What Is It About Doppelgangers?

Have you ever had the experience of seeing someone who looks exactly like you? A twin who isn't your actual twin, indeed isn't related to you in any way, but looks enough like you for people to make jokes that your father must have met your "twin's" mother nine months before they were born? Or have friends insisted they've seen you somewhere you've never been? It's said that each of us has a double somewhere in the world, maybe even several of them. Now, there's probably nothing too startling about two people looking alike; considering how many billions of us there are in the world, it's a fair assumption that any one of us has several lookalikes somewhere in the world. Nature can only create so many permutations.
But what are the odds of two of those lookalikes not only taking the same flight, but one of them sitting in the other's seat by mistake? That's what happened on a recent flight from Stansted to Shannon - the picture of the two men, both with bushy ginger beards and very similar faces, soon went viral. And commuters were amused to see Kim Jong-Un apparently sitting on a Chicago train; it turned out to be a student who has turned his resemblance into a lucrative sideline. The idea of a doppelganger has often been explored in movies and literature, for hundreds of years. "The Man in the Iron Mask" and "The Prince and the Pauper" feature doubles of royals that are so good they can fool everyone - which is bad news for the "originals". In fact, movies absolutely love this theme, perhaps because they can get two actors for the price of one - and actors can stretch their range by playing two very different characters. Audiences lap up these stories, such is our fascination with the idea of having an exact double who can fool everyone, even your nearest and dearest.
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