Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Karah from Sandusky, OH. Karah Wonders, “What is a doppelganger?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Karah!

Have you ever met someone who looked just like you? Perhaps you’ve walked up to a person you thought you knew only to find they were a complete stranger. If so, you may have met a real-life doppelgänger!

What is a doppelgänger? The word comes from German. In English, it means “double goer.” Today, it’s often used to describe two strangers who look so much alike they could be twins

Seeing a doppelgänger can be startling. That’s true whether it’s a person who looks just like you or someone who could be your friend’s twin! It’s no WONDER, then, that doppelgängers are also common in scary stories.

In literature, a doppelgänger is the double of another character. They are similar to the character in many ways, most often in looks. However, the things that make them different are more important. The doppelgänger often differs from the main character in the values they hold. This results in them making choices that lead them down a different path. 

Often, doppelgängers act as the main character’s evil twin. One famous example is in “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson. In this story, both characters share the same body. However, they are opposites, with Dr. Jekyll representing good and Mr. Hyde evil.

Doppelgängers also have a place in the stories of many cultures. They’re described as ghosts or spirits who look like real people. Many say doppelgängers bring bad luck—and seeing your own is a sure sign something terrible will happen soon.

In fact, President Abraham Lincoln supposedly saw his own doppelgänger in 1860. Just five years later, he was assassinated. What other famous people have claimed to see their own doppelgängers? A few names include Catherine the Great, Percy Shelley, and Queen Elizabeth I. Whether or not these stories are true, they’ve been passed down for many years.

Have you ever seen a doppelgänger? Can you think of any books or movies that feature them? What would you do if you came face to face with someone who looked just like you?

Standards: CCRA.R.4, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.W.3, CCRA.SL.3, CCRA.L.2

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