May 21, 2007


This time decided to deal with a word which traces its orgin to German. Infact it is german and has made its place in the English language. Doppelganger or fetch is the ghostly double of a living person. It also refers to a situation of having a glimpse of yourself where it couldn't have been your reflection. I first came across this word in the Agatha Christie novel "Bertram's Hotel" where Miss Marple investigates the claim of a Chaplain who says he sighted his doppleganger in the hotel.

It derives from Doppel (double) and Gänger (goer). As is true for all other "native" nouns in German, the word is written with an initial capital letter, however English usage varies.In English, the word is conventionally uncapitalized (doppelgänger). It is also common to drop the diacritic umlaut, writing "doppelganger". The correct alternative German spelling would be "Doppelgaenger".

They are generally regarded as harbingers of bad luck. In some traditions, a doppelgänger seen by a person's friends or relatives portends illness or danger, while seeing one's own doppelgänger is an omen of death. In Norse mythology, a vardøgr is a ghostly double who precedes a living person and is seen performing their actions in advance.

The doppelgängers of folklore cast no shadow, and have no reflection in a mirror or in water. They are supposed to provide advice to the person they shadow, but this advice can be misleading or malicious. They can also, in rare instances, plant ideas in their victim's mind or appear before friends and relatives, causing confusion. In many cases once someone has viewed his own doppelgänger he is doomed to be haunted by images of his ghostly counterpart.

Other folklore says that when a person's doppelgänger is seen, the person him/herself will die shortly. It is considered unwise to try to communicate with a doppelgänger.



Moi said...

Love that word. Love another German word "schadenfreude"

This one reminds moi of Calvin and his duplicator....and how he duplicates his good side.There's this one strip where Calvin's Doppelganger decides to get friendly with Susie and is confronted by the real Calvin. Angered, Calvin's Doppelganger decides that he's going to "tear [Calvin] limb from-", and promptly disappears with the exclamation "Oops, I had an evil thought!" Hobbes then declares: "Another casualty of Applied Metaphysics."

hehe :D

suramya said...

ha ha, trust calvin to come up with that, I am still working my way up the comics, I found the whole bunch here, unfortunately its not a book with which I can curl and read, staring at the comp for too long gives me a headache, the first german word I was introduced to was strudel, and I do love eating it

Moi said...

once u are down in United states or me in India ...whichever happens sooner, I'll gift u the collection..I love passing CnH collection around...they spread cheer :)

They have an equally sweet word: kindergarten which in German means garden of children ....pretty, isn't it ?? It must be the Cancerian in moi, but anything to do with kids lits up my face

suramya said...

thank you :),they certainly do, u know till date I thought u were a leo, I don't know why, today I was adding you onto my birthday calendar and I realised that ur a cancerian, I adore kids too, but I guess u cancerian's have a way with them, my dad certainly does, he's my hero :)

spitzer said...

Uber cool.
p.s. tiergarten is a zoo-tier being animals-and when juxtaposed with kindergarten it brings a whole new meaning to public schools.

yogsma said...

interesting word..i guess these are ghost days..:-)

suramya said...

spitzer: thank u for that piece of information :):)

yogsma: ha ha, it sure is.