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(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

There is a belief that everyone has an exact double somewhere in the world and that, if ever one should come face to face with that double, it is a sign that he or she will die. John Aubrey (1626-1697), the antiquary, in his Miscellanies (1696), tells of Lady Diana Rich meeting her double while walking in the grounds of Holland House, London. A month later she was dead. Eric Maple, in Man, Myth and Magic, says that when the Empress Catherine the Great saw her double advancing upon her, she ordered her guards to open fire on it.

Such a duplicate of oneself is known as a doppelgänger, or "walking double." The English painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882) depicted a meeting between a man and a woman and their doppelgängers, showing one of the women fainting, in his painting How They Met Themselves.

In the Salem witch trials, one of the major debating points was the admission of "spectral evidence." This was a belief that a witch could be observed by witnesses as being innocently occupied in one location, but a duplicate of the witch could be in another place, working mischief. Spectral evidence was, after some small debate, admitted, and a number of people were put to death on that basis. Such evidence was not restricted to New England. Kitteridge says, "Spectral evidence was admitted, for example, in England, either in examinations or in actual trials, in 1593, 1612, 1616, 1621, 1633, 1645, 1650, 1653, 1654, 1658, 1660, 1661, 1663, 1664, 1665, 1667, 1670, 1672, 1673, 1680, 1682, 1683. Even Justice Holt, whose honorable record in procuring the acquittal of every witch he tried is well known, did not exclude spectral evidence."

The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism © 2002 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
I caught one or two other people staring at the heavy-set man in the suit too, but as he passed right by me, I realised once again I had fallen for the doppelganger effect.
You can imagine how the police reacted to Stuart's alibi when he blamed his doppelganger, but a week later when he got on a bus on Scotland Road one night, he saw his double sitting in front of him.
Doppelgangers hovered over Schumann with both menace and benevolence.
THE members of S Club come face-to-face with their cloned doppelgangers in this musical comedy.
The doppelgangers are being invited to a Tel Convention this summer to celebrate the life and times of the former England manager.
There have been numerous cases of doppelgangers, sometimes very painful.
The star plays a woman whose family are confronted by a group of doppelgangers in the horror movie, which is out in cinemas on Friday.
We shouldn't have used face recognition technology on the photos of you, your family and your friends, then found your doppelgangers, then sent fake phishing emails to you from these doppelgangers threatening to frame you for crimes you did not commit.
The art doppelgangers are listed by descending order, showing the top matches first.
And Insider had a little chuckle about this pair of doppelgangers.