganger? Let us know your thoughts down in the comment
section below. Before we depart from today’s video though, let’s first take a quick look
at some of your more creative comments from our last entry in this series–The Necromancer. Frontal Lobe says– I think you’re probably my favorite Jack
clone out of all of you–just saying. — Uh. Too soon, buddy. Too soon. Alyssa Fell says– This was so well done that I watched it twice.
Cheers! — Twice, woah! Why stop there? Go for three!
Four even. Alright, okay. Four is probably a little too much. Twice is fine. Thank you. Well, on that note, unfortunately that’s
all we’ve got time for in today’s video–cheers for sticking around all the way until the end.

72 thoughts on “Top 5 | The Lore Explored | The Doppelgänger”

  • This is by far my favorite channel on YouTube.
    I am loving the 80s horror movie series.
    And Lucy and Jack are the perfect hosts for this channel.
    Keep up the great work guys!!

  • I was in a gaming guild with someone that looked exactly like me, everyone else assumed we were the same person pulling a prank..

    Annnd loads of time friends text me saying they saw someone that looked exactly like me in town when they were shopping but realised it wasn't me when they started smoking..

  • On the subject of “Doppelgängers,” on Seth Skorkowsky’s channel, he has a “Jack” character you may want to check out.

  • One other Doppelgänger story from the 19th Century is Edgar Allen Poe’s sort story
    William Wilson which deals with the narrator and his doppelgänger and how he deals with it.

  • I have seen myself on a couple of occasions, and that was…well, i cant even put it into words. I started to question my whole existence.

  • Awwwww man! I missed live chat!!! Such a great episode as well. Doppelgangers- a truly menacing thought! T wrote a free verse poem/short story 'The Reflection' that delves into this concept of the doppelganger. Thank you for this video I loved it! Wish I could have been there…💚💚💚💯 keep up the great work! Yall pushing out some great content!👻

  • When I was pregnant my 5 year old daughter and I went to my baby appointment. After I registered and sat down I noticed my daughter kept turning around and looking at someone. When I asked what she was looking at she said "i think daddy is here with some lady" I turned around and there was a man sitting by a very pregnant woman who looked identical to my husband. I was about to get up and flip out on the poor guy before I noticed him wearing cowboy boots, something my husband would never wear. I quickly picked up my cellphone and called my husband at work to make sure the guy in the waiting room didnt pick up his cellphone lol. Luckily for my husband and the poor guy in the waiting room my husband picked up his phone. It was crazy.

  • I love how Jack will sneak in the Name of the Wind as often as possible. Not complaining though. Love the series and love more people hearing about it

  • I have seen first hand account of this one day I watched my friend come down the stairs then about a second later she came back down the stairs again, without going up. She is passed away now, I have always been tripped out by this wishing I was dreaming or on drugs but I was sober and it was broad daylight.

  • I actually met my doppelganger when I was still at university, bicycle and all; even years later, I can still find the exact spot on the footbridge where "we" (he/I) crossed paths.
    I had just finished printing out a paper for a class, was walking up with my bicycle up to where the footbridge split into two directions, and met my doppelganger at the mouth of the fork headed in the direction opposite to where I had just come from. He was actually really cordial! Never saw him again after that, though.

  • I was just talking about "Murders of Molly Southbourne" by Tade Thomoson on my book club, that story takes fear of doppelganger to another level.

  • One time I was on a road trip with friends on the highway. I was in the back seat and looked at a car passing us slowly. I did a double take, looking at the driver, stunned that he looked so much like me, just a bit older. He the glanced at me, and did his own double take. I could see on his face that he was also stunned by how much we looked alike.

  • My Doppelganger: Your family are filled with assholes and sumbags, you're lazy, and the only reason you exist is because you love your little chihuahua

  • I don't know if you've noticed but you and Danny Burke are like each other's double. At first I seriously thought you were related.

  • Well I don't know if it's the second third fourth or fifth version of you my good friend Jack. But whatever version it is has a wonderful taste in t-shirts. Wu Tang Forever!

  • " Knowing the true name of something or someone is power. "
    Did anyone else think of the Skull Duggery Pleasant Series the second Jack said that?

    Honestly, Jack if you haven't read it yet, I'd really recommend you do, because it's just an altogether awesome series that I really think you and possibly the Queen of Hell, Lucy will enjoy. I'm not trying to sound like a broken record here though, so if I do I'm really sorry.

  • Great video, as usual, Jack, but you left out such a significant contribution to doppelgänger lore, and that's the classic episode of The Twilight Zone from 1960, entitled "Mirror Image". For anyone fascinated with the concept, it's absolutely an must see. Roll the clip:

  • Welcome to the Irish folklore mothafuka!
    Ancient Egypt instead is the first appearance of these things
    Wait-WHAT? Isn’t it Irish legends tho? The Fetch?

  • Years ago in my misspent youth I was real high. I started talking to this guy who was sitting across from me. He said something that made me laugh. At that secomd I realized the other guy was my doppelganger and he disappeared.

  • Last year I lived with my girlfriend at the time in a small dimly lit apartment. She was hardly ever home but when I would wake up at night, I swore I saw her in the bedroom, and even held hands with her. I left the room to get water and there was my gf in the kitchen! So whose hand was I holding in the bedroom? True story.

  • I have had individuals who come to me saying that they meet my other….
    Exactly like me except in a sense a darker version of myself. This introgues me, honestly even with all that surrounds the concept of a doppleganger I would love to come into contact with another me.

  • Jack, I was wondering if this channel could do more of this kind of thing. You've been covering scary movies and the like but it's these ones that are much better, they're just rare. The thing is, ever since you and Rebecca left Most Amazing, the new girl has been covering alot of things like Disney and is a self professed "I don't really like scary things" type of person. I'd rather have this kind of thing than bull about Disney. History, mythology, that sort of thing. Ayman and Chay do what they can. It just seems like this has been a strange halloween month for them. I'd rather more of this. It's so much more interesting.

  • Doppelgängers and twins are so fascinating. Both my parents were twins and it runs on both sides of my family. There’s also a whole island where almost everyone has identical twins! Probably best to avoid that as a vacation spot Jack…

  • I went to a party once where several women asked why I had not called them. 2 of them kissed me, one slapped me. I had never had met any of them before. My doppleganger was a stud.

  • Loved this! Fascinating run down of Doppelgänger history and stuff. Funnily enough they fascinate more than scare me. You might hate my sci fi saga. It's full of cyborgs and stuff haha

  • I remember that old Rodger Moore movie. I saw it back in the 70s when I was a kid, and I didn't like it. I found it confusing, as well as disturbing. (◕﹏◕✿)

  • Always great to hear someone on youtube mention the dear old home country of Finland. Also, you did a good job pronouncing etiäinen, it is a funny word.

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