A doppelgänger or doppelga(e)nger (/ˈdɒpəlˌɡɛŋər/ or /-ˌɡæŋər/; German: [ˈdɔpl̩ˌɡɛŋɐ] (About this sound listen), literally “double-goer”) is a look-alike or double of a living person, sometimes portrayed as a paranormal phenomenon, usually seen as a harbinger of bad luck. In other traditions and stories, they recognize one’s ‘double-goer’ as an evil twin. Doppelgänger is a German word. In modern times, the term twin stranger is occasionally used. – Wikipedia
Not much is known about Emilie Sagée’s early life. She was born in France, during the 19th century and even from a young age, her dream was to become a teacher. She was an easy going, but withdrawn child, rarely playing with the other local children. They assumed this was because she had a twin sister and were often seen together. Twins were common, but what was strange to the other children was that Emilie and her sister seemed completely unaware of each other but would eerily mimic each others actions.
Emilie’s parents were very much aware of the strange phenomena that was occurring with their youngest daughter, however in those days people were extremely superstitious and any connection to the paranormal could potentially ruin the families lucrative bakery business.
Emilie’s parents kept her at home and paid for a tutor from another town to aid her studies. Her siblings were used to seeing the two Emilie’s around the house. Her double could be seen going through the motions of doing house work, while the “real” Emilie would be lying down in an almost sleep state, like a deep daze. When she was asked what she was thinking about at the time, Emilie simply couldn’t remember.
In 1845, at the age of thirty-two, Emilie was offered a teaching position at Pensionat Von Neuwelcke, an exclusive girls school. Over the previous sixteen years, Emilie had to seek new positions as a teacher nineteen times, despite the fact that her resume was impeccable. She was described as a kind, patient and loved by all the children and the teaching staff.
A thirteen year old student at the time, Julie Von Guldenstobbe, reported to the author Robert Dale Owen her eye witness account of Emilie Sagée. While Emilie was teaching a class of thirteen students, her ghostly double would appear in her new school for the first time. To her students complete amazement while their teacher was writing on the blackboard, An exact copy of Emilie appeared next to her, copying her actions exactly. In fact the only difference the students noticed was the fact that her double did not have any chalk in her hand.
On another occasion, when Emilie had stopped to eat her lunch, her doppelgänger manifested behind her again replicating her exact actions, as if she was eating as well except she did not hold any eating utensils. The other teachers were starting to notice Emilie’s secret. The reason she moves from school to school, although the students did not seemed to be bothered by the strange phenomena.
Soon the doppelgänger seemed to have a life of its own. Appearing around the school, often some distance away from Emilie, as if it was completely independent of her. Just as when she was a child, Emilie would seem to be in a world of her own. Except now, when asked what she was thinking at the time, she was able to remember imagining she was performing certain actions. These seemed to always be the exact actions that her ghostly double was acting out. Perhaps she had some control over her doppelganger but did not realise.
On another occasion, during a classes sewing and embroidery lesson, the teacher left her seat which was positioned at the front of the class to assist a student. At that very moment, in front of the fourty-two students attending the lesson, Emilie walked into the class room and sat in the teachers chair. The class couldn’t believe their eyes as Emilie could be clearly seen picking flowers outside, in the school garden. The students observed that Emilie’s double sat completely motionless in the chair while the “real” Emilie walked around the garden in a strange and lethargic manner. This time, the bravest students, two girls approached the apparition sat in the chair.
The girls reported that it resembled Emilie in every way. One of the girls raised her hand to touch her but met no resistance, her hand passed straight through the body of Emilie’s double. She later described it as the feeling of putting your hand through a spiders web.
Emilie had never seen her doppelgänger herself, despite its many appearances to other people over the years. As time went by, the doppelgänger appeared many times to people around the school. Sometimes it was very real and resembled the real Emilie but sometimes it would appear ghostly and shimmering. Her room mate reported often seeing a strange form that would rise from Emelie’s sleeping body in the night and would hover over her or near her. When asked what she had been dreaming about, Emilie often said she was dreaming of seeing herself.
Eventually the reports of the strange phenomena occurring around the school made it back to the students parents. Being in a time of great superstition, the parents were alarmed at the thought of supernatural dabbling and complained to the headmistress.
Although the head took no immediate action as Emilie’s character had been exemplary and her teaching faultless, the parents started removing their children from the school. The headmistress realised there was nothing else she could do and terminated Emilie’s employment.
Once again she packed her things and moved on. There are no more records of Emilie Sagée or her death. Perhaps she was forced to change her name, for obvious reasons. Perhaps something more sinister happened to poor Emilie. What do you think? Comment below!