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August 1958

Autoscopic Phenomena

Author Affiliations

Barrow Hospital, near Bristol, England

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1958;80(2):199-220. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1958.02340080069019

Introduction  The perplexing experience of autoscopy, i. e., of seeing one's own "self," or one's "double," has always puzzled and fascinated the human imagination and has been known to all races from time immemorial. The belief in the "double" may be found in the folklore of most nations, and it still persists in the mythology of some primitive societies. For example, some aborigines of Central Australia believe that after death their soul joins their double in the ancestral cave, where it is reborn (Róheim79). Dewhurst22 regards the double "as an integral part of the brooding spirit of primitive man," and, together with Todd (Todd and Dewhurst93), assumes that it "is in the nature of a psychical atavism," and represents a characteristic feature of archetypal thinking.The first report on autoscopy (about a man who could not go for a walk without seeing his double coming toward him)