“Dawn” – More Questions Than Answers

Sometimes, researching facets of Mandela Effect phenomena leads me down odd rabbit holes. The Leslie Charteris detective/mystery story, “Dawn,” published in 1947, has been one of them. It’s a very strange tale, and inconsistent with Charteris’ other stories.

(“Dawn” appears in the collection, Saint Errant. It’s a collection of stories about “The Saint,” best known as a popular TV series starring Roger Moore, and then a movie starring Val Kilmer, and then a failed TV pilot starring Adam Rayner.)

I know most readers are likely to sigh and feel this is very geeky and off-topic. (Feel free to stop reading here.)

I apologize for the strangeness of this, but — because this could point to something useful and relevant (I’m not sure what, yet) — I want to present what’s been discussed (in comments and in private) so far. It does relate to Mandela Effect… maybe.

(My opinion…? I see the potential forks in this research, but there’s too much data for me to pursue at this time, and — in the end — it may lead nowhere.)

UPDATE: Thinking about this overnight, four possibilities — or perhaps a blend of a couple of them — seems to emerge.

  1. It’s just a story and we’re reading too much into it.  I’m fine with that.
  2. Whomever actually wrote the story had authentic (perhaps personal) insights about shifting between realities.
  3. The person who wrote the story had inside information about secret government projects involving advanced physics. (If this is true, my guess is it’s editor John W. Campbell.)
  4. A group of individuals — most of them sci-fi & fantasy writers — found some kind of entry to the future or to alternate realities… and then laced their stories with hints about what they discovered. The group included Leslie Charteris, Cleve Cartmill, and Henry Kuttner, possibly Theodore Sturgeon, and likely John W. Campbell.

(At this point, while Charteris’ story, “Dawn,” offers some intriguing, Mandela-ish inferences, I think Henry Kuttner’s writing may provide even more.)

Here’s why I’m posting this, even though it may turn out to be nothing of note:

Initially, a long-time Mandela Effect researcher and enthusiast, Vivek Narain, mentioned the Charteris story. I hadn’t read it in years, but Vivek raised several questions about time-travel, alternate realities, and other issues suggested in this short story from “The Saint” series.

Saint Errant at AmazonRe-reading the story, I felt that Vivek had good reason to recommend the story.

For one, I found many names that — to me, anyway — seemed odd enough to be anagrams or substitutes for real-life names.

Selden Appopoulis was one. Trailer Mac was another. Even “Dawn Winter” might be code for someone or something else. (A cameo opal may seem a little unusual to Americans, but cameo opals are less rare in Australia.)

Vivek pointed to eerie coincidences with other names and hidden references. Most connect with American government projects and a few conspiracy topics, notably:

  • DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency)
  • The Lindbergh kidnapping
  • John Lennon’s life and death, and
  • JFK’s assassination.

“Alice in Wonderland, and Through the Looking Glass” elements connected some of them (for code names), especially The Walrus and The Carpenter (Jabberwocky) poem.

Of course, I’m familiar with shaky conspiracy theories and the thready evidence they can be based on. I do not want to make this about the related conspiracies.  That’s a very important point. Keep it in mind when leaving comments; I will not approve anything that will spark conspiracy-focused threads.

Instead, if Vivek and a few others I’ve talked with are correct, the hints and signposts in “Dawn” could present a compelling argument supporting the Mandela Effect.

In fact, the more I researched the story, “Dawn,” the more familiar some elements seemed. They included a character — Big Bill Holbrook — with “the peculiar delusion that he is only a character in a dream which Andrew Faulks, a bank teller in Glendale, has been having. Each night the man`s dreams have been going on a bit longer than before, and this time, `Holbrook` is worried that it`s passed the point of no return and the dream won`t have an ending.” (That was from an alt.pulp summary by Dr. Hermes)

Aside: While that plot device isn’t unique, the story presents it with unsettling phrasing I’ve heard in real life… related to something definitely not fiction.

A few years ago, a noted scientist described to me — in confidence — his continuing, sequential (and often daily) dreams that suggest a second, concurrent life in a parallel reality.

It happened at a specific time each day, and only when he spontaneously fell asleep at a particular location. (Not feet away from it, or at home or when traveling for his research; just at one, exact spot.)

Generally, he’s been a skeptic of paranormal phenomena, so I took his story very seriously. He’s not the kind of person who’d piece together a fantastical tale from thready evidence.

For me, this could be part of the Mandela Effect: Alternate, very real timestreams we visit in our sleep, and — because they’re equally “real” — sometimes don’t distinguish from the current reality. (This also refers to research by Dr. Fred Alan Wolf.)

Of course, the dream/reality concept isn’t entirely new, just the quantum research suggesting it.

From “Through the Looking Glass” (1871) by Lewis Carroll:

“He’s dreaming now,” said Tweedledee: “and what do you think he’s dreaming about?”Alice said “Nobody can guess that.”
“Why, about you!” Tweedledee exclaimed, clapping his hands triumphantly. “And if he left off dreaming about you, where do you suppose you’d be?”
“Where I am now, of course,” said Alice.
“Not you!” Tweedledee retorted contemptuously. “You’d be nowhere. Why, you’re only a sort of thing in his dream!”
“If that there King was to wake,” added Tweedledum, “you’d go out — bang! — just like a candle!”

As I looked into “Dawn” (aka “The Darker Drink”), things quickly took a dramatic and confusing turn… followed by another, and another, and so on.

It’s a very labyrinth-like rabbit hole.

First, there’s the story itself and the odd references in it. Then there’s the mystery of who wrote it, which — because it might make a difference if you’re looking into this — I’ll present first.

Charteris may not have written “Dawn.” According to popular accounts, Charteris hired a ghost writer, Cleve E. Cartmill (1908 – 1964) who also used the pen name Michael Corbin.

“Dawn” is generally attributed to Cartmill. (It was previously attributed to Theodore Sturgeon, but Henry Kuttner also wrote for Charteris, so authorship isn’t clear. Nevertheless, most experts agree that Cartmill was the most likely writer behind the story, “Dawn.”)

Aside: Researching Henry Kuttner becomes another rabbit hole. I started with his robot inventor, first called Gallegher and then Galloway… and quickly landed at some synchronous research at Harvard. It didn’t look promising enough to pursue.

One curious thing — and a flag for Mandela Effect: in 1944, Cartmill had written a story — Deadline — which described the then-secret atom bomb in some detail. That brought Cartmill into an awkward conversation with the FBI.

(Compare with Heinlein’s “Solution Unsatisfactory,” from that same era, which included nuclear arms predictions, a year before Roosevelt authorized the Manhattan Project.)

If you research Cartmill’s main (known) pen name, Michael Corbin, be careful you don’t go astray. Another Michael Corbin (1955 – 2008) was the director of the ParaNet Information Service, one of the Internet’s earliest UFO-related and paranormal websites, with a BBS history as well.

While Cartmill and associates (including his editor, John W. Campbell, who may have been a guiding force) seemed to have access to unusual (but not necessarily secret) information, and a true gift for piecing fragments together, I’m not convinced that’s all they were doing.

For example, it’s difficult to know which is the chicken and which is the egg, when comparing references in “Dawn” to DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, part of The Unites States’ Department of Defense) projects.

“Dawn” seems to point to several DARPA projects… but DARPA was created in 1958 under the American president Eisenhower. “Dawn” was first published (as “A Darker Drink”) in 1947.

(Quirky coincidence: 1958 is the year 42-year-old Henry Kuttner died of an apparent heart attack in Los Angeles.)

With as many as a dozen DARPA references in “Dawn,” explanations can vary widely. It might be plain-vanilla coincidence or — at the other extreme — names created by DARPA as a smokescreen to cover how accurate “Dawn” may have been, and how much the author knew.

It’s very easy to get sidetracked by references in “Dawn” that seemed to predict the future.

For example, here are just a few odd, potential connections. Some have been pointed out by others, especially Vivek (who deserves full credit for this discovery). Others are clearly stated in “Dawn.” (Remember, it was published in 1947.)

  • Jimmy, also called Oswald (an actual name in the story) and — of course — the man attributed with Jack Kennedy’s assassination.
  • Big Bill Holbrook (Sydney Greenstreet, Jack Ruby, Big Jim Garrison)
  • Trailer Mac (Mac Wallace, with connections to Ruby and others)
  • Little Lord Feigenbaum (not Little Lord Fauntleroy, the logical choice) – Feigenbaum (an unusual name) may predict Mitchell Feigenbaum (b. 1944), who pioneered chaos theory  and other important concepts. Or, the name in “Dawn” might be a quirky coincidence.

However, while chasing rabbits that lead to even more labrythine research, it’s easy to lose sight of the main question: Whether “Dawn” points — with many heavy hints — to time travel, parallel realities, and Mandela Effect… or not.

It’s a more tangled question than I’d expected, and I haven’t a clue what the answer is. Everything could be attributed to coincidence and startling synchronicity.

So, there are the leads. Most people probably stopped reading long before this point. For those who want to pursue this, I’ve given you plenty to work with.

Note: I’ve omitted at least half the odd, predictive references in “Dawn,” but welcome others to mention them in comments, as long as we don’t get lost in conspiracy theories that are secondary to the focus of this websites.

A few references, for those who want to pursue this topic further

Alt.pulp summary of the Dawn/Darker Drink story, https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/alt.pulp/Lzkf5r5f8FQ

Leslie Charteris’ author page at The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction – http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/charteris_leslie (Mentions that some of Charteris’ work may have been penned by Theodore Sturgeon, Henry Cuttner (1915 – 1958), or Cleve Cartmill, but the latter is generally attributed with authorship of “Dawn.”)

John W. Campbell bio – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_W._Campbell

Cartmill’s pen names – The FictionMags Index, http://www.philsp.com/homeville/fmi/s992.htm and http://www.philsp.com/homeville/fmi/s1231.htm#A28882

Deadline controversy – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deadline_%28science_fiction_story%29 and Robert Silverberg’s “reflections” on the story - http://www.asimovs.com/_issue_0310/ref.shtml and http://www.asimovs.com/_issue_0311/ref2.shtml, explaining that there was no security leak or mystery involved. (The misspelling of “Cleave” in the title of the second article caught my attention, but — even at Asimovs.com — typos happen.)

The second article refers to Heinlein’s “Solution Unsatisfactory,” in greater detail than the current Wikipedia article, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solution_Unsatisfactory.

Also see another reference to Campbell’s knowledge in “The Cleve Cartmill Affair” – http://www.futilitycloset.com/2010/05/31/the-cleve-cartmill-affair/

If you want to pursue the anagram angle – http://wordsmith.org/anagram/

The Walrus and The Carpenter poem – http://www.jabberwocky.com/carroll/walrus.html

DARPA – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DARPA, http://www.darpa.mil/,and some “stealth” info including Teal Dawn – www.darpa.mil/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=2580

Malcolm (Mac) Wallace bio – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malcolm_Wallace and (far murkier and more conspiracy-related) http://spartacus-educational.com/JFKwallaceM.htm

Off-topic… maybe

Henry Kuttner bio – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Kuttner and “Neil Gaiman and F. Paul Wilson Discuss Why They’re Reviving Henry Kuttner’s Stories” – http://www.tor.com/blogs/2013/04/neil-gaiman-and-f-paul-wilson-discuss-why-theyre-reviving-henry-kuttners-stories

Kutter’s “Time Locker” story was included in “The Best Time-Travel Stories of the 20th Century.” (Google it, or search for “Kuttner ‘Ahead of Time'”.) Most of his stories — and his pen names — are listed at the Index to Science Fiction Collections and Anthologies – http://www.philsp.com/homeville/isfac/s177.htm#A2806

Mitchell Feigenbaum bio – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitchell_Feigenbaum

Michael Corbin bio – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Corbin and Michael Corbin’s ParaNet – http://www.paranet.org/

Rarity of the Andrew Faulks name – http://andrew-faulks.nameanalyzer.net/

Another, unrelated coincidence: an author named Dawn Charteris, working with aboriginal dishes for healthier eating http://catalogue.nla.gov.au/Record/4963145 (PDF link at that page was for her complete cookbook — now at http://www.gofor2and5.com.au/Portals/0/PDFs/2and5_QLD_ATSI_Cookbook_Feb09.pdf — with some delicious-sounding recipes. Yes, when almost overwhelmed with a series of odd coincidences, I often default to the mundane.)

When Did This Start, for You? (Two-week survey – updated)

calendarMy Initial Request

In private correspondence, I’ve received information that might relate to when the timeslip (or slide, or reality shift) happened for many people.

To confirm this, I need your help. The year it happened for you may be important.

That is, not necessarily a date when you thought an external event happened (like Mandela’s death), but when you noticed that some (or many) things had changed.

In the past, some readers have referenced a near-death experience and — after that — everything seemed different. It’s like they woke up in a slightly different reality.

Others have talked about a sudden awareness of something major being different… and, on exploring it, they discovered a lot of other things had changed, too.

…I hope you’ll leave a comment, at this post (not at Major Memories, etc.), and tell me if you feel that many major things seemed to change at a certain point — a particular year.

If it did, let me know what year it was.

If you explained the change to yourself as something related to an event — a near-death experience, or a traumatic event in your life — it may help to know about that, too. (I don’t need the details, just a reference to the kind of event it was.)

It may also help if you can tell me what country you were in when that happened. (If it’s a large country, like the U.S., the state or general location — northeast, southwest, etc. — may be helpful.)

But, mostly, I need the year when you feel you first noticed that the world was a little (or a lot) different than it had been, prior to that time.

(If you feel that you’ve shifted realities multiple times, please list the years, if you can, but also let me know if one year seemed like an especially major shift.)

UPDATE – The Results

To avoid any “me, too” influence, all comments were hidden from view for over two weeks.

As of 15 April 2015, the following are the trends from comments, still-hidden comments (at the posters’ requests), and email.

The most-reported years are:

  • 1999 as a point of reference (during, just before, or perhaps right after 1999).
  • 2001, with many references to 9/11.
  • 2009, specifically the autumn.
  • 2010 had the most reports, all in the first half of the year (when more than the year was mentioned).
  • 2011, many.
  • 2012, tied with 2011 for the third most frequent mentions.
  • 2013, second most-mentioned, with several references to the middle of the year.
  • 2014, again referencing the middle of the year.

Notably, no one mentioned 2000. And, though I realize our readers’ ages may be a major factor, no reports before the mid-1970s.

Other repeated years span the late 1970s (only a few), 1983 through 1986, 1988 through 1990, 1993 through 1995, and few or none for 1996 through 1998.

Several people mentioned traumatic events that occurred just prior to the realization that things had changed.

I’d expected many references to 9/11 since — for many people — that’s one of those “days when everything changed.” The small number of references to that day indicate that readers get it; that is, they’re looking for “what the heck…?” changes, not simply external factors that changed their lives or society at large.

And, of course, many readers know they didn’t notice what had changed until someone told them about this website, usually in 2014 or 2015. So, they may not have a prior point of reference for when their timestream seemed out-of-sync with the current on.

Thank you for your participation!

What Does It Mean?

My main reason for posting this poll — aside from good old curiosity — was because some scientists had (privately) suggested that our timeslips and shifts might related to certain physics experiments. They’ve asked me to keep the details in confidence, and frankly, I have no access to the dates of their experiments. So, I’m not sure if there’s a correlation.

In the future, I’ll conduct more polls and surveys to identify other factors that might be “coincidental” to Mandela Effect events.

Meanwhile, if you’d like to add more comments about this poll, feel free to add them, below.

Poll: Mandela’s Death (Poll is Closed)

This is the first of several polls I’m using to find patterns in alternate memories.

If you recall Nelson Mandela’s death prior to December 2013, I hope you’ll remember (or provide a thoughtful guess about) the year — in the 1980s — you think he died.

Please vote just once, and for just one year. The default — remembering his death in 2013 — is included for those who want to register that they don’t have the alternate Mandela memory.


This poll is closed! Poll activity:
start_date 2014-12-05 12:47:12
end_date 2015-03-27 01:01:23
Poll Results:
If you recall the death of Nelson Mandela in the 1980s, which year makes the most sense?

Jif or Jiffy Peanut Butter?

Jif peanut butter ad, 1960

Jif peanut butter ad, 1960

Do you recall Jif peanut butter launching as “Jiffy”?  Apparently, this alternate memory is fairly widespread.

Discussing the history of peanut butter, PeanutButterLovers.com insists:
“1955: Procter & Gamble entered the peanut butter business, introduced Jif in 1958. Now owned by the J.M. Smucker Company, Jif operates the world’s largest peanut butter plant, producing 250,000 jars every day!”

I was raised with another brand of peanut butter, so I can’t be confident my “Jif v. Jiffy” memories are accurate. However, many readers clearly recall “Jiffy” as the original brand name.

(And, before anyone insists people are mixing it up with Skippy: I’m pretty sure the advertising has always made the difference clear.)

Here are some of the many comments about this topic.

On 23 Jan 15, Rick asked:

Does anyone else have a memory of the peanut butter brand Jif previously being called Jiffy? I recall having seen this change somewhere around the age of 10 (1989), and it sticks with me because even at that young age I actually considered that I may have jumped to a parallel universe. However part of the memory I’m not as sure of is discovering that it was in fact a name change by the company. At least this is what I’ve always thought until finding this website caused me to look that fact up. It seems that at least in this reality there was never a name change and it has always been Jif.

On 24 Jan, Chris said:

I have goosebumps about this one. I always remember it as “Jiffy” and commercials when I was young about how moms could whip up a sandwich “in a Jiffy.”

After Googling it, we aren’t the only ones who remember it as Jiffy.

Julia said:

Yes, I do remember. I was absolutely 100% sure it was Jiffy when I read your comments. Then I started questioning myself a little. I was born in 1964. My mom is pretty “brand loyal” and always had peanut butter in the house and it was always Jiffy, not Peanut Pan or Skippy. I had so many peanut butter sandwiches as a kid (no jelly, just PB) that I don’t even buy peanut butter now. I do have a vague memory of hearing/seeing “Jif” on a commercial and wondering why they had abbreviated it. I’m questioning myself because I read someone else’s comments on this on line and they mentioned “Jiffy Pop Popcorn” which we also had as a treat sometimes. Even though I am familiar with the company slogan, “Choosy moms choose Jif”, perhaps at one time they said, “Choosy moms choose Jiffy.” Jif on the bottle looks funny but more convincing to me is just the “sound memory” of the name “Jiffy” as a kid. I can’t be as sure of this alternate memory as I am of a few of my others, but I figure if the other changes are possible, this might be too.

Piper asked:

At first glance I too thought it was called Jiffy as well, but after thinking about it I wonder if we are perhaps mixing up Jif peanut butter with Jiffy Pop popcorn?

In February 2015, deanna said:

yes ,not only do i remember “jiffy” being on the peanut butter label yet i remember the commercial said “choosey moms choose jif”

Julia did some research and reported:

I found some new information on the Jiffy / Jif peanut butter question. The man who created what is now called Jif Peanut Butter was William T. Young, who was from Lexington, Kentucky. He also bred horses , or at least he did after Jiffy Peanut Butter and other business ventures made him very rich. I found this out in a kind of backward way. I googled “Jiffy Peanut Butter” and came across a reference to a horse of the same name. Here is the horse’s pedigree.


I wondered who would own a horse with the name Jiffy Peanut Butter and I’m going to make a leap and say it was most likely Mr. Young, or someone familiar to him. If you look up William T. Young on Wikipedia, it says that he created W. T. Young Foods, which developed “Big Top” brand peanut butter, which was sold to Proctor & Gamble in 1955, and became Jif. However I found this link which shows a page from “Gambling in America, An Encyclopedia of History, Issues and Society.” I don’t know when the book was published, but from the text, it was before Young’s death in 2004. And it clearly states on page 209, that Young made a fortune developing, “JIFFY Peanut Butter.”

[Edited link: https://books.google.com/books?id=QAI9BgAAQBAJ&pg=PA209&lpg=PA209#v=onepage&q&f=false The book says: “Lexington, Kentucky, native William T. Young made a fortune developing Jiffy Peanut Butter and selling the brand to Procter and Gamble.” ]

…The name “Jif” on the label just looks weird and truncated to me, but none of my family remembered it being Jiffy. When I first noticed it, I thought it must be a name change, but supposedly not. But since there is evidence of “Jiffy Peanut Butter” having existed, it either really was changed, or there is “bleed-in” from the another reality…

dani feist said:

JifFY peanut butter.

Daniel said:

I remember Jiffy and spouse as well but the spouse says it was a brand name change….?

Julia went the extra mile:

Fiona, Daniel and all ME friends,

A few days ago I found Jif’s website and used their email to send a question. I said I clearly remembered the peanut butter being called Jiffy etc. and even gave the information I had found written regarding Jif’s creator, Williams T. Young (not that I expected them to respond to that) and they actually wrote back and said,

“Thank you for contacting The J.M. Smucker Company regarding Jif® Peanut Butter. We appreciate your interest in our Company and products. In response to your inquiry, the name Jif® was chosen because it was easy to say, spell and remember. This is the only name we have used. It was nationally launched in the late 50’s as Jif®.”

(Smuckers bought Jif from Procter and Gamble, fyi.)

That gave me a great starting point for my own research.

Many sites that reference William T. Young also seem to talk about his brand as either Jiffy or Jif. However, Young’s biography at Overbrook Farm says, “Young returned to Lexington… and started a peanut butter company. Big Top peanut butter later became Jif after Young sold W. T. Young Foods to Procter & Gamble in 1955.”

So, according to his business, Young’s peanut butter became Jif after he sold the company.

(That doesn’t match the Sigma Alpha Epsilon website, which lists their late member as “William T. Young – Businessman, Founder and former CEO of JIF peanut butter, University of Kentucky.” However, that’s a different conflict: whether the company was JIF or Big Top or William T. Young Foods.)

Returning to the Jiffy question, the Bright Side of the News article (at the Wayback Machine) says about Steve Wilhite, inventor of the GIF, and how he pronounces that acronym:

Wilhite prefers the sound of JIF, as in Jiffy Peanut Butter which has been rumored to be a staple in a programmer’s diet.

Even Amazon allows the “Jiffy” name in some of their Jif listings… which may only suggest that a lot of people type in “Jiffy” instead of the actual brand name.

Jiffy peanut butter product, in Amazon description

I tested this just entering “jif creamy peanut butter” in the search form, and it still came up as “Jiffy.” (However, that listing was created by a “Fulfilled by Amazon” seller, not Amazon itself. Clever marketing by that FBA seller!)

Jif leads to Jiffy at Amazon

Jiffy brand name among listings at AmazonAlso, Amazon lists “Jiffy” as a brand name (see screenshot on the right), but if you’re at Amazon and click on that link, it only returns the listing shown immediately above.

The Amazon listings only reinforce the confusion about the product name.

Still, it surprised me to see “Jiffy” in such popular use for Jif products.

Google ads confirm that by making use of the brand name “Jiffy.” (Any advertiser can choose search terms like this.)

Jiffy ads at Google

However,the book Julia found isn’t the only reference in print using the “Jiffy” peanut butter brand name.

In a May 1996 article, Sports of The Times;Lukas Lives The Life Of RileyThe New York Times reporter Harvey Araton said about Jif’s creator, William T. Young:

Alongside the gracious but taciturn Young, Lukas lit up the winner’s circle. The owner’s claim to fame is having created Jiffy peanut butter.

That’s odd. Did the NY Times not fact-check? While errors do slip past them, now and then, most proofreaders would have caught the Jif/Jiffy transposition, unless the proofreader also thought it was Jiffy.

So, this is a quirky topic. I’m wondering if — as with the TAPS v. Ghost Hunters issue — we can’t be sure if it’s a Mandela Effect issue, or an early media error that was repeated and amplified by the audience.

I did a Google Image Search looking for any ad or product package for “Jiffy” peanut butter, and — so far — I can’t find one.

If you clearly recall the product label as “Jiffy,” or if you have other insights about this topic, I hope you’ll leave a comment.

Doppelganger Questions

Meeting yourself - a doppelganger - represented in a painting

1864 painting: “How They Met Themselves”

Doppelgangers have been encountered for centuries.

A doppelganger (literally, a “double walker”) is the duplicate or double of of a living person.

Could both of them be the same person, but one is from an alternate reality, and has merely “slid” into this world?

That’s where this phenomenon might be relevant to the Mandela Effect.

In some cases, the “duplicate” person is only seen by other people. At other times, the person encounters himself.

For our studies, I’m not sure the distinction matters.

However, in the 19th century, some people believed the doppelganger predicted death. This is especially true in Irish literature, where the double is described as a Fetch.

(Its Scandinavia counterpart, Fylgja, relates to an animal whose appearance may sometimes predict death. So, it is not a true doppelganger.)

So far, no one has a satisfactory explanation for doppelganger-like phenomena.

Note: In popular use, the word “doppelganger” can refer to someone who’s a mere look-alike for someone else. (Dr. Who has featured many variations of this concept.)

Also, some politicians hire look-alikes for security or other reasons. (The 1993 movie, Dave, made use of this trope.) They’re sometimes referred to as doppelgangers.

That’s not what we’re talking about at this website.

Other literary tropes include these doppelgangers:

  • In Prometheus Unbound by Percy Bysshe Shelley, the concept of a doppelgänger double was described as a counterpart to the self.
  • Edgar Allan Poe’s story “William Wilson” describes the double with sinister, demonic qualities.
  • George Gordon Byron used doppelgänger imagery to explore the duality of human nature.
  • Charles Williams’ Descent Into Hell (1939), has character Pauline Anstruther seeing her own doppelgänger all through her life.
  • Clive Barker‘s story “Human Remains” in his Books of Blood is a doppelgänger tale.
  • Cathy MacPhail’s story, “Another Me” was a best-selling young adult novel, later made into a movie.

(Portions of that list courtesy of Wikipedia)

Shelley’s own encounter with a doppelganger remains one of the most baffling (and legendary). As described in a letter by his wife, Mary Wollestonecraft Shelley (author of the novel, Frankenstein):

…he told me that he had had many visions lately — he had seen the figure of himself which met him as he walked on the terrace and said to him — “How long do you mean to be content” — No very terrific words & certainly not prophetic of what has occurred. But Shelley had often seen these figures when ill; but the strangest thing is that Mrs Williams saw him. Now Jane, though a woman of sensibility, has not much imagination & is not in the slightest degree nervous — neither in dreams or otherwise. She was standing one day, the day before I was taken ill, [June 15] at a window that looked on the Terrace with Trelawny — it was day — she saw as she thought Shelley pass by the window, as he often was then, without a coat or jacket — he passed again — now as he passed both times the same way — and as from the side towards which he went each time there was no way to get back except past the window again (except over a wall twenty feet from the ground) she was struck at seeing him pass twice thus & looked out & seeing him no more she cried — “Good God can Shelley have leapt from the wall?…. Where can he be gone?” Shelley, said Trelawny — “No Shelley has past — What do you mean?” Trelawny says that she trembled exceedingly when she heard this & it proved indeed that Shelley had never been on the terrace & was far off at the time she saw him. [emphasis added]

About two weeks after this sighting, Percy Shelley was dead. The details and witness of his doppelganger make it a particularly compelling tale.

However, from a Mandela Effect viewpoint, what if the doppelganger is really “another you” from a different timestream? Recently, this possibility was raised by a reader.

Debs described the following incident:

The class was asked to take out the art projects that we stated the day before. I didn’t open my desk because I “knew” I didn’t have a project, thinking I was absent the day before….I had NO recollection of the day or the project. The teacher came over and asked why I hadn’t taken my project out and I informed her that I didn’t have one because I had been “absent” the day before. She said, “you were here yesterday, I worked on it with you”. She opened my desk and took out a project that had my name on it in what looked like my hand writing. I will NEVER forget that day. I was young and it scared me that I had no recollection of it when art and making things were my two favorite things to do.

Many science fiction tropes — including some used in Dr. Who — present the idea that timestreams should not cross so you “see yourself” in passing. (Of course, that may be rooted in the centuries-old folklore that seeing yourself means death… at least for one of you.)

Are doppelgangers further evidence of Mandela Effect? Might the “don’t see yourself” warning reflect something about the physics of this phenomenon?

Or, could doppelgangers be attributed to time travel, in general?  Is it more likely that the person who looks like you is actually someone else… perhaps a descendant? (As sci-fi as it sounds, is that more probable than a Mandela Effect encounter?)

Are there other explanations?

Note: If you’ve had a doppelganger experience, and you’d like to share it with others in a book, I hope you’ll contact me via the Doppelganger reports form. (Comments below will not be included in the book unless also submitted via the report form.)

Illustration: How They Met Themselves, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1864, courtesy of the Fitzwilliam Museum, via Wikipedia.