Emilie Sagee and The Strange Case of the Doppelganger

Strange Unexplained

The term ‘doppelganger’ is nowadays used by people in their everyday language to refer to two people who look similar, but that is a misuse of the word in some sense. In the correct definition, a doppelganger refers to an apparition or a double-walker of a living person. It is not just someone who looks like someone else, but a reflection of that person. A spectral duplicate.

One of the eeriest cases of the existence of a doppelganger is that of Emilie Sagee. Her story was first told by Robert Dale-Owen in 1860, in his book called Footfalls on the Boundary of another World. He himself heard the story from Julie von Güldenstubbe, daughter of Baron von Güldenstubbe, who attended the elite boarding school Pensionat von Neuwelcke in the year 1845, in present-day Latvia. This is the school in which Emilie Sagee was employed in that year.

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Emilie was only 32-years-old at this point. She was attractive, smart, and in general well-liked by the students and staff of the school. However, curiously, she had already been employed in 18 different schools in the past 16 years, Pensionat von Neuwelcke being her 19th workplace. Slowly, it started becoming clear why Emilie couldn’t keep her position in any of the jobs for a long time.

Emilie Sagee with her doppelganger

Emilie Sagee: Doppelganger Sightings

Emilie Sagee had a doppelganger—a ghostly twin—that would make itself visible to others at random moments. The first time it was spotted was when she had been teaching a class of 17 girls. She had been normally writing on the board, her back facing the girl, when out of nowhere a projection like entity that looked just like her appeared. It stood right beside her, mocking her by imitating her movements. While everyone else in the class could see this doppelganger, Emilie herself could not. In fact, she never came across her twin, which was just as well for her. It is considered to be an extremely bad omen to see one’s own doppelganger.

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Since the first sighting, Emilie’s apparent twin was spotted quite frequently by others at the school. She was seen sitting beside the real Emilie, eating silently; imitating Emilie while she did her everyday work; sitting in class while Emilie taught. One time, as Emilie was helping one of her students dress up for an event, the doppelganger appeared. The student, as she looked down to suddenly find two Emilies fixing her dress, fainted immediately. The most talked about sighting of Emilie was when she was seen gardening by a class full of 42 girls, who were learning sewing. When the supervisor of the class walked out for a bit, Emilie walked in and sat down in her place. The students didn’t think much of it until one of them pointed out that Emilie was still in the garden doing her work. They must have been terrified by the other Emilie in the room, but some of them were brave enough to go and touch this doppelganger. What they found was that their hands could go through her, only sensing what seemed like a bulk of cobweb.

A photo of Emilie Sagee

When asked about this, Emilie herself was at a loss. She had never seen this twin of hers who was ruining her life and thus had no control over it, either. Because of this ethereal entity, she had been asked to leave all her previous jobs. Even this job of hers seemed to be in jeopardy because seeing two Emilies at once was naturally freaking people out. Many parents had started taking their children out of the institution and reluctantly, the principal had to let Emilie go, despite her diligent nature and capabilities as a teacher.

Explanations of the Doppelganger

There are very few explanations for Emilie’s doppelganger because of the bizarre nature of it all. Actual cases of doppelgangers are quite rare in history and Emilie’s story is probably the scariest of them all. It was heard that while Emilie’s doppelganger made itself visible, the actual Emilie appeared very worn out and lethargic as if the duplicate was a part of her spirit that had broken free. When it disappeared, she was back to being her normal self. After the incident at the garden, Emilie had said that she had had an urge to go inside the classroom to supervise the kids herself but hadn’t actually done it. This indicates that the doppelganger perhaps was a reflection of the kind of teacher Emilie wanted to be, doing multiple tasks at once. Some people have a theory that this doppelganger comes out to do the tasks that Emilie herself was doing in an alternate universe, where she had made a choice different from that of the real world.

Whatever it is, the case of Emilie Sagee is still talked about almost two centuries after it happened. A case like this is both fascinating and frightening, and makes one wonder if they too have a doppelganger that they are not aware of…

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