Doppelganger

Reading a new copy of The Shadow pulp reprints, I came across an article about the peculiar state of The Shadow’s identity crisis. This turned my mind to one of the strangest cases in the Professional Dummy’s files: The Case of the Doppelganger.

You see, in the radio show that most people know him from, The Shadow was “in reality Lamont Cranston, wealthy young man about town.” Standard superhero stuff, really. Yet in the pulp magazines that gave birth to the character, things were much more complicated. Here, The Shadow only seemed to be Cranston for a short time, until it was revealed that he was only using Cranston’s identity, while the real idle-rich playboy was out of the country. Eventually, it was revealed that The Shadow was really WWI flying ace and master spy Kent Allard, who looked enough like Cranston pass as him and to fool his friends and acquaintances.

Far-flung pulp fantasy, right? Sheer “only-in-the-funnybooks” coincidence, right?

Wrong.

You see, I found my twin, my doppelganger.

When my parents moved me from the big city to a small town, things were strange enough to me. I was, indeed, the stranger in a strange land. But it got stranger one day shortly after starting my first year of high-school.

I was closing my locker between class and turning around when a kid across the hall called out to me.

“Gary.”

This was not my name, but he was looking right at me. I just stood there, confused.

He walked toward me, right up to me. “Hey, Gary.”

I just smiled out of the corner of my mouth, nervously. Shrugged a little. What could I do or say?

The kid’s eyes suddenly got wide. He backed up a step. “Y-you’re not Gary,” he said. He turned away, walked down the hall a little way, shot me a weird little look over his shoulder, then moved on.

Everyone has been mistaken for someone else in their lives, but never this weirdly. It made my skin crawl, even when it continued to happen over the course of that week.

That weekend, my dad was talking to one of our neighbors over our fence. My dad called me over and introduced me to the guy, and his jaw dropped.

“My God, you look just like my son!”

Oh, God.

“Gary! Come out here.”

The father went back into his house and came out with his son Gary.

Weird.

He looked just like me. Well, not exactly like me: he was about an inch taller than me. His face was a bit rounder and his lips not as big*, but we could definitely pass for one another. Turns out he’d been hearing about someone that looked like him and was wondering what was going on. We had a few good laughs about it, then got used to the cases of mistaken identities. Eventually, he moved away and that was that.

It was shortly after that that I discovered the pulp Shadow’s identities-trick; and while most fans quietly scoff at the absurd coincidences, I can only quietly smile.

(* It actually isn’t that hard for someone’s lips to be smaller than mine: they’re huge.)

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Published in: on February 13, 2007 at 6:46 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Back in college, everyone used to think that I was some kid named “Paul.” My name is not Paul.

    I liked to think of Paul as the shareware version of myself.

  2. You look more like a “The” to me.

  3. Dude… that’s freaking eerie shit!

  4. I TOLD you, man!!


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