Isn’t the doppelganger phenomenon the same as the bi-location phenomenon or for that matter the “look alike-doubles” phenomenon? Even though doppelganger and “look alike-doubles” are used interchangeably nowadays, there are notable, fascinating differences between the three phenomena. At the same time, they share intriguing similarities too, which is probably why dictionaries like Merriam-Webster provide four different categories in the definition of doppelganger : someone who looks like someone else, a ghost that looks like a living person, an alter ego, a person who has the same name as another. And while psychologists theorise that it could be the alter-ego of a person, paranormal specialists believe that the psyche splits up and personifies the original self.

Many people believe that each individual has up to eleven look-alikes in this world. And in this social media age, celebrity look-alikes hog almost immediate attention worldwide. In Wroclaw, Poland, there lives a man who looks like so much like Russia’s President Vladimir Putin that he was invited to Britain for a photo session as Putin’s double. Pop sensation Justin Bieber has a look alike who hails from Rawalpindi, Pakistan. In India, a man from Kerala almost crashed the Internet in 2017 with his striking resemblance to Prime Minister Modi. Bollywood actor Salman Khan has more than one look-alike. Actor Ranveer Singh’s look-alike is also from Pakistan and so is the look-alike of the captain of India’s cricket team, Virat Kohli. In India and worldwide, it’s a long list. However, look-alikes are mainly physical duplicates, normal people who simply bear an exceptionally strong resemblance to someone else. Doppelgangers in the original sense have paranormal connotations.

Sample this out of a long, very well documented list of startling true happenings: French writer Guy de Maupassant, master of short stories is said to have interacted with his evil doppelganger days before his death. It is said that the ghostly double appeared before him towards the end of his life and dictated the story “The Horla”. Curiously, the story is that of a man whose sanity slowly disintegrates due to a demonic entity that uses him as a host. As if mirroring the narrative Maupassant’s mental state began deteriorating soon after writing the story and he died in a mental asylum a year later. Percy Bysshe Shelley, the famous English poet was in Italy when he saw his ghostly double silently pointing towards the Mediterranean Sea. It left Shelley mystified but just before his 30th birthday in 1822, Shelley drowned and died in the Mediterranean Sea in a freak sailing accident.

Queen Elizabeth I of England is said to have witnessed a pale version of her doppelganger sleeping on her bed just days before her death. Author Prof. Geller recounts that “the servants of Catherine the Great reported seeing her in her throne room one night, when she was actually in her bed. She ordered them to shoot her evil spirit double and, strangely, she perished shortly after her double was shot at.”  Incidentally, while dedicated scientists have and are carrying out commendable experiments and providing the world with astonishing results at times such as replicating out-of-body experiences by stimulating the brain, etc, they have so far been unable to offer plausible explanations for incidents like the ones above and innumerable others.

As is obvious from real life instances, present day “look-alikes- doubles” exist as individuals like you and me but don’t seem to have a known paranormal connection. With doppelgangers in the original sense, the paranormal is a key component, and most important, when appearing naturally they are not in anybody’s control. In contrast, bi-location is an art, an ability, acquired, inherited or god-gifted. Bi-location, according to Wikipedia, “…is an alleged psychic or miraculous ability wherein an individual or object is located in two distinct places at the same time.”  Wes Penre writes in The Vedic Texts, The Fifth Level of Learning Paper #1: Hindu Cosmology, “… according to Krishna, you can, through appropriate and intense meditation, merge the physical body with the soul/avatar and bring it with you in space, from one location to another… This is in a sense what happens when a person bi-locates, i.e. a person can sit on the couch, talking to you, and at the same time being seen talking to somebody else in the grocery store in another part of town. In both instances, the soul-fire splits in two, and one split travels to a different location, followed by the avatar.”

Ancient Indian scriptures list, along with numerous other powers, 8 main powers that can be acquired by a spiritual person: Aṇimā, Mahima, Garima, Laghima, Prāpti, Prākāmya, Iṣiṭva, and Vaśitva. Of these, it is from Laghima that the power of bi-location and other powers like levitation and flying in the air are said to flow. Laghima comes from the word laghu, which means small or light. Laghima is the ability to make the body very light. Some beings, ancient scriptures explain, inherit these abilities at birth while others need to practice them.

Apart from mastery of Kriya Yoga and other yogic powers, many instances of bi-location are linked to yogis and babas in this age too. Devraha Baba, from whom incidentally, former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi also sought blessings, was well known for bi-locating. Incidentally, tantrics/kaala jaadu practitioners generally use one of three methods to bring spirits under their control, which includes changing their form to create a “double”.

However, rather than alternate realities, alternate dimensions, parallel universes or the differences between doppelgangers, bi-location and look-alikes-doubles, if the most exciting thought in your mind right now is the real life possibility of finding your own look-alike or look-alikes in this very world, Wikipedia tells you how to do it: “With the advent of social media, there have been several reported cases of people finding their “twin stranger” online, a modern term for a doppelgänger. is a website where users can upload a photo of themselves and facial recognition software attempts to match them with another user of like appearance. The site reports that it has found numerous living doppelgangers—including three living doppelgängers of its founder Niamh Geaney.” There are other sites too such as iLookLikeYou. Give it a shot. Who knows, given the eerie way the paranormal often works, you might also tap something beyond real life, something beyond your look-alike.


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