Ventriloquists and Their Dummies Posing in Creepy Vintage Photos
Ventriloquists are a strange bunch, to say the least. The art of ventriloquism revolves around the audience being fooled that the doll is the one who is talking when instead it’s the ventriloquists all along. Well, that’s not that easy, we have to admit. And being able to convince an entire audience that an inanimate dummy has its mind and will, is no easy task, so we have to hand it to them.
But what’s really interesting about ventriloquism is that it draws its roots to ancient times. It was seen as a spiritual practice by many cultures around the world. In the Middle Ages Europe, it was seen as a form of witchcraft, and they were burned at the stake. The term itself comes from Latin where it meant to “speak from the stomach.”
In Greek, it was called something like “gastromancy” and was a practice closely linked to necromancy. Back then ventriloquists would hang around cemeteries and speak to the dead. Any noises coming from the stomach was believed to be a sign from the underworld and the ventriloquist would translate it.
By the late 18th century, ventriloquists shed their mystical and prophetical ways, going from the cemetery to the stage in England, alongside magicians, escape artists, travelling circuses and clowns. The creepy dolls also made their appearance by this time. One popular ventriloquist was Jules Vernon, who performed with an entire family of dolls. Once in 1920, Vernon went completely blind right in the middle of a show. He went on performing until he was 70 when he was unfortunately struck by a taxi in 1937.
Now, by far the most creepy thing about ventriloquists are their almost animate dolls. And the closer they look to the actual thing, the creepier they get. It’s an interesting thing – being creeped out – and ventriloquists and their dummies bring that out in all of us.