One of my favorite stories is Jorge Luis Borges’s "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius," which is the eerie relation of an invented world whose fantastical perceptions, language, and eventually objects begin to seep into our own and eventually overtake it. One of the strangest features of this imaginary world is the existence of the hrönir, which Borges defines as “secondary objects” which are created when two people are both looking for the same lost thing, and each find a version of it.
I think of this story whenever I hear bizarre tales of objects being doubled, of earrings being found years after they were lost, identical rings discovered in different parts of town, shoes being put in the dryer and two pairs emerging. Is there any reality to our existence? Or are we getting bleeds from another universe?
In this mind-bending account, a woman claims she went to a thrift store with her daughter, and acquiesced to her man for a pair of—in the mom’s opinion—very worn children’s shoes with a Frozen theme. They took the shoes home and put them in the little girl’s dress up box.
The next day, the mom was shocked to discover that the shoes had migrated to their front entryway. She went to return them to the dress up box only to find an identical pair of shoes already awaiting her there.
What’s even creepier is that these were not just two pairs of the same kind of shoe. They are literally the same. These worn, used shoes had some scrawled writing on the bottom—writing that now existed on both pairs.
Is anything real?