Doppelgangers: the next big thing for supernatural or horror fiction?

Horror and supernatural fiction can be trendy like any other genre. During the 1980s it was all about dead teenagers and slashers, in the 1990s it was about dead teenagers and ghoulies, and the 2000s have been largely about dead teenagers as vampires with occasional intrusions by werewolves. The common thread is, of course, dead teenagers. Whether that is wishful thinking by writers who are also frustrated parents is not the topic here today however.

tatianaIn the past few years zombies have fought with vampires for first place on the popularity polls, and BBC America is trying to insert clones as another possible variation on the science gone bad bordering on the supernatural theme. Orphan Black is worth watching if for no other reason than its star, Tatiana Maslany, is one of the most amazing actresses to hit the small screen in many years. She plays multiple roles as female clones in different walks of life, and she doesn’t mumble or whisper her lines the way most modern American actors do.

Lately I’ve noticed a lot of interest in doppelgangers, which are somewhat related to clones. Originating from the Germans, these are paranormal doubles of real people. Often they appear just before someone is about to die, but there have been many sightings in other situations as well. Famous people such as John Donne, Percy Shelley and even Abraham Lincoln have reported or described images thought to be doppelgangers. On the evil side they are harbingers of death. On the positive side they are harmless spirits without an actual physical form.

There has also been interest in “historical doppelgangers” that supposedly look like famous people of today, usually movie stars. Some of the resemblances are pretty close, some more of a stretch, but it does make one wonder whether God occasionally gets stuck for ideas when constructing faces and has to resort to leftovers. Considering some of the personalities, “leftovers” might be an appropriate description, but I leave that to you to decide.

I like to write quirky paranormal stories about people in situations somewhere between sanity and insanity, with an occasional paranormal event to tip them one way or the other. My plate is pretty full at the moment, but I have put doppelgangers on my “to do” list with the hope they will still be in style by the time I get to them.

Or, perhaps I could have my clone work on it for me. Did I ever mention him? He’s standing right here making faces at me…

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  1. Doppelgangers/Doubles | whisperingdark

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