Are you familiar with the term “doppelganger“? It’s actually a combination of two German words (“doppel” that means double, and “ganger” that means goer or walker) that, when loosely used, usually refers to describe someone that looks shockingly like someone else’s carbon copy.
In the world of paranormal, however, the term takes on a macabre, even morbid, denotation.
A doppelganger is a ghostly, spiritual or demonic duplicate of a living person. This eerie apparition can appear to us in a number of ways — out of the corner of our eyes, standing behind us when looking at a mirror, as a shadow mimicking the actions of the real person, seen by other people in a completely different location, or as a reflection facing the opposite way. It is believed that a doppelganger is an omen for a tragedy, illness or even death of the person who is copied.
Many years ago, way before my husband Roel underwent a kidney transplant, his doppelganger appeared to us.
Not just once. But thrice!
The first instance was when one of his work colleagues approached and told my husband that he saw him — in a place that Roel had never been before.
A few days later, my husband’s brother called to tell me that he saw his kuya earlier that day. Apparently, he was driving along EDSA when he stopped due to traffic. When he glanced to his left, he saw Roel in his own car, alone. He honked furiously in an attempt to call his kuya‘s attention, but to no avail. I told him that that couldn’t be possible. Roel had been at home with me all morning.
That was the second sighting.
The third one happened one fine afternoon a couple of days soon after. I was doing some chores in our dirty kitchen when I happened to glance over my shoulder. There, in front of our gate, was Roel’s car with the engine idly running and him sitting on the driver’s seat. Thinking that he was just arranging and rearranging his stuff before going in (my husband is OC like that), I let him be and went inside the house. When I noticed that it was taking him unusually long to ask me to open the gate for him, I went outside. The car was gone. “He must have forgotten something and had to go back out,” I thought. There was nothing strange about that.
What was strange was the conversation I had with my husband that night.
When I asked him why he had to leave again that afternoon after staying for a while in front of our gate, he gave me a what-the-heck-are-you-talking-about look. Apparently, if I were to believe his version, none of that really happened. But I knew what I saw and, definitely, it was not a figment of my imagination. Then I remembered the first two incidences when he was seen in places where he was not even close to being in.
Goose bumps spread through me, and I felt a chill on my back that had nothing to do with the temperature. The thought that we might be being forewarned about Roel’s safety –or, rather, about his impending jeopardy– made my hair stand on end. I was petrified for my husband.
Some of our relatives offered prayers and mass for him. Most gave unsolicited yet good-intentioned advice on how he could better protect himself from harm. One of his aunts (bless her generous soul in heaven) even went as far as visiting a Chinese temple to buy Roel a talisman supposedly to ward off evil.
Inexplicably and oddly enough, the sightings stopped since then. Up to this day, Roel never goes anywhere without it. His work colleagues might already be familiar with the sound that that small bell emits. They might even dismiss it as nothing more than a cute accessory.
For Roel and for everyone who know the real story behind it, though, it is definitely more than a simple trinket.
It’s a reminder of that horrifying time when his life might have been in grave danger — a grim possibility that was averted because of the premonitions that came from the unlikeliest of sources. My husband’s hair-raising, goosebump-inducing, and spine-chiĺling doppelgangers.