What Are the Odds of Meeting Your Doppelgänger

Have you ever wondered if there could be more people who look exactly like you? Or that you saw or met someone who has an uncanny resemblance to you and you were taken aback by such similarities? Well, in the world we have our doppelgangers though science believes otherwise. For many having a look-alike who is not even related to you is unsettling and movies have profited from the idea as well by portraying the doppelganger as someone evil with malicious intentions. But do they actually exist and are they actually evil? Let’s learn about everything related to the idea of doppelgangers and their reality.

Definition of a Doppelgänger

While science believes that every human being, even if two people are twins, is unique and different, the concept of doppelganger is alien to science. Perhaps, every individual might be genetically different or has different personality traits, but two people can still “look” the same due to their physical or facial attributes.

Derived from a German language word, Doppelganger literally means “double goer”. The readers must be aware that Literature often uses Doppelgangers as being two same-looking characters with completely opposite personalities. Their morals, virtues, and values are often shown as the total opposite of each other with one often trying to gain a negative advantage over the other.

The Intriguing Concept of Encountering One’s Look-alike

two men who look very same

The double walkers as they are often referred to, the doppelganger encounters can be intriguing but creepy as well. Many urban legends have it that meeting your look-alike is a bad sign. The ancient stories established that every human has two spirits, the virtuous and the maleficent. How true that is not known but many did not have happy encounters with their doppelgangers. But the concept of meeting or seeing your body double has intrigued many, so much that doppelgangers have been part of popular culture for so long. From books to art or movies, one can find several references to the idea of a doppelganger but always as someone sinister and to be avoided. Below is the list of movies and art projects where Doppelganger and the concept behind look-alikes are explored [1]

Artist Project/Movie Name
François Brunelle I’m Not a Look-alike! : The project is a photo series of 200 people who look very similar to each other
Edgar Allan Poe William Wilson: A short story exploring look-alike as one’s own evil reflection.


David Lynch Lost Highway: A dark movie probing the concept of a parallel identity crisis.


Andrzej Żuławski Possession: This cult classic sought human obsession and attachment
Darren Aronofsky Black Swan: The movie tried to portray the impact obsession can have on an individual.


Boileau-Narcejac /Alfred Hitchcock Vertigo: The movie is a psychological thriller where a detective gets obsessed with his friend’s wife after she committed suicide. The film is based on a novel D’entre les mort

While these are some artistic projects that dived deeper into the theme of doppelgangers, in reality as well, meeting someone who looks exactly like you can be very disturbing, and in many real instances, people paid a huge price for looking like someone else. [3] One example of this is Richard A. John’s case who was held captive for 19 years for a robbery case because the robber was his look-alike, though in reality, he was celebrating a birthday and many were his alibi.

The Science Behind Look-Alikes

While fiction and pop culture have made doppelgangers as someone sinister, Science does not believe having your look-alike is something ominous. According to a team of scientists in Spain, the doppelgangers do not only have similarities in some physical and facial traits but their DNAs have a lot in common as well. They believe that every individual has 6 doppelgangers. [4] Many superstitious beliefs believe that doppelgangers exist in the world to create a balance and are often considered as someone magical. 

Research conducted on a pair of 32 individuals who had their body doubles revealed some intriguing facts about the DNA of the doppelgangers. Surprisingly they share a lot of similarities in their DNA as well, even if they are not blood-related to each other.

Interesting Facts that Resulted from the Research

With many look-alikes sharing a lot of similarities in DNA, this led to further investigation of the 32 pairs. What was revealed through the research is interesting yet creepy.

1- Did you know that 99.9% of our DNA is similar to that of other humans? But the genetic composition similarities with your family members is even more than 99.9%.

2- 0.05% of the 0.1% is from the mother and the other half of the genetics is inherited from the father.

3- The weird fact is that 0.1% of the DNA that you inherit from your parents is also inherited by another person that is not at all related to you-that person is your doppelganger.

Genetics and Hereditary Traits

The research on doppelgangers further revealed some interesting facts related to genetics that explain how people with the same facial features have a lot in common other than just their faces. The research findings showed that look-alikes have single nucleotide polymorphisms. This genetic variation allows them to have the same personality traits as well such as having the same height or weight or capacity to have the same level of education. But their microbiomes and epigenomes are way too different, that said, it is only the DNA and not the life or environmental factors that shape their looks. [5]

Notable Cases of Doppelgänger Encounters

The fascinating phenomenon of doppelgangers has mesmerized people since time immemorial but some instances are bizarre while others are downright eerie. Meeting your stranger twin can be a very uncomfortable experience and, in some cases, people have searched for their doppelgangers with evil intentions. One such case is of Sharaban. A body found in a park in Germany was actually of a blogger Khadidja O but many mistaken her as Sharaban, a beautician. Sharaban actually contacted many of her doppelgangers with the intention of killing one of them to keep her identity hidden. The table below shows some notable yet creepy cases of finding a look alike [6]

The Person The Story of Their Encounter with Their Doppelganger
Emilie Sagée In 1845, a teacher, Emilie Sagee, and her students saw her Doppelganger in class who suddenly disappeared.
Guy de Maupassant The writer wrote a book “Lui?” that he believed was narrated to him by his doppelganger in 1889.


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe The poet wrote in his biography his encounter with his doppelganger in the dimensional shift.


John Donne The 16th century English poet saw his wife’s doppelganger holding a child. The same year his wife gave birth to a dead child.

Celebrities and Their Uncanny Resemblances to Others

Man looking like Popeye

We often try to find our doppelgangers in celebrities and famous people but some people are just lucky and end up having the same facial features as their favorite celebrities. While you may or may not find your celebrity doppelganger, the table below shows some people who are so similar to their celebrity twin that it is difficult to tell them apart. [7]

Celebrity/Famous Personality Doppelganger
Kim Jong Un Howard X, the impersonator
Shakira Rebeca Maiellano, the Venezuelan singer
Kate Moss Denise Ohnona, the model
Meghan Markle Sarah Mhlanga, the charity worker
Angelina Jolie Chelsea Marr

Technology and Doppelgänger Detection

Up till now, Science was focused on fingerprints and DNA for criminal investigation but with criminals becoming more vigilant, the need to find more technologically advanced methods to find the lawbreakers resulted in research by a scientist at the University of Adelaide, School of Medicine. As per the research, the chance of having an exact doppelganger on an individual is one in a trillion. While there can be many similarities, the differences will still be noticeable.

By using the “Anthropometric” measurements of 4000 people from their database, Teghan Lucas found that 7 facial metric traits were not the same at all. When added an additional trait, she managed to find evidence of one in a trillion being the same. [8] The anthropometric measurements can help more in criminal investigations where many criminals now try not to leave traces that can be used for DNA testing.

Facial Recognition Software and Algorithms

From fingerprints to iris detection, many security measures are often used for identification but with the advent of AI, facial recognition has become part of every kind of device. From smartphones to laptop screens, security cameras to identification check posts in public/private organizations, Facial recognition software is used everywhere. The algorithm takes into consideration the facial feature through photographs and videos and using mathematical formulae, models a face of a person. With the use of a Convolutional Neural Network, face detection software is built. Other algorithms used for face detection are K-Nearest Neighbors Algorithm and Support Vector Machine.

Online Platforms and Apps Dedicated to Finding Look-alikes

The social media and the twinning craze have encouraged many developers to come up with fun apps which can find their doppelgangers. It is estimated that Facial Recognition apps can earn $ 12.67 billion by 2028 as per a survey conducted by Statista. In fact, by 2021, such fun apps made $ 5 billion in profit, no wonder there are a number of doppelganger apps famous among the youth. Below is the list of 5 most used apps to find your look-alike from among the celebrities and common people anywhere in the world. [9]

Apps/Websites Features
Celebs · Let you find your celebrity doppelganger

· It allows you to share your find

Gradient · Show famous people who resemble the user.

· Even show an animal that looks like the user.

· Algorithms allow ethnic estimation as well from the facial features.

· It is best for editing photos as well

Twin Stranger · Website with a simple interface.

· It helps you find your doppelganger from around the world.

Lookaliker · It provides multiple options to find your lookalike celebrity.

· It also gives a percentage of resemblances.

CompareAFace · Website helps in finding ancestors

· It also finds doppelgangers

Metaphysical and Psychological Interpretations of Doppelgänger Encounters

The past and present same faces

While Science is based on facts, some theories that are often unexplained by science are often explained by spirituality and metaphysics. It might sound disturbing but it is believed that our existence is possible in parallel universes and in some instances, we experience the fourth dimension as well, thus explaining how many feel that they met their doppelganger when the others don’t see it.

Psychologically, seeing your doppelganger can be a hallucination and is often referred to as a doppelganger effect. In one of the articles on BBC, they explained how uncomfortable such encounters are, where a man jumped from the building’s window when he saw his look-alike lying on his bed while he was standing. [10]


Whether their existence is paranormal or just a mind game, doppelgangers have always intrigued people of all times. While for entertainment purpose many try to find their look alikes, it is always a good idea to be aware and vigilant. The intentions of people can be harmful and can lead to many problems too. It is not known whether it is bad omen to have a doppelganger, but ancient Irish and English literature is laden with how ominous it is to have your twin, in fact the ethereal double or fetch is considered a sign of a death. 


[1] The very best movies about doppelgangers ranked. (2023, April 5). MovieWeb. https://movieweb.com/best-movies-about-doppelgangers/

[2] Twice in a lifetime: Would you dare meet your doppelganger? (2023, June 11). the Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2023/jun/11/twice-in-a-lifetime-would-you-dare-meet-your-doppelganger-

[3] Kernan, S. (2023, March 16). Wrongly imprisoned man meets doppelganger who committed the Crime — In prison. Medium. https://medium.com/mind-cafe/wrongly-imprisoned-man-meets-doppelganger-who-committed-the-crime-in-prison-2e75b21a9a61

[4] Watch: Finding your doppelganger. (n.d.). https://www.audacy.com/y98/news/you-have-at-least-six-doppelgangers-out-there-in-the-world

[5] Kuta, S. (2022, August 24). Doppelgängers don’t just look alike—They also share DNA. Smithsonian Magazine. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/doppelgangers-dont-just-look-alike-they-also-share-dna-180980635/

[6] True cases of real Dopplegangers. (2011, September 5). LiveAbout. https://www.liveabout.com/true-stories-of-doppelgangers-2593448

[7] Someone collects celebrity doppelgangers and here are 30 of the best ones. (2019, October 25). Bored Panda. https://www.boredpanda.com/celebrity-look-alike-doppelganger/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=organic

[8] One in a trillion odds of having a real-life doppelganger. (n.d.). The University of Adelaide. https://www.adelaide.edu.au/news/news81642.html

[9] 8 online tools to find your doppelganger. (2023, March 20). MUO. https://www.makeuseof.com/online-tools-find-doppelganger/

[10] Ananthaswamy, A. (2015, August 31). The disturbing consequences of seeing your doppelganger. BBCpage. https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20150821-the-dangerous-consequences-of-seeing-your-doppelganger