The doppelgänger – an apparition or double of a living person – is a fundamentally unsettling concept. It conflicts with our innate sense of individualism and terrorises our ideas of uniqueness. Not only that, it forces us to examine the strength of our relationships with others: would they so easily mistake a cunning imposter for us?
What follows is an account submitted to us by Kayla, a lady who experienced those very feelings when a double entered her life. Although she concludes that she is not 100% certain as to what this entity was, it bears similarities to other eyewitness reports of doppelgängers.
Editor’s note: The following account has been edited for grammatical mistakes and increased clarity of information. Permission to perform these edits was granted by the eyewitness. In addition, for the sake of protecting the identities of those involved, names have been changed.
“Whatever is in my apartment doesn’t plan on leaving anytime soon.”
About a month ago, I moved into a moderately-sized apartment with the love of my life, Thomas, and his pre-school aged step-daughter, Daisy. The move came as a huge relief to the both of us: we were thrilled to finally be living together. Daisy was also ecstatic to now have her own “big girl room” where she could play and enjoy her own space.
Moving can certainly be a stressful experience, having to uproot every single belonging and haul everything multiple times, only to then settle yourself in an unfamiliar space. So naturally, when things turned up in places other than where I had left them, I was quick to dismiss it as “the chaos of the move”. I also attributed crankiness, short tempers, and the general feeling of uneasiness to being in a new environment. Even after what happened during our first night there.
I had been asleep for several hours, when – around half four in the morning – I was jolted awake by the sound of a woman gasping. It startled me so much that I instantly sat upright, flinging the covers from myself as I wildly scanned the room. I surveyed my surroundings: bed, dresser, and lots of boxes. Eventually, my eyes adjusted to the darkness and I was able to see Thomas lying next to me in bed. The moment I focused on his sleeping form, he rolled over, lifted his head, and looked at me. Only, his eyes were firmly closed. Regardless, the intensity of his eyeless stare burned into me, as his face formed an expression of humor and snideness.
The expression terrified me.
Against every shaken fiber of my being, I laid back down in attempt to lull him out of whatever dream he was in. At that point, his head snapped to the side, our noses almost touching. He wiggled his eyebrows, as if he was going to try to make a joke. I couldn’t tear my eyes from him, as much as everything in me screamed to. Chillingly, still seemingly asleep, he let out a little laugh and uttered: “How scared are you, right now?” After that, like a spell had been broken, he fell back into rest. I couldn’t blink, or breathe, or even cry. It was all so startling, and on top of that I was completely exhausted. At some point between 5 and 6, I finally fell asleep.The next day, thinking about what had happened the night before, all seemed so surreal. It couldn’t have possibly happened. I decided to attribute the whole ordeal to a waking dream. We had so much to do, and I didn’t have time to dwell on it.
We quickly got the apartment settled over the weekend. As Daisy would be returning from a sleepover on Sunday evening, I wanted everything to be perfect for her when she arrived. So, I did the grocery shopping, decorated her room into something very aesthetically pleasing for a 4 year old, and busied myself with fine-tuning her new home. Her first night there was a rousing success: she fell in love with the place just as her father and I had. That, I’m comfortable to say, was the biggest sigh of relief of all. We had officially done it. The “chaos of the move” was through, and we could resume our normality: work, school, meals, and the like. The next week was largely uneventful, with the occasional instance of “how did this box end up in here?” and “who left that light on?”. Menial things that nobody ever pays much attention to. I didn’t anyway. But I certainly do now.
The next weekend we hosted a party so that my family could see our new home. The apartment was a big hit with everybody, with the exception of my grandmother. She had walked around the house with a skeptic eye, occasionally glancing over her shoulder, and checking in cupboards and behind doors. Although she is a very interesting lady, my grandmother is also very eccentric, so I didn’t pay much attention to her suspicious glances. However, when we all finally sat down for dinner, throughout the entire meal my attention was pulled away, time and time again, by my grandmother. She sat at the end of the table, silently, gazing with great intention at our sliding patio door. After watching her do this for several minutes, I finally asked her what was so interesting in our garden. She acted like I had startled her out of some kind of trance. Looking at me she said, “I keep seeing your white cat in the reflection, you didn’t tell me you bought a new cat.”
I leered over the table, into the living room. Nothing. No cat. She quickly dismissed the comments as a product of a ‘senior moment’, and our happy evening resumed. But the white cat stuck in my memory.
Later that evening, after I had cleaned up the post-party mess, I began building a fire in our living room fireplace. The three of us were due to relax. When, out of the corner of my eye, it was there. The white cat. It was big and as fast as a shot, darting under my table and away to the patio door. I nearly fell over trying to stand, and give chase to the stowaway animal, but when I ran over to where he had gone, there was no sign of any animal.
Afterwards, when we had settled in for our movie, I told Thomas that I, too, had seen the white cat. And that it had disappeared. Being skeptical of anything paranormal, he shrugged it off with a rational explanation, suggesting that I should not dwell on a supposed phantom cat. Relaxing, I agree. We both chuckled at the concept and said that a cat ghost wouldn’t be such a terrible inconvenience in our home anyway, when -suddenly – T sprang off of the couch. He scolded me, saying that there was no cat, and there was no reason for me to be going to such lengths to scare him. I was confused to say the least. “I know that you believe in this stuff, but I don’t. You don’t need to brush stuff against my leg and try to get a rise out of me.”
But, I had never touched him. Besides, I was sitting at least 3 feet away, with Daisy between us. Realising that I couldn’t have touched him, confusion washed over Thomas’ face. He quietly apologized and sat back down. The expression of shock and wondering stayed on his face for a little while.
When the movie was over, and everyone was in bed, I had trouble finding sleep. I faded in and out of dreams of the white cat, and dreams of a woman that looked very much like myself. The dreams were bizarre to say the least. The woman who looked like me would laugh and howl, then scrape dirt up out of the ground and stuff it into her face. Each time that she did, I would choke and spit and gasp for air. But not her. She would just howl and laugh and scoop up another handful of dirt. Needless to say, I did not sleep well.
The next morning, Thomas was on shift to get Daisy out of bed. As he did, I dozed, sleepily listened to them moving around the house. I had faded back into light sleep when I was awoken by hurried footsteps coming up the hall. Thomas grabbed my shoulder, and shook it gently, asking: “How did you do that? How did you?” I was confused and tired. Sitting up, I asked him to explain what had happened. This is what he told me:
He had been helping Daisy pull her pajamas down so she could use the bathroom when she had pointed out the door and said: “There goes Lovie! Good morning, Lovie!” Lovie was a pet name that she’s always had for me. When Thomas looked out the door and saw nothing, he had replied: “Where is Lovie? She isn’t there.” Yet, Daisy had pointed her finger out the door and insisted, “YES DADDY, SHES RIGHT THERE!”
It was then that Thomas saw ‘me’ walking through the living room into the kitchen. Messy hair, sweatpants, sleepy shuffle…. Whatever this thing was, it was a carbon copy of me.
Thomas went on to explain that he and Daisy had gone into the living room to follow ‘me’. “Lovie is hiding in the kitchen,” Thomas had said, “she’s gonna pop out and scare us!” Thinking it was a game, Daisy had took off back to her room. Thomas had snuck around to the kitchen threshhold, as this was the only place where someone could conceal themselves from sight. Yet, when he looked inside, ‘I’ had not been there. Only, it hadn’t been ‘me’ in the first place. As I had been dozing in bed the entire time.
It took about 10 minutes of me swearing up and down that I had been in bed the whole time before Thomas realized that I was telling the truth. I hadn’t teleported out of there, I was never there to begin with. Whatever he and Daisy saw wasn’t me.
I instantly thought of the dreams that had plagued me that night. Of the woman who looked just like me, the howling woman. Just thinking about this made my stomach sink.
After this, I thought that there was something wrong with our apartment. Yet, within just a few days I knew I was proven wrong. Whatever was happening wasn’t confined to the apartment anymore.
As I sat at my desk late one afternoon, wrapping up the days activities, I heard the front door to the office open and my managers hurry inside. This wasn’t at all odd to me: midwestern November weather is, if nothing else, windy and unpleasant. Yet, when they stepped into the area in front of my cubicle, I knew something was wrong. When I saw the expression on their faces, I was taken back to Thomas face the previous weekend: confusion and fear. They both started to speak to me all at once, loud and agitated. I was starting to worry. What had happened? Did they see a car accident on their smoke break? Was somebody hurt? Finally, one of my managers, Kelly, was able to articulate her thoughts: “Where did you come in? What are you doing?”
She was not asking, she was demanding – shock painted across her face. When my answers did not satisfy her (I hadn’t been outside for hours) her demeanor changed from confusion to anger. “Do not lie to me! You’re not funny. How the Hell did you get in here so quickly?”
At that moment, the cold, sinking feeling from the weekend before returned to my stomach. I hadn’t been outside. After a coworker verified this, my managers finally stopped shouting at me. The realisation hit that there was no joke or lie being played out. My other manager, Mary, explained that she and Kelly had seen ‘me’ absent mindedly pacing through the parking lot outside. ‘I’ was faced away from them, with ‘my’ hands folded up in a praying position under my chin. This is a particular quirk of mine, I’ll often weave my fingers together and rest my chin on my hands. It’s something I’ve always done it. Yet, once again, whatever they saw outside wasn’t ‘me’.
Kelly and Mary continued to provide precise details of this thing outside. Not only did it mimic my hand movements, but it also walked like me, copying my absent-minded habit of stretching my legs by rolling from my heel to my toe to come up on top my tiptoes. It was even dressed in the same hiking boots, leggings and college basketball sweater that I was wearing. Every detail matched perfectly, except for one. Throughout this whole conversation, Kelly kept returning to the same thing, the reason why she thought ‘I’ had been trying to scare them. As this thing paced the parking lot, mimicking me in every way, it made noises like a cat.
As the reality set in that whatever had been seen outside wasn’t actually me, nobody knew how to react. There was no panic. Instead, two very calmly voiced questions hung in the air: First, if it wasn’t me, then what was it? And, secondly, is it still out there?
I poked my head out the door and scanned the parking lot before slowly walked outside into the bitter wind. As I approached my car, I prayed that this thing was long gone. I couldn’t begin to imagine running into it, mirroring my image, dressed up as me.
When I was inside of the car, my phone rang. It was Thomas. He had arrived at the apartment about 10 minutes beforehand and, as he explained it to me, every ceiling light that he tried to turn on had popped a light bulb. Three in total. When he had returned to the kitchen for new bulbs, he had suddenly heard sprinting feet approach him. Not hurried steps or even a hustle, but the loud steps of somebody charging you with a purpose. His military training took over, and at the prospect of having a violent intruder in the house, he grabbed a ceramic knife from the counter. Yet, when he had ducked and turned to face the assailant, there was nobody there. There was nobody in the kitchen. There was nobody in the apartment. In fact, there was not even anybody in the complex hall or out the main door.
After I told him about the happenings at work, the only response that he could muster was: “Let’s get out of the house tonight. Let’s go see our parents, or your grandma. Let’s get out of the house.”
That was an idea I got behind.
When I arrived home he met me at the garden gate with a collection of belongings. I never set foot inside. We thought that being at someone else’s home would give us a small reprieve at someone else’s home. However, that thought was short lived.
At Thomas’ mother’s house, a closet door opened, and then shut, seemingly of its own volition. A foul smell seeped into the house, almost as soon as we set foot through the door. I’ve seen enough horror movies to draw conclusions from these events: we decided that we ought not stay for too long. Thomas’ mother shared in our confusion and fear. Ultimately unable to help, she hugged us goodbye. As we drove away, I looked on as every window of her house lit up, as every source of light in the building was switched on.
Grandmother’s house wasn’t much better. As we walked in her door, yet another light bulb exploded, not two feet from Thomas’ head. We both rushed inside, thinking we could leave the presence out on the porch if we closed the door quickly enough. Having seen the white cat at the housewarming party, my grandmother was concerned. She placed her hands on my shoulder and told me that I needed to cleanse the house.
She gave us a couple of white candles and instructed us to both leave our bibles open where the bulk of the activity is happening. As much as I clung to those white candles, they did nothing to relieve the situation.
Neither did the advice from an old friend of mine, who has experience with spirit communications. Strange things still happen in my house. And, I am still haunted by my doppleganger. This thing seems to take delight in following us everywhere, and scaring not only us, but everyone we come into contact with. I do not know what it is, I can only describe it as some kind or dark presence. It’s intentions are far from pleasant. It terrifies me, and I feel unwelcome in my own home. Like I am being forced out.
Whatever is in my apartment doesn’t plan on leaving anytime soon.