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doppelgänger or doppelganger
A ghostly double of a living person, especially one that haunts its fleshly counterpart.
[German, a double : doppel, double (from French double). DOUBLE + Gänger, goer (from Gang, a going, from Middle High German ganc, from Old High German).]
The frightful image seen at the window, or staring back from the mirror, could be your own--a double, or doppelgänger (from the German for "double goer"), the sight of which could foretell your own imminent demise. Sometimes described as the soul embodied, sometimes an astral projection or aura, the double most often presented itself as a warning.
Queen Elizabeth I reportedly saw a vision lying on her deathbed, pale and still, soon before she died. Goethe and Shelley also claimed to have seen their doubles, and when Catherine the Great of Russia saw her own coming toward her, she took no chances and ordered her soldiers to shoot at it. Witches, it was long accepted, could project their own doubles and set them loose to do mischief far and wide. As a result, many a women was hanged as a witch even though it could be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that she was somewhere else entirely when the barn burned down, the cow died or whatever else had happened that she was now charged with having done. On other occasions, a double--of someone else--could be called forth or seen.
One old Halloween custom has it that if a young girl lights two candles before a mirror, while eating an apple, she will see in the mirror the spectral image of her future husband, peering back at her as if from over her shoulder. If she is brave enough to venture out to a graveyard, and walk all the way around it twelve times, she will meet up with the double itself. According to another old belief, anyone who wants to know who will pass away in the coming year has only to stand vigil near the church door on April 24, the eve of the feast day of St. Mark. At midnight, the airy doubles of all who will die file in a solemn processional into the church, if the watcher is unlucky enough to see his own image there, he knows his own time is not far off.
To this day, the fear of the double is observed, if unknowingly, in the custom of covering all the mirrors in a house where a death has just occurred. The double of anyone passing the glass, it was once thought, could be projected into the mirror and carried off by the deceased to the afterworld.
Zone_ episode _Mirror Image_
Episode #21 aired February 26th, 1960
Millicent Barnes, age twenty-five, young woman waiting for a bus on a rainy November night. Not a very imaginative type is Miss Barnes, not given to undue anxiety or fears, or for that matter even the most temporal flights of fancy. Like most young career women, she has a generic classification as a, quote, girl with a head on her shoulders, end of quote. All of which is mentioned now because in just a moment the head on Miss Barnes's shoulders will be put to a test. Circumstances will assault her sense of reality and a chain of nightmares will put her sanity on a block. Millicent Barnes, who in one minute will wonder is she's going mad.
During a rainy night at a bus depot, a woman by the name of Millicent Barnes is waiting on a bench for her bus to arrive. She notices the time and remembers that her bus was due a half hour ago. The ticket agent is not very receptive to her problem, and he points out that he told her the same thing the last time she asked him. This confuses Millicent because this is the first time she has talked with him. According to the agent, she bothered him thirty minutes ago and fifteen minutes ago. Millicent starts to admonish him when she notices a suitcase sitting on the floor behind the agent that is identical to her own suitcase. She looks back at the bench and her suitcase is still there. After the ticket agent snaps at her again, she meekly walks away. Later, she returns to the booth to look at the suitcase again.
As she points out that the suitcase looks identical to her own, the agent asks if this is a game. He claims that the suitcase is hers. She tries to point out that it isn't, but when she turns around her suitcase is missing. The ticket agent tells Millicent to sit back down and wait for the bus quietly. Millicent tries to plead her case but she quickly stops and sits back down on the bench. A moment later, she decides to go to the restroom. The attendant shows concern after Millicent repeatedly washes her face off. She mentions that Millicent had been there before, and instead of getting flustered Millicent is frustrated. But when she opens the door to leave, she looks in the bathroom mirror. Millicent is startled to see a woman sitting on the bench that looks just like her, wearing the exact outfit Millicent is wearing.
Millicent quickly closes the door while the attendant grabs a cold cloth. Millicent brushes off the cloth. She yanks the door open and her double is nowhere to be found. However, her white suitcase is back next to the bench where it originally was. She looks around confusingly, then walks over to an older couple to ask them if they saw anybody sitting in her seat. They are of no help. The next thing Millicent notices is that the white suitcase that was behind the ticket booth is now missing. Millicent begins to question what is wrong with her. While she's doing so, a businessman by the name of Paul Grinstead returns her purse which she dropped. He sits down next to her and he relates his unfortunate evening. But he notices the look on her face and he asks what's wrong. She tries to explain what's been happening to her that evening, including the suitcase and her double.
Paul chalks it up to delusions. While they're discussing the situation, the bus finally arrives. Millicent and Paul walk outside and prepare to board the bus. However, Millicent looks inside the bus and sees something that causes her to scream and run back inside the depot. Paul rushes off after her as the camera pans over to Millicent's double, who is seated on the bus. Inside the depot, Millicent is sleeping on a bench as Paul makes the decision to wait for the next bus. The ticket agent points out that it won't arrive until 7:00am. When Millicent awakens, she tells Paul about something she remembers. She talks about different planes of existence and how everybody has a counterpart. But by some kind of freakish accident, sometimes a counterpart finds its way into this world. For the counterpart to survive, it has to take over and replace the original.
Millicent thinks she has the situation figured out, but Paul wants to look for a more rational explanation. Paul gets up and claims that he's going to call a friend, but instead he calls the police, after talking over the situation with the nosy ticket agent. While he's doing that, Millicent walks back into the restroom looking for her double. Paul tracks her down and gets her to go outside with him. A few moments later, the police finally show up and take Millicent away. Alone now, Paul decides to get some sleep. First off, he sets down his bag and walks over to the water fountain. When he looks back over at the bench, his bag is gone. He looks up to see somebody running out of the depot. Paul runs after him but fails to catch up. While he's running, he discovers that he's chasing a double of himself...
Obscure metaphysical explanation to cover a phenomenon, reasons dredged out of the shadows to explain away that which cannot be explained. Call it parallel planes or just insanity. Whatever it is, you find it in the Twilight Zone.
Written by Rod Serling
Directed by John Brahm
Produced by Buck Houghton
Martin Milner Paul Grinstead
Joe Hamilton The Ticket Agent
Naomi Stevens The Bathroom Attendant
Terese Lyon The Old Woman
Ferris Taylor The Old Man
Edwin Rand The Bus Driver
Director of Photography
George T. Clemens
Production Manager Ralph W. Nelson
Art Direction George W. Davis; William Ferrari
Assistant Director Edward Denault
Casting Mildred Gusse
Film Editor Bill Mosher
Set Decorations Henry Grace; Budd S. Friend
Sound Frank Milton; Jean Valentino
Millicent Barnes: What's the matter with me? What on Earth is the matter with me? What's happening? Delusions, that's what they are. They're delusions. I must be sick. I must be running a fever. But I'm not even warm. I don't have any fever. No fever at all.
Millicent Barnes: I've been thinking about something.
It's very odd but I've been remembering.
Paul Grinstead: Remembering what?
Millicent Barnes: Something I read or heard about a long time ago about different planes of existence, about two parallel worlds that exist side-by-side and each of us had a counterpart in this world, and sometimes through some freak, through something unexplainable, this counterpart, after the two worlds converge, comes into our world and in order to survive it has to take over.
Paul Grinstead: Take over?
Millicent Barnes: Replace us. Move us out so that it can live.
Paul Grinstead: That's a little metaphysical for me.
Millicent Barnes: I remember reading it somewhere. Each of us has a twin in this other world, an identical twin. Maybe that woman I saw...
Paul Grinstead: Millicent, there's another explanation. There has to be. One that comes with more reason.
Millicent Barnes: I can't explain it, but I know that's what happened. This other woman, my counterpart...
Paul Grinstead: Forget about it, please! Don't think about it. I just thought of something. I've got a good friend, lives in Tully. I'll call him. Maybe he'll bring his car down here for us. He might even be able to drive us into Syracuse. I'll call him.
The Ticket Agent: Did
you get her off alright?
Paul Grinstead: Yeah. They're gonna take her to the hospital for observation.
The Ticket Agent: What was she talking about? The thing about another life.
Paul Grinstead: I don't know. That's part of her illness, I guess.