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The double, often called the human double, is usually an apparition of an actual, living person. It is generally an exact replica of the person, including physical characteristics and clothing, and frequently deceives a witness in thinking that it is the actual person. Usually the double appears to be a solid figure from a distance, but tends to act strangely or mechanically.
The specific nature of the double is unknown. There are several theories as to its cause. The most popular in occultism is that the double is a projection of the astral body. The projection is usually involuntary, or in the case of an adept, it can be accomplished at will. (see Bilocation) Seeing of the double is often the presage of the imminent death of the person.
The double is known by various names, including the "Beta body," "subtle body," "fluidic body," and "pre-physical body." Different cultures call the double by various names such as doppelganger in German, and vardoger in Swedish. It is called a fetch in Irish and English folklore.
One widespread belief among the tribal cultures is that the double is the soul, which is a reflection of the body.
The ancient Egyptians believed the soul had a double called the ka. Upon death the ka resided in the tomb along with the corpse, while the soul went to the underworld. A special part of the tomb was called "the house of ka," which was reserved for the double, where the appointed priest ministered to it with food, drink, and offerings.
The poet Percy Bysshe Shelley saw his double shortly before drowning. It is recorded that Lady Diana Rich, daughter of the Earl of Holland, saw her mirror-image double while walking in a garden a month before she died of smallpox.
The English medium Eileen J. Garrett theorized that the double is a means
of telepathic and clairvoyant projection, which can be manipulated to expand
one's consciousness. A.G.H.