The wood so softly singing
In a language strange to hear
And the song it sings will find you
As the twilight draws you near



In his tract called The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies written in 1691, Robert Kirk speaks of those who have the Second Sight which enables them to see the folk who live underground. He says that he has been told by some of these with the Second Sight that "they have seen a Doubleman, or the shape of some man in two places, perfectly resembling one another in all points". He also says that in spite of the two apparently being identical those with the Second Sight can easily tell which is the 'above ground' man and which is the 'subterranean man'. He affirms that "They call this reflex-man a 'Co-Walker', every way like the man as a twin brother and companion, haunting him as his shadow ...."

"This copy, echo, or living picture goes at last to his own herd. It accompanies the person so long and frequently for ends best known to itself, whether to guard him from the secret assaults of some of its own folks, or only as a sportful ape to counterfeit all his actions."

The doppleganger or other self is well known as a psychic phenomenon, but is interestingly here seen as a consequence of 'haunting' by the faerie folk.


Hamadryad said...

I've been offline for a while (deliberately) but it's good to call in here and look back at your recent posts.

So much is deep and wide-ranging in what you offer.

Lorna Smithers said...

Interesting article, and in relation to your piece on Edward Thomas and 'The Other' on your personal site.

When I journey I often experience a sense of being 'my other self,' and that she knows what to do in situations in the otherworld I have no idea how to handle.

These phenomena seem slightly different, but relatable?

Have you had any experiences of this yourself?

Heron Mist said...

Hamadryad, many thanks, - good to see you blogging again.

Heron Mist said...

Thanks Lorna, good to see you picked up the link between the two pieces.

Certainly the two are relatable.Yes, my interest in the 'other self' is to some extent personal as well as it being a fascinating subject in itself.

I know just what you mean about the other knowing what to do. This is quite a deep matter to venture into. Though somewhere between Edward Thomas and the story here gets close to something quite significant.