Clearly, the answer to these questions is “No”, but they’re so intriguing that we’re duty bound to look at them in more detail. Where did these claims come from? And how have they managed to spread so far and wide around the Internet?
A Duplicate is NOT a Lookalike
Before proceeding, it is important to underline a key difference here. Although the people we’re talking about are undoubtedly nothing more than lookalikes, they’re not actual professional lookalikes. That is to say, they’re not on the fringe of the entertainment industry clinging desperately to the coattails of the far more famous people they resemble to earn some cash (more on those chaps and chappettes later).
What we’re focusing on here is the uncanny world of historical duplicates, where people we know and admire in the modern world appear to have lived before, at least if the photographic evidence is anything to go by…
Nicolas Cage Is Not a Vampire
The immortality of Nicolas Cage is arguably a more interesting topic than his ability as an actor (although this doesn’t stop the Internet loving him, even going so far as to create a Nicolas Cage-themed Star Wars VII movie trailer). And yet, we’ve all seen the slideshows and videos portraying the star of Con-Air, The Rock and Vampire’s Kiss as an undead drinker of blood.
Naturally, he denies it. Well, he would, wouldn’t he?
Nicolas Cage, nephew of director Francis Ford Coppola, is not a vampire. Happily, however, he’s not alone in his everlasting life. Other Hollywood legends are also in on the act, including Keanu Reeves, who has apparently also been the Emperor Charlemagne as well as French physician and actor Paul Mounet.
The video embedded below show how this phenomenon goes beyond Hollywood, with Mark Zuckerberg lining up alongside Justin Timberlake as well as Reeves and Cage (and many others).
How Original Is Your Face?
The proliferation of these images boils down to one thing: a limit on the distribution of facial features (unless you believe that Nicolas Cage is immortal). For instance, I have my own historical lookalike:
The guy in the goggles was claimed to be a time traveler, and perhaps he is. More likely, however, is the fact that he just has a different eye for fashion than the people around him. After all, I’ve never been to the 1940s, and the fella in the photo appears to have my nose, jawline, ears, mole, and hair.
Meanwhile, this is clearly Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) from Game of Thrones (a TV show which has its own fan-created bizarre theories)…
Uhh hate to break it to ya buddy…. pic.twitter.com/ftWhHLk9fD
— Maisie Williams (@Maisie_Williams) May 28, 2015
Except, of course, the real Maisie Williams (set to appear in the next run of long-running science fantasy adventure Doctor Who) says otherwise.
Face originality is a fallacy. We all have duplicates, doubles and doppelgangers somewhere, and although legend states that you should never meet your double, these 13 lookee-likees decided to meet up and be photographed, by Francois Brunelle, a Montreal photographer interested in snapping pairs of unrelated doubles. While meeting your doppelganger is believed to cause bad luck, Brunelle believes that the worst that can happen is a bit of ego-bruising.
“It’s a little bit of a nightmare to meet oneself with no warning… they don’t want to be facing another person that’s like them.”
Duplicate Beatles and Other Pop Stars
We told you previously about the Paul is Dead obsession, a Beatles-fueled piece of trolling that began back in the 1960s and has confused and enthused fanatics ever since.
One element of the conspiracy theory is that each of The Beatles – Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr – had a professional lookalike to make public appearances (either that or they were cloned by British Intelligence – no, really) when the real Beatles were tired/touring/recording.
Over the years since the theory exploded on the Internet, other lookalikes thrust into a position of impersonation have been identified, such as Boy George’s “resembler” Wayne Russell. There is also the um, shady (albeit unconfirmed) case of a Marshall Mathers lookalike making public appearances as Eminem, apparently with the knowledge of the artist’s record company.
The Two Hillarys
The world of celebrity duplicates takes an even more unusual turn than pop stars enjoying time off thanks to their doubles. After all, what do you do if you can’t find a lookalike? You give up.
Or perhaps you just clone the person you’re copying.
This is the world of political doubles, where even the most popular political figures are the subject of theories concerning their current status as a genuine human being or a sub-human clone.
Take presidential hopeful and Monsanto fan Hillary Clinton, whose height apparently changes over the course of several months, inspiring accusations of cloning rather than a detailed look at her footwear. Oh, and she’s capable of appearing in multiple locations simultaneously, because, well, clones, duh!
(Actually, that last link will blow your mind. It will also highlight one of the cornerstones of political conspiracy theorizing: that John F. Kennedy was a good guy and the last decent or honest American President).
More Political Doubles
In fairness, the use of duplicates is nothing new in geopolitical matters. It is a matter of record that Great Britain’s wartime leader Winston Churchill had a lookalike that was used to distract the enemy. More recently the deposed leader of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, was said to have had several duplicates (a claim so strong that there were those in Iraq who feared his return even after death, so convinced where they that NATO forces had the wrong man).
What creates these ongoing stories of silliness? It can only be that oft-remarked obsession that we have with celebrity. Whether people are desperately trying to make a connection with the objects of their obsession, or building narratives to help them make sense of the world as they see it, the end result – as far as the echo chamber of the Internet is concerned – is often outlandish.
Hollywood actors are not, in all probability, immortal. Nor are they time travelers (and neither am I, sadly). Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, may well have a clone, but we doubt her clone is any better at email than the real Hillary.
Have you seen a better celebrity lookalike spreading online like a virus? Do you actively believe Nic Cage is immortal? Or that Keanu Reeves is a vampire? If so, have a little lie-down before letting us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Image Credits: dressed up as Dracula via Shutterstock