Are Doppelgängers Real? The Science Behind Twin Strangers & Your Chances Of Having One

By Theo Harrison

Is there someone in the world who looks exactly like you? Is it even scientifically possible to have a doppelgänger?

With over 7 billion people in the world, it just might be possible that someone resembles you.

What is a doppelgänger?

Doppelgänger is a German word that literally translates to “double-walker.” In a general sense, the term is widely used to mean someone who physically resembles you, but is not related to you.

To put it simply, a doppelgänger is a non-biologically related lookalike, someone who is not genetically connected to you or your family, yet they have oddly similar physical features.

Although today, the word may mean a twin stranger or a double, traditionally a doppelgänger referred to our alter ego or our ghostly counterpart, and seeing one could lead to misfortune and bad luck. However, according to some traditions, a doppelgänger may also mean an evil twin.

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“Folk wisdom has it that everyone has a doppelgänger; Somewhere out there, there’s a perfect duplicate of you, with your mother’s eyes, your father’s nose and that annoying mole you’ve always meant to have removed,” writes science journalist Zaria Gorvett for the BBC.

She adds, “We live on a planet of over seven billion people, so surely someone else is bound to have been born with your face? It’s a silly question with serious implications — and the answer is more complicated than you might think.”